Scene (Seen) Outdoors

Scene (Seen) Outdoors
Scene (Seen) Outdoors
Welcome!! Swagat, Dumela, Valkommen, Jee Aayan Noo, Tashreef, Bula, Swasdee, Bienvenido, Tashi Delek. Thanks for joining me.....

Monday, April 16, 2018

Door Service

Click on the image to enlarge

A happy shot of bright and lovely fruits!! These are home delivery guys!! They or their parents have known the families for generations--they buy the vegetables and bring them to us useless urbanities, so we do not have to go grocery shopping !!  They even save special pieces for you, and usually lower the prices for their regular customers!!  In all my travels, this is a special feature of Asia and Asia alone. You might have a few incidences of these in countries like Fiji, but this home service, only in Asia. Seen it in Thailand, and Vietnam, and Laos------

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Notes From the Land of Weddings!!

When in India a month ago, in the middle of grading and preparing for classes, and planning for the interviews that I had to conduct for a research project, along with coordinating with a research assistant this time...I had to attend one wedding, and one funeral.  I was invited to another birthday, and there were two weddings around my house.  The picture above is when the house was being prepared for guests.  The beginning celebrations take place here--and then the wedding procession goes to a banquet hall.  Earlier everything took place at homes, --the equivalent of temples and centres of celebration.  Today, the houses are too small to house everything.  I must mention that the house to the left of the wedding house, is almost like an abandoned house.  No one except one servant/house care taker has lived in that--nearly ten room--two storyed house. The family has moved to another section of the city.  The reason they do not sell or even upgrade this house is because it was the will of the owners---the first generation to build and own this house, who are both gone now--that the house be left to be used by the care taker, for as long as he lives.  This house was one of the tallest when I was growing up.  They had two cars at the time.  One, a green beetle, almost never worked but remained parked outside our house.  It was considered lucky for the occupants.  And it stayed for years, before all the house around started to grow in height and every household started to own a car, usually more than one or sometimes two. We used it as a cover when we played hide and seek in the neighbourhood.  Today, I can say that there are about 200 cars in the neighbourhood.  And obviously many more beyond the block.  

When I got to know that I had to attend the wedding--it as my brother in law's niece, I realize how when you are out of your own country, how much are you cut off from.  My brother in law's mother passed away this January, which was such a sad thing for all of us. In-laws, even if their are your siblings' inlaws become really close family members. Infact, the whole point of marriage is to create that community.  Create that large circle that gives you security. It may not do that always, but that is what it is there for. and yes, we all need large, layered, communities at different level.  My brother in law visited a few weeks earlier, so see his mother.  But the inevitable happened and he paid his respects, including his blessings for the wedding, since during the wedding he needed to be at a training.  My sister could not go. So, the other siblings and our mother, we all went.  I did not fuss much but chose a spree, got it ironed, my sister helped me some with jewellery.  Just getting ready for the thing makes you realize how much you are simply outside of life. And in the western world, how small, little and not really welcoming are these events.  Years and years in countries and I attended barely four weddings in the US.  And not one of them am I in touch with, even the Indian ones.  I attended one funeral.  and I am not in touch with the family.  No continuation.  And here I was attending the wedding of a girl, who I had never met, but know her grandparents like my own parents.  And her father had called me in Sweden to extend a personal invitation. 

By the evening, there were lights on the house across from ours. This was a day before the actual wedding. It looked like a dreamy stage set....imagine getting married under it. 

This was another house in the neighbourhood ---another wedding at the same time.  Every time I have gone home, almost every time there has been a major event that I needed to attend. 

India is in many ways the land of weddings.  Weddings are everywhere, wedding processions block roads, their DJs keep many in the neighbourhood awake for a few nights (although much of this takes place in the banquet hall--much of it still takes place in the neighbourhood parks, which are turned into little banquet halls --a true art--with sashes, and color and flowers and tinsel and colourful lights).

The day after the wedding --enuchs came dancing---in the house right across.  If it is a groom's house--then they come after the bride has been brought into the house.  If it is a bride's house, they come a day before the wedding.  Eunuchs, sometimes called hermophrodites, formed their own community.  Although abandoned by their parents at a young age, they were claimed by the Eunuch community, which was honoured at happy occasions.  No happy occasion was complete without their dance.  This was how marginalised were incorporated into the society.  It is not nice to be born one.  Even though today there is technology to fix much, everyone cannot afford it.  But in ancient times, there was no technology and people lived with their fates. It was in those times the India (there are some similar traditions in China, I guess)--came up with a system where Eunuchs were honoured.  They had a community and they had a presence.

There is a festival in certain parts of India where or a day Eunuchs are turned into Gods and people bow to them.  Here is a 2003 article from BBC on it.  It can be strange for those who do not know these things or have not seen such images. Being an urbanite, these things used to be strange for me too.  But now that I have traveled the world, I just marvel at India's vastness, its ability to embrace diversity and let everyone have a small amount of fame and honor.  Men, women, children, old people, transgender, eunuchs----.  One can lament that single people hardly had any place.  Well, if you were married and have children then you are incorporated.  And if you have siblings who have further families you may still be incorporated.  But single people (I would say it is not much different in other countries, except, in other countries the span of a family and close relations is very narrow)--had little place, because it was understood that it was the 'interconnectedness' that was honoured.  No person is an island and single hood is as close as you get to being an island in a country like India (or Fiji or Botswana for that matter...ha...)

And here are some images of the beautiful bride and groom--from the wedding that I attended.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Random Acts of Kindness: Part 2--the funny side!

First published on June 10, 2013---needed to be published close to the previous post, to make sense....and see it all in the context!! 

So, when you are at a university, you cannot take things too seriously.  Above is a picture of two lonely gloves looking for their mates.  The finders have added their own touch.  A love sign, and one of irreverence.  Have your pick!!