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Archive for July, 2011

Jul
8
2011

I met an Indian from Mauritius once .  I can’t recall exactly when or where, but I do remember scratching my head and coming home to consult my atlas.  I wasn’t sure exactly where Mauritius was.  (It’s an island just east of Madagascar.)

Turns out 68% of the population of Mauritius is of Indian descent (according to the 1997 census) – a surprising number most likely due to the fact that the island was a fromer British colony.  In fact, the current Prime Minister of Mauritius – Dr. Navin Ramgoolam – descends from Bihar and is a Hindu.

The main languages are Mauritian Creole, English and French and the government mandates that all students also study an “oriental language” such as Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi or Chinese.

I’d certainly want to explore this Creole-French-African-Indian island paradise (and stay and spa at the The Oberoi Mauritius – pictured above).  I can only imagine what tasty fusion food could be found there:  French Indo-Chinese perhaps?

Images via The Oberoi Mauritius

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Jul
7
2011
Mantras from Mom
Author: Aruna

You’ve probably heard of some of these Hindu prayer iPhone apps apps floating around:  iPuja (“Need to pray on the go?”) and iMantra (even keeps track of the number of mantras you’ve said).  I was meddling with them to see if any of them could help my 5-year-old remember the mantras I’ve been teaching him.  Not really – too complicated for him to find the few he knows – and why hand over custody of the phone to him?

My vision was quite simple:  since mantras are best learned by hearing them over and over (and over) again, I wanted to create a utility through which he could press a button to select among 5 or so images of Hindu deities, and the corresponding mantra would play.

So I’ve undertaken to DIY such a utility via my FLIP video recorder.  I focus the camcorder on an idol or image of a deity (Ganesh, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Krishna, etc.) and record the mantra in my own voice, along with a (very) brief explanation.  He can scroll through the images and listen to Mom reciting mantras for him.

Best part is he can listen even when I’m not there!

Image of Lakshmi Devi via ganesh.us

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Jul
5
2011

I hope these fun and beautiful leaf dishes will be available for our next July 4th cookout.  I would love to have guests use them as plates.  Reminds me of the huge banquets in my grandmother’s village – where diners would eat in “batches” on fresh banana leaves. 

Designed by Nao Tamura, these organic form flexible plates are made of silica sand and are microwave and oven safe.  And, might I add, look very kid-safe as well.

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Jul
1
2011

I’m travelling (in my head) today – to Dehradun.  How I would love to be driving up that Mussoorie road (pictured above).

Dehradun is one of those places I’ve always wanted to spend time in but can never quite make it to.  Scenicly nestled in the Himalayas, this capital city of India’s newest-created Uttarakhand state is also home to some of India’s most prestigious educational institutions – including the Indian Military Academy (where my father-in-law was) and The Doon School, a breading ground for future leaders of India (Rajiv Gandhi went here).  Historically, Dehradun is said to be the birthplace and residence of Drona – esteemed guru to the Pandavas and Kauravas.

I’d peg Dehradun for an outdoorsy-vacation:  trekking, biking and swimming, with minor visits to local temples and the 107-foot Buddha statute built by Tibetan refugees.  Some day I will make it up there…

Image via dehradun.nic.in

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