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Archive for May, 2012

May
31
2012

How do you say “thief” in your language?  In Telugu it’s “donga” and it’s been the week’s most-used word.  But not in the cute/playful way of using it to describe kids who do mischief.  No, the usage is most unfortunately due to a theft incident on our long-weekend vacation trip:  unabashed smashing of the driver-side car window, pilfering of our (outdated) GPS and (to add further insult) the kids’ car seats – though the car seats were later found.

At least the kids learned why it’s bad to take things that are not yours.  Although the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves may make them think that stealing is not all black-and-white.

Below left, bilingual Urdu/English version of the tale; below right, story in graphic novel format.

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May
29
2012

If you are teaching your kids about their Indian/Hindu culture, there are no standards/guidelines out there as to what kinds of basic things kids should know about their heritage.  So we decided to publish our own guidelines!

Here are 10 questions your kids should be able to answer by the time they enter the 2nd grade.  Of course, if you’re not Hindu, you can swap out the religious questions for ones related to your faith.  These are basic questions that, if your kids can answer, will give them confidence about their cultural and religious identity.  So how do your kids score?

1.  Recite the Gayatri Mantra.

2.  Count to 10 in their mother tongue.

3.  Name the main characters in the Ramayana (Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman, Ravana).  Bonus points if they can tell you the story line and/or name some minor characters.

4.  Point to where India is on the globe/map.

5.  Perform the Surya Namaskar.

6.  Recognize the OM symbol.  Bonus points if they can write it and/or tell you what the significance of OM is.

7.  Name the Gods in the Hindu Trimurti plus thier wives.

8.  Recognize their name written in their mother language.  Bonus points if they can write it themselves!

9.  Name the 5 Pandavas plus thier wife.  Bonus points if they can tell you about the meaning of the picture below.

10.  Identify at least 5 Indian classical music instruments.

And if you practice or emphasize vegetarianism at home, here is an extra question:

11.  Why Hindu’s don’t eat beef.

What else would you add to the list?

images via google and gnaana

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May
25
2012

If you read the Indian newspapers, you’ve probably seen the ads for the Lotta-Bidet systems that supposedly function with Western toilets (see here and here).

Which is more eco-friendly?  Toilet Paper vs. Water?

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May
23
2012
May Flowers
Author: Gnaana

Got the itch to doodle?  Drawing is certainly an acquired skill and learning to draw specific objects will delight and build confidence in kids.  Flowers are some of the simplest objects to start with and tutorials abound on the web.

Here are our picks for 3 of the subcontinent’s most popular flowers.

Jasmine (Pakistan’s National Flower):

Lotus (India’s National Flower):

Hibiscus:

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May
21
2012
India’s Bibimbop
Author: Aruna

This book is so cute and the rhyme so addictive, it left my kids begging to take them to the grocery store  and make Korean bibimbop.  Luckily there was a vegetarian recipe in one of my Moosewood cookbooks (I have all of them – it’s a Cornell thing).

Bee-Bim Bop! was chosen in 2009 by the public libraries of New York as one of the top 20 favorite stories to read aloud – and I think it did wonders to introduce kids to a bit of Korean cuisine and culture.

So what would be India’s version of bibimbop – to introduce kids in the West to Indian food? Samosas?  SambarBiryani?

Could we ever agree?

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May
18
2012

Exciting news for our UK and European customers – Gnaana’s Bindi Baby Books are now available for purchase on Amazon UK and on Amazon Italy, France and Spain.  UK orders can also qualify for free shipping.

So check out our popular Bindi Baby Animals and Bindi Baby Numbers (available in Hindi, Gujarati and 5 other languages) in your neck of the woods!

And if you are in Australia, you can order a selection of our titles from foreign language bookshop Glottogon.

image:  gorgeous wooden Europe puzzle via Steven Mattern Design

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May
16
2012

Disciplining your kids is a private family matter.  There are a lot of theories, “experts” and self-help books out there, but I was wondering:  is there a consensus on the Hindu way of discipline?

So I poked around and found this fascinating article in Hinduism Today.  It addresses the issue of corporal punishment and how it is at odds with Hindu principles of ahimsa.

I don’t like to pass judgment on what other parents do in this department, but I have never believed in it and we don’t do it in our family.  We don’t even (knowingly) step on ants so I can’t imagine laying anything but a kiss on the 2 most precious things in my life.

But we do make the kids do pushups and these Indian squats (gunjeelu in Telugu).

image via here

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May
14
2012

Gorgeous piggy banks for kids rooms and beyond – beautiful reminders of the importance of saving!

Above:  lovely Ganesha-esque with handpainted mehendi designs by Stephanie Rombough Ceramics.
Below:  adorable terracotta turtle bank from Poi Doi Handicrafts, Juhu Road, Mumbai.

Embossed leather elephant from East India via Craft Montaz:

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May
11
2012

Do you remember the day(s) your little one(s) was born?

May all the moms out there be surrounded by love and laughter this weekend.

Above:  iconic painting by Raja Ravi Varma

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May
9
2012

Last week, we hinted at some BIG news – so here we go:  Gnaana will be launching a new clothing line just for kids!  We’ve been plugging away for months and don’t have pictures to reveal yet, but the brand will make it’s debut to retail buyers in London with a Spring/Summer 2013 Collection at the Bubble Trade Show on June 17-18.

Click HERE to read today’s press release.

What’s the concept?  It’ll be modular mix-and-match separates for boys and girls blending Indian silhouettes with Western styling – so kids can wear them separately as every-day wear or combine pieces to function as traditional salwar suits and lehenga cholis.  And for the first time, we’ll be bringing historic Indian fabrics such as Benarasi silk, Chanderi silk and cotton Khadi to the Western market.

“Rayil’s collection will let kids blend their Western and Indian worlds, in beautiful fabrics that connect them with their heritage.  It’s a reflection of their identity and of how kids live their lives today – a true mix of the East and the West.”  –Aruna Hatti

Check out the site marker on the Rayil Website.  For updates, join the Rayil Facebook Page and sign-up for the Rayil Newsletter.

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