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Archive for March, 2016

Mar
30
2016

History and decor rolled into one – vintage maps can be a sophisticated addition to a room (and a good history lesson for kids). They can sometimes be found in old bookshops, but there also several places online that sell them.

Above, “A New Map of Hindoostan” dated 1825 by the famous English cartographer John Cary. Available here…

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Mar
23
2016
Holi Minion!
Author: Gnaana

Apparently they are now celebrating Holi with us as well – behold the Minion pichkari. Sold out for sure, but fun to look at.

Image from here…

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Mar
21
2016

This one is so simple and beautiful – an exploration into color chromatography using a black marker, a coffee filter, and a pipe cleaner. Watch as the magic unfolds!

Instructions here…

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Mar
18
2016

Next up in our series of Holi-themed science projects: Holi-Sugar Rainbow Density Towers. All you will need is sugar, food coloring, and some straws. Best of all, kids can drink it up at the end!

Instructions here…

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Mar
16
2016

We’re going to feature a couple of really cool (and simple) Holi-themed science projects for kids. First up is an exploration into the systems of vascular plants with Rainbow Roses. You can substitute any fat-stemmed white flower.

It’s a fairly simple concept – see here for details.

Before you start, and for a little more contextual background, here is brief video on vascular plants:

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Mar
14
2016

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It’s HOLI time! Celebrate with our gorgeous Happy Holi Print, available as a digital download in our Etsy Shop.

We’ve paired the print with an exciting activity for kids to learn the names of colors in their mother tongue: a clever crossword puzzle with Indian-themed riddles for kids to solve!

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What is the color of a lassi made with India’s national fruit? (Hindi answer: “naarangee”)
What is the color of Lord Shiva’s throat? (Hindi answer: “neelaa”)

Crossword puzzle is available in all of the 7 languages Gnaana supports: Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu, Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali, and Kannada. The puzzle is aimed at 2nd graders and up, but can be completed by younger kids with parental help. A terrific way to learn and reinforce color names.

For $5, you will receive the following digital file package:
* 2 versions of our Happy Holi print (8.5″x11″ & 8″x10″ for photo printing)
* Your choice of Indic language crossword puzzle
* English version of crossword puzzle.

As an added BONUS, if you purchase our Bindi Baby Colors Book, we’ll send you the above for free. (Files will be emailed upon purchase).

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HAPPY HOLI!

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Mar
11
2016

Remember this? Daadi-Amma, Daadi-Amma Maan Jao, from the 1961 hit Gharana. Sung by Asha Bhosle & Kamal Barot:

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Mar
9
2016

A terrific, modern addition to any girl’s (or mom’s) dresser top…Only Lakshmi Devi can be entrusted to watch over your jewelry.

Available here…

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Mar
7
2016

Hindus celebrate Maha Shivaratri today.  Known as the Great Night of Shiva, the celebrations are marked by prayer and penance, music and dance (and some, in fact, stay up through the night).

Here is a terrific video summarizing key elements of the beautiful Dance of Shiva, presented by renowned dancer Smt. Shashikala Ravi:

DVD available for purchase here

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Mar
3
2016
On Guruji
Author: Aruna

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I spent the past few days at my alma mater – Cornell University – to attend a retirement function for my college track coach, and to watch the Ivy League Indoor Track & Field Championships and reunite with my former teammates. It was an incredible meet as always: 8 Ivies, nearly 100 years of rivalry, and 1 unifying spirit of sportsmanship. This return, reunion, and celebration of my coach has engendered some powerful emotions for me (and hence this post).

Gnaana’s readers may not be aware of this little-known fact about me, but I was a collegiate athlete. Starting in 7th grade and through my senior year at Cornell, the sport of Track & Field (and the 800m in particular) was my life. My parents didn’t quite understand my dedication to running (they feared it was too much time away from studies and too much time “getting dark” in the sun) until colleges started to recruit me.

When I started training in the fall of my freshman year, I was in awe of my senior teammates and of my coach. We were a nationally-ranked NCAA Division I program, and here I was a lowly middle-distance freshman training with the best. Our coach had us running upwards of 50 miles a week, and there were days I could barely walk to classes. But I did not question. I had to miss many classes and sheepishly requested professors to reschedule exams for me due to our team travel schedule (which surely reflected on my grades). But I did not question. My coach pushed me so hard, I often threw up at practices. But I did not question.

I trusted my coach completely. My body ran times I did not think possible. He helped me build on successes and rebuild from failures (a life skill I carry with me even today). He helped me come back from a personal crisis my senior year, when I almost lost my father and had the weight of supporting my family looming on my shoulders.  I ran my fastest ever that year. In the end, it was my experience as an athlete, not my grades, that defined me – that gave me an edge in the job market. So many job interviews started with, “So you ran for Cornell…”

I couldn’t put a finger on my relationship with my coach until my son started training on santoor. I explained to him the Guru-Shishya Parampara (tradition) of learning Indian music – and that he should listen to and trust his Guruji.  And that under no circumstance should he question his Guruji’s recommendations. As I watch my son develop a reverence for his Guru and witness his musical talent blossom, I realize now that my coach was my guru. He wasn’t a teacher (he was more than that). He wasn’t a parental figure (he was more objective than that). But my guru – that he was.

I hope my children will find and have a powerful relationship with a guru someday – be it in arts, sports, or career. My Guruji holds a special place in my life, and I am eternally grateful for his guidance.

Without Guru’s guidance, no one can swim across the vast ocean of Life.
One may have the power to create or destroy like Brahma or Shiva, but
to rise above one’s mind, feelings, and beliefs, one needs a guru to be
directed in the right path.

-Tulsidas

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