Breaking bread together

An iftar invitation had remained elusive till now - this last week of the holy month I attended my first iftar party. Last weekend amidst thunderous showers a family in Noida with a group of ladies hosted an inter-faith iftar party. The group consisting of Rana Safvi - an author and  historian, Nazia Erum -…

102 Not Out

I am no movie buff - but an Amitabh Bachchan movie is a different experience altogether. So the very next day after its release the Sodhi family, on a rare outing, went to watch 102 Not Out. The promos had looked promising, with an exuberant centurion Gujrati father and his relationship with his old, morose son.…

Rāmā Kātha

During my final exams for Masters, Banaras Hindu University hosted a festival of Rāmāyana from other South-east Asian countries; everyday in the evening one country or the other presented a retelling of their version of the story in dance drama format. That was my first initiation to various versions of the epic Rāmāyana. AK Ramanujan…

Swan Lake – a ballet experience

A birthday-anniversary weekend in September last year also turned out to be a musical weekend - an evening of classical music and another of classical ballet. The Royal Russian Ballet had flown in with their swans for a treat for Delhi audience. For me, this was a maiden experience of watching a ballet live -…

I am a Woman!

I am what I am

On International Women’s Day, it is sad to see messages justifying the reason for being a woman.  Especially since in India Devi is worshipped in most corners of the country. As an Adi-Shakti, she epitomises the essence of Shakti herself, she represents consciousness, and she is the symbolism of Prakriti. She is Ardhnari without whom the male is void.

This is the country where girl child is worshipped as Kanjika, where various avatars of women are worshipped as conserver of forest, as the harbinger of wealth and knowledge, as the protector of natural calamities or epidemics, or as a benevolent mother who protects all.

And today, the role and existence of women is being questioned. Are women only to be used as tools of recreation and procreation? Is our only duty is to manage household, children and sometimes contribute to family fund?

It is disheartening to open the…

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Our Holi lunch

Festivals in India are closely linked with food especially in UP households where there is different menu for each festival. Even though Punjabis, since we lived in Banaras our food habits have been influenced by UP-Bihar traditions and some from the home rituals followed by my Grandmother. Holi as a festival transcends between summer and…

Taste of Banaras

Banarasi khana is unique in its taste - very different from its Western UP counterpart or even Punjabi cuisine. Banarasi cuisine over centuries has created its own taste with influence from Bihar and Bengal, even taken inspiration from Muslim rulers and inhabitants. In Banaras, one even finds an Italian pizzeria, a Japanese restaurant or a…

Khele mashane mein Holi

Holi across the world is largely associated with Krishna, and people flock to Brijbhoomi to witness the festivities. Even the songs or paintings that celebrate this colourful festival centers around this playful God. But in the city of Shiva - Banaras (Kashi or Varanasi), Rangbhari Ekadashi marks the beginning of the festival six days before…

Discovering India

I have been wanting to read Jawahar Lal Nehru's Discovery of India for some time now, the reasons are many including the need to remind myself of India's history which is hazy in my mind now. I have also been wanting to read on India - its culture and traditions, people, it's impact on the world and…