Thursday, 31 March 2011

Dhobi -The Indian Iron and Laundry man

The dhobi  or  laundry and  iron man in India  is  an institution in himself. In  fact  a dhobi caste exists and  is  recognized  and scheduled  by  the  government as  a  caste  in  need  of  empowerment.

With  the age  of  the  washing machine and  dhobis turning  to more  educated  and respectable  professions - (they  have special privileges  and  education and job  allotments,)   fewer  dhobis remain in the  fray.

There was  once  a  time  when every one (except  for  the  economically  backward) used  the  services  of  a  dhobi.

The  dhobi man  came  to  your  house  on his  bicycle to  collect  your  weekly laundry . Everything from  linen, to  all  sorts   of  garments , kitchen cloths,  bed  covers, sheets curtains even under wear (if  you so wanted) was  unloaded from  the family 's  laundry closet or  bag by  the dhobi. He  would then  seperate  each item according  to its nature and  gather  them  into  orderly piles. The  lady  of  the  house would  then come out  with  a  laundry book in which she  had  a list of all the  clothes to be  washed . As  she  called out the  name of  the  item,  the dhobi would  count the  number and  and tell the   memsahib. She  would  then enter it  in her  laundry book.  For  example
Saris -5
Towels - 8
Shirts - 11
Tablecloths (big)- 2
Tablecloths (small) -5 and so forth.

After that  the  dhobi would lay  out the  freshly washed  and  ironed  clothes which he  had  taken last  week and   lay  them out neatly on a  clean  spread  or carpet. Then  the accounting would begin in reverse  order. This  ritual would  be  repeated  once or  twice  a week.

The  dhobis  were   very  honest  and reliable,  but  occasionally clothes  would  disappear. Everyone  had  a  family  dhobi. Ours  was an ancient man who died  several  years  ago. His  sons  all have   very   good jobs  and  no one  pursued  this  lowdown laborious  profession.

The  dhobiji would  carry  the  laundry   wrapped  up  in  a  large  cotton sheet on the  back of  his  bicycle. They  also  used  donkeys -  specially  to  transport laundry to the dhobi ghat ( community washing  areas) or  riverside .

The  clothes  would be  pressed  with a  charcoal fired  iron box,  they  had  modern  electric  irons  too.

Now  of   course with modernization set  in, very  few  dhobis  are  around. They  are  more expensive  too. Laundry women (dhobins) can come to  your  house   and   do  your   laundry  by hand, then take the  dry  clothes (in the  evening) to  be ironed   in their  homes. And then there  are   the  advanced  , state  of  the   art dry cleaners  and laundries.

In the  good  old days I  was  given the  chore  of maintaining  the laundry book. It was fun. I  miss them old  times - the  smell  and touch  of  the   dhobi 's laundry.

Just  down the  down from  our  gate  a iron man sets  up  his  street  business.
He  presses  people 's  clothes. Different rates   for each item. He is  using  the  ancient iron, filled  with  charcoal embers. I sometimes give him   the  more  tricky clothes  to iron like  cotton  and  silk saris. He  does an excellent job.

( the  above  3  photos  were  shot  by me)
Did any one  of  you  use  a  laundry man  like him?

This morning my Sheeba (dog) killed
a field rat - a huge  one.
Well done  Sheeba-
she ' s really in the hunting  mood  now.
We  are  harvesting lots of  tomatoes .
When (no ifs here) you come  to visit me
I will give  you a  bag full.
Soon instead of  blood  I will
be having tomato juice running
in my  veins.
I  am making  lots  of puree to  preserve.

A Video for all Language Teachers and Students

अंग्रेजी के  साथ साथ अपनी भाषा  का  प्रय्गोग करिए

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mind Your Ps and Qs

Do  they speak  the  same  language  on
either  side   of  the Atlantic?
India  has  leaning  towards  the British-
the  colonial influence.
On  the other  hand  several Hindi
or  Hindustani  words have  found
a  place  in  the  English lexicon.
Bungalow (bangla)
serpent (sarpam)
There  are  many   more
and  still  being  added.

On the other  hand  India has
its  own   form of  Hinglish.
Look  at  the  sign above.(left  one)
I  find  it  hilarious.
Ashish and  Megan took this  photo
somewhere in NE  India.
Enjoy  while  I  run  along
powder  my  slappy  ham
grab a  packet  of   chips,
load up  my  rooty tooty point  and   shooty
and dash off
to  my Anguish , sorry English Class.
I  want  to  ask them
what  is  the  connection  between
blueberry  pancakes
and  clammy rogers

Which words from  your part  of  the  world
have  enhanced  the  English  language?

Do you  use words  of  Indian origin?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday Blessings - Hit Unawares

Ever experienced walking down a pathway and you suddenly get hit by a low hanging branch or you foot pierced by a cruel thorn?

Well. I have.
Offenses and criticisms sometimes knock us down as surprise punching  bags when we are working out in the gym of life.

We can either let them tone our spiritual and emotions muscles
or knock out our breath and leave us permanently damaged.

Watch this excellent video on the subject of handling offenses

Friday, 25 March 2011

Morning Glory

Tuesday  morning presented  a  glorious
spectacle  in the  eastern sky
and I  was  out  with my  camera  taking
early morning  photos.
Sunday was  exceptionally  hot
but  after  that temperatures
dropped  a  few  degrees.
We had  strong  winds with
  shadow rain,  I  like  to  call  it.
On Wednesday night   there  was 
thunder and lightening
but  the  clouds  were  dry   as cotton.

Our  very  first  amaryllis Lillis  have  just  bloomed

Our  first  tube  roses or Raat  ki Raani
(Queen  of  the Night)

Soon the  summer  blaze will
petrify  our  roses.
They will  try  to   bloom
but  will  be  turned  in
paper fossils in  a short while.

The  monsoons  will  produce
a wilder, thorny crop.

I made  my  home made  peanut  butter
and  mulberry  cordial  this  week.
I will take  pictures  to  show  you.

These  photos  remind  me  of  the
dry, wet  and  cool  seasons  of  my  life.

Last Sunday my sister Sonia (in  Lucknow)
was  attacked  by  a  stray  cow.
When she  stepped back to  avoid  the onslaught,
she slipped  and fell  badly bruising   her arm and
neck. She  received  home  treatment.
She  is   in a lot  of  pain .
Please pray for her  wound to heal.
Each year thousands of  people  are injured
or  meet  with accidents  due  to
stray animals  on Indian  streets
but  the  civic authorities  hardly
do anything   about this  menace.

Yesterday we  got   my mother' s  blood work
done. All reports  are  clear , Praise  God.
Only her blood  urea is  one percent
over the  border line.
I will  consult our family doctor  for that.
I want to  share  a  short  devotional  article  by Joni.
She  is  a  great inspiration  to me.
Joni was  paralyzed  in a diving accident  when she  was 16
years  old. Her  life  struggles  and  growth
in faith   has  been  a blessing to  thousands  around  the world.

Life  would  be great if  only

- Devotional  by  Joni Eareckson  Tada

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been
given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
-- Colossians 2:9-10

What do quadriplegics (people whose hands and legs are paralyzed) daydream about?
Running a marathon? Ballroom dancing? Climbing a mountain? Many of us have scaled
down our fantasies. In my weaker moments, I'm tempted to think life would be great
if only I were a paraplegic - then I could use my hands. I see paraplegics transfer
themselves out of their wheelchairs into their own beds, reach for items in the
refrigerator, wash dishes at a sink and quickly sort through the mail. Then old
feelings of disappointment start to slink back into my heart.
Even able-bodied people look at others who seem more attractive, smarter, richer,
healthier, and who get all the breaks in life. In comparison, our minor defects
begin to look like deformities. Thankfully, the Bible has good advice for people
prone to compare. Paul tells us we have been given "fullness in Christ." In other
words, we are complete in Him. We have everything. We lack nothing. There's no need
to compare. Once we comprehend this truth, our so-called defects become reminders
of how "full" we are - because we have "fullness in Christ." The inferiority complex
releases its grip. We become content.
I wouldn't be happier if I were a paraplegic rather than a quadriplegic. The fullness
of Christ dwells in me, even with my infirmities. Therefore, I will gladly boast
as a quadriplegic. After all, you can't improve on "complete."
In what ways do you feel incomplete, inadequate, or less than you had hoped? Rather
than seeing these as insufficiencies, realize you are lacking in nothing. Why? Because
Christ dwells in you. Bask in that knowledge for a few, quiet moments and feel yourself
relax into contentedness.

* *
Lord, help me to keep from drumming up "if only" scenarios in my mind. Fill my thoughts
with satisfaction in you and in whom you have fashioned me to be.

Many  times  I  feel  very weak and  insufficient  for the tasks  and  duties  I am called  to  perform. I  stumble  and  fall physically  an d spiritually. It  seems  my  disabilities  are  ridiculing  me. Many   times  I don 't  get  the respect   due  to me as  a lonely, handicapped reclusive  woman, I get  wounded. I wonder  about  the  future.

If  I  look at a Python on the ground I  will most  probably  be  afraid  of it, but  if I  let  it  be  draped  around  my  neck (for  a  short  while) I  can  overcome  my  fear of it. So  I  have  to  tackle my problems  head  on - I cannot back away  from them.

I  had  delegated   2 people to  help  me in a small  church business which  would  earn us  a  few  rupees each month.  But  they were   lax  and  careless  about it resulting  in  our losing ten thousand five  hundred  rupees.  US $ 234.   That 's  a  lot of  money  for us.

So I  have  to  take over  the  duty  of  managing it. It will be  a  physical strain on me, but  I have  to  do  it, till I can find someone reliable enough for  the job.Please  pray for this.

Things are  difficult but not  impossible.
God 's grace is  sufficient for  me.
His power is  made  evident  in weakness.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Long Distance

(In  a  gift  shop  in the old  city  market)

People  used  what  they  called   a  telephone
because  they  hated  being  close  together and
they  were  too  scared  of  being  alone.
- Chuck Palahnuik

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


In the  month of  January we permitted  a government approved  charity to  hold a small exhibition cum sale for  10 days  in a tiny corner of  our  church  campus.

This  charity assists  and  trains  underprivileged  young  women from  rural  and  semi rural areas  to  learn  various handicrafts  and  skills . After  attending  their  school/college and finishing  their  household chores  the  girls  come  together to  learn needlework skills.

They  then sell the  fruit of  their  labour in the city and handicraft fairs. The money they  earn boosts  their family  income empowers  them as  women and  gives  them  self confidence as useful  earning  members  of society at large.

If they  sell  their  products to  city  shops  and traders, they  have  to  contend  with middlemen who  buy them  very cheaply and  sell  them at  exorbitant prices. For  example they  would purchase  a  hand  embroidered  bed cover  for  Rs 300  or so and  sell it  for   Rs  1000 in  the  shops. The  girls  hardly get  anything  for their  labour.

The  government  has  instituted  an Handicrafts Association under whose umbrella charitable   societies  can run  training programmes and also hold  sales.   Financial  aid  is  provided  for this  purpose.

We  thought this  to  be  a  noble  idea , so these  girls  could display their  skills  and  earn  some  money on our  campus.

Have a look at their handmade  linen and  clothes

The  girls  came by and chatted  with  mummy and me.
We  asked  them about their  lives and  families.
Before leaving they said
we spoke so kindly  to them.
One girl remarked to my mother,
"Aunty  we feel  you  have  a  heart
of  compassion  for  the  poor".
 'Not  all  city women are  so friendly '.

All  glory belongs  to God.

A  few  days   ago I read in  my newspaper  that
my  state  of  Uttar Pradesh has  the  most
cases  of  human rights  violations
in  the   whole  of  India.
Most  of  these  crimes are  against women.
The  police  is  no  help
thousands  of  complaints
have   been registered against
the  police.
Read  a  report  about  this
from  The Times  of  India

I want  to  conclude this post  with a
positive note with
the following article  by Ravi Zacharias

Our Father, the Weaver

By Ravi Zacharias

Some years ago, I was visiting a place known for making the best wedding saris in the world. They were the producers of saris rich in gold and silver threads, resplendent with an array of colors. With such intricacy of product, I expected to see some elaborate system of machines that would boggle the mind in production. But this image could not have been farther from the real scene. Each sari was made individually by a father and son team. The father sat above the son on a platform, surrounded by several spools of thread that he would gather into his fingers.

The son had only one task. At a nod from his father, he would move the shuttle from one side to the other and back again. This would then be repeated for hundreds of hours, until a magnificent pattern began to emerge. The son certainly had the easier task. He was only to move at the father's nod. But making use of these efforts, the father was working to an intricate end. All along, he had the design in his mind and was bringing the right threads together.

The more I reflect on my own life and study the lives of others, I am fascinated to see the design God has for each one of us individually, if we would only respond.

All through our days, little reminders show the threads that God has woven into our lives. Allow me to share a story from my own experience. As one searching for meaning in the throes of a turbulent adolescence, I found myself on a hospital bed from an attempted suicide. It was there that I was read the 14th chapter of John's Gospel.

My attention was fully captured by the part where Jesus says to his disciples: "Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19). I turned my life over to Christ that day, committing my pains, struggles, and pursuits to his able hands.

Almost 30 years to the day after this decision, my wife and I were visiting India and decided to visit my grandmother's grave. With the help of a gardener we walked through the accumulated weeds and rubble until we found the stone marking her grave.

With his bucket of water and a small brush, the gardener cleared off the years of caked-on dirt. To our utter surprise, under her name, a verse gradually appeared. My wife clasped my hand and said, "Look at the verse!"

It read: "Because I live, you shall live also."

A purposeful design emerges when the Father weaves a pattern from what to us may often seem disparate threads. Even today, if you will stop and attend to it, you will see that God is seeking to weave a beautiful tapestry in your life.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Moonshine, Holi and Chaat

NEW DELHI: An exceptional celestial treat is in store for sky gazers as 'supermoon', the biggest and brightest full moon of the year which will be closest to Earth in 18 years, will be seen in the night sky on Saturday.

"The 'supermoon' will be closest to the Earth in 18 years today and will appear to be the biggest and brightest of 2011, Director of Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) C B Devgun told PTI.

Saturday's full moon will be around 10 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter as compared to other full moons during the year, he said.
The term 'Supermoon' was first coined by Astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. According to him, it is a situation when the moon is slightly closer to the Earth in its orbit than average, which is 90 per cent or more of its closest orbit, and the moon is a full or new moon.

Today, the moon will be only 3,56,577 kms away from the Earth, the closest while at the full moon phase in 18 years.

Earlier, there were supermoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005.

Regular situations of full moons coinciding with the moon's closest point to Earth in fact happen after about every one year, one month and 18 days when it is about 3,63,104 km away from the Earth, Devgun said.

"This is because the moon's orbit is an ellipse with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. In the language of astronomy, the two extremes are called 'apogee' (far away) and 'perigee' (nearby)," Devgun said.

At the closest, our natural satellite moon lies roughly 3,56,630 kms from the Earth compared to its average distance of 3,84,800 km from the planet.

"The moon will not only shine brighter but will also appear bigger as compared to other full moons during the year," he said.
The full moon will be at its best at around 3:30am, R C Kapoor, a retired professor of Indian Institute of Astrophysics said.
(story  from The  Times  of  India)

I  went  out  and took  some  photos  of   the  super  moon.  It  was  a wonderful  sight  enhanced  by  the  fact that we are  seeing it  after 18   years.I  wonder  what I  was   doing  on  a   night  like   this   18  years  ago .
In all  probability  I  was  curled  up  underneath  a heavy  quilt in  freezing  Mussoorie up  there in the Himalayas. Oh  I  loved  the  Himalayan moonlight - so  bright  and  sharp, reflecting off  the hillsides.

It   talked  back to  you when you  spoke  to it.

What  are  you doing  friends.
Take  out  your   cameras and  shoot  the moon  on  March  19th. Its  a  historic moon.
Its the  night  of  the  Hindu  festival of  Holi. People  are  celebrating around bonfires. There  is  music  , food and  gaiety. Followed   by  2  days  of   colored water sprinkling and  other  forms   of  celebrations.
I made White  Peas  Chaat tonight.
Click on the  name   for  the  recipe
it  goes  well  with  a  spicy,tangy, yogurt sauce.
You  can also add  boiled
potatoes  to it.
And  garnish  it  with  Indian  snack  mix and  tomatoes.

Now shoot  the  moon.
Are  you going  to  capture
astronomical history
and  share  it  on  your  blog?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Visit to an upbeat Shopping Mall and Multiplex

The  City  Center   Shopping  Mall and  Multiplex  is 
just  5   mins walk  from where  I  live
but  not  once was I able  to
darken its  stately  halls since  it
was inaugurated  2  years  ago.
Ash, Megan,  I   ,  Sonia  and  Abner
trouped  inside  on the weekend
they  were   here.

Its a modern  temple  of  wealth,
consumerism and  progress.
Ash  and Megs  said it  was  just like 
a Canadian mall.

Ash,  Megan, Abner, Sonia
Some  photos  are  smudged 
because  they were  taken 
with  my  mobile  phone.
Our  visitors  bought nice  apparel  and  gifts
I  am  an  escalator challenged  person.
Those  giant  moving   stairs 
are  the  ultimate  test  of  my  courage.
I  avoid them because  I feel
wobbly  and  dizzy  on them
and  I  fear  I  will  not  be  able to  get
off  in time and  the last
stair   will  swallow  me  up
and  grind me  into hamburger  patty.
I   wouldn 't  do well in Disney Land,
so  please  don 't  take  me  there.
 While  others  sailed up  and down
effortlessly,  I  took  the relatively  safer  elevator.
But that was   also  quite  an experience,
because  I kept  getting  free  rides up  and  down
thanks to the  smarter people in the lift.
I  thought  I  would  have  to spend  the
rest of  my life   in  the  lift (elevator).
Once  I  press the wrong  button and  sank
down  to  the  second  basement
and  had  to  be
resurrected again.
Later  on Ash treated me  to  my
first  PVR  Multiplex movie.
The   Kings  Speech - its  so
wonderful,  it  really  deserves
all the  awards  it  got.

Actually  it  was  after years  that I
watched  an English  movie  in  a cinema.
The  last  one  was Titanic,  in  a  grubby  hall
with  Ashish 's  family
(Food court)
The  rich  would have  to  eat  money,but
luckily the poor  provide  food
(Russian Proverb).

So  this  was  really  special-
sitting  in  a plush hall
armed  with  Nachos  and Coke.
And  there were just   8 or 9  spectators
in  the  theater for  the mid day  show,
so  it  felt  as if   we  had   booked
the  hall  for ourselves.
Mind  you  the tickets  were
very  expensive-
my  poor middle class brain reeled.
But  fun  it  was!
In the  basement  there  is  a
Spencer 's  chain store,
like  a  supermarket
and  I  quite  like  it.
In  closing  let me  tell  you
that  the  scans on my sister
Anjali (Ashish 's   mom)
did  not  show  any   alarming results.
But  the  doctors  will take
some  X-Rays to  double check.
She  is  weak and  dopey  after
the  procedure  and  sedation
but  will be  back at work tomorrow.
Thank you  for praying  for her.
There  is  a  vast  difference  between  the 
type  of  medicine  practised
in the developed  and  the  under-developed world.
In  the  west preventive  medicine  is practised,
whereas in  the  poorer  countries
curative medicine  comes  into  use.
What  do you  think?