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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Cash for clunkers 1Anyone who’s met my family knows we’re all a bit cracked.  My sister, for instance, can sleep for 16 hours at a stretch, can talk/text for nearly as long, and can recite the lyrics to every Biggie Smalls song ever written.  My father creates minute-by-minute vacation itineraries (which include designated 30-minute slots to “relax at the hotel”), takes ~2000 photographs per month, and purchases the latest technology for just about anything… including sound system wires, external hard disks, and fancy foot massagers.  My mother is the designated “peacekeeper” in the house.  She thinks she’s cool because she recently joined Facebook and learned how to upload embarrassing family photos.  And of course, there’s me.

In this post, I’m going to go against conventional Indian wisdom of not spreading “ghar ki baatein” and share my family’s recent experience with the Cash for Clunkers program.  Oy vey. (more…)

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Ganesh Chaturti

Ganpati procession in Lalbaug, a neighbourhood in central Mumbai

After ten long days of prayer and celebration, of dancing on the streets and recklessly blocking traffic, of beating drums and reciting devotional bhajans, it will be time to bid farewell to Lord Ganesh.  Ganesh, widely regarded as the bringer of prosperity and remover of obstacles, will not slip away unnoticed.  Rather, devotees will make sure he is seen off in style, so that he may triumphantly return next year for a similar round of celebrations.

On the morning of September 3, 2009, hundreds of thousands of devotees — hands filled with some combination of coconuts, flowers, uncooked rice, and coloured powder — will flock to bodies of water.  They will loudly chant, “Ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya” (Hail Lord Ganesh, return again soon next year) while dancing and dousing each other with colour.  They will then say goodbye to the beloved elephant-headed god by immersing their idols into the sea.  The idols, historically constructed of clay, are intended to dissolve in minutes and become part of the ongoing circle of life (a fitting choice, given how Ganesh himself was supposedly concocted out of sandalwood paste). (more…)

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