Saturday, October 26, 2013

Camera Critters #290 - A Potpourri of Pooches - October 27, 2013

Doggie shots from a pre-India soiree in San Francisco:

One, with especially good taste, swiped the Brie off my plate but I managed to
hold onto my Russian black vodka!


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Colorful Puppets of Jaipur - October 22, 2013

Depending on whether you are in India or San Francisco, 
I have 42 or or 43 days left in Mumbai - it's 12-1/2 hrs earlier at home!

One of the things I love most about this "country of my heart, is the brilliant colors
everywhere, in clothing, home decor, puppets and, of course, cosmetics.  When
I finally win the lottery, I will return, oblivious of overweight luggage charges, to
outfit my new homes with all sorts of wonderful Indian purchases, in brilliant 
colors, to offset gloomy rains and to fill my days with happiness and wonderful
memories of visits to this land I love so much.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

UE's Weekend Challenge: Two - Two Rajasthani Girls - October 20, 2013


While riding around Jaipur one day with Ikram, my favorite rickshaw driver,
these two sweet little girls ran up to me and asked to have their picture 
taken.  I was happy to oblige.  They didn't even reach out their hands for
money but I gave them a package of cookies I had with me.

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Shadow Shot Sunday 2 - Tree Shadows on a Jaipur Pig - October 20, 2013


This rather dusty, dirty Jaipur pig is pretty much camouflaged by the stone 
fence and the leaf shadows of the tree above.  It is clear, however, that she
must have given birth to a litter pretty recently though I didn't see any little
piggies around.

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Gattina's Saturday Photo Hunting - Vehicles - October 19, 2013

45 Days Left in India!

Gattina chose "vehicles" as her Saturday Photo Hunting topic for today. 
India has all sorts of "interesting" vehicles, some of the four legged
variety so I have, also, enclosed photos of those.

In Jaipur, tourists enjoy riding camels and elephants, although both 
creatures are also work animals, pulling carts, and heavy loads, in addition
to giving visitors an "Indian" experience at transportation.

Of course, auto rickshaws are everywhere, weaving in and out of traffic and
sounding their horns.

These are the Mumbai variety.  Those in Jaipur are often larger and more 

The main vehicle for transportation is the motorcycle.  Jaipur, at least, has a
helmet law which seems to be followed much better than in Mumbai.  Often,
however, second passengers and children are not helmeted.   There are quite a
few cars on the road as well but you don't often see vans or large SUVs such 
as we have in the U. S.

Some people still get around via bicycle rickshaws, quite a lot of work,
especially if the poor fellows are transporting someone my size.

I always get a kick out of seeing these little trucks on the road.  Of course,
there are regular semis transporting goods from one part of India to another,
some of them very colorful.

It is amazing that the ladies of India can ride pinion ( side saddle ), in their
long, flowing colorful saris, especially since many of the roads are in disrepair 
and potholes are plentiful.

India's trains are often filled to overflowing with passengers bulging out the 
doors.  While, of course, there are luxury trains like the Orient Express but 
those that transport regular passengers are far from deluxe.

India's vehicles and modes of transportation are as diverse as the country
itself.  With over 1.2 billion people, you can imagine the traffic jams in major

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Friday, October 11, 2013

UE's Weekend Challenge - Colorful - A Worli Neighborhood, Mumbai, India - October 12, 2013

For the past 4-1/2 months, I have been living in a most colorful country - India.
Even the women, in their every day saris, are incredibly colorful and beautiful.
In the many months I have spent here in the past two years ( a total of 15 months
by the time I return to San Francisco December 3 ), I have amassed quite a
collection of photos and memories.

Just this past Tuesday, on a taxi ride through this Worli neighborhood, I 
managed to get this colorful photo as we drove past.  My camera is usually
out and in my hands!

I thought the Masala advertising sign was most colorful, as were the 
homes, with laundry hanging out.

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Navratri - A Nine Day Hindu Celebration

This is the second year that I have been in India for Navratri, which means 
"nine nights".  This important Hindu festival, which takes place twice a 
year, at the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter, honors
the goddess, Durga, in all her nine forms.  The name "Durga" means
"the remover of the miseries of life" and Durga is considered the Divine
Mother in the Hindu religion.


The beginning of Navratri is determined by the lunar calendar.  The nine days
are celebrated differently in various parts of India.  The nine days are divided 
into three sets of three to adore three different aspects of the Divine Mother.

In the first three days, Durga, also know as Kali, is revered as a 
spiritual force, that destroys evil and grants boons.  Kali is the "fearful and
ferocious form of the mother goddess."


In the second three days of Navaratri, another manifestation of Durga
is adored.  As Lakshmi,she is  the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both 
physical and spiritual.  In Hindu households, she is worshipped daily
"but October is her special month".  Lakshmi, the wife of god Vishnu, is
the epitome of beauty.  She is pictured sitting on a full blown lotus, with a
lotus bud in her hand,  Gold coins fall from her four hands which represent
the four ends of human life - dharma or rightousness, "kama" or desires,
'artha" or wealth, and "moksha", liberation from the cycles of birth and death.


The last three days of Navratri are devoted to worship of the Divine Mother
as Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and arts.  She is worshipped for divine
knowledge and represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness.  Her
four hands represent the four aspects of human personality in learning:  mind,
intellect, alertness and ego.


For many Hindus, Navratri is a time of prayer and fasting.  No meat, alcoholic
drinks, grains, wheat, garlic or onions are eaten in many households.  Many 
people have only milk and fruits during this nine day period.

Navratri is also considered an auspicious time for new undertakings and

The nine day period is also celebrated in many parts of India, especially the
state of Gujurat with music and dance.  Garba and Dandiya Raas originated
as dances in honor of Durga.  The dance represents a battle between Durga 
and Mahishasura, the demon king.  Dancers whirl about and move their 
arms and legs in a prescribed choreography to music, usually enhanced
by the dhol, a percussion instrument, as well as the dolak and tabla.  

The sticks used in the dandiya represent the swords of Durga.  Women
often dress in beautiful ghagra choli and dupattas, some wearing a 
different color every day and they use their finest jewelry.  Men have special
turbans and kedias.  

The garba consists of hand and feet movement and is usually danced before
Aarti, a ritual of worship of the goddess, Durga.  Garba can be danced by any
number of people.

Dandiya Raas is usually danced ater Aarti and it is a dance of merriment.
Most dandiya steps require two people and men and women dance in two
circles, one going clockwise, the other counter clockwise.  To a four beat
rhythm, the dancers hit the sticks at the same time.  Contrary to popular 
belief, not all dandiya music is fast.

To see the dances, watch the YouTube videos below.  The garba and raas 
dandiya are now being danced internationally and there are world-wide 
competitions to determine the best dancers.

My dream has always been to go to Baroda in Gujurat, duing Navratri.  The
government sets up nightly festivities, some held at major venues where 
dancing goes nonstop for several hours, with a whirl of colors, the clash of
sticks and joyful participants/

Resources for information in this article: 



Bing images, domain free

Monday, October 07, 2013

Beautiful & Colorful Saris - October 7, 2013

It always seems to me that Indian women are dressed up when clad in their saris.  Even
for every day wear, they look so elegant.  I spotted this entourage last year when I was
in Jaipur.  Wish I could have gotten a bit closer for some better shots.

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Friday, October 04, 2013

Skywatch Friday, Season 7, Episode 14 - Evening Skies Over Bandra West, Mumbai, India - October 4, 2013

Sometimes we get the loveliest pink clouds floating in the evening sky, over the Arabian
Sea - today was such an occasion!

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