Tag Archives: India

Indian Diaspora in Africa

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May is a special month in my household, well, for my mother at least! Because it’s Mothers day (May 13th), my parents anniversary (May 8th) and her birthday (May 24th). She’s had it good lol. So I wanna talk about her, her history and where she is from.

My mom was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. So basically she’s African ha. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get information about my family roots and history just because it’s something that interests me and I think its important to know my roots. Supposedly my family (on my dad’s side) has some list tucked away in some temple or something in India with names upon names of relatives from back in time to now to create a family tree (I💖this!!!) My next trip home (I mean India when I say that) I have to inquire about this more from relatives who told me about it and GET MY HANDS ON THAT LIST!!!!!

I guess these days a lot of people don’t realize how large the Indian population is in Africa – because it seems like we are all in America, Canada, UK and Australia, outside of the motherland, obviously. I have met brown people in England who have such strong Africa roots, that they are clueless about their Indian roots. It’s just sad that down the road it’s going to become more blurry for all Indians in the diaspora. I remember once meeting someone in England, and when I asked them where they are from (expecting either a town/city name or region in India) and they said “Tanzania”…and I was like “okay, where are your grandparents from”….same answer. 😬🤯🤦 I kept trying to get the answer I was looking for but they just wouldnt budge. They didn’t have any details on India because they claimed that their great, great, great grandparents have been settled in Tanzania and they don’t know anything about India (🤨!) even though I can’t remember their name right now but it was either Khan or Patel!

Thankfully, I’m not that kid!! And I know where my grandparents are from 😁 lol – my mothers parents are from a village not far from Amritsar and moved/settled in Nairobi after they got married for my grandfather’s work related reasons. She’s told me stories of how beautiful a country Kenya is and I used to wonder if she ever missed it or wanted to go back for a visit, because she left right before my parents got married and never returned. The only couple other noteworthy thing she’s told me is that she went to an all-Indian school and also they had a family servant who they taught how to speak fluent Punjabi in our house.

Here are a few facts about Indians settled in Africa:

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  • The Indian diaspora in Southeast Africa consists of approximately 3 million people of Indian origin.
  • South Africa is home to the largest population of people of Indian descent in Africa, at 1.3 million, mainly in Durban. In fact, Durban is sometimes called the “largest Indian city outside India” – though this claim has not been determined conclusively.
  • Although most East Africans believe that the people of Indian origin in the region are descendants of the laborers who built the Kenya-Uganda railway, this is not actually the case. About 32,000 indentured workers were brought in from India (mainly from the Punjab) to build the railway, but the majority returned after their contracts ended. Only about 7,000 chose to stay.
  • After the railway opened up East Africa for trade, and large numbers of “free” emigrants, mainly from Gujarat, followed in the years after many of the laborers from Punjab left. They came and set up trading posts deep in the interior, and became the traders and merchants of East Africa.
  • Remember that little boy named Gandhi (😜hello history lesson!!😂) he was 24 when he arrived in South Africa in 1893 to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders based in the city of Pretoria. He spent 21 years there before returning to India.
  • In 1972, military dictator, Idi Amin, announced the expulsion of all persons of Asian origin in Uganda. The majority of those expelled went to the UK, Canada and Kenya. (so yeah – explains the British kids who think they are African when their last name is Patel – ALSO explains why in England they refer to Indians/Pakistani’s as “Asians”)
  • I need some less boring facts…….
  • One of India’s biggest cultural exports to Africa has been Bollywood, and it’s popular not just among the Indian diaspora. One unlikely place where Bollywood has long enjoyed immense popularity is Nigeria, particularly in the Muslim-majority north – which does not have any significant Indian immigrant community whatsoever.
  • One of the most popular of all Indian films in Nigeria is the 1957 classic film Mother India. A record from a popular entertainment magazine noted in 2013 that some people in the audience of a theatre showing the film had already seen the movie 15 times and sang along to all the Hindi songs (although their native language is Hausa).

SINCE THAT WAS KINDA BORING, HERE ARE SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT NAIROBI:

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  • Just like New York has yellow cabs, Nairobi has “Matatus” which is a slang word for mini buses used for transportation.
  • Matatus are famous for their hype graffiti! Art representing pop culture, music, celebrities, etc are all painted colorfully on the body of the buses!

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  • The Nairobi National Park is set in the city’s southern suburbs and is the most famous aspect of the city. What’s so amazing about this is you will find a sprawling field with wild animals with a backdrop of the city’s magical skyline! It’s the only place in the world you can capture lions hunting in the morning, and in a few minutes you are in a fancy shopping mall looking at Cartier watches.

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  • Nairobi has the most number of malls in Kenya. The top shopping malls include Thika Road Mall ( TRM), Yaya Centre, The Junction and Garden City.
  • Nairobi was once a swamp. The skyscrapers of Nairobi sit on what was once a large swamp that Maasai pastoralists referred to as a place of cool waters. Over the century, this city has grown and extended over three counties to form the greater Nairobi metropolitan area. Now, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos counties are part of the greater Nairobi area.

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Anyways, just wanted to give a shout out to my very favorite human on this planet and the place she grew up during her most special month. 💖 Her history, her life, culture, traditions, values, ways, teachings, blessings, ssacrifice, etc all make me, so gotta be thankful!

Everyone has their own rendition of where they think they are from. Living in a city like New York, people get asked a zillion times a day where they are from – the question can mean multiple things, and people will most likely answer with what they consider to be the strongest culture they represent – or what they assume the other person means. Travel and this melting pot of a world, we come across many different people from everywhere and not all of them look what one figures is “typical” of that region. We also come across many people from other parts of the world that immigrate and assimilate (forgetting or maybe not forgetting their roots) and I always have to stop and stare when I see someone who looks of a certain culture speaking fluently in a completely different language (example: Chinese people speaking fluent French – or I don’t know a black person speaking perfect Hindi)

hashtag traveldiscoveries 🙂

-Karen Bahri

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Lath Mar Holi – aka Holi gone Violent!

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Holi – the celebration of spring, the festival of colors originating in India is the festival that signifies good over evil as well as the welcoming of spring.  For many, it is a festive time to meet others, play, laugh, forget and forgive, repair broken bonds and spread happiness and positive vibes.

Different regions in India, as well as the diaspora, like to add their own unique twist to this colorful festival. Lath Mar Holi is a celebration in the towns of Barsana and Nandgaon, which are near Mathura in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This celebration takes place days before actual Holi.

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Lath Mar Holi translates loosely into something like “the hitting sticks Holi ” – A LATH/Lathi is a thick traditional type of stick. Mar (I think it should be spelled in English like MAAR, because Mar means to die) means to hit. You get me..

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According to legend, Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha’s village on this day and playfully teased her and her friends (*insert eye roll* Siiggghhhhhhh!).

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Don’t even think about messing with me, Krish!!! I’m warning you….

The women of Barsana, taking offense to this, chased him away. 

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I don’t think much has changed in this day and age!

Keeping this tradition alive, the men from Nandgaon visit Barsana each year – and each year the women of Barsana await them, Lathi in hand! 

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(It’s like they never get it!)

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The men try to shield themselves as much as they can while the ladies attack them with the sticks – hahahah!

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don’t mess with me, homie!

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The unlucky ones are captured and then are forced wear female clothing and dance in public. (*I need that one emoji*)

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The festivities are held in the sprawling compound of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, which is said to be the only temple in the country that is dedicated to Goddess Radha.

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Thousands gather to witness the festivities and watch the men get beat up by the women! And let me tell you, like any desi party, the crowd getssssss hysterical, sing Holi Songs and shouting out for their team!! Sri Radha vs Sri Krishna. It’s insane! It’s so insane, the women of Barsana start preparing a month in advance.

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Holi is one of the largest festivals in India. In general, it signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter. People typically throw kaleidoscopes of colored powder/water at each other playfully.

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Growing up in the US, I have fond memories of DANCE PRACTICE for Holi shows in school and within the community.  I used to do choreographed dances on stage for functions, as I think most kids in my generation did.

I hope you have a very kaleidoscopically colorful, joyous Holi – and ladies, please don’t go chasing any men with sticks – you most likely are not in Barsana and we have laws here! 🙂 HAPPY HOLI!

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-Karen Bahri

 

Vibrant India at NYFW!

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Vibrant India at NYFW!

It’s been CRAZY busy with NYFW this past week!!! I attending some amazing shows and met some fabulous people! Very exciting!!! One of my favorite shows (to nobody’s surprise lol) was the London School of Trends “Vibrant India”. The show was held on Sunday, February 11th at Pier59 Studios on Chelsea Piers.

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Here is a description of each collection, to give you some background. I appreciate how they described the collection utilizing strengths within our rich culture. ❤

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Oh by the way, major reason we attended was a friend of mine was walking the runway! So exciting to see more brown people walk during NYFW!!

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Ayyye!! I know you!

London School of Trends is a premier fashion school with over two decades of rich experience in the fashion and design industry. LST has close associations with institutions globally and exclusively with INIFD (International Institution of Fashion) in Asia. Therefore, they take extra care to reach out to the candidates of foreign origin and ensure that they get the best fashion training that a city like London has to offer.

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Capturing the spirit of India with students coming from diverse backgrounds, they created 60 excitingly vibrant garments, including both women’s and menswear, that reflected their own personal narratives while being inspired by the great city of New York!

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Vibrant India speaks to the movement, weaves, draping, and all that is unique about Indian textiles. Vibrant colors with rich deep hues and fabrics reflect a one-of-a-kind craftsmanship that makes India a powerhouse source for fashion and goods.

Something I really have to mention is how much I loved the hair and makeup! Such vibrant eye makeup, even on the men!! And some of the hairstyles were absolutely stunning!

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I think before watching the show, I expected to see a bit more traditionally ethnic attire – like a sari, or kurta etc. None of that was there. What WAS there, as I stated above was the textiles, the colors and craftsmanship. You could see these styles worn by modern Indians in trendy cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. The collection was modern, trendy and fresh for todays desi fashionista!

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To check out more of the collection, look me up on Instagram: karenskaleidoscope

Also, we gotta support more Indians in the fashion world, especially here in the US, so go follow and support my friend Vish Singh, who was modeling in the show. His Instagram is: iamvish_

Now here are just some fun, random pics backstage!

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Umm, yeah – the next set of photos – you know every crew of girls does this – 57 shots of the same pic – maybe a couple different poses but basically the same, but only the girls IN the shot see huge, massive differences in each photo, that nobody else can even see (guys be like “but all these 57 pics are the EXACT SAME, while girls are like “Are you blind?? They are all SOO different!!” hahahah) C’est la vie!

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-Karen Bahri

Mumbai’s First ever Floating restaurant!

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Mumbai’s First ever Floating restaurant!

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If you think you don’t have enough reasons to go to Mumbai, I’ll give a very good one! The first ever FLOATING restaurant recently launched in the city! You heard me – F-L-O-A-T-I-N-G!

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AB Celestial is the first ever Floating restaurant in Mumbai. Designed and imported from the US, it entails a three-tier luxury dining floatel with a sky deck, two galleys and a capacity to accommodate a minimum of 660 guests across four tiers!

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Incase it wasn’t obvious, you get a 360 degree view of Mumbai and the Arabian Sea. The ground floor will include a 24 hour coffee shop where as the first floor will be banqueting. The second floor will be a high end lounge bar and the open terrace will be the sky lounge.

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Although it was launched back in 2014, it had not been open to public due to issues of permission. The flotal is docked at the Maharashtra Maritime Board’s jetty at Bandra under the Bandra-Worli Sea link.

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I know what you are thinking. What’s up with the name?? The “AB” stands for Aishwarya Bhende, the 21-year-old owner of the three-floor luxury dining yacht. She has designed the entire interiors for the yacht, and been involved with it since its inception!

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Imagine how incredibly serene watching sunset over the sea would be from the upper deck! From the wooden floors sparkling to perfection to the ambience and lighting, AB Celestial, especially after sunset, becomes Celestial!

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-Karen Bahri

Shanti Stupa of Leh Ladakh

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Shanti Stupa of Leh Ladakh

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Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed temple on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu,Gyomyo Nakamura and part of the Peace Pagodamission.

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The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

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The views – the stunning views over Leh in fact, are the greatest attraction! Sunrise & Sunset views are best viewed from here; and it is completely illuminated with lights at night time! One should make the breathless 15-minute climb up from Changspa when golden afternoon light still illuminates the city as the steps are already bathed in cooling shadow. Breath-taking! There’s a small, simple cafe at the top of the stairway where you can go sit, chill and take in all the glory.

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The Shanti Stupa features the photograph of the current Dalai Lama with the relics of the Buddha at its base. It was built as a two-level structure. The first level features the central relief of Dharmachakra (basically this symbolizes the teachings of Buddha) with deer on each side. A central golden Buddha image sits on a platform depicting the “turning wheel of Dharma” (Dharmachakra). The second level has reliefs depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha (mahanirvana) and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating. Both levels feature a series of smaller meditating Buddha reliefs.

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The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It was built by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists as it is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.

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-Karen Bahri

Trinidad’s Temple in the Sea – A determined Man’s Masterpiece!

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Trinidad’s Temple in the Sea – A determined Man’s Masterpiece!

This Hindu Temple at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad is testament of one man’s love of Hinduism. The Temple was the 25-year attempt of Sewdass Sadhu to construct a worship centre at no-man’s land: THE SEA. Sadhu was denied land to build his beloved temple and took his struggle offshore, toiling and unloading buckets of dirt into the Gulf in an effort to create artificial land.

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A well known site of worship for Hindus and a tourist attraction, the Waterloo temple was built by Sewdass Sadhu, an indentured laborer who came to Trinidad from India in 1907. This Hindu temple was built through perseverance and strength.

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The story is well-known: Sadhu built his first temple in 1947 on lands owned by a sugar cane company. Needless to say, it was broken down and Sadhu was charged with trespassing and given the choice of being fined or 14 days in prison.

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Declaring that if he couldn’t build his temple on the land then he would build it in the sea, Sadhu began the work that would become his dream.  For the next 25 years, Sadhu dedicated himself to completing the temple. On his bicycle, he carried two buckets and in a leather bag. Stone by stone, he assembled the base of the temple in the sea, steadily determined.

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In 1994, the government at the time helped finish the temple in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the coming of Indians to the country. A pier was added to ensure the Waterloo Temple could easily be accessed during high tide. Five hundred feet into the quiet waters of the Gulf of Paria, today it continues to stand on the very spot Sadhu first built it.

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Over the years, Hindu devotees and tourists alike have made the journey to the Waterloo temple, also named Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir, in dedication to Sadhu, but better known as the Temple-in-the-Sea, once described as the first of its kind in the western world by Dharmacharya Pundit Krishna Maharaj. The Waterloo Cremation Site is also next to the grounds of this Temple.

The Temple in the Sea, is an octagonal- shaped colorful structure. At the entrance stands a statue of Sadhu himself. Flags and statues adorn the temple’s perimeter. Before entering, as a Hindu custom, you must remove your shoes as once inside you are on holy ground. The beauty of reverence is reflected in the well-crafted murtis (statues/idols) of Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva and Durga Maa with beautiful flowers ornamented around them.

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Just as a bit of background, Indo-Trini and Tobagonians have now become interchangeable with West Indians. These were people who were escaping poverty in India and seeking employment offered by the British for jobs either as indentured laborers, workers or educated servicemen, primarily, between 1845 and 1917.

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The demand for Indian indentured laborers increased dramatically after the abolition of slavery in 1834. They were sent, sometimes in large numbers, to plantation colonies producing high value crops such as sugar in Africa and the Caribbean, largely in Trinidad and Guyana. These days their culture is a vibrant blend of Indian and Caribbean mix, which is quite colorful and apparent in their music, speech/dialect and cuisine, in particular.

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In summary, this Hindu Temple at Waterloo in Carapichaima, Trinidad is testament of one man’s love of Hinduism. The Temple was the 25-year attempt of Sewdass Sadhu to construct a worship centre at no-man’s land: the sea. Sadhu was denied land to build his beloved temple and took his struggle offshore, toiling and unloading buckets of dirt into the Gulf in an effort to create artificial land.

 

-Karen Bahri

Happy Independence day, Mother India!!! 8/15/1947

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Happy Independence day, Mother India!!! 8/15/1947

Happy Independence day India! India celebrated its independence from the British Empire on the 15th of August in 1947. The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday and schools and government offices distribute sweets but no official work is done….parrtayyy!!!

India is a country of “Unity in Diversity” where people from different religions live; however any national occasion, they celebrate it together!

Here are some quick, interesting, fun facts about our colorful, diverse nation:

  • First Independence day of India was celebrated in 1947, 15th of August by hoisting tri-colored flag.
  • India has never attacked any other country in the last 100000 years of history.
  • There was no any National Anthem during the time of Independence of India.
  • India is the world’s largest Democracy, with 1.2 billion people.
  • Police in one non-identified state in India get a slight pay upgrade for having a moustache……………………………..
  • India has the world’s lowest meat consumption per person.
  • Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. It was developed about 5000 years ago. Hinduism is a colorful religion with a lot of rituals. People who follow this religion believe in a lot of Gods and Goddesses.
  • 70% of all the world’s spices come from India.
  • One woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes.
  • In India, there is a vigilante group called the “Love Commandos” that offers protection from harassment to couples from different castes who fall in love.
  • There is a gypsy tribe in India that celebrates death as one of the happiest events in their lives, while treating births with great grief.
  • The Golden Temple in Amritsar feeds a vegetarian meal to over 100,000 people a day regardless of race, religion and class.
  • Global warming ‘solved’ a land dispute between India and Bangladesh:
    the island in dispute disappeared.
  • 74% of young Indians prefer an arranged marriage over a free-choice one, a 2013 survey found.
  • Only about 1 in 100 marriages in India end in divorce, one of the lowest rates in the world.
  • India has more people using the internet than the entire population of the U.S.
  • The people of North Sentinel Island, India, are among the last people to remain
    virtually untouched by modern civilization.

  • There’s an experimental township in India founded in 1968 and called Auroville, where citizens are from all over the world and there’s no money or religion.
  • The first Bollywood movie was released in 1899, where as the first Hollywood movie released in 1907. Bollywood is older than Hollywood!

Well folks, there you have it! Have a safe, wonderful pandarah (15) August 🙂

 

 

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What India do we have without the KING of Bollywood himself – Mr. Shah Rukh Khan!!!

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus bus terminal in Mumbai lit up gloriously!!!

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Neerja

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Neerja

Quote of the day:

“A negative mind will never give you a positive life.”

 -Ziad K. Abdelnour

 

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I saw the film last week and it’s DEFINATELY worth the watch! Neerja is a true story about Neerja Bhanot, a purser for Pan Am, based in Mumbai, who was shot and killed while saving passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked Pam Am Flight 73 on September 5th, 1986. She became the youngest recipient of India’s highest peacetime military award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra.

It’s unfortunate such hero’s exist and nobody knows about them until Bollywood makes a film about them. On the positive note, at least this way, we get to know about them and then they are the most googled person ever afterwards! I have been reading a lot about this beautiful girl. Sonam Kapoor completely did justice in this role! This story hit home a bit more for me, because Neerja is originally from my hometown, Chandigarh.

Neerja was the senior flight purser on the Pan Am flight 73 flying from Mumbai to right here at JFK in NYC. The flight was hijacked by four armed men at its layover in Karachi, Pakistan. The aircraft was carrying 361 passengers and 19 crew members. The terrorists wanted to fly to Cyprus and wanted to release some of their team members from jail. After the terrorists boarded the plane, Neerja alerted the cockpit crew.

Neerja quickly alerts the cockpit and unfortunately the American pilots escaped the aircraft through an overhead hatch in the cockpit per their training so that the aircraft could not be forcibly flown. Neerja, being the most senior cabin crew member remaining aboard, responsibly took charge. The hijackers told Neerja and the other crew members to collect all of the American passports, which she slyly hid.

After 17 hours, the plane lost power and the lights went off. The hijackers then opened fire and set off explosives. Neerja  opened one of the doors, flung open an emergency chute, and assisted passengers from the aircraft. She could have been the first to jump out when she opened the door but she decided not to and was shot while shielding three children from a hail of bullets.

This incident happened just two days before her 23rd birthday. Not only had she ensured the failure of the hijacking by preventing the plane from getting off the ground, but also saved the lives of hostages in those long hours of incarceration. She is a true hero. I cannot even imagine what I would have felt if I were her in that position, especially as a 23 year old girl. One can never imagine being put in such a situation until it happens. This was not your typical Bollywood movie. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider it “Bollywood”.

I definitely encourage you to watch this film. This is not one of those things where anyone can say something like “oh I can’t watch stuff like this” – please. This young girl is a hero and deserves more than that type of response. This could happen to any one of us, but no one of us will take charge and be as brave as Neerja. She is an inspiration.

Another fun fact – I didn’t really want to say this out loud because I thought people might give me crap about it (lol) but the main terrorist, Khalil, played by Jim Sarbh – wow. I am glad I wasn’t the only one who thought so! I saw sooo many articles about how other women were gushing over him lol. #imprettypositivethereallifekhalilifthatsevenhisnameinreallifeisanuglybastardothough

In conclusion, I love flying. It usually means I am going somewhere fun. You try not to think something of such will happen when you fly, I hope this never happens to me or anyone I love, or anyone period, but we can’t tell what our destiny will be. Neerja is an inspiration. Some say she is an incarnation of goddess Durga (Goddess of Power). May she rest in peace and love.

Please watch the film & bring a full box of tissues.

 

 

 

The Hills are Alive…

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The Hills are Alive…

ALLLLOWWWHAAA 🙂 Happy Friday!! Before I get started, I hope you all like my new design? If you are reading this on your phone, you won’t be able to see it. Jump on your computer! Now back to our regularly scheduled programme:

You know how here we go on weekend road trips to other cities or the Pocono’s or like Maine or some crap? Well, in India, they do weekend getaways to the “Hill Stations” as they call it. Many may not be aware but India is very well known for its glorious hills! I’m not just speaking of the Himalayas either. I think people get distracted with the diverse cultures & religious places that they may not think or be aware of this, but the hills are so beautiful in India! When I was there, my thaiya ji (uncle – my dad’s older bruvski) took us to Kasauli, which is located in Himachal Pradesh and is known for it’s beautiful resorts.

Remember a few posts ago I talked about how I love creating trips within trips? It must be something passed down in my family, because on our way up to Kasauli, we stopped at this other hill station lodge type place called Timber Trail. My uncle is a member of what we would consider country clubs here in the states. Members only clubs where people hang out, dine, drink, admire the view, relax, golf, swim ect ect you get the point. My uncle is pretty much a member of every club and gymkhana in the greater Chandigarh area. A Gymkhana is also like a country club. Originally referred to a place of assembly. The meaning then altered to denote a place where skill-based contests were held. “Gymkhana” was the name coined during the British Raj for “gentlemen’s club”. My family and typically people nowadays just go to these places to relax & dine as well as a lot of them have rooms you can stay in like a hotel/resort incase you want to get away for a few days. Depending on the facilities at the specific location, people also golf, swim and such.

Anyways, it was a beautiful drive up the mountain ways! We stopped at some little stall on the way up to buy some juice. I was addicted to this specific guava juice and my family always got me wayyy too much – because they knew I liked it :).

Love the traffic in India!!

Love the traffic in India!!

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Here are some photos at Timber Trail.

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As we were drinking Limca & Chai, my thaiya ji told me to look at a specific mountain. It was reallllyyyy tall and there was a cable cord hanging from it. He said this cable cord leads to a restaurant at the highest peak. People ride a cart up to get there and the view is out of this world! Popular honeymoon spot. Soooo cool but sooo scary!! I asked him if it’s ever malfunctioned and if so, how many deaths. #itISIndiaafterall

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Don’t die for me Argentina!!!

Okay time to leave Timber Trail and head up to Kasauli. As we got back to the car, I saw this sign in the parking lot:

Only in India! We keep it real.

Only in India! We keep it real.

Finally arrived at Kasauli. We went to the Kasauli Club, where my uncle is a member. Located at a height of 6142 feet! Established in 1880, you literally are stepping back many decades in time! It is currently located within Indian Army premises and managed by a regular Indian Army Officer as Club Secretary, aided by civilian staff.

Some background info, The Kasauli Club was founded as the ‘Kasauli Reading and Assembly Rooms’ by a group of Englishmen. The Club was meant only for the English besides a few highly placed Indians. It established a reputation for good food, good drink and a smart social circle; a tradition, which still continues. The Kasauli Club is still famous and its membership is most sought after. You can read more about it here:

http://www.kasauli.net/kasauli-blog/attractions-in-kasauli/kasauli-club

Here are a few of the Kasuali Club:

 

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Just monkeying around!10848047_10105480747320370_1557800215934819475_n

 

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After a relaxing afternoon at Kasauli, we headed out and the view of the mountains as the sun was setting was breathtaking! I tried to take pics of the lights from the homes along the mountains but it absolutely did no justice. Its just one of those things that only the eye can witness in all it’s beauty. We did make one last quick stop to this place called Sunset Point where the sunset is supposed to be amazing. My thaiya ji didn’t have the patience so we didn’t get to see the sunset LOL:

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So where did you stay??

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As I sat on that plane in JFK I took a deep breath and thought to myself I don’t know where the hell I will be sleeping once I get to the other side of the world. My father gave me a pep talk a few weeks earlier. He said India is different. They don’t have heating in their homes and it’s going to be winters over there. The showers don’t always have warm water and the electricity flickers. He said he isn’t sure how comfortable I will feel, but nonetheless, him and my mom would be there if I happen to freak out. I kinda thought, okay, I’m pretty tough, I live in NY and have moved around a lot. I’ve seen a lot of crappy apartments. I’ve lived in some. I’ve dealt with life. I can handle it. But then the American mindset kicked in and I thought that a craphole in the 3rd world is way diff than a craphole in NYC. Or is it?? Nice in the 3rd world is different than nice in the US…or is it??

Anyways, I had no idea what to expect. Then I arrived. I was pleasantly surprised! Here are some pics & videos of our beautiful neighborhood in Panchkula:

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The last pic is my uncle’s (thaiya ji) home. He has a balcony and the roof. The roof was scary lol. I went up there once and I was like “yeah I’m never going up there again!!!” BUTTT a day before my last day there, I decided to man those narrow stairs. Here is a clip and some photos I took from the top. What’s cool about where they live is that from above, you can see the mountains of Himachal on one side, Punjab on the other and Panchkula is basically in Haryana. I would not be upset waking up to this view every morning!!

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I’m such a creeper lol

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These stairs were the call of my death

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My aunt lived a quick 2 min drive away. Her house is very nicely decorated. I think I liked it there a little better. There was a bit more going on. More noise, with the vegetable guy screaming through the street and such. (BTW I found that pic!! See below!!!) Here’s what her side of the street looked like:

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awww my beautiful Bhua ji & the sabji walla (aunt & the vegetable man)

As everyone would take their 8th nap of the day at 1 in the afternoon and I was full of energy that wasn’t being used, I spent a lot of time watching traffic go by on the street (noo that’s not sad…ehh…maybe a little ) but it was fun at the same time. I loved people watching/street watching in India. Every time I tried to take a video though, nothing interesting happened. No interesting vehicles drove by until I put the camera down. Kinda teaches you as you travel, sometimes it’s good to just witness things as they come. One time though – LUCKILY my cousin was with me because I don’t know how I would have handled this if I was by myself. Mind you, this happened RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE:

 

 

This also happened: