Painting the Door Red

I really wanted to get my hands on the door since our wedding last December. Unforgiving snow and freezing cold stopped me from jumping on to it. Here comes the spring and here is the door.

red-door golden-door

While thinking of colors, I was immediately drawn to red. I looked up to find red door has profound significance in different cultures. After learning the meaning, I was hooked on to red door.

China – Tradition of painting red on front door before New Year is to invite good luck and tradition to home. Also in Feng Shui, the front door is known as the “Mouth of Chi” where energy enters and painting the front door red will create welcoming energy of opportunities and abundance.

Ireland – A red door is believed to ward off ghosts or evil spirits.

Scotland – Homeowners paint their front door red to proclaim the happy news that they have paid off their mortgage.

Bible – References in Old Testament says smearing blood of a lamb on the front doors to protect their first born from the angel of death. In old Catholicism, red door on the church represents the blood of Christ. Passing through the red door means sanctuary and that you were on holy ground. Some Protestant and most Lutheran churches also painted church doors red to identify them as part of the “reformation”.

Hinduism – Goddess Sakthi is symbolized in red color and she means action and happening. Temples were painted white and red to denote Shiva-Sakthi union.

America – In good old America, a red door is a sign of welcome to the passing horse and buggy traveler. They would know that the home is a place where they could rest.

Above all, I read Einstein painted his door red so as to remember his home. I seemed to like all the symbolisms. To add a quaint touch of Indian, I painted the storm door bars golden. To signify our union, American flag flies cheerfully in Indian gold door 🙂 Home, sweet home!

 

To Strive, To Seek, To Find, & Not To Yeild

How could I’ve possibly got Ulysses to read today? I was searching for my old notes, and to surprise and goosebumps… this reflects exactly my mood searching for continuity between past and future…

Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles!

~ Ulysses, Lord Tennyson

Goodbye, Motherland!

The first thing I remember “learning” in school apart from generic language and math during the first few years in school is “India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country. I’m proud of its rich and varied heritage…” My voice still echoes in my head during the school assembly on Monday mornings that includes Indian National Pledge and National Anthem. I have said those words with much gusto even though I could not understand the depth of its meaning those days. These words have the magic of making heart filled with love and courage. Anytime I leave India, I would start longing to come back. Of course there were times I just wanted to get the hell out of here. Disgusting politics, lack of governance, hypocrisy, and total chaos everywhere makes me squirm with anger. Leaving the politics and hypocrisy aside, there is some kind of harmony in that chaos. I came from this chaos, it’s my roots. I can be at peace with this chaos and its freedom. Leaving all that for the love of my life is resolutely romantic – no doubt! Life sure is going to be more colorful in the land of dreams where anything is possible but I’ve trouble of letting it go. Change is massive – whiff of curry masala that tickles brain cells to release ghrelin on the street from the chaat or dosa stalls to not-so-smell intensive salty pretzels, luscious green paddy and sugarcane fields to questionable GM corn and soy fields, colorfully less appealing milk and rice sweets to vibrantly colored cakes with artificial colorants, mango trees protected by its natural warriors – the marching red ants to simple apple trees, giant, gnarly, majestic figs and teaks to sequoias and red woods, friendly pomegranate and gooseberry to maple and cherry trees, currency notes that has the big toothless smile of Mahatma Gandhi to stern face of Benjamin Franklin, peacocks to eagles, lotus to rose… I’m dreading the day of leaving India. Poraale Ponnu Thaaye song catches my mood perfectly and here is my bad translation…

Golden girl is leaving, crying incessantly
Leaving the land that gave water and food
Leaving the cows that gave milk
Leaving the birds on their cage
This girl leaves her country…

What kind of flower is she?
Dainty marigold that reaches God?
Or the one that goes unnoticed on a dirty shrub?
While people yearn for her in homeland,
She leaves like lifeless cargo on a hayride…

All her affection, all her bonds
Speaks the language of dumb hearts
Southern winds are blowing in wrong direction
Monsoon clouds are running away
A living crop is withering…

It’s been long since my throat went dry
This soul is dangling between home and far away
All saved treasures have become unusable
Untold words are weighing heavy
There is a distance between food and relations
Just wait, there is a good life for this poor girl tomorrow …

Happily Ever After

OurFairyTale
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a beautiful young girl who had become lost while traveling. As the sun set and the moon rose over the land of the free and home to the brave, she happened upon a splendid castle. After knocking on the massive doors and being brought inside, she met the queen mother who liked her instantly. This innocent girl claimed that she is the princess of the oriental wisdom and riches, showed the queen mother her paintings. Queen mother summoned her son to meet the princess. Royal duties had the princess sent back to her land. She wrote a love note to the prince on the fluffy cloud with the blue ink she got from the sky. The prince responded with a big letter acknowledging her note. King and the queen fell ill and became sick. The prince took over the throne and watched over them until they moved to the kingdom above to be with the King of kings. Everyone praised the prince turned out into this charming and handsome king who is filled with love and compassion. Princess met the king on different occasions while travelling. The king also made a trip to land of oriental wisdom and riches and asked their queen mother for her daughter’s hand in marriage. The king and the princess were waiting for the royal approval of their impending wedding at his court. Once they got the approval, the princess travels again, now with her family, to the land far, far away to get married. The king marries the princess and makes his bride, a queen. He sweeps her off her feet and takes her to his castle, where they live happily ever after…
HappilyEverAfter

Indo-American Interconnected Overtones: Nannari Sherbet and Root Beer

I had my first root beer on our country trip to Lancaster, PA after Jay’s assurance on the non-alcoholic clause. Jay had his nannari sherbet at a chettinad restaurant this February in Bangalore. We both enjoyed our drinks without realizing another connection.

Nannari Sherbet

Nannari Sherbet

Root Beer

Root Beer

Wikipedia says root beer was first commercially introduced in Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition by Charles Hires in 1876 under the name “root tea”. However was changed to “root beer” to attract the coal miners of Pennsylvania. FDA banned a key ingredient sassafras root in 1960, as it contains a carcinogen, safrole. Sassafras is a species of a deciduous tree native to northeastern America. Sassafras root is replaced by artificial flavoring or the natural extract after removing the carcinogen safrole. The other main ingredient of root beer is sarsaparilla that got its name from Spanish words “zarza” – bush, “parra” – vine and “illa” – small – hence the name sarsaparilla or zarzaparilla. It is a trailing vine native to Mexico and Central America. It is considered to have medicinal properties by native Americans. Medicinal uses can range from gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, rheumatism, wounds, arthritis, fever, cough, scrofula, hypertension, digestive disorders, psoriasis, skin diseases, and cancer.

Indian Sarsaparilla

Indian Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla

Nannari sherbet is a popular Tamil drink during all hottest summers of India. Extracts from nannari roots, with a hint of lemon juice, and palm sugar helps to keep the body cool. The root has a pleasant odor. Nannari is a species of slender, twining, prostrate or a semi-erect shrub. It is known as Indian sarsaparilla or false sarsaparilla. Indian school of medicine calls it as Ananthamoola or Ananthamul. Studies have proven its anti-diabetic effect. Its medicinal uses are listed from skin diseases, asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, and fever.

Nannari Sarasaparilla
Kingdom Plantae Plantae
Unranked Angiosperms Angiosperms
Unranked Eudicots Monocots
Order Gentianales Liliales
Family Apocynaceae Smilacaceae
Genus Hemidesmus Smilax
Species indicus ornata
Binomial Name Hemidesmus indicus Smilax ornata

There are similarities and differences but if we look deeper our roots share common instincts.

Indo-American Interconnected Overtones: Kolam and Iikaah

Another Indian and American link that fascinates me is kolam and iikaah, sand painting of both the cultures.

Historically it is believed that Navajo learned the art of sacred painting from the Pueblo Indians. Ancestors of Pueblo Indians were the prehistoric Anasazi, Mogollon, and Mimbres. Iikaah is the Navajo name for Native American sand painting. It translates to “place where gods come and go”. They are made using anything between colored sand, corn meal, flower pollen, to powdered barks and roots. They are created to heal a person during a ceremony. For colors they use crushed gypsum for white, yellow ochre, red sandstone, charcoal, and a mixture of charcoal and gypsum for blue. More hues can be obtained by mixing these colors. Iikaah contain the images of yebichelli or the Holy People. Images in the iikaah will signify what kind of healing is required. There are more than 600 such patterns and images. During the ceremony the medicine man will ask the yebichelli to come into the painting and help heal the patient. Sitting on iikaah will help the patient to absorb the spiritual power of the yebichelli and eventual healing. Iikaah must be destroyed within 12 hours of creation. Women are not supposed to chant for yebichelli as they could be either pregnant (possible harm to unborn) or the taboo of menstruation.

Iikaah

Kolam tradition in India dates back to Indus Valley Civilization. Great epic, Mahabharata says that gopikas or the shepherd women drew exquisite kolams to forget the pain when their beloved Krishna is travelling. Kolam drawing is also listed as one of the 64 forms of art to be learnt in Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra. Kolams are drawn every day in the morning before sunrise on temple floors or on the doorstep of homes by women to signify “welcome” of anything auspicious and Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Kolams are created everyday either with rice flour so to attract ants, birds, and other small insects for a meal – a harmonious coexistence with man. Patterns in kolam are drawn with dots and the lines that go around them forming intricate designs or they could also be free-hand motifs of fish, birds, and other animals. They are also drawn with chalk powder, limestone, red brick, turmeric or sandalwood paste. “Rangoli” form of kolam is made with riot of colors. “Athapookalam” of Kerala uses fresh flowers for kolam. Pregnant or menstruating women are barred from this drawing kolams.

 Kolam

These interconnected overtones tell one thing – we are so different yet alike – across linguistic, religious, cultural, physical, social, political, ideological and national boundaries, there is some core commonality that links us all. Both the similarities and differences bring us together. Love and travel can bring this wide, universal outlook 😉

E pluribus unum!

Indo-American Interconnected Overtones: Krishna and Kokopelli

When I visited Phoenix, AZ for the first time last October, first thing to caught my attention was the saguaro cacti that are standing taller than me. It is not that I’m tall standing at 5’3” but was deeply fascinated by those giants. When I called my brother after reaching hotel, I blurted out “America means ‘big’ – even the cactus is big here”. Shortly after that Kokopelli, one of the most easily recognized figures found in the petroglyphs and pictographs as early as 800 AD, walked into me playing flute. Kokopelli symbolizes American Southwest, usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player with eagle feathers on his head. He is a trickster god, representing the spirit of music and presiding over both childbirth and agriculture. He is often depicted with animal companions like rams and deer. His dominion over agriculture is brought by chasing away winter and brings spring with his flute music. He dances with women all night and gives babies to them.

Krishna worship in India can be traced back to 4th century BCE. Krishna, the very name in Sanskrit means “black”, is often portrayed as a kid, a prankster, romantic hero, and the Supreme Being by Hindu scriptures. He wears peacock feathers in his head and plays flute that could entrance every living being on earth and above. He is depicted in art with cows. Another famous Krishna art is rasa-leela, where He dances and makes merry with the gopikas or shepherd women. He had saved the entire village from wrath of God Indra, who unleashed heavy monsoon rains. Krishna protected all living beings in His village by lifting a mountain as a shelter to protect everyone. In the form of Santana Gopala, He is the giver of children. He spread happiness around him and wherever he went.

Kokopelli

Kokopelli

Krishna

Krishna

Apparently, even today occasional visitors may be referred as ‘Kokopelli’ when they bring news, stories, and trinkets from the outside world to share with the villages. Maybe Krishna travelled all the way up to America and fell in love or He could have reached America thru early human migrations. Jay’s mom introduced me to early human migrations theory and my profound connection to America begins with her. It is thrilling to make these connections that boggles our mind and ignites passion in our hearts. It is Krishna who led me to Kokopelli and they are one and the same to me.

“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” ~ Bhagvad Gita 15.15

Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum!

Hadoop – Acrylics on Paper

Hadoop elephant is very cute and I gave an Indian makeover with red and gold.

Desk Hadoop

New Blog

I’ll be covering technical data blog here – http://mydataexperiments.wordpress.com/

Twelfth Night

Another Shakespearean inspiration – Dance… Shakespeare talks about dance in several plays. Lavolta is a kind of turning French dance, in which the man turns the woman round several times, and then assists her in making a high spring or cabriole.

Twelfth Night

O, stay and hear! Your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting.
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.