Trends in Indian Jewellery : It is not just gold but a lot more

Almost every established culture has used gold to symbolize power, beauty and purity. In India, gold jewellery has been used to celebrate marriage and during religious festivals. In the North Ornate bridal pieces are popular while in the South 22-karat yellow gold are favored. Indians happen to be the largest consumers of Gold in the world. Not surprisingly, the Indian diaspora and NRIs continue to be enamored by the yellow metal. GaramChai.com has extensive listings of Indian Jewelers across the North America.

A recent New York Times article (link) explores emerging trends in ethnic and contemporary jewellery designs in India that global Desis are sure to be paying attention to.  Traditionally, Indians would buy jewellery as an asset for a rainy day and for special occasion like marriage and festivals. Such purchases would involve a lot of research and consensus from the extended family.  The article highlights an emerging trend where Indian women are buying contemporary jewellery,  purely for joy and satisfaction rather than waiting for an occasion.

Another trend featured in the article is that jewellery made using silver and other material are designed for “daily use” and  doesn’t need to sit in lockers.

The article features Eina Ahluwalia (facebook), a jeweler and designer based in Kolkata, whose creations blend social activism, art, design and fashion- partly trying to counter what she calls ‘the patriarchal associations of traditional Indian jewellery.

 “ her 2011 Wedding Vows collection took a stand against domestic violence by using renderings of kirpans, the knives that are an important symbol of her Sikh identity, in necklaces and other pieces. The words “Love, Respect, Protect” were worked in gold into chandelier earrings and layered necklaces.”

That collection, she said, continues to be among her most successful, with its slogan “Accessorize the Warrior Within” resonating among customers. Her designs were inspired by traditional and personal narratives, like her Wordsmith collection that displayed the names for God in Urdu, Arabic and Hindi. These Jewellery prices start at about Rs 5,000 for a pair of shell-shaped earrings and rise to about Rs 25,000 for elaborate pieces. “

 

Image result for Eina Ahluwalia
Googled picture of Eina Ahluwalia

At first there was a cap to how much customers would spend in terms of price per piece,” she said. But, “over the years, the Indian market is exposed to so much more, and the customer base has significantly widened.” Today, unorthodox materials like concrete, wood, leather and found objects are used by many of the 60 designers whose work is showcased alongside Ahluwalia’s at Nimai, a concept jewellery store opened in Delhi by Pooja Roy Yadav in 2013.”

“Social media has been an invaluable tool to share these stories,” she said, “which would be near impossible in traditional retail formats, and very expensive and impersonal through conventional advertising and marketing.” Now designers, including Ahluwalia and Pittie, are creating collections suitable for bridal wear.

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Article: The Days of Desi

An article in Deccan Herald “The Days of Desi” makes for an interesting read for Desis in Pardes.

Illustration by Kavitha Mandana

 

The author, Surekha Kadapa-bose explains “the end of 2017 is witnessing a sudden cacophony, a sudden urgency, and a new-found love for everything desi. This, of course, is a delightful U-turn from the previous passionate adoption of everything foreign. But, just as we went to extremes to adapt the Western lifestyle from the 1970s to the new millennium, we now seem to be doing the same with desi. There seems to be a bit too much stress on desi food, fashion, culture, religion, rituals, films, music, education etc.”

There is a general misconception that fashion, as shown in the big fat wedding scenes of Bollywood films, is ‘the’ desi attire – men dressed in long silky sherwanis, bandhgalas, with a angavastra wound round their necks, and women, of course, have to be dressed in voluminous ghagras with miniscule cholis, blingy saris etc…

After desi attire comes food. The craze for desi has made inroads here too. The best examples are the popular junk foods – pizzas and burgers – which are originally adopted from Italy and America. Now they are getting Indianised and are being served with a desi touch. You get pizzas with toppings like tandoori paneer, chicken tikka, paneer vegorama, and burgers with stuffings like veg aloo tikki, masala dosa, paneer and so on.

My take on this variation: if one is so much in love with desi khaana, then why not say “no” to pizzas and burgers, and have Mom-made dosas, parathas and samosas instead?


GaramChai.com has long prided itself in being the single stop source for “Desi in Pardes” with extensive listings of Desi Restaurants, boutiques, places of worship and culture

 

 

Questions on Adoption from the Gut-wrenching end to the Sherin Mathews saga

Americans and Indian Americans alike have been following the saga of Sherin Mathews, the sweet baby girl, that went missing from the home of her adopted parents in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Today, the media is reporting that

Police have found a body in the search for a three-year-old girl who went missing after her father reportedly sent her out of the house at 3am as a punishment.

Sherin Mathews has been missing since October 7 after being left in an alley by her home in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to finish her milk.

Police said the remains of a child had been found yesterday in a tunnel around half a mile from the family’s home. Officers said the body was “most likely” that of the missing toddler and efforts to officially identify it are underway today.

Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since October 7 CREDIT: RICHARDSON TEXAS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Wesley Mathews a native of Kerala in India and his wife Sini adopted the toddler’s from India. She was reportedly malnourished when the Mathews adopted her and police suspect that the little girl also had disabilities, which made it difficult for her to communicate. The three-year-old was last seen when her father reportedly took her outside at 3 AM and made her stand near a tree behind the family’s house as a type of punishment for not drinking milk.

Sherin Mathews saga does not end here, but rather raises more questions:

  • About parenting: The area behind the house is wooded and infested with wild coyotes.  What would possess a parent to leave a three-year-old near the house at 3 AM “as a type of punishment for not drinking milk” ?
  • About adoption: Adopting a child is hard enough (link). Will stories like this make it harder for innocent parents to adopt children from abroad?
  • About Indian-Americans: Incidents like these throw a spotlight on the South-Asian, Indian-American and NRI community. Not all the media attention will be positive.

 

Links:

Check out our earlier blog  NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

GaramChai.com – Adoption, Adopting, children and Indian Social Links

Dallas News: Missing Richardson girl was dumped in bushes before adoption brought orphan to U.S.

Indian Express: Adopted Indian girl missing in US: Police recovers a body in tunnel, ‘most likely’ to be of Sherin Mathews

Blasting news: Grandparents, adoption agency in India speak of Texas toddler Sherin Mathews

 

Donald Trump celebrates Diwali at White House

Diwali news from around the world

 

A few days ago we ran a feature highlighting “Grand, Green Diwali around the world this year”

This year, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America hosted a few porminent Indian-Americans to greet the global community

Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community – to celebrate Diwali — the Hindu Festival of Lights.

As we do so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion. A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.

Our Indian-American neighbors and friends have made incredible contributions to our country – and to the world. You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land.

The Lighting of the Diya is typically celebrated by families in their homes. Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE. In so doing, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American FAMILY.

We wish all of America’s Hindus and everyone who celebrates Diwali a joyous holiday and blessings of light, goodness, and prosperity throughout the New Year. And now we will light the Diya.

However, despite Indian Supreme Court’s directive banning fireworks in the National capital, media is reporting that Delhi covered in toxic haze after night of Diwali fireworks – The Guardian 

Delhi’s Air Quality Status Report After Diwali is ‘Very Poor’: NDTV 

Move over Medical Tourism, #BegTourismIndia is the next wave !

A couple of days ago, news of a Russian tourist found begging outside the famous South Indian shrine of Kancheepuram went viral.

The backpacker from Russia, Evangelin apparently arrived in India recently. On September 24 he travelled from Chennai to Kancheepuram. After visiting a few temples in the town, he went to an ATM kiosk but was unable to draw money as his debit card’s PIN had got locked. After he was unable to withdraw money from the ATM, he got desperate. On seeing some beggars sitting outside the Sri Kumarakottam Temple, he joined them and started seeking alms using his cap.

Videos and pictures of Evangelin ‘begging’ went viral and media and digirati went wild over the story. The local police in Kanchipuram stepped in, and after verifying his documents, offered him some money to enable him to go to the Russian consulate in Chennai for assistance. This saga also prompted Indian External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to tweet

The story does not end here. This week, the Russian tourist was seen begging in the busy T Nagar area in Chennai since Saturday. He was reportedly charging excited Diwali shoppers Rupees 100 (about $2) for selfies with him. Evangelin reportedly told the media that he had tasted ‘good money’ through begging and could use this to finance his travels in India.

TheHinduTourist
image: The Hindu

 

Russian consulate in Chennai had earlier reported that Evangelin had not contacted them and that they will assist him in when he contacts them. The Mambalam police in Chennai detained him after he continued begging in the city.  On being questioned, he told the police that he sought alms as per Lord Shiva’s wish and was quoted saying “I am a devotee of the Lord Shiva. I wish to travel across the country.”

Officials seem to be helplessly watching this saga unfold. The police was quoted saying “He holds valid travel documents and visa papers, and cannot be deported immediately.”

Indian entrepreneurs are exploring a variety of tourist ventures including Medical Tourism. The Evangelin saga  has interesting implications for #BegTourismIndia :

  • Enterprising startups may spring up offering #BegTourismIndia for backpackers
  • Tech savvy tourist-beggars may take to social media by creating facebook and whatsup group, sharing tips on begging, and about tourist hotspots
  • Some may offer Caucasian backpakers ‘coaching classes’ in the subtle art of begging at temple steps

Grand, Green Diwali around the world this year !

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and recently Sindh Province in Pakistan.

In the years past, American President Obama made a point of wishing Indians and the Indian-American community for Diwali (link). Last year, ‘candidate’ Donald Trump’s Daughter, Ivanka celebrated Diwali at a Hindu Temple (link). The Trump administration looks set for ‘grand’ Diwali celebrations (link).

TrumpDiwaliHindu
Image from The Hindu

 

The grand Indian festival of Diwali is traditionally associated with noise and din of firecrackers, sometimes in excesses.  As we approach Diwali this year – scheduled to fall on Thursday, October 19 – there is a lot of hype over ‘Green Diwali’

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Image: Wikipedia

The Indian Supreme Court set the ball rolling by banning fireworks in Delhi ahead of the festival this year. “Let’s try at least one Diwali without firecrackers,” said one judge as the court announced the order Monday. According to BBC

“The court said it wanted to test if banning fireworks would make a difference to Delhi’s air quality, ranked among the worst in the world. The ban on the sale and distribution of firecrackers will last until 1 November. Diwali falls on 18 October.”

Even school students are jumping onto ‘Green Diwali:’ The students of Sant Isher Singh Public School on Monday took out a rally. Principal Inderjeet Kaur Sandhu flagged the rally which commenced from the premises of the school. (TOI).

Supreme court’s directive is not without controversy as a Voice of America article describes

The order has raised a firestorm in the city of about 18 million as it gears up for Diwali on October 19. Complaining that the order strikes at the heart of a quintessential Hindu tradition, critics compared it to banning Christmas trees on Christmas. Jubilant supporters pointed out that the top priority is the health of citizens in a city where the air turns toxic at this time of the year because of slower winds and colder temperatures that trap more pollution.

 


Check out GaramChai.com ‘s feature on  Diwali in North American and around the globe.

 

NRI woman searching for father in Hyderabad finds decomposed body in flat

About an NRI woman coming to Hyderabad in search of her father who had been missing for over a month.

A couple of months ago, we blogged about “Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton”“Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton”

There is another similar yet bizarre story about an NRI woman coming to Hyderabad in search of her father who had been missing for over a month. The woman, and her mother were shocked to find his decomposed body at their flat in LB Nagar.

Image result for nri parent drawing
Image: lassiwithlavina.com

The NRI and her mother came to Hyderabad because P Lakshminarayana Murthy, a retired government employee, had not been responding to their calls for several days.  Murthy was a native of Rajamahendravaram in Andhra Pradesh. He had two daughters, both of whom were living in the USA. His wife, Lakshmi, had recently gone to America to visit their daughters.

Murthy gone to Hyderabad in August to attend a relative’s wedding and stayed at his daughter’s flat.  During the first few days in Hyderabad, he had been in touch with his wife, after which he had stopped responding to her calls. Worried, the daughters and his wife had alerted relatives in Hyderabad, but none of them had been able to give them any information.

Nearly 40 days later, Lakshmi and her younger daughter Soujanya flew to Hyderabad in search of Murthy.  Despite knocking repeatedly on the door, they received no response. They broke open the door with the help of a local carpenter and entered the flat. They were shocked that none of the residents in the apartment building had noticed a foul smell.

This is yet another morbid story that will send shivers down Non Resident Indians with elderly parents living alone in India.

Story first reported in Deccan Chronicle and thenewsminute.com

Also check out the blog post: The Dilemma of Looking After Aging Desi Parents