Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Wedding Pic's

More wedding photos from my cousin's celebration....I had a fabulously lovely time. Now back home, I must return to the real world, sigh.

This is a picture from the mehndi, another pre-wedding ceremony we do, where again elders (women) come and bless the couple and feed them sweets (which is what is on the tray).

This is a basket of bangles we (the girl's family) brought to the mendhi ceremony (this ceremony is done the night before the actual wedding). The bangles were given to all the little girls at the mendhi.

A cute shot of everyone's shoes at the wedding reception.

This is where the wedding took place - in our culture, the bride and groom sit down, as well as their families. The audience is looking at them and the minister stands up. The love seat is where the bride and groom sit and the two adjoining chairs are for the mom and dad of the respective children.

Hope everyone is having a good week - I cant' wait till Friday when the final book in the Twilight saga comes out...I'm going to a midnight release!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Cousin's Wedding

Pictures from my cousin's very traditional Indian Muslim wedding - this is the first ceremony in the week long festivities leading up to the big day.

Here the bride sits as her close friends and family bring the trays of lotion and sweets that the older women will use to bless the bride. Virginia Gal is the one in yellow and pink, with my head cut off (standing).

Here the older women are feeding the bride and applying lotion to her arms (in the past the lotion was to make the bride's skin silky smooth for her upcoming day). They will than take some money and circle it around her head with a blessing for a good future (and give her the money).

After that small ceremony, this ladies-only function starts singing, both new and folk songs. Somewhere in there a lady is playing the dholki (a drum instrument from the Indian region that is smaller and you can play with your hands).

This is a picture of the trays that all the sisters and friends brought out for the ceremony. This is the pre-ceremony stage.

This is the post-ceremony stage of the trays, with the candles lit.

Hopefully more pictures to come, as the wedding week progresses and when I get a free second to update this blog (which as the immediate cousin to the bride, means I get very few free seconds).

Monday, July 14, 2008

America's Next Top Model and stuff

Here is a picture of my friend with her bridal shower bouquet - a very good friend. I had to take a picture of the bouquet because it just shows how much she is loved with all the bows and ribbons (and so many gifts from tons of far flung relatives and friends who couldn't attend but sent a package) and I am ever so happy for her. She truly deserves this happiness (I can't wait for the wedding, this fall!).

This past Sunday at Potomac Mills Mall (my local mall) they had auditions for America's Next Top Model. You know the reality fashion show. I have never gotten into this particular phenomenon but was asked to write about the event for the local paper (the paper I freelance with). I was expecting a bunch of divas at the try-outs but it was just a lot of nice young girls who wanted a big break. I think the hardest part of the whole thing was that the auditions were out in the open, so all the mall shoppers could view the event...and they were not spare or kind with the comments. Though I guess the argument is that these ladies will have to get use to negative comments; I just thought some of the "audience" were cruel.

Right, enough nattering - I'm off to Florida tomorrow morning, on Southwest no less. Crossing my fingers all goes well...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Stamp Museum and questions

Upon my return from Denmark, where I had seen and done so much, I promised myself that I would explore more of my own region - Washington DC and Northern Virginia.

With this set-up, I faithfully ventured into town today to take in an oft-forgotten but delightful gem in the Smithsonian Museum collection - the National Postal Museum.

Despite being all alone, I had a fabulous time! There were so many interesting things I didn't know about the Postal service and the museum is very interact, so learning was fun! My favorite part was the historical international stamps. A Mr. Miller of the early 20th century collected and than donated his entire stamp collection. Which is EXTENSIVE, to say the least (stamps from 1894, stamps with mistakes, exclusive stamps). What I thought was riveting was seeing international stamps during various remarkable historical incidents. For instance, the stamps from Germany of 1940 have Hitler's picture, the Russia stamps of 1911 - Tzar Nicholas II and by 1920 they are of Lenin, China in the 1950's communist propaganda. Stamps, it seems, are very much a reflection of the political situation to which they deliver the mail. If I go back again, I would like more time to poor over this particular collection.


Returning back to home, I hit a red light. At this specific intersection stood a woman holding a sign which read something to the effect that she was out of work and could we (in this sense the we being the general public) help her (I think meaning money). Again I twisted with my conscious if I should give her something but in the end didn't (I still am in doubt as to this decision). However, it did leaving me thinking, have we had a cultural change? What leads a person to beg? Wasn't there a time when there was shame associated with begging or am I just imagining that? How does one come to beg, making that decision? How do you feel when you beg? I'm not throwing judgment at all but better trying to understand this phenomenon....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Big Hats and Cocktails

Happy Fourth of July!! I hope everyone has a wonderful celebration and holiday weekend!

ps - a friend of mine has started a new blog, its cute with funny news - please check it out at:
Big hats and Cocktails.

Tusind tak!!