January 17, 2011 – Puja Ceremony Before Moving into a New House

January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011 – Puja Ceremony Before Moving into a New House

I was invited today as a special guest at this ceremony .  My friend, Laxmi, has been in the process of building a house for the past 2 years.  It has been an uphill struggle the entire time and only through the good will and assistance of many wonderful people (making sure she would not have to take any bank loans), she was finally able to finish building this house and arriving at this auspicious day chosen by a priest.

New House from the Front

This is a family that has been through very difficult times.  Her’s was a love marriage, highly advised against, and with terrible results.  Her husband turned out to be a drug addict and after two children, she finally left him.  She has been supporting the family as a massage lady at Dr. Arora’s clinic all these years and works very hard at what she does.  Her mother-in-law is a great help to her, living much of the time with her and her children.

Up until now they were living in a one room house where they all slept, ate, did homework, played etc.  No bathroom, a kitchen out in the yard…no running water.  They now have a two story house which must seem like a mansion to them.  Upstairs there are three rooms.  One for Laxmi,

Her OWN room. This is about the size of the room she used t live in all together with her children and mother-in-law

one for her children and mother-in-law


This room was used for the puja but it is actually the kids room as well as the mother-in-laws when she is there

and the third a living room.  Off the living room


Living Room

is one of THREE toilets/showers!! Remember, this is after living in a house with NO toilet or shower!


"Guest" toilet/shower

This, so that the room can be used for guests easily, or even rented out to earn money.  Downstairs is another large room and another toilet/shower built to be rented out. SEE THIS LINK FOR FULL ALBUM ON FACEBOOK


And upstairs is also a full kitchen and another family toilet/shower.

The house is very plain and simple but will be a wonderful new home for this lovely family.

Built in Indian fashion, sort of “figure it out as you go along” style, there are things that no westerner would put up with…just one example.  The shelves in the kitchen are so high that the only way to reach them (for EVERYTHING needed for working in the kitchen) is to climb up on the countertop!!

Kitchen shelves

standing on counter top to reach LOWEST kitchen shelf!

I imagine in time shelves will be added at a normal height but for now, Laxmi seems to feel the kitchen design is fine!

Anyway, I was at the puja (religious ceremony) to sanctify the house and guaranteed it would be blessed with all good things and it was an interesting morning for me.

I’ve taken photographs but due to the cramped quarters, not sure if you can get a real feel for the place…what you can see, is the definite cramping of the entire neighborhood with others also building homes, with no zoning laws or permits needed…just do whatever you want, wherever you want, as big as you want and as close to your neighbor as you feel like.  A shame, but people here just seem to regard it as a positive sign of development and upward mobility.


views of the neighborhood from the roof


January 15, 2011 – What I am Reading

January 15, 2011

January 15, 2011 – What I am Reading

Just a quick “what I am reading” post.  I read an enormous amount of books while in India, and I usually post them on my blog page “What I am Reading”…haven’t done that yet thistrip, but that is not because I have not been reading.  I arrived here with a book I began at home, leant to me by a friend, written by Anne Tyler called “The Amateur Marriage”…I enjoyed the writing style and the story very much, and on my first visit to the used book shop here to pick up more reading material, came across a book by the same author entitled :”Digging in America”.  Since it was a small, lightweight book, I bought it to use as my “walking around” book..to keep in my bag for when I need something to read while waiting for food, etc.  Just as well done as the other one I read.  Both highly recommended.

During that same book shop stop I picked up a book by Carlos Casteneda, apparently his final novel, “The Active Side of Infinity”…finished it, thought about, and although brilliantly written, cannot say I would pass it along to anyone I know.  One quote taken from the book was posted on my blog and facebook, but I found it rough going.

The book which I kept as my “in room” read and which I just finished, is “The Help” by Katheryn Stockett.  Definitely a must read!  I read a few other books as well since herebut have already returned them and am sorry to say I do not remember the names of a couple.  Another was called “Maalika”, and if you find it, also a powerful true story of a British woman who married an Ethiopian and spends her life trying to ease the plight of the disappearing  Afar nomads of Africa…Valerie Browning is her name and she has an amazing and quite unbelievable life story to tell.

And now, I’ve just picked up a new book, and after reading just the first couple of paragraphs, I am hooked.  It is by Cecelia Ahern, titled “The Book of Tomorrow”.  I’ve read several other books of hers and have enjoyed everyone of them.  She has a very special writing style which I enjoy very much.

And last but not least, I read Jodi Picoult latest novel, “Nineteen Minutes”, her longest novel yet (definitely an “at home” book) but emotionally charged and really difficult to put down…highly recommended.



January 15, 2011 – Cleansing Rain and Tears

January 15, 2011

January 15, 2011 – Cleansing Rain and Tears

Last Night Before the Rain

Raining, hailing, windy, but the electricity is still working so I am quite content.  I have plenty of supplies for cooking, my internet connection, and this will be a wonderful day to rest.  I am feeling actually HAPPY that it is raining, and this is really something new for me.  I am finding it actually beautiful…just sitting at my window looking out on the really heavy rain falling outside…the sounds of the rain and hail on the roof and windows and rofftop…looks like it will be a wonderful day, once again!

Cleansing Rain

Just finished eating a nasty day breakfast including my special “sort of” cheese tomato omelette, a toasted brown roll (ordered from downstairs) with ghee and masala chai (also ordered from downstairs).  What could be better.

Something I haven’t written about this trip, but want to mention is the great joy I get from my music here in India.

I have an enormous collection of very varied genres, and right now for example, had the urge for classical music, now playing in my room, full volume on my speakers.  This is something I get great pleasure from, but since I don’t live alone, am limited to the amount of time I can listen to music, limited to the type of music I listen to and of course to the volume!  It is just another special treat for me here alone in my room in India and one I am most grateful for.

Seems like today will be a day for music, reading, maybe some computer games, meditation, yoga, good food, and later perhaps even a hour of dancing.  Last night I watched a movie, so don’t think I will do that again today, but you never know!

Sitting here reading and listening to lovely music when all of a sudden, …

Rain of Tears..

As this is extremely personal, I will not be posting full details either here or on my other blog, but will just write that reading a passage in a book talking about the heroine’s mother dying, and her understanding that “now she is the child and I am the Mother”…precipitated a powerful cleansing and healing in me.  I cried tears from the depth of my being…something which I have not done until now, deep, sobbing cries, so loud I’m sure the people in the next room heard me, and at the same time, powerful insights and understandings. These involved anger, guilt and asking for forgiveness mainly. I will not write the details here but my Mother was actually here in the room with me, and I heard her voice speaking to me and giving me the exact words I needed to help me move past the place I was stuck in regarding her passing….

Another great blessing…



January 13, 2011 – Change in Weather or Just a One Day Reprieve? Ayurveda Consultation Results

January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011 – Change in Weather or Just a One Day Reprieve? Ayurveda Consultation Results



I sit in my room now at 8 PM, with no heater, only a normal amount of clothing, and no hot water bottle and I am perfectly comfortable.  Was out-of-doors until almost 6 this evening…ok…let’s backtrack to this morning

I was woken this morning at 5 AM to howling winds and a freezing cold room (had to turn the heater on and refill my hot water bottle to fall back to sleep).  This was the first night wind in the past two weeks and it was most welcome.  It is a sure sign, a harbinger is you like, of a change from what we’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks. A sign that the morning would dawn free of all fog and mist, the mountains would show their true green hues, the sun would shine and bring with it it’s lovely warming energy, the sky would be a brilliant blue and the Ganga a lovely turquoise/emerald green.

And that is exactly what I woke to 3 ½ hours later!

During those 3 ½ hours I did a full hour of Reiki and fell quietly back to sleep.  Nice and warm and with lovely expectations for the morning.

I’ve been out now just walking, and enjoying all the blessings this day has brought.  As a matter of fact, even though I tried to dress accordingly, removing a couple of layers of clothing, I was actually much too warm, began removing layers but then had to carry them, and at some point, after walking out about 3 kilometers, realized I better head back…I was just much too warm!!!

I walked up in a different direction just for a change, and there is a spree of new building here which is almost obscene.  Private homes, hotels, guesthouses/restaurants, ashrams…every piece of land which was used for farming in the area is being taken up by new building…I wonder how many of these new projects will actually earn a profit for their owners.  Seems like there is just too much and too much of the beauty and tranquility of the place is being lost in the process.  The buildings are one on top of the other – there are no zoning laws here – everyone just does whatever he wants to, however he wants to…hope it will all be worthwhile in the end but it makes me sad.

But it was a beautiful day to be out and upon returning, sat out on the roof for another while and then went down to visit with my friend Seema on HER roof until it turned chilly again around 5:30. More than an hour after the sun actually went down…so that is also a sign of much warmer weather…So – does this mean the weather has shifted?  Or is this jus a fluky reprieve for a day or so?  Time will tell.

I also went finally to Dr. Arora for a consultation before beginning my panchakarma (probably in a couple of more weeks) and both of us were both surprised and very pleased at the diagnosis.

First of all, I’ve gained at least 4 KG in less than 4 weeks since arriving, and he is always happy when my weight reaches 56 kg, which it has!   If you know nothing about ayurvedic medicine, the following won’t mean much to you, but for those of you who do, here are some of the indications of my apparently pretty good health.  My Vatta is a little high (it is always very high), but this time it is age related and at an exceptable level rather than very high due to various imbalances.  Meaning, for my age I am doing very well.  Pitta is completely balanced – a really first for me.  Pitta, among other things, accounts for our energy levels, and mine have been, at least for the past 10 days, better than they have been for the entire past year!  Kapaha is low but it always is.  That is where my craving for sweets comes in – so advised to eat lots of raisins and dates.  My skin is “lovely”, also something new, but the biggest surprise was thatfor the first time in all these past years, the pulses on both wrists are the same…meaning, that my male and female energies are balanced.  My male side is usually much higher and female totally out of balance (relating to releasing of emotions and blockages in different issues among other things).  Apparently my work of the past weeks has paid off and I am truly in better shape than I was even BEFORE all the events of the past year.  Something I’ve been feeling myself the past 10 days, but always nice to have your personal feelings confirmed by an expert.

I  am sure the checkup would have been very different if I had done it upon my arrival several weeks ago. I am quite proud of myself for a job (still in progress) well done!

He says I will have an easier panchakarma than in the past and will be able to eat a little more freely than before.  Milk every day, more chapatti and fruit and even some rice.  I will start in about 2 weeks time, hoping for continued better weather by then.

Lovely day with many blessings



January 12, 2011 – Can’t Get Enough of the Ganga- Photo Post

January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011 – Can’t Get Enough of the Ganga- Photo Post



Following two days of terrible fog and cold and staying home, I woke to find the sun doing its best to warm the air, as well as the spirit a bit.  I was out for a good long walk, as well as doing a “big” food shopping and having it delivered to my room!!  Very nice.

I find myself using my camera more and more and trying to capture the spirit of this place, perhaps its energy, in photos rather than in words.

I hope you are enjoying the photos and not too disappointed that these posts are short.  I DO have things to write about, but somehow don’t feel the need to write, and refuse to so something only because I “have” do.  I have to do nothing here but take care of myself…heal the healer…so that I can get back to full energy and service to others.

So enjoy the photos and keep in touch.


January 11, 2011 – Inside Day, But Pleasant – Phone Story at Last

January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011 – Inside Day, But Pleasant – Phone Story at Last

Help Me Identify this Bird - They make a real racket each evening at sunset

See this link for pictures of the day on facebook “Electricians Visit (note the items he used to reach the sockets that needed fixing in my room) and Another Bird”


It has gotten even colder, but I seem to feel at peace with everything that is now happening, meaning, I am back to my old self.  Had two healing sessions and I am lighter and more at peace than I have been for the whole past year.  Again, simply back to myself.

It is now 5 degrees outside (!!!!!) – which is about 40 degrees farenheit for those of you who don’t understand the rest of the world.  THAT is really cold, especially since it is foggy and damp and the sun has gone to visit other places.

But it means that I am contentedly in my room, meditation, doing yoga, reading, and of course using the internet which is wonderful, and completely happy with the forced rest. And in two weeks, winter will be over here anyway, and by the middle of February, it will already be 30 degrees celcius!!!

And now the phone story:

A day or two after I arrived I went down to reactiviate my phone number only to be told that there were new regulations and any phone which was not used in 90 days had the number cancelled.  So I had to buy a new SIM card, but they are now cheap, 50 instead of 200 rupees.  I got my new number, put in a balance of 888 rupees to last me the 4 months I am here and went home happy.

Two days later the phone stopped working!  I went to the dealer who told me there was a problem and he will speak with the company and get it fixed.  That was Xmas or something so the place was closed, and then it was Sunday, and closed again…and each day the answer was “tomorrow”…I finally got the answer that the number was cancelled  (because it turns out the dealer did not send in my paperwork), so I simply took a new number, no problem, and asked that my balance be transferred.  Then I was told the balance was cancelled with the old number!  It could not be transferred!  We are talking about a lot of money here (3 days rent for my room for example), and I was not willing to just dismiss it.  So the guy said he would check further with the company, but then New Year’s rolled around and again things were closed and each day there was some other excuse.  Finally he told me there was nothing he could do – even though as I pointed out that it was HIS problem since he did not send in my papers and because of this the number was cancelled…but he said it is NOT his problem and that I should go to the main office and get them to fix it for me.  Well, I’m not good at dealing with “main offices” in a language I speak, and dealing with Indians…forget it!

So I began to talk to friends here…first I thought to ask the owner of the guesthouse to intervene as he is a very powerful person, but I was advised not to do that unless desperate as he is like a godfather and he would do something “bad” to the dealer.  So another friend called him on the phone to try and figure out what was going on and got no better answer than I did, but was very angry that the dealer told ME to go to the main office to fix it.

At this point, I DID go to the guesthouse owner and told him the story, and he said he would fix it and for SURE he would get my money back.  (Bottom line is, in the end he did nothing, and probably better he didn’t confront the dealer at this point)

So I then asked my other friend, my neighbors husband, to go with me to the company and try to straighten it out for me.  He said he would go by himself and see what he could do.

He went, and came back with the answer as follows:  Her number was cancelled because 8 people used the same ID to illegally purchase phone cards.  And I could not get back my balance for sure.

The idea of someone stealing my identity was really scarey to me and so I went back to the original person who tried to help, and when I told him this he was extremely angry and told me to go back to the dealer, confront him and tell him if he doesn’t give me back my money immediately, and find out how my ID was stolen, I would go to the police.

So I did that!  And the dealer (who I know by the way for the past 5 years and have never had any trouble with him…he has actually always been very honest and helpful so found this all hard to believe)…well, the dealer said to me “go to the police…I did not do this thing…I will go with you to police!!”

Then he suggested, finally, the HE go with me to the company and see what was going on.

Well, yesterday, more than 3 weeks after this all began, I went to the dealer, and on the coldest day yet…foggy, damp, windy, and 5 degrees out, we drove by motorbike into the market, and went to the company.  After about 10 minutes of rapid fire Hindi between the dealer and the manager, he turned to me and explained that it was not MY identity that had been used (this had also frightened him as using a foreign passport is really a serious business for everyone involved which was why he said he would go with me to the police), but some Indian ID had been used 8 times, and my number had somehow fallen into this batch of numbers…maybe because he never sent in the papers and it was ID-less so they added this other ID to it…really don’t quite know.  Anyway, the manager said there was no way they would return the money to me!!  Even though it was not my fault, or the dealers, but THEIR fault.

I left with the dealer who simply said that HE would take the loss and give me back my money in full, by recharging my phone at his expense each time for 100 rupees for as long as I was here, and that HE would then fight the company until he got his money back, hopefully.

All’s well that end’s well but I feel bad for the dealer, and also must say that for a few days  was really scared about the possibility of identity theft and having the hassle of going to the police and embassy etc.

Just more to make life interesting in India, but believe me, I could do very well without this!.

January 10, 2011 – End of Phone Story and Meditation for a Broken Heart

January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011 – End of Phone Story and Meditation for a Broken Heart

The picture above is what I patiently am waiting for…the end of winter and a sunset like this over the Ganga!!

I sit in my room, doing my best NOT to turn on the internet.  It is wonderful having the option of using it in my room, even the connection is very slow.  It is good enough for browsing and uploading, but fairly problematic for Skype…but still a blessing, especially in this colder weather, allowing me to sit in my nice warm room and do my “stuff”.

I am listening to lovely music, have just eaten a dinner which I “ordered out” today, being lazy and not feeling like cooking (one of the big benefits of being in a guesthouse as opposed to my own flat), and will try t sum up my day for you.

First of all, for anyone interested, you can follow this link:


and find a beautiful meditation for helping to deal with the pain of a broken heart.  It was a small but very powerful part of a beautiful healing session I had today with the lovely Chinese healer I met at the astrologer.  She is a Reiki Master but uses other forms of healing as well.  She was gentle but went very deep and will be coming again tomorrow. In addition to the discussion we had, and her intuitive knowing what I needed, she was also guided before coming to prepare something for me (before she even spoke to me).  A candle on which she carved some Eastern sutra/mantra.  The sutra is used in cases where someone has to release things which are stuck…She instructed me to burn the candle with this intention and when it was all burned down, to sit out in the sun (!) and allow the sunlight to fill the places that were emptied of pain, etc.  So, hopefully tomorrow morning I will see a sunny day again and will do this as well.

Check out the link for the full meditation for “fixing” broken hearts which may be of help to you or someone you know.


And the story of the mobile phone ended today, finally, with me getting back my money, but not in the way I imagined.  I will write the full story up tomorrow, but just know that the ending included a motorbike ride into Rishikesh market on the coldest morning yet since I have been here, also windy and foggy.  I wore all the clothing I had plus two shawls and still felt like I was being blown into a block of ice the entire ride there, and then back home.  I literally felt myself thawing out once I got into my room…with my feet in hot water and the heater on me.  But I must say, I have become very good at bike riding without holding on…it is not acceptable in India anyway, to hold onto the guy in front, plus I needed my hands to keep the shawl from blowing open as well as to cover my hands to keep them from becoming frostbitten!!!

Hope to write up the full story tomorrow as a separate post, but am happy that it finally came to an end.

That’s it for today.



January 9, 2011 – Real Time Posts

January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011 – Real Time Posts and Link to Photo Album

New View Of Ganga from Buddha Cafe Rooftop Restaurant



Well, the world keeps changing, and I’ve made a change that I thought I never would in India.  I am now writing this sitting in my own room, cozy and warm and relaxed, listening to my own music and writing in real time.

This will actually be a short post, just to try something new.  I will try and upload a larger amount of photos than usual onto Facebook and then post the link here.  The internet connection is kind of slow, but works 24 hours a day, and costs me much less money than going for 1 hour a day to an internet cafe.

I can use skype to talk to friends and family at times that are convenient for all of us, but the call quality is not that great.  Still better than nothing at all!

I have a real amazing story to tell about the mobile phone business, which seems like it might be concluded, one way or another, tomorrow.

I am feeling like a new person, or rather like the person I was over a year ago.  I have my old balance, tranquility, and harmony back, and my energy levels are better than they have been in a long time.

I took the astrologers advice and went for a very long walk yesterday, doing a full circle through rishikesh from one bridge to the other and all around and in between and felt wonderful when I returned home.  Today I spent the day in the market setting up this netstik (everything in India takes a lot of time, and if I feel like it, will describe the process in another letter), but came home feeling wonderful as well.  The cold weather is actually perfect for long walks, and the sun is shining, so I am really quite happy.  It took me a full 3 weeks of being here, to actually be happy that I AM here, but that I am…very HAPPY…joyful, and grateful.

This was really nice.  While waiting for all the photos to upload, I was able to prepare my dinner!!!  So if I can manage not to abuse the privilege of having a connection in my room, it will actually save me time.  Now I just have to catch up on all my back e-mails and I am set!



January 8, 2011 – Pivotal Day and Solitaire Affirmations

January 8, 2011

January 8, 2011 – Pivotal Day and Solitaire Affirmations

The post below was written late last night and it is now the next morning.  I have just come in from a beautiful meditation out in the sun.  Yes, the sun! I rose brilliantly over the mountain at 8:30 this morning, and although still quite cold, its warmth penetrates to the very depths of my soul – bringing with it renewed positive energies to both body and soul.  Things are certainly looking brighter!!

What do I mean by “pivotal” ?   Pivot, as in “turning point”. Until today I was confused, unsure of my decision to be here, even questioning my ever returning to India in the future.  Feeling guilty about not being at home, not being able to relax and find my contentment and wellbeing as I usually do when returning to India.

I finally made an appointment as you may recall with a well regarded astrologer here…in the past I had never felt the need for clarification or guidance when in India.  But this whole year has been unsettling for me and I deeply felt the need to consult him.  I was guided as well to do this by my inner voice.  On the way down to my appointment today, I had already checked the possibility of changing my ticket and returning home!

Well, seeing him was exactly what I needed.  Things have completely turned themselves around since my talk with him, and I am feeling at peace with just being in the moment, for the first time in more than a year…yes, since LAST year at this time when I was here and making arrangements to fly home early.

There were many things he spoke about that were astounding…but not things I will share here – too personal and dealing with many of the people in my life, as well as past lives.

But the bottom line is, what he told me (without my ASKING the question myself), was that I must stay in India until March-April and do basically one thing:  TAKE CARE OF MYSELF!!.

His specific advice was to do lots of meditation, take very long walks everyday, STOP EATING SWEETS (how did he know that I’ve had a craving for sweets for months now and have been eating enormous amounts…something which I generally keep completely away from!!), as they are very bad for me, and get someone to do several good healing sessions for me.  All the rest were things which were of great help to me in doing further cleansing and releasing, in understanding many things that were beyond my comprehension until now regarding relationships, as well as in coming to terms with certain situations in my life…even talking about a future relationship for me…but again, the main issue was taking care of myself completely.

He also said that I must go back to teaching, as I am very good at it, it gives me great satisfaction and energy, and also will bring me my financial security.  BUT NOT NOW. Now is for healing myself.

In addition, just “by chance”, two of his students were there.  One of them was using one of the new netstiks I’ve been hearing about and not only was he very pleased with it, he told me exactly where to go to get a wonderful deal, which will make it even cheaper than using the local internet café for 1 hour a day…and I will have it for 24 hours a day.  Which means being here will be easier since I will have easy access to my family…something which was difficult for me to deal with.  And the other student, is a Reiki Master with wonderfully gentle energy who will be coming to me on Monday to begin a series of healing sessions!  Everything taken care of in one place, Divinely programmed, to bring me to the place I need to be at the moment, easily, and with no fuss and bother.

I will go during the week to set up the internet and then will just make sure that I do not abuse it!  It will be a good form of self-discipline for me.

A friend is also going tomorrow to see if he can fix the problem with my mobile phone, so maybe I will have an end to that story as well to share.

Having been given “permission” to relax and “do nothing”, I will now allow myself to begin to flow with things gently and with compassion.

I am truly blessed.


Ok…I know that what I write now will sound nonsensical to most of you, but for me it is just another affirmation that something right is beginning today…something which will make me a “winner” for me.  I play different types of solitaire from time to time.  The games involve mostly skill as opposed to the regular solitaire which is mostly luck.  I don’t often win these games.  I just played a game now called Aces and Kings…over the past several years I have played a total of 272 games.  I just now had my 6th win (!) out of all these tries.  For me, this is a very positive message that I am finally heading down the right path.

OK…more unbelievable….I’ve played several different versions of solitaire when I couldn’t fall asleep (my fault-forgot the time and drank coffee at 5 in the afternoon), one called Cruel which I win about one in every 30 games, and I won tonight…in first game I played.  And then another one called Terrace which has about a 25%  chance of winning and I  ALSO won! You have to understand that I can sometimes play for weeks and never win even ONE game in ANY version I am playing…this is really quite amazing and definitely unusual to say the least.  I think this is all just to give me even more confidence that I am on a true winning streak and to really release all fears and worries and just let things flow.

OK again…decided to check the theory…there is one game, Aces Up, which is about 90% luck, and has about a 5% chance of winning…and guess what???  Yep…won that also!!!!


January 7, 2011 Impressions of Changing India

January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011 Impressions of Changing India

The entire world is changing, something which anyone who lives here cannot deny.  Globalization has reached ever corner of our planet, and the world will never be as it was. In many ways this is of course a wonderful thing, and in other ways, modernization is happening at a frightening pace at the expense of tradition. This may seem of no consequence, but when people loose their roots, the traditions which distinguish them from other ethnic groups or nationalities, then the essence that makes them who they are is gone.  Something becomes “missing” in their lives, even if they are unawares of what that something is, or even that it is missing, but over time it takes its toll in many ways.  Witness the myriad infirmities which inflict the Western world…the constant searching something new, better, more…the imbalance on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and of course spiritual.

Well, India is moving forward, for better or for worse, along with the rest of the world.  It may have taken some years longer, but the insistence of human beings to be like everyone else, is pushing the change forward at a pace which speeds up from year to year.

The changes may seem subtle and unimportant, and perhaps causing no real damage, but the end results will have profound effects on the Indian culture in future generations.

It begins with the great emphasis placed on higher education (rightly so) for as many children in the family as possible.  In order to study at University, sons and even daughters are sent to live in the cities, away from home and family for the first time.  Influenced by all the modernization they see, and wanted “more” of everything than they ever dreamed existed, once they finish their studies, they look for jobs in the cities, which will of course be high paying and with options for future advancement.

Once this happens, the whole idea of the Indian extended family comes to an end.  It is something which is already happening,  and it will continue to happen at a quickening pace each and every year.

One of the results is that, something which would have seemed unthinkable even 5 years ago, is now becoming a reality in India. Old Age Homes!!!.  Since sons no longer marry and come home to live with their parents, creating extended families and thus guaranteeing continued care through old age for parents, this seems to be the only solution for those aging citizens who now have no one to care for them.  My good friend here, who still lives in an extended family where all the brothers, sisters-in-law and their kids live together in one compound, is an example.  She herself takes care of the aging and very frail and ill mother-in-law.  She does this lovingly and gently and it is beautiful to see.  And if she did not, one of the other daughters-in-law would.  This is how it has always been, even when the daughters-in-law sometimes suffer greatly with this arrangement.

Now her first son is getting married.  He studied, and has now been working in a very high paying position at a deluxe hotel in South Delhi for the past number of years.  He will of course remain in his position, his new wife will come and live with him, and that will be the end of that particular extended family.   My friend told me that they wonder what will happen to them in old age, perhaps they will have to go live with the son, but she doubts that will happen, and began telling me of the reality of perhaps having to find an old age home to live in somewhere….This may not be the case for her and her husband, but it has become a frightening reality for many Indians.

In the villages, this is less felt, but whatever happens in urban life, eventually filters its way down to rural life as well.  We may be talking in terms of a couple of generations perhaps, but the end result is guaranteed.

Another indication of loosing traditional values, is traditional dress.  I remember writing some years ago of the beauty of Indian traditional dress, and wondering how much longer women will continue to dress in this beautiful way.  I never imagined that in just a few short years I would see the beginning of the end!!

In the past, even if young girls wore jeans and T-shirts, once they married, they returned to traditional dress, either because they themselves felt it proper, or they were compelled to by family members.

Today, everywhere you look, you see more in more young couples where the wife is dressed in completely Western clothing, the tighter the jeans the better, walking hand in hand and even kissing in public.  This is something completely unheard of only a few years ago.

And then there is the idea of banks and buying on credit, the curse of the entire world.  Another friend here very proudly took me for a drive in his new car (his old one was 8 years old – I was driving a 12 year old car myself until recently!!).  He said that everyone who saw him recently commented that as a doctor he should be driving a newer car!  So, he went to the bank and found out that they were practically begging him, as a doctor, to take money.  The more the better (he says doctors, government workers , and some other groups are sure bets for the bank as the installment payments always come in on time).  When he saw how easy it was to get money, he also decided to buy a second flat for investment purposes!! And simply took a full mortgage from the bank for that as well.  In the end, if for any reason the day comes when he can’t pay, they will simply repossess it and in the end he won’t be any worse off than he is now…he still has a perfectly comfortable place to live in!!

Where this will all end, and what effect it will have on future generations of Indians is yet to be seen.

And that’s it for today…just some stuff to think about


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