Mother’s Day may have started with a monkey attack but it ended with me tucked away in a 15th Century palace on the edge of Rajasthan. Jim surprised me with a night away at the Neemrana Fort, a two-hour drive outside of Delhi. The best part of this gift was his sacrifice of a Sunday of writing. What you may not realize is that he has worked on his book religiously every weekend, most weeknights, and a good handful of weekdays for over a year a now. He’s taken no vacation and little free time. Even over Christmas when we went to the beach, he worked every day in the hotel library. Weekdays roll into weekends with little delineation of either for us – except that the kids are home on the weekends and Saturdays start with pancakes and Sundays start with French toast.
But the fort/palace – it was quite spectacular. We had a rather roomy suite on the upper tier with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, multiple balconies and views of desert plains. Mother’s Day wouldn’t be special without the kids and of course, we had ours tagging along. We all took from the night away exactly what we needed: the kids, time with daddy and a break from Delhi; Jim, time away from the computer; and me, the joy of seeing everyone really happy. I know that sounds corny but it’s sincere. Here, take a peak – this is the view of the hotel from our room. It’s sprawling!
The crispy hillsides:
On the drive home the next day, I asked George to hand me something from the back seat of the car. “Mother’s Day is OVER!” he yelled….
Jim and I have a long-standing joke – it’s moments like this when we look at each other and one of us demands: “Weapon!”
“Make a list of all the things that are needed to empower the disempowered: education, resources, food security, economic resources, political participation, etc. Not a single one of the major things that need to be done to make an impact on people’s empowerment requires a caste census.” – This, from an op-ed piece in the Times of India on Wednesday. I mentioned the caste census in my last blog – It’s become a huge debate because people have not been counted by caste since British colonial rule.
Did they or didn’t they? India’s largest Islamic seminary (and maybe even the world’s largest) denies that it issued a Fatwa this week against working Muslim women. Several news organizations here reported the Fatwa after a cleric wrote online that it was against Sharia law for Muslim women to work in the same office alongside men. The seminary says the “statement” was simply the musings of one cleric to a question posted online. Regardless of how the statement is classified, the misogynist message is the same.
By the way, India is home to the world’s second largest Muslim population with about 150-million Indian Muslim citizens.
Also this week – The High Court in Allahabad issued a ruling that says marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man is not valid unless the woman converts to Islam. There is a shade of gray here – the couple can register to marry under some act that allows for inter-religious marriage, but the wedding can’t be celebrated or solemnized by a representative of either religion. Honestly… this country busies itself with issues that distract it from all the real and glaring work that needs to be addressed to lift India out of the muck. When you swerve your car to miss a cow, sit in gridlock surrounded by tin-can trucks and three-wheel tractors, close your windows to desperate beggars, and train your eyes not to notice the decay of a city so far behind the development curve… loud mullahs and sneaky courts seem exceptionally unconscionable.
The Story of two Faisals. One is, of course, Faisal Shazad, the would-be Times Square bomber and the other is Shah Faisal, the first person from Kashmir to rank #1 in the India civil services exam. The comparison caught the media’s attention here, probably because both share the same name and both are Muslim. One fell into bad times and bad company despite relative privilege; The other rose to admirable status despite the hardships that befell his family after his father was killed by militants.
Did you know… It’s a good day to tie the knot in India today? Indians are waaayy into astrology and it turns out that today the sun and moon are shining in balance – a good omen for marriage. There’s also a religious significance to this day that guarantees good fortune. It’s estimated that 20-thousand couples will celebrate weddings today in Delhi.
As for astrology, it’s a 3,000 year old practice in India. One’s birthday and the position of stars, moons and planets on that day predispose you to certain outcomes in the events of your life. You may remember one of my first blogs (http://www-standupcomedy.blogspot.com/2009/09/tusar-tarun-or-tanujj.html) about attending the naming ceremony of my driver’s son. A Hindu priest poured over charts and worked formulas to arrive at the best name for the baby. Birth date, time of birth, sign, sex and other factors were all woven and worked until the priest was able to select the best letter of the Hindu alphabet for the name. You can revisit the blog for the rest of the story…
We celebrated this week – Lala making her 11th birthday wish. This little girl is truly amazing – she exudes something special – confirmed by many!
And my other one who exudes… silliness!
Unit #3 at his kindergarten open-house:
Here’s Maya… I finally got a picture of her! Look at that smile…