On Thanksgiving

When I came to US, I was unaware of this tradition (well because it is not an Indian thing anyway, but now if you ask me I will tell you it is just another harvest festival and we have tons of those in India)

When I noticed a thanksgiving break in the list of holidays on my university calendar, I was curious and wanted to learn more about this blessed seven day break right before finals week and so I read and learned about how it symbolizes the celebration by the first few pilgrims who migrated to North America and is about being thankful for a good harvest (that would sustain them during the harsh winter). I liked the being grateful aspect of the celebration, though it is only symbolic now since people these days are not entirely dependent on the local produce anyway.

Besides these days, like I learned from experience and television ads, the thanksgiving Thursday is not just about giving thanks or eating dinners but  the weekend is synonymous with Christmas shopping and deals and more deals. For the first few years I would spend the last Thursday through Sunday of November sitting in front of my laptop comparing deals, reading reviews, spending a sleepless night or two, heading to the stores at midnight on Thursday, standing in line to enter the store, running around the isles, picking up things that are inexpensive and unnecessary, then standing in line at the billing counter, coming home, sorting things out, returning some, keeping some and so on. It was actually fun, especially since it was a group activity :)  Now, neither do I have a group that is interested in going shopping at midnight nor do I have the patience to shop like that anymore.

I still like the concept of black Friday and cyber Monday though. Businesses profit from it of course and consumers also get to feel like they are saving their hard earned money. No complains at all, a win-win situation. What bothers most people though  is that black Friday is slowly creeping into and eating up most of thanksgiving Thursday. So family dinners are interrupted by sudden “oh I have to rush to the store now” or “Skip the dessert, get into the car” kind of things. My guess is it  bothers the older generation who know the essence of the celebration and wish to pass on the tradition to their young ones. But is anyone listening?

And in situations like this I can totally imagine the elderly get together and discuss over elaborate meals, something on the lines of this conversation between Frodo and old Gandalf.

‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf,’and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’  – Lord of the Ring

(A fitting quote for almost everything that we do not like or criticize about the world and the way things are going.)

Probably they then spend their time drinking more wine, discussing politics or in food coma while the young ones fret about what deal they missed and which store should they go to next. Who should decide which is a better way to be thankful and celebrate? Well isn’t that a personal choice ? :)

Oh as for me, I am thankful that I am able to witness and cherish all the different (both good and bad experiences) which sum up my life. I would not mind spending the night in food coma being thankful for a harvest that lets me eat that much or spend the night rushing through stores being thankful for the job that lets me spend as much. Oh and if I may I am thankful that the celebrations turned into a holiday (you will find that there are very few holidays in the US working calendar, especially when you come from a country like India :)).

Amma puch di (Morni) – Pehchaan (lyrics and meaning)

Amma puch di, sun dhiya meri e, dhubari itni tu kya kar hoyi ho

The mother asks her daughter, what is it that worries you (why do you look so skinny)

Paarli baniya, mor jo bole ho, amma ji ine more nindara gavayi ho

(Daughter says) The calls of the peacock in the neighboring forest are not letting me sleep

Sadh le bandukhi jo, Sadh le shikari jo, dhiye bhala eta more maar giraana ho

(Mother) Lets call the gunman, lets call the hunter, and lets get this peacock killed

Morni maarna, morni gavaana ho, ho amma jee pinjara puvaana ho

(Daughter) Killing the peacock would mean losing it, we should just put it in a cage

Kuthi janda chandra ma, kuthi jaande tare ho, oh amma jee kuthi jaande dilaan de pyaare ho

(Daugher) Where does moon go, where do the stars go, o mother where do the ones we love disappear

Chupi janda chandra ma, chupi jaande tare ho, ho dhiye bhala naiyo chupde dilaan de pyaare ho

(Mother) The moon hides and so do the stars, o daugher but those we love never go anywhere.

Another folk song by Mohit chauhan (Morni), this one from the album Pehchaan. There is more to the lyrics than meets the eye. This little girl knows killing the peacock would mean losing it. She knows that destroying is not the equivalent of conquering. One must aim at solving a problem that is worrisome instead of fighting it.

Another way of looking at it which ties the whole song together is that in life loved ones will never leave your side no matter what. They are precious. So if there is friction, compromising or moving away is better than putting an end to the relationship all together. Well that is just my take on the song, it could just be as simple as it sounds. I think I have started to over think everything I read these days. Should take a break! :)

Disclaimer : The previous disclaimer still holds. I am no expert in pahadi languages, this is just from my knowledge of hindi words and reading the meaning of the song posted in a few other websites. This is a folk song from himachal pradesh. If you are from Himachal Pradesh or you know Himachali I would love to know the meanings of the word dhubari, paarli, sadh le and puvaana :)

(On second thoughts, why would a person who knows Himachali look for the meaning of a Himachali song anyway :))

 

Thanda Paani – Boondein (lyrics and meaning)

Thanda paani naalue ra tere, sang sang chalna tere

Dur se aaye, yaad dilaaye, dur se aaye baadal ghanere, sang sang 

Paagal hawa, daaman mera, chooke chale, sang sang..

Dhoka de jaaye na, Kahin aa jaaye na, jaadu bhare, sang sang..

Oh cold water of the river, I want to walk along with you

You come from far away and remind us of the distant beautiful (dark) clouds

As do the crazy winds that caress my soul (literally veil) as they flow

It (water) does not betray, it does not leave, and fills (the mountains with) magic

I find pahadi songs (folk songs from the mountains) very pure and peaceful – probably it is  the flow of notes or the choice of notes or the instruments used or the slow rhythm or probably all of the above. They transport me to the majestic mountains, I can almost see the snow covered peaks, the lush green valleys and the crystal clear water glistening and making its way though a bright and sunny day. Oh well may be I am just getting better at day dreaming :)

This song Thanda Pani  is from the album Boondein by the Silk Route band, sung my Mohit Chauhan.

Disclaimer : I do not know the Pahadi (language of the mountains) very well. So the meanings may not be exact, but that is how I interpreted the song. (Nallua could just mean “tap” but I thought “river” was more fitting :))

Blue Jay!

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I was thrilled to spot a blue jay this morning. Did you know the pigment on its wings is actually melanin which means it should appear brown.  The blue appearance is due to scattering of light by modified cells on its wings (very much like the blue morpho butterfly). Blue jays exhibit erratic migratory patterns. Some migrate, some do not, some migrate every alternate year. Seems like this one is looking forward to the cold winter.

The Vegas Neighbourhood

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Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

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Lake mead, Nevada

A typical Las Vegas trip photo collection would be very different from this one. (well I did click some pictures of the casinos and their grandeur, but that’s for another post.)

If you get a chance to step out of the glamorous and glittering world of casinos on the Las Vegas strip, you will notice that it is not very different from any other city you have been to. And if you get a chance to step out of the city and explore the area around it, the hillocks of the red rock canyon and the contrasting blue of lake mead against the sandy brown banks will leave you in awe.

A crazy party for a couple of hours is fun, but actually staying in a perpetual party place that is always noisy and crazy is not exactly my idea of fun. So when I got a chance to spend a few hours away from the city before my flight back, I was the first one to jump into the car. We just had to drive around the canyon and lake mead because we were short on time, but if there is ever a next time, I would love to go on a trail and explore the desert landscape on foot.

Nindiya re – Kaavish (Lyrics and Meaning)

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Here is the link to the song : Nindiya re

Haule haule raaton ko, chupke se aaja re

Nindiya re nindiya re, ankhiyon mein sama jaa re

Nindiya re…

Kahin dur sitaaron pe, chanda ke ishaaron pe,

Palne ko tere jo pariyon ne jhulaaya re

Nindiya re…

Jugnu panchi, pyaare pyaare, tere sapne bune

Neend bhare in aankhon se teri chupke se kehte rahein

So jaa re, so ja re, sapno mein kho jaa re

Sneak in gently in the night, Oh sleep, come fill the eyes

On some distant star, at the request of the moon

The fairies gently sway your cradle

Lovely fireflies and birds, weave you dreams,

And keep telling your sleepy eyes,

Fall asleep, drift away into your dreams.

The song does not have fancy words but that is how lullabies should be right, no difficult words, no hidden meanings, just a tune and a song that spells peace and that is exactly how this song is. I sing it to my niece and she falls asleep in no time. I clicked this picture on one such occasions.

Oh and happy children’s day, do kids still celebrate Chacha Nehru’s birthday in India, I wonder? Probably my little cousins can help me with this one. :)