Mucho Pyaar :o) x

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Diwali: The Before and The After.

If you have not understood or cottoned onto the fact that I am one who is very proud of my culture and heritage, then clearly you are new to me and my world, in which case... Welcome! I am also a tradionalist however, sometimes I feel that all our proud history can be lost on today’s generation, and thus I use the power of the air-waves to clue them in...

 Even before I had barely stepped into the building last week, Doni Brasco, the breakfast DJ and my icon at the studio came and told me that I was to cover the Diwali festival next week. I snuffled a giggle, as I told him to check his email; I already had the five day outlay ready and raring to go. I know a few of you have already been in touch, saying they may not be able to catch the explanations, so as promise, this is a Diwali Special blog-post, dedicated to all of you celebrating...

This is a festival of joy, happiness and brightness, the festival of lights that is celebrated with enormous passion by all the Indian communities, all over the world. So how does this festival differ from all the others in the Hindu calendar? Well, simply put, the rareness of this festival is in its harmony of the five diverse philosophies, with each of the five days realting to a exclusive and elite belief and concept. 

Day One: Dhanteras.
The first day in the five days, is known as Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi and is commonly known as Dhan Theras. On this day, Lord Dhanwantari rose from the ocean with Ayurvedic for mankind and thus the start of the Diwali festival is marked. As the sun sets, one would bathe and cleanse himself, offer Prashad, (something sweet which is offered during prayers), with a Diva/Deeya to Yamraj, Lord of Death, to pray for protection from harm and untimely death. This Pooja/Prayer is ideally conducted near a Tulsi Tree, the Holy Basil or any other holy, sacred tree.  

Day Two: Kali Chaudas
The second day is reffered to as Choti Diwali or Narak Chaturdasi, and is commonly called Kali Chaudas. It was on this day, that Lord Krishna demolished and destroyed Narakasur and set the world free from fear. During this day, one massages the body with oil, in order to alleviate one’s body from it tiredness and rest it, so the Diwali celebrations can be enjoyed to its fullest. In the evening, the Yama Diva/Diya is to be lit. This is something that the Shastras, which are the Laws of Dharma, declare to be offered with Prashad.

Day Three: Diwali.
Diwali Day is when Lakshmi Pooja is performed, by worshipping Mother Lakshmi. This is done by starting off by bathing and cleansing one’s body. Then the family comes together, with the Priest/Pandit and Mother Lakshmi is worshipped, to request and receive blessings for wealth, prosperity and opulence, as well as welcoming the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

Day Four: New Year’s  Day.
The fourth day is beginning of the New Year and has a few different names Padwa & Govardhan Pooja, Nutan Varsh and Annakot are all common names. On this special day, Govardhan Pooja is performed, dating back to the time of Lord Krishna, who had caused the people of Vraja to perform this and thus to honour the people of Vraja, Govardhan Pooja is performed as the first Pooja.

Day Five: Bhai-Beej.
The fifth and final day is Bhai Duj or Bhai Teeka or more commonly known as Bhai-Beej. This is a dedicated to the relationship of the brother and sister. During the Vedic era, Yama, Yamraj the Lord of Death, visited his sister and gave his sister a Vardhan, (a boon), that whoever visits her on this particular day, would be freed of all sins. They would also attain Moksha, final  liberation and since, brothers would spend this day with their sister/s, to assure their welfare and well-being. This day also symbolizes the end of the five-day celebrations.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends, family and followers a Happy Diwali and Nutan Varsh naa Abhinandan. May you all be enlightened with true knowledge and be blessed with peace, prosperity and happiness. May you year be filled and blessed with Love, Laughter and Light.

All my love,


Monday, 24 October 2011

Expectations... “If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” Sylvia Plath, ‘The Bell Jar’

As a human being, we cannot help but have expectations. Whether it is the expectation of son, sibling or spouse, it is human nature. Now let’s get onto the wider media picture.  
I have often heard people, females more so than males, say how Bollywood has given them ‘unrealistic expectations’ and I have to say that as a fellow female, I fully well agree! However to chuck all the blame onto Bollywood is very unfair. In fact, it is down-right wrong! I think there is an underlay that people tend to forget, especially if you grew up, surrounded by Disney and such characters.  So let’s take a quick chronological delve into history, to explore further. There’s a few on-going themes, so I’ll start by touching on those.


This is a dangerous theme, clothes. Every single one of the characters had such unrealistic attires, it was untrue! Who parades around in ball gown or big wedding-dress-style meringues during the pre and post teens! Let’s have a look-see at a few, shall we.

Ariel: At the mere age of 16, we see the youngest daughter of a King having a very distinctive appearance, with her long, flowing red hair, blue eyes, green tail, and a purple seashell bikini top! Always, always in seashell bikini, I mean seriously, let’s get realistic! How many 16-year olds did you see parading around in bikinis alone, forget seashell bikinis, back in ’89!

Jasmine: Never did I see Jasmine in anything, but that genie/Arabic/belly-dancing outfit! Did she own nothing else?! Who lives in attire like that, all the day and night long!


Rapunzel: This is the perfect example of hair-extensions at its best! I had my first hair-cut aged 11 and I have to admit, I had pretty long, strong locks, but nothing and nowhere like Rapunzel’s. This is simply impossible! I remember going through hours of agony every morning, trying to get my hair brushed and in a humane state!

Belle: Always seemed to her hair tied up beautifully in a RIBBON!! Have you ever tried tying your hair up in a ribbon?! Firstly, it does not work and secondly, after hours of attempts, if somehow you do manage it, it looks like a stack of hay that was shot and exploded!

Ariel: With luscious, long locks of ginger/red hair, Ariel was usually the envy and talking point of all hair-conversations. What I would like to know is, where are the frekkin’ freckles?! It is genetically not possible to have ginger hair and no freckles!!! As well as to be born with fire-red hair!

Jasmine: How do you get your hair in such a style, all the time! That’s a no-no so big, I’m not even going to say anything further!

Pocahontas : Simply known for just best hair ever! Yet never, ever was there a hairbrush or stylist in view!

Coming onto more general themes now.

Ever noticed how every single Princess always had the most perfect voice and just sang everything all the time! I come from a pretty ‘musical’ family and so I was luck to always be around strong vocals, but that just made me think we should all be like that, so you can imagine the culture shocks I used to get when I would go round to friends or extended family events, and they would put a tape on!

The other aspect I never, ever got was the whole ‘animal-human’ concept. Whilst it was really nice how animals were portrayed as members of the family and your best friends, the talking concept was way beyond me! The amount how times I’d stand waiting at my window, (singing, of course), for the birds to come over) and clean my room! I mean, just look at Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty all of whom had the animals as their best friends and as the little servants. Worse of them all was clearly, Ariel, who had constant slaves, in the form of Sebastian and Flounder. As a child, this concept confused me the most; were animals over friends, pet and family or just little slaves?! Just as I am trying to get my head round all this, along comes Belle, who has house-hold ornaments as her help! I really felt for Aladdin’s Apu, bless the poor soul! He was a monkey who was forced to dress up in a stupid outfit, with a red hat! I mean surely, that has RSPCA written all over it!

Why does every storyline have old people are automatically evil and witch-based?! Is it any wonder youngsters grow up thinking that old people are evil, ugly and annoying; their always protracted as such. From Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella’s wicked step-mother to Little Mermaid’s Ursula, the elder characters have the same characteristics: old, evil and ugly!

Why do all the themes have the same running pattern, which consists of a Princess only ever growing up, (beautiful, with long hair and a perfect figure – yeah right!), falling in love with the perfect and getting married?! I mean, what are the chances of that happening in this day and age?? No wonder none of the teenagers are interested in studying and becoming independent. For example, why could Cinderella have not escaped her wicked step-family and become a teacher?! Not to mention that most of these Princesses are a mere tender age of 16 years! Surely there has to be a legal as well as a moral issue of them marrying at such a young age! To add to the madness, there is never a straight marriage; more politics than a Bollywood storyline. When the King specifically told The Little Mermaid that was not to see the Prince ever again, she went and sold her soul to the Sea Witch and married him anyway! So does that teach us that if you disobey your parents and go against them, everything works out for the best?!

A never-ending topic, there are thousands of patterned-themes that run across, but to sum up this post...
Jasmine was in a relationship with a dirty homeless boy named Aladdin. Snow White lived alone with seven men. Pinnochio was a liar. Robin Hood was a thief. Tarzan walked around without clothes on. A stranger kissed Sleeping Beauty and she married him. Cinderella lied and snuck out at night to attend a party. With all this and more as our childhood influence and models, is it any wonder teenagers are as confused as they are!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Catering and Relating; The Young Generation.

Jai Ambe, Jai Bhavani and Jai Durga...x 

It’s been a while since my last blog and I have been a little busy bee since! Now for those of you who are regular followers or listeners will know just how much I love Navratri and how avidly I attend the Garba festival. I am also a tradionalist and am very proud of my culture and heritage. However, sometimes I see that all our proud history can be lost on today’s generation, or that they honestly don’t know the ‘real’ history.

Now having the knowledge, the passion and the power of the airwaves, I decided to combine all my powers and strengths together. Having a 2-5pm weekday slot was my biggest asset, as I wanted my voice to reach the younger generation and having the home-time (3-5pm) show was icing on the cake! So I decided that I wanted to be informative without being over-whelming. And thus came out the planning pads (from uni days!). 

In the end, I chose to have a special one-hour feature on the different aspects of Navratri between 3-4pm, simply as most children would be on the home run, in cars/getting home and would get the chance to listen in. However, as I wanted to make it short and sweet, I planned to do a small-snippet piece, right after the traffic and travel road reports, around 3:40pm. Everyday would be a different topic related either to that particular day or general knowledge. I finally finished all the planning and put my idea 'out there' through social networking sites and told listeners two days before Navratri started. At first I was a little worried about the response it would get, but soon after putting the idea out there, I was flooded with positive feedback, suggestions and questions too!

Wednesday 28th September came along... The First Day of Navratri. I was feeling a little anxious, a little nervous. I wanted to have a positive impact; I did not the youngsters to switch off or over, in fact I wanted to create a hunger, a fire in their bellies and a sense of pride. So rolled on the 3:30 traffic and travel road reports, and around 3:40pm I got ready to air my first ever Navratri link. 

I finished the link and internal studio phone started flashing! My heart sank and I put on the next song, setting my mind up for a negative call from the ‘big bosses’ listening in. Instead, it was Doni Brasco, the breakfast DJ and my icon at the studio! He must have been listening in during his drive home and was full of praise, saying how he never knew this fact and that detail! I felt a warm glow; such praise from someone of his calibre was a big boost to my confidence.

Just as I was getting my feedback, the phone lines started flashing; the listeners loved it and were so pleased that there was a link between the younger generation and their heritage. It did not stop there either, as the days passed, the interaction was through the roof! People loved the links and were tuning in for it. If I was a few minutes late on the link, the enquiring messages started coming in. I was so glad that I went with my themed feature. My real reward came when I attended the Garba festival in the evenings and was approached by parents and their children, thanking me and quoting back links that I had previously done. I had achieved what I had set out to do; reach the young generation.

So this blog is a special thank you to everyone who supported, got involved and generally wanted more from my Navratri Special Feature. If you missed one of the days, fret-not. The next blog will high-light each day’s topic and what it entailed. Enjoy! 

Jai Ambe, Jai Bhavani and Jai Durga...x