Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas festivities in Mumbai!

Life sized Santa

For the first time, I witnessed the festive frenzy in Mumbai, during this time of the year. Many stalls have been set up and have a variety of  Christmas decorations for sale.
Also, many of the hotels were all decorated to its glory!

A sneak peak into the festivities in Powai, Mumbai.

Hey Santa
Neatly packed decorations and shimmer

More to adore the Tree!

Foldable Christmas trees.
Carol singing at Meluha, The Fern, Powai. I enjoyed singing along with them, a couple of carols.

The Christmas flower

White Christmas tree

Ready for celebrations!

The lighted Tree!
'We are celebrating the feast of the Eternal Birth which God has borne and never ceases to bear in all eternity...But if it takes not place in me, what avails it? Everything lies in this - that it should take place in me.
- Meister Eckhart, 13th century Christian mystic

True Christmas!

Time for gifts ! Beautifully painted on the exterior glass wall of Haiko Mall, Powai, Mumbai
Last week, my daughter came to me and asked me the true meaning of Christmas. I tried to explain to her the significance of the birth of Christ.
However she showed me a circular provided by her school which conveyed to me the true significance of Christmas (and was explained by her class teacher to the students), as follows:

'Christmas is a festival that celebrates the "gift of giving", a tradition, a culture, a human nature.'

The parents were requested to contribute goodies and useful articles generously for the orphan children and make someone's day 'a happy one with a smile'!

Merry Christmas!

Festive decoration at Haiko Mall, Powai, Mumbai

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas fervor in Japan

Last week, I happened to witness the Christmas decorations in Nagoya, Japan. December 25, is not an official holiday in Japan. However, the big commercial corporations do decorate their buildings and the surrounding areas. And there are celebrations around.... 
December 23 happens to be a national holiday in Japan as it is the current Emperor Akihito's birthday.

It is believed that Christmas was first celebrated in Japan since 1549 when Saint Francis Xavier visited Japan. Though the first recorded Christmas was a mass held by the Jesuit missionaries in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1552, in Japan.


Santa's coming...


Rudolf, the red nosed reindeer

Richly decorated Christmas tree

Silent night

Presents galore...

Lighted flowers

All things precious

All is bright!
The Japanese 'forget-the-year parties' called 'bonenkai'  are celebrated in December! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas fervor!

The Christmas season has set in! In Goa, the people have started decorating their houses and shopping for gifts.....
Many of the hotels and resorts which dot the coastline of Goa have already decorated their premises beautifully to celebrate Christmas and the tourist season! Here is a peek into some of the wonderful decorations at Taj Exotica located at Calwaddo in Benaulim, Goa. 

The decorated Christmas tree

A close peek - shell decoration

A sight to behold...

The beautiful crib
Ornamented decorations
Inside the crib
Flowery Christmas tree
Reaching for the stars....
Decorated roof

December is the best time to be in Goa! Be there!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

IFFI 2014

Many facets!
This year IFFI - International Film Festival of India was held from November 20 - 30. The venue state remains the same - Goa! It was held in the city of Panaji.
Enjoy the show...

Here are some glimpses of the IFFI festivities which I captured at the Dabolim airport itself, in Goa!


Indeed a refreshingly, cool way to welcome the tourists.....
A mini replica of the pillar at the famous Mangeshi temple

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diwali festivities!

The festive season has set in. We love the months of September, October and November as a lot of festivals are celebrated during this time of the year.

For me, festivals are a way to remind us to be happy and celebrate the richness of life!

The Diwali festivities have set in, preparing for the main festival to be celebrated on October 23.
All type of Diwali decoration can be seen around in the markets: beautifully decorated diyas (lamps), akashdiwa’s (lanterns), decorative lighting, rangolis etc. Many of the malls and shops have been beautifully decorated too.

Here is a glimpse into the festive atmosphere in Mumbai…..

Diyas (lamps) galore for the festival of lights!
Richly decorated diyas...tempted to pick up more and more!
Colorful akashdiwas (lanterns) in varied hues...
Beautifully decorated lamp amongst a downpour of marigolds - at Haiko Mall, Powai
Royally decorated - worthy of a pose!

Let us celebrate, good over evil! Happy Diwali !!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Organ Donation Day – August 13th, 2014

The Times of India in partnership with Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital has taken the initiative to create awareness of organ donation and to get more people to register as donors.

Did you know? More than half a million Indians are estimated to be in dire need of an organ transplant – kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and so on….

The donation rate of the deceased is 26 per million population in the US, 35 in Spain and 36.5 in Croatia – the highest organ donation rate in the world.

Comparatively, the donation rate of the deceased is just 0.26 per million population in India. The lack of awareness is probably one of the biggest reasons for this low rate.

When you sign up for organ donation, you sign up for saving up to nine lives. That’s nothing short of a miracle ! And yet, we need more.

There are simply far too few organ donors in the country. We need more miracle workers like you! And you can help with that. 

Once you have registered yourself in the organ donor registry, please invite and encourage your friends, family members and colleagues to register as well. After all, lakhs of patients die every year for the want of organs. We need all the help we can get!

When you choose to give life after you have gone, you choose to live forever! If someone, were powerful enough to save lives, if someone did it all, knowing, fully well that they would get nothing in return, what would that make them ? GOD –LIKE.

Every Life Matters!

Join hands to give hope to thousands waiting for a fresh lease of live!

Source: The Times of India

Varalakshmi Vratham

Every ‘Shravan’ season (which usually occurs in July or August) I look forward towards the occasion of Varalakshmi Vratham puja. This is one puja which I diligently perform.

Varalakshmi Vratham is a festival wherein married women perform the Varalakshmi (Goddess who bestows boons = Lakshmi devi) puja.
Varalakshmi puja at my house.

This ritual is celebrated in most parts of South India, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. And was observed, on August 8, this year.
It usually occurs on the second Friday or the Friday before the full moon in the Shravan season. 

This puja is performed  to seek Varalakashmi devi’s blessings for the well being of the family and prosperity.

I love to decorate the Goddess on this day. 
The decorated Goddess!
And am amazed at the creativity of many talented women , who take great efforts to decorate the Devi, beautifully!

Here are some of the Varalakshmi devi’s, decorated, as part of the Vratham celebration at various households. 

Varalakshmi devi in her grandeur, at my mother's place.
The Goddess of Wealth! Puja at my sister, Parimala's house.
The Devi in resplendent glory! At my dear friend, Gayathri's house.

Decorated Devi at Deepthi's place (my neighbor and pal) 

Jai Varalakshmi Devi !!