Via Anna Salmi on Tumblr
More and more Indians are finding love online
Indians are big believers in finding true love after marriage!
Finding love online is probably that the last thing your parents want you to do. But things have been changing so fast that you will be surprised at the speed with finding love online has taken off in India.
Here are some pointers that tell us why finding love online is a happening trend in India today.
a. The estimated value of the online matrimony market in India by 2017 is projected to be worth $250 Million, according to Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India. Parents are one of the most active and motivated users of matrimony sites!
b. Indians are also finding love online through dating sites. Dating is all set for a boom and the proof of this happening is the mushrooming dating sites and apps that range from matchmaking services to Tinder clones.
c. Let’s not forget that social media tools like Twitter, Quora, and Facebook has also helped Indians find love online. However, these connections don’t happen deliberately and are no different from you falling in love with a handsome, young man you bumped into at a mall!
d. As Indian families migrate to urban centers, away from their villages and extended families, they find that their social network in the real world has shrunk.
That’s not all, Indians have not yet developed the social skills needed to find their soulmate on their own nor is it still acceptable to have casual conversations in public places or meet women in bars!
Dating sites, matrimony sites are capitalizing on this opportunity by making the process less intimidating and private to some extent.
Finding love through online matrimony sites
When you reach the “marriageable age”, the first thing your parents do is to create a biodata for marriage. They will share this document through traditional snail mail or through email. The idea here is to find people within your parent’s social network. Invariably this process is a hit or miss. Most likely, they will enroll in an online matrimony site.
There are plenty of choices available for you when it comes to choosing the right matrimony site. Here are a few simple questions you need to ask yourself to identify the site that best suits your requirements.
Answer the following questions and you will probably have a shortlist of sites that may work for you.
Answer these questions before you shortlist a matrimony site.
1. Would you prefer to interact with parents or with potential matches directly?
Most popular matrimony sites (Shaadi, Jeevansathi, Bharat Matrimony) have a large number of profiles created by parents. They do have profiles created and managed by prospective matches but you won’t find too many of them. If you want to directly interact with potential matches, you should look at the countless other sites that have sprung up in the recent past.
2. Are you very specific about marrying within your religion / caste / sub-caste?
Once again, the big three sites excel in helping you search within your community. You will also find regional / local sites that cater to specific communities (Example: Sai Sankara Matrimony in Chennai caters to the local Brahmin community).
3. Do you consider yourself “elite / high-net-worth individual”?
If you have a high-paying job or running a big business or you come from elite schools, you will find it difficult to meet someone who will meet your “standards” through traditional matrimony sites. You are better off taking the dating route or hire a matchmaker who specializes in providing services to rich / high-flying people.
4. Are you open to arranged dating before marriage?
Matrimony sites may not be the right option for you if you would like to date the person you shortlist before committing to marriage. You may have to look at other matchmaking options. Read on to find out.
Here is a list of online matrimony sites in India along with pricing information and customer reviews. Click here to read this in-depth article.
Finding love through online matrimony sites starts with finding a compatible person who meets all your basic expectations. You need to then really do that hard work before and after marriage if you have any hopes of converting finding true love.
Here is how online matrimony sites work.
1. Sign up to create your profile free of cost.
2. Complete your profile and upload a photograph.
3. Use the search feature to start searching for matching profiles.
Matrimony sites have mind-numbing search options!
4. Express Interest or send a message.
5. You will also receive notifications when other parents are interested.
6. Remember to also check out self-created profiles. You may be lucky to directly interact with a boy or girl. Don’t have your hopes high on this front.
Most profiles in matrimony sites are created by parents
Beware of these matrimony site pitfalls
There are several challenges you will face when you use matrimony sites.
First of all, you will be sold to at every turn to upgrade.
Matrimony sites want you to always upgrade to a premium service!
Sign up for the upgraded version only after checking out the free version.
Beware of con artists and charlatans using matrimony sites as their playground. Here is an extract from a recent news!
Con artists use matrimony sites to lure victims.
Finding love through dating sites in India
Young, tech-savvy men and women of India have easy access to smartphones, laptops, and other such easy-to-carry gadgets and they are always ‘connected’ and looking to try new things through trendy apps. Dating sites in India are capitalizing on this trend as young Indians in urban centers are hoping to find love online.
Here are three reasons that explain the phenomenal growth of dating sites in India.
1.Exposure to the culture of finding love before marriage: Westernization and greater exposure to the idea of not depending only on a chance meeting to fall in love have led to the growth of dating sites in India.
2. Increase in connectivity: The big jump in the smartphone usage (650 million in the next four years) along with mobile internet connections (354 million as of June 2015) has provided young Indians an opportunity to discretely find love away from the gaze of the families and with privacy.
3. International dating companies have opened shop: The entry of international dating apps like Tinder and the likelihood of other apps like Zoosk, OKCupid, Hinge, POF, and eHarmony entering the Indian market in the near future will see more marketing campaigns that will get more Indians to try the idea of finding love online.
There are plenty of local online dating apps and websites.
You can take a pick from many Indianised dating apps if you want to try your luck in finding love online. Truly Madly, Woo, Cogxio, Vee, are some of the dating applications in India.
Here is how most of them work.
1. Sign up.
2. Complete your profile.
3. Like people and wait for them to like back before getting connected.
Here is how Tinder works.
Dating sites make it easy for Indians to find love online.
Indian counterparts of Tinder have a more elaborate process to sign up and some of them place emphasis on validating profiles or use sophisticated matchmaking algorithms.
In addition to online dating, Indians in cities are finding love using dating / matchmaking services that provide a combination of online and offline services.
Sites like UrbanTryst (which seems to have gone out of business), Floh, and Aisle provide an opportunity to create your profile and declare your expectations. They then match you with prospective dates in a casual setting or a group date. These are organized by the service provider around fun activities with the hope that cupid will strike at least some of their members.
Here is how UrbanTryst explains the process.
Hybrid matchmaking service providers have an elaborate process.
Online dating – Gateway to nightmares?
All said and done, online dating in India (and elsewhere) is fraught with major issues. Here are some you should keep an eye out for.
1. Do you really know who you might be meeting? Manipulation of personal data on online dating platforms is one of the biggest concerns for women. There is no guarantee that a man with whom a woman is interacting has shared genuine information pertaining to his identity.
2. Beware of stalkers and ‘players’. Stalkers, spammers, and verbal abuses abound on dating sites. Real life stalking is also a possibility and many women have had to face unsavory incidents of stalkers turning up on their doorstep.
3. You can always sign up but you can never leave! After having explored the world of online dating for a while, if a woman wishes to exit, she may find that parting ways is pretty difficult. The removal of her account from the dating website doesn’t guarantee that her profile will be disabled.
4. No means yes? Men in India still have problems taking rejection in their stride. There are countless cases of acid attacks, kidnappings, and other forms of harassment that goes beyond stalking. Bollywood also has driven home the point that if you try hard, every woman that says “no” will end up saying “yes”!
Finding love through social media
According to a research conducted by a marketing firm, Indians use Facebook, Shaadi.com.and Twitter to find love online.
The study also reported that 35% of Indians surveyed in a study reported that they found love online.
Surveys apart, there are some real life stories of how social media brough people together. Here is an example of how Twitter brought together these love birds who eventually got married!
Real life story of a girl finding love through Twitter!
Facebook and Twitter are not the only fish when it comes to finding love online. Ever heard of Quora, a Q&A site? Finding love on Quora seems to be ridiculous, but Indians (who are one of the most active users of Quora) seem to have fallen in love with other Quora members!
Here is a story of a girl who found her husband on Quora.
A real life story of a girl who found her husband through Quora.
You can read more Quora love stories here.
Last, but not the least, Facebook has always resulted in connections that move beyond just being friends. Some of these love matches cut across international boundaries! Click here to read one such story of a woman from Orissa who married a Pakistani man, thanks to Facebook!
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Posted in Arranged Marriage, Dating, Love, Relationship
Tagged with: Arranged Marriage, dating, Finding love, India, Matrimony Sites
Temples of India – One of the greatest gifts for mankind!
Since time immemorial, India has been the cradle of religions, art, architecture, and spiritualism. The temples of India serve as a great social leveler. Irrespective of our background, wealth, education or even social status, we are all subservient to the almighty when we go to a temple. Most of us many not really appreciate the significance of why we go to a temple and are oblivious to the history and the significance of temples.
We decided to open your eyes to the beauty and the spiritualism that radiates from the temples of India and have lined up 21 amazing picture posts from Tumblr that will amaze you.
That’s not all, we have also lined up amazing facts about the temples of India to bring you up to speed on what you should have known all along!
Did You Know?
Often even the names of the temple towns have a story behind them
. For example, there are stories about why Naimisaranya got its name. Nemi in Sanskrit means a circle. It is said that when celestial beings asked Brahma where they should do penance, Brahma flung his ring, and told them that they should do penance in the place where the ring fell. It fell in the place we now know a Naimisaranya.
Did You Know?
Mathura is the place where Ambarisha and Dhruva did penance. It used to be originally known as Madhu
Did You Know? More than 300,000,000 volunteer hours went into building the Akshardham temple complex in Delhi. Over 8,000 volunteers from across the world participated in building it.
Did You Know?
At the Puri Jagannath temple
, the image of Lord Jagannath
is made of wood. Every twelve or nineteen years these wooden figures are ceremoniously replaced by using sacred trees, that have to be carved as an exact replica. The reason behind this ceremonial tradition is the highly secret Navakalevara (‘New Body’ or ‘New Embodiment’) ceremony, an intricate set of rituals that accompany the renewal of the wooden statues.
Did You Know?
The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a triveni sangam
(the joining of three rivers — Kapila, Hiran and the mythical Sarasvati River
Did you know?
The most important part of a temple, its very heart as it were, is the garbhagrha or the sanctum sanctorum
, the cave-like cube-shaped “womb room,” located within the Brahmasthana of the Vastu Purusha Mandala, directly above the gold box, placed earlier in the earth during the garbhadhana
ceremony. Here on the altar, the deity in the Dhruva Bheru (immovable) form is installed.
Did You Know?
The Konark temple complex
is in the shape of a gigantic chariot, having elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars, and walls. This is a unique design among all the temples of India.
Did You Know? Meenakshi temple
has twelve impressive Gopuras over the three tier Prakara walls. The outer four towers are nine -storied with heights ranging from 161 feet to 170 feet.
Did You Know? The original Venugopala Swamy temple had to be abandoned because of the construction of the KRS dam. However, the idol of Lord Krishna was moved to the new temple premises.
Did You Know?
In 1578 CE Guru Ram Das excavated a tank, which subsequently became known as Amritsar
(Pool of the Nectar of Immortality), giving its name to the city that grew around it. In due course, the Harmandir
Sahib, was built in the middle of this tank and became the supreme centre of Sikhism.
Did You Know? The Kedarnath temple is over a thousand years old and is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps.
Did you know? With the increasing threat from invading armies, the temple cities found it expedient to erect a series of protective walls to safeguard and defend their temples, palaces, and cities. The Gopuras constructed on the gateways leading from one enclosure to the next, initially, served as watch towers for defense!
Did You Know?
The main entrance of the Ranganathaswamy temple of Srirangam
, known as theRajagopuram
(the royal temple tower), rises from the base area of around 13 cents (around 5720 sq ft) and goes up to 237 feet (72 m), moving up in eleven progressively smaller tiers.
Did You Know?
It believed that the Virupaksha temple
has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since its inception in the 7th century AD.That makes this one of the oldest functioning temples in India.
Did You Know?
The Lakshmana temple is one of the.three largest temples of Khajuraho
and the Western Group and is considered to have been built the earliest (c. AD 954) by the Chandella rulers.
Did You Know? Most of these monuments at Mahabalipuram are monolithic, i.e. carved out of one single rock!
Did You Know?
The architectural style
of Kerala temples has an inherent simplicity. Because Kerala is rich in forest cover, wood is a key building material in temples across Kerala.
Did You Know?
The Sabarimala temple
is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 468 m (1535 ft) above mean sea level and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests.
Did You Know?Trimbakeshwar
temple has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas
. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra.
Did you Know?
Six hundred skilled craftsmen spent more than 10 million man-hours to construct the ISKCON Krishna temple
in Bangalore. 32,000 cubic meters of stone, 131,250 tons of cement and 1,900 tons of steel were used in the construction.
Did You Know?
The Mahabodhi Temple
is located in Bodh Gaya of Bihar and is regarded as one the most important and sacred among the buddhist temples of India. This is the place where Siddhartha Gautama had attained enlightenment while sitting under the Bodhi tree.
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Posted in Religion
Tagged with: India, Religion, Temples
North Indian marriage customs are like fine wine!
Elaborate, intricate and beautiful, a north Indian marriage is a celebration of all the wonderful things in life – families, friends, food, culture, religion, emotions and most importantly joy de verve! Unlike western marriages, north Indian marriage customs are elaborate and provide plenty of excuses to amp up the celebration quotient!
The sheer sensory overload of a big fat Indian wedding ceremony might overwhelm you if you haven’t grown up in India or if you haven’t attended one before. But no matter where you are from, you can’t stop yourself from being sucked into the festivities!
North Indian marriage customs have come a long way from the Swayamvarams depicted in mythologies to today’s intercultural weddings! But the more they evolved, the more they stay the same!
This is an extract from the book “Marriage Ceremonies in Ancient India” by Johann Jacob Meyer:
“The Mahabharata (V, 72) relates how the marriage of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu with Uttara, the daughter of King Virata, was solemnised with great splendour. Conches were blown, drums were beaten and trumpets sounded. All sorts of animals were slaughtered by the hundreds, and many types of liquor were drunk in great quantities.”
Seems like Abhimanyu had a Punjabi wedding for sure! Like a fine wine, north Indian marriage customs and traditions have aged well.
Jodi Logik Minions decided that the best way to give you a glimpse of the big, fat north Indian marriage customs and rituals would be to give a photo tour.
North Indian Marriage Customs
Marriages in north India are colorful, with lavish decoration and food that will make you forget your daily grind.
Once the couple and their families decide to move forward with the wedding, the first ceremony off the block is the Sagai or the engagement ceremony. The bride and the groom exchange a ring followed by merry making in the company of friends and family.
Here is an elaborate explanation:
Sagai is traditionally held at the bridegroom’s home where the family members and friends of both the bride and the bridegroom are invited for the ceremony. The bride’s family visits the bridegroom’s family with lots of immaculately wrapped traditional gifts, sweets and dry fruits, and tikka material to perform the ritual of Sagai/Kurmai/Mangni. Nowadays, the tikka ceremony has been combined with the Sagai ceremony. The tikka material that the bride’s family carries to the bridegroom’s home consists of a silver tray with a few grains of rice on it, a silver bowl containing some saffron, 14 chuharey (dried dates) nicely wrapped in a silver foil and a coconut covered in a golden leaf.
Credits: Manish Roy
On the day before the wedding, a mehndi ceremony is arranged where the bride and her sisters and aunts apply henna on their hands and feet. Beautiful intricate designs are drawn on the bride’s palms, extending to her elbows. The mehndi ceremony is probably one of the most beautiful north Indian marriage customs and you can check out more about it here.
It is said that the redder the henna is on the bride’s hands and feet, the stronger her bond will be with her husband. In fact, there is a slew of other interesting tidbits about the significance of bridal mehndi in north Indian weddings.
Music is an important part of any Indian wedding ceremony. Even at the groom’s house, the family gathers for a sangeet ceremony, with a lot of dancing and singing. The families unleash a mood of festive happiness all around.
Credits: Braja Mandala
Credits: Cosmin Danila Photography
On the morning of the wedding, a haldi ceremony takes place. The groom and the bride are liberally coated with turmeric paste at their respective homes. Close friends and family members gather to apply haldi. Here is a detailed explanation of the significance of the haldi ceremony:
“With its medicinal properties, haldi was (and still is) nature’s best gift to mankind. With its antiseptic qualities, haldi acts as the protective shield for the bride/groom from cuts, bruises, and any other seasonal ailments. Application of haldi also infuses a natural sheen and glow to the skin, readying the bride/groom for their wedding celebrations ahead.”
Credits: Braja Mandala
The actual wedding begins in the evening. The dulha (groom) arrives along with his baarat, seated on a female horse, his face hidden behind a sehra. The groom’s family arrives at the bride’s house dancing in the midst of crackers and music. Wealthy families are known to hire elephants and chariots as well.
If we declare that the atmosphere is grand and festive, we will probably be making the understatement of the year! Most north Indian families hire a brass band and the fashion-conscious families bring in a DJ to keep the festivities in high gear! This is one ritual where everyone has a license to drink and dance!
Credits: pnglife, Flickr
Credits: Proudly Imperfect
At the end of the baraat, they are met by the bride’s family. The bride’s mother does an aarti of the groom, where tilak is applied on his forehead.
The wedding ceremony begins with the groom on the stage along with the priest. The bride then arrives with her cousins, all decked in a beautiful saree and gold jewelry. Her head is covered in a ghunghat as she sits beside the groom.
The bride and groom exchange garlands with each other in the Jaimala ceremony. In some marriages, the groom’s family lifts him up high on their shoulders to make it difficult for the bride to place the garland. The bride’s brothers then lift her up too and then its game on! Any excuse to have fun is gladly accepted in north Indian marriages.
Credits: The Big Fat Indian Wedding
Then comes the solemn rituals associated with north Indian wedding customs. The first major ritual off the block is the Kanyadan ceremony. In short, the bride’s father gives away his daughter to her husband for them to begin a new life. Here is a detailed explanation of the significance of Kanyadan.
Credits: Four Seasons Magazine
Kanyadaan literally translates to “gifting the girl” to the bridegroom. As a symbol of acceptance, the bridegroom touches the right shoulder of the bride, promising to take care of her and holding her responsibility.”
The satphere is the next important ritual after the kanyadaan. The groom and the bride walk around the sacred fire seven times.
Credits: The Big Fat Indian Wedding
Each round or phera has a significant meaning and is accompanied by the chanting of Vedic rituals. The first step is to respect and honor towards each other, the second for strength to weather their problems together, the third for prosperity for their household, the fourth for wisdom, the fifth for children, the sixth for health, and the seventh for affection and a lasting companionship.
The groom ties the mangal sutra on the girl’s neck and applies sindoor to her forehead. This is when the marriage is complete and the bride and groom now become husband and wife!
Credits: Ramit Batra
Finally, the marriage ends with a ceremonial send-off for the bride. Called Vidai, this an emotionally charged ritual as this is seen as a final goodbye from the bride’s family as she is now officially a member of another family. Who said north Indian wedding customs are all fun and frolic. There is an element of melodrama as well to cap off the festivities.
Credits: Braja Mandala
If you think we missed out on more interesting north Indian wedding customs, use the comments section below to add your thoughts.
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Posted in Arranged Marriage, India, Marriage
Tagged with: India, Indian marriage, wedding
Holi in India – A celebration of colours!
Holi is a spring festival celebrated mostly by Hindus throughout India. Holi in India is probably the most exciting festival after Deepavali or Diwali considering the fact that firecrackers are mostly absent during Holi!
Here are some fun facts about Holi in India
Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon (in the Hindu month of Phalguna) in early March.
Why is Holi celebrated? Holi in India is a celebration of spring and a great excuse to indulge in merry-making!
Holi is probably the least religious of Hindu festivals. Anybody can join in.
Here is an interesting history of Holi. This ritual is based on the story of Krishna and Radha – Krishna’s mother asked the blue-skinned Krishna to colour Radha’s face in any colour, and they became a couple. It is also commemorated as the festival of love.
Holi is spread out over 2 days. It used to be 5 days. In some places, it is even longer!
It is observed in Nepal, India and other regions of the world with a sizeable Hindu population.
Holi celebrations start the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire, where people sing, dance and party.
Some of the popular Holi delicacies are Gujiya, Mathri, and Malpua.
The morning after the celebrations is a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play and chase each other with dry powder and coloured water.
Holi in India is the only time men are allowed to throw colours and drench women in water! Did anyone say India is a conservative society?
Did you know that Bhang, an intoxicating ingredient made from cannabis leaves, is mixed into sweets and drinks and consumed by many people?
Holi also has cultural significance to end and rid oneself of past errors and to end conflicts by meeting others; a day to forgive and forget.
We scoured Instagram to get hold of the most colourful and stunning images of Holi. Get ready for a riot of colour!
The ramparts and ledges on top of the courtyard are filled with people with massive baskets of dry colour and rose petals. Handfuls are thrown on the revelers below and soon the entire temple is in a colourful haze of fine coloured powder. The chequered marble floor is no longer visible as the murky coloured water knee deep fills the courtyard. The pandemonium continues for hours and by the afternoon the throngs begin to make their way out of the temple. What is left looks like the aftermath of a riot mixed with a hurricane. Clothing and slippers float on the fast draining water, children continue to slip and slide on the wet marble floor, the priests shout at them and try to get them to leave but to no avail. #holi, #barsana, #colour, #holifestival, #festival, #india, #masses, #people, #festivalofcolour. Image shot in 2012 #nikon, #spring
A photo posted by @purisahib on
If you enjoyed the stunning pictures of Holi in India, you will love these awesome posts as well.
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Posted in India
Tagged with: Holi, India
Marrying a divorced woman is a big challenge in India
The idea of marrying a divorced woman in India is riddled with social stigmas! While it is true that divorced women do get married in India, the ground reality is that not too many single men prefer marrying a divorced woman in India. Since, there are so many social stigmas and family pressure attached to divorce, men prefer to take the easy way out.
Take for example the matrimony section in any newspaper. Out of the hundreds of matrimony ads, you will be hard pressed to find one divorcee looking to remarry or single men openly declaring that they are open to marrying a divorcee. Just goes to show that the idea of a divorced woman getting remarried is still not done through traditional means such as arranged marriages.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Divorce rates are still very low in India when compared to the western countries. According to Stephanie Coontz, the director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, arranged marriages in many countries are often associated with the lack of choice for young people and are often repressive to women.
Arranged marriages in India might be more stable, however, it is in no way a measure of success as social pressures and stigma associated with divorces force people to live through an unhappy marriage.
Although middle-class women are taking charge, in rural India, it is mostly men who initiate most divorce or leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves. Poor women in rural India are just abandoned by men and have very little chances of remarriage because of the rules of their caste.
Things are changing!
However, it’s not all gloom and doom.
The divorce rates in urban India have doubled in the last five years (Yes, sometimes bad things are actually good!).
The reason divorce rates are increasing is because educated Indian women now have an option. “Women don’t want to lie down and take it anymore,” says Julie George, a Pune-based lawyer in matrimonial cases. “There is a lot more independence, freedom. Women who work are financially independent and aren’t prepared to put up with a husband who harasses them.”
Most of the online matrimonial websites are targeted towards 20 somethings and people marrying for the first time, a niche website targeting divorcees was required. Secondshaadi.com does just that. It targets divorced people around India and helps them remarry.
Divorced women do get married.
Divorce is not the end for women, the story goes on…
Divorce doesn’t mean the end of the world to the modern Indian women. They are very much open to the idea of remarriage and are willing to start afresh.
Let us glimpse through three key reasons why divorced women in India are embracing marriage the second time.
1. Sparks flying all over again
What better reason than love for marrying again! The modern Indian woman is free of inhibitions and is ready to go out there and take the plunge all over again. She is open to meeting new people, making new friends and getting emotionally involved, all of which often leads her to find the love of her life once again.
2. A shoulder to lean on
Divorce takes an adverse toll on the woman’s health, both mentally and physically. Remarrying gives women a chance to restore their emotional stability and get some normalcy back into their lives.
3. Money makes the world go round
Financial stability is yet another reason why women remarry. Having income coming from two sources is definitely better than one. It greatly improves the standard of living, even more so if the woman is with a child from the earlier marriage.
Why Indian women divorce and what men can learn?
If you are open to marrying a divorced woman or even if you think it’s not for you, understanding why women in India divorce will help you understand their perspective better. Who knows, you may actually change your opinion about marrying a divorced woman after all!
1. Increasing opportunities to be financially independent
Women in India are better educated and more career oriented than ever before. Women are now more independent and financially secure in their own rights. Therefore, women, these days are more empowered to leave marriages that make them miserable.
Men, take note. Women like to do more than just be a housewife. More and more women like to work and have a career that they can be proud of, just like you. Take pride in helping them achieve their career goals.
2. Saying ‘NO’ to gender specific roles
India, being a country where gender categorization is still prevalent, women feel stuck doing household chores, especially if there is no help from her husband.
Mahua, an IT executive, says, He would expect me to get home from work and cook for him while he watched television. I was revolted at the idea of me toiling while he put his feet up.
Getting cooped up in gender specific roles is a big no for the Indian woman today. Issues pertaining to the gender specific role assigned to women often paves the way for a divorce.
Marriage is an equal responsibility. It takes effort from both sides to work out a marriage. Don’t just sit there and let her do all the work. Don’t be a burden, help her out instead. Take charge and share responsibilities.
Let’s face it, one of the major reasons why women file for divorce is because of adultery. As women are becoming increasingly empowered, they don’t want to be in a relationship where they are not being appreciated. They would rather go solo.
Remember men, adultery causes a major blow to any relationship. The feelings of compassion, love, and all things that built a relationship disappear and all that is left are guilt and anger. Do yourself and your relationship a favor, never cheat.
Failed marriages provide a great opportunity to learn not only for the divorcee but also for the man who is marrying a divorced woman. It forces you to come to terms with your shortcomings and who you are as a person. It forces you to take charge and start working on the traits of your personality that you want to change.
What you should know before marrying a divorced woman
Via Royal Challenger’s Flickr Stream
India is still a largely patriarchal country. Although women in this country are breaking new ground every day, the problem of male dominance is still prevalent in India. In most situations, men get off with a slap on the wrist while the women are publicly shamed. This transcends to divorce cases as well.
If you are open to marrying a divorced woman, just remember that she has many fine qualities that are shaped by her experiences. Here are a few things that you should know about before marrying a divorced woman.
1. Finding joy in less is an art
Divorced women don’t have it easy. Living conditions plummet because the available money is halved and the expenses rise.
Let’s take the case of Jyoti Chatterjee. When her husband decided to leave and live in with his mistress, she did have the means to survive. However, there were a lot of things that she could not afford. Holidays or necessities like an air conditioner became a luxury.
She says, “None of them necessities, considering I had enough money to put food on the table. But…at a time of emotional turmoil like a divorce, one can do with some creature comforts to cheer oneself up”.
Divorced women end up mastering the art of finding less expensive ways to lead their lives and strive a bit harder to earn more. These are fine qualities indeed!
2. Managing both work and child takes a lot
Divorce can be pretty rough on a child. When a couple with a child files for a divorce, the child’s world falls apart because of the two people whom he/she loves the most do not love each other anymore. This makes the child, who is scared, rebellious, angry and probably depressed, act out his emotions. This is the time when a child needs all the attention from the parent.
A divorced woman with a child has to bear additional responsibilities and play multiple roles. Doing the grind; performing well in the office, doing household chores and simultaneously taking care of the child. Managing all this and still coming out on top is what makes these women worth it.
3. Ability to overcome social stigma
Although the stigma related to divorce in India has waned considerably, it is still prevalent. Divorced women are still looked down upon, sometimes by their own family members. A divorced woman effectively becomes a social pariah, and she is not welcome by her own friends and family members.
However, all this hate actually helps a woman find her true self and push her to become better in her own right and start living life on her own terms. As you can see a divorced woman is no pushover!
4. Mental toughness
Divorce breaks a person. It takes a lot of effort and willpower to get back up and continue living life. There are times, after a divorce, during which a woman might suffer from severe episodes of depression.
However, with time, even the blackest of days turn into distant memories. A woman, who goes through such a difficult phase in her life, turns out to be stronger and more independent.
5. She has her side of the story as well
People in India have this absurd notion that divorced women are damaged goods and that they should not get married again. They have a preconceived notion that if a woman is divorced, there is something wrong with her.
Randomly jumping on to conclusions helps no one. There are two sides to every coin. It is important to know both sides of the story before arriving at any conclusion. In reality, there are no damaged goods, only damaged expectations.
6. She is not a burden to the society
Indian society largely views divorced and separated women as outcasts and treats them harshly. Divorced women are looked upon with disgrace and are a harassed lot.
It so happens that the people who were thought to be a woman’s friends start distancing themselves from the woman. Married friends don’t know what to do with them and the dinner invitations dry up.
Single friends are much better in this regard as fewer of them disappear. A woman having common friends with her husband might have to deal with the friends choosing sides and lining up with her husband instead of her.
7. Learn how to deal with stepchildren
The possibility of having stepchildren is very real when marrying a divorced woman. If you are marrying a divorced woman with a child, it is important to give the stepchild time and space to grieve. Include the stepchildren in the household chores so that they feel like a part of the family.
It is important to maintain a steady friendship with your stepchildren. Don’t rush into it, give them some time to open up to you. Remember, communication is the key to having a fulfilling relationship with your step children.
The relationship between a stepparent and a stepchild is definitely challenging. However, if you are marrying a divorced woman with kids in tow, it is essential you learn how to build a lasting relationship with the stepchildren for the long-term happiness and security of your new family.
A divorced woman goes through a lot. From social stigmas to financial troubles to loneliness and much more. All a divorced woman wants is your understanding and your support. Take responsibility, share her load and make her feel as loved as possible. If she has a child from her previous marriage, make the child feel at home and as comfortable as possible. Make your house as harmonious as possible by caring for the ones you love. Make all possible efforts for her to open up to you and make her feel safe and secure.
Do the right thing
Given that the divorce rates have gone up in India in the recent times, its only a matter of time before marrying a divorcee becomes a non-issue. After all “Inside your soul is the ability to survive even the toughest storms, and that paradise can always be found–even in the middle of a hurricane–if you are willing to look”.
Marrying a divorced woman is not a sin. Don’t jump to conclusions or cave into the societal pressures. Do the right thing!
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Posted in Divorce, Marriage
Tagged with: divorce, India, Marriage
Thali – What’s great about it?
Thali is by far the most popular lunchtime meal in Indian restaurants. One of the most frustrating experiences in Indian restaurants is the fact that there are way too many menu items to choose from. Deciding on the items to order is a painful experience :). The thali is the perfect meal for people who can’t decide! It also neatly brings together the mind-boggling array of dishes that every regional Indian cuisine offers.
Here are five great reasons why you should try a thali meal at an Indian restaurant:
- You can never lose: In one swoop, you can try all the regional delicacies on a plate. By far, this is the biggest advantage. You will find at least two or three items from the Thali that is to your liking.
- Balanced food: Believe it or not, the different tastes, textures, and ingredients in a thali provide a perfectly balanced meal that has proteins, carbohydrates, salts, and other nutrients.
- Gastronomic adventure: The easiest way to savour the diverse regional cuisines of India is to go for the regional thali. Almost every state and every region of the country has its own version of thali!
- Seasonal variations: Even if you love a thali from a specific region, the dishes that comprise the thali will vary according to the season! It never gets boring with any thali.
- Promotes sharing: The idea of having a large variety of dishes in cups makes it easy for sharing food with your friends and family. After all, food is more enjoyable when you have people to share!
Not convinced? Our list of 15 mouth-watering thalis below will change your mind and make you hungry!
15 amazing thali meals from around India
Let’s dive straight into exploring all the fantastic regional thali variations from around India.
1. Tamil Nadu
In Tamil Nadu, thali meals are served on plates as well as on a banana leaf. Considered to be the birthplace of the elaborate sappadu (meal), most restaurants in Tamil Nadu offer a vegetarian thali that has sambar, rasam, poriyal. kootu, kara kozhambu, pappadam, keerai, payasam, to name a few. Click here for some interesting recipes for a Tamil Nadu thali!
Via Suresh Hinduja
The Chettinad cuisine has a distinctive place in the gastronomical map of India. The Chettiars of south Tamil Nadu live an arid region and many of their dishes involve sun dried meats and salted vegetables. To get your fill of a Chettinad meal, visit the Anjappar chain of restaurants.
The Andra cuisine is known to be spicy and full of flavour (this is actually a cliche as most Indian regional cuisine falls in this category!). The avakai (mango) pickle, brinjal preparations, a variety of cooked dals, dried lentil powders (podis) are considered staple items. Andhra food is also diverse. Rayalaseema, coastal Andhra, Telangana have their own regional dishes that are more in tune with the climate and what grows there.
True to its name as the ‘land of spices’, Kerala cuisine offers amazing thali options that span vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes. The coastal areas of Kerala are known for their seafood delicacies while the plains are known for their vegetarian items. Rich in coconut oil. jackfruit, and of courses spices, the sadya is an epic thali served on a banana leaf for special festivals like Onam.
The Karnataka thali has a similar variety of dishes you will find in a South Indian thali. However, regional variations in how the items are prepared as well as completely new items make it unique. For example, the rasam of Tamil Nadu becomes saaru in Karnataka and acquires a sweeter taste due to the use of jaggery. North Karnataka has a distinct cuisine and one of the most interesting items I look forward to is the mirchi bajji!
The cuisine in Maharashtra is considered to be simple reflecting the economic condition of people there. Meat is rarely used, but seafood is common in coastal regions. Here is an interesting insight on a typical Maharashtrian thali meal:
The order in which the thali is presented is also given utmost importance. When arranging a meal, consider thali as a clock, the number 12 position is salt, to its left is a lemon wedge, and then to the left are an array of chutneys, pickles (Lonache) and salads (koshimbeers). To the right side of salt are different vegetables like paatal bhaji(vegetable curry), paale bhaji (leafy greens), suki bhaaji (dry stir fry), usal(sprouts), Amti (daals). Cooked white rice is moulded in a small mound called bhatachi mood, with a bright yellow plain daal (varan) anointed with a dollop of clarified butter (toop).
The Punjabi cuisine is known for its liberal use of dairy products such as butter, ghee (clarified butter), and paneer (cottage cheese). Since Punjab is the bread basket of India, wheat is a key ingredient and the naans cooked in tandoor ovens are world famous.Perennial favourites include sarson ka saag, aloo paratha, dal tadka, and chole. Of course, non-vegetarian items such as butter chicken are popular too! Capping off a Punjabi thali with hot jalebis is something worth trying!
8. Bengali Thali
There is something fishy about Bengali cuisine! Fish is an essential item along with rice and lentils in any Bengali meal. But that doesn’t mean there is the lack of vegetarian dishes. Here is an assortment of vegetarian items that can find a place in the thali – Ucche Bhaja, Begun Bhaja, Aloo Poshto, Cholar Dal, Chanar Dalna, Aam Pora Sherbat, and the sweet Rosogolla! Here is a unique set of recipes if you want to try authentic Bengali dishes.
The Rajasthani cuisine is shaped by the barren desert conditions of the state. The need to preserve food for a long time and the usage of milk in place of water have defined the Rajasthani cuisine. The Marwari thali is popular throughout India and is from the Marwar region of Rajasthan. Check out this page for a complete list of Rajasthani items that go into the thali. The Rajdhani chain of restaurants is a great place to try out traditional Rajasthani dishes.
10. Oriya (aka Odisha)
Here are a couple of interesting titbits about the Oriya cuisine and the thali.
Oriya thali consists of a main course and dessert. Traditional bread is served as a main course for breakfast and rice is served for lunch and dinner with the classic dalma and varieties of vegetables. Sweets are enjoyed after every meal and there are varieties of milk based sweets being enjoyed here.
The Assamese cuisine and flavours are based on the fact that fermentation and drying are commonly employed to preserve food. Fish is a key ingredient and poultry is also widely included in Assamese dishes. Here is a typical list of items you will find in an Assamese thali: Steamed Rice – Bhaat, Xaak Bhaaji – Dry green leafy vegetable, Daal – Dail or Daali, Khaar – A kind of veg / non veg item, Bhaaji – Dry veg, Torkari – wet veg, Maasor Aanja – Fish Curry, normally sour (tenga aanja), Mandxor Jol – Meat or Chicken, Chutney, Pitika – a side dish, kind of a mash, and Asaar – achar or pickle.
Goan cuisine is all about concocting dishes from coconut, fish, kokum, rice, and vegetables. Goan cuisine is influenced by the Portuguese who introduced pork and beef. The Hindus have also developed their own variety of food items. Some of the popular Goanese dishes include Humann, Suke, Kalputi, Shak, Varan, Tondak, Solachi Kadi to name a few.
If you are a goat, you will probably steer clear of Kashmir! Kashmiri’s love their goats and there are over 30 mutton varieties in their cuisine. The Wazwan is a special meal that includes three dozen varieties of meat dishes served on platters that are shared by a group of people. But if you are a vegetarian, you do have some options. Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Methi Chaman, Rajma Gogji, Gogji Nadir, Chokh Vangun, are just some of the vegetarian options!
The Gujarati thali is probably one of the most popular choices in a restaurant! This is probably one coastal state in India that does not count seafood as a staple diet. This is because of the influence of Jainism. North Gujarat, Surti Gujarat, Khatiawad, and Kachchh are four distinct regions with their own flavours and recipes. Gujarati thalis come with Dhokla, Khadi, Aamrus, Phulkas, and a host of tangy vegetables. One distinct feature of Gujarati cuisine is the mix of sweet, spicy and tangy flavours.
Chattisgarh is a tribal region and there are plenty of tribal dishes along with local variations of mainstream dishes that most people are familiar with. Angakar roti, paan roti, chusela, dehati vada, muthia, fara are some of the items that go into their thali. Here is an interesting dish – Chapra is a special chutney made by the tribal population of Chattisgarh. This chutney is made of dried red ants and their eggs!
Via Desi Fiesta
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Posted in India
Tagged with: Food, India, Tali
Via flickr / Rajesh Pamnani
History of laddu in India
The history of laddu in India dates back to several centuries and, even today, the laddu rules the roost when it comes to India’s preference for sweets. The long history of laddu in India explains the mind-boggling varieties as every region of India has it’s own take on laddus as dictated by the local availability of ingredients. There are only two things in common across all types of laddus you will find in India – They are all round and sweet!
Across India, the laddu is invariably an integral part of the wedding ceremony. Boxes of laddus get exchanged as soon as the engagement is announced, some wedding invitation comes with a box of laddus or laddus are served as a part of the wedding feast. But the culture of distributing laddus to express happiness goes beyond weddings. Birth of a baby, buying a new car, getting a promotion, you name any happy occasion and laddu immediately comes to your mind!
We unearthed five interesting stories on the history of laddu in India. Don’t read this article if you are a diabetic!
1. Laddus first came to be used as medicines!
This interesting article published by the Indian Express charts the transformation of Laddus from being used as a medicine to becoming the most popular sweet across India (arguably). Here are some extracts from this article that highlights interesting stories about the history of laddu (Believe these stories at your own risk!).
The origin of this laddoo was more because of the medicinal properties that the ingredients used proffered than as a sweet. It is said that these laddoos were given to teenage girls to keep their raging hormones under check. In fact, treatment, and not the indulgence led to the discovery of some of the popular laddoos including methi, makhana and sonth.
Eastern folklore often talks about the accidental discovery of the laddoo when a Ved’s (medicine man) assistant to cover up the extra ghee he poured in a mix turned them into small roundels that eventually took the shape of the smooth egg shape balls we see today. Was it the real way how laddoos were invented? While there no credible source that supports this story, Ayurvedic scripts are replete with recipes that can be considered the first iteration of the laddoos.
One of the earliest examples of this was of sesame seeds, jaggery, and peanuts, which we all know as til ke ladoo. It is said that around 4BC legendary surgeon Susruta The Elder began using this as an antiseptic to treat his surgical patients. For easier consumption, the sesame seeds were coated with jaggery or honey and shaped into a ball.
The ancient legend of Gilgamesh mentions Enkidu’s diet as consisting of, among other interesting things, worms, figs, cucumbers, honey and bread made of sesame flour, which was again made into a roundel or a laddoo so that he could have it with ease.
2. Laddu, Modaka, and Sanskrit
Here is an interesting tidbit from the book titled “Sweet Invention – A History of Dessert“. This goes beyond the history of laddu and instead dwells on mythology.
Lord Krishna’s mother had made an offering of modaka (steamed rice flour dumpling stuffed with jaggery / sugar and coconut shavings) for a Ganesha idol. Wary of her son’s thieving ways, she tied Krishna’s hands. Lord Ganesha did not like this at all! Apparently, the idol came to life and lifted the sweet with his trunk and fed baby Krishna!
Now comes the confusion! According to another version of the story, Lord Ganesha actually fed laddus. In Sanskrit languages, modaka referred to what we know as laddu!
3. When did the Tirupati temple start selling laddus?
Any blog post on the history of laddu will be incomplete if it doesn’t include the famous Tirupati laddus! The Balaji Temple in Tirupati started offering Laddus as an offering to the God as early as August 2nd, 1715! That makes this famous offering over 300 years old!
Did you know, there are three types of laddus prepared by the temple?
Asthanam Laddu: This type of laddu is prepared for the high and the mighty (Aka politicians, and officials) Each laddu weighs 750 grams and has liberal quantities of ghee (clarified butter), cashew, almonds, and saffron.
Kalyanotsavam Laddu: This laddu is distributed to those that take part in special religious ceremonies and cost Rs.100 per laddu.
Proktham Laddu: This is a small laddu that most pilgrims get and weighs about 175 grams.
4. Tirupati laddus can be only made in Tirupati!
Who said God and commercial ventures aren’t compatible? Another landmark event in the history of laddu is the fact that the famous Tirupati laddu has acquired the Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The purpose of issuing the GI tag is to preserve collective community rights.
This was a controversial move as some people felt that the Tirupati laddu was a money spinner for the temple and was not made by the local community. However, the courts decided to grant the GI tag in early 2014 and the naysayers lost.
The argument that a GI tag on the Tirupati laddu is an example of commercialisation of divine affairs and would inspire other temples to follow the Tirupati example, and thus lead to “irrevocable damage to the values of society”, was rejected!
5. Ever heard of the pink laddu?
October 11, 2015, is not much of a history in term of time frame. However, it is a date from our recent past that brings to focus the role of laddus in gender equality.
The Pink Ladoo initiative was launched in the UK to coincide with the International day of the girl child. The initiative aims to bring in a sense of equality when a new baby is born. It is a South Asian custom to celebrate the birth of a baby boy by distributing laddus while there is no such practice to celebrate the birth of a baby girl.
So how does this initiative promote gender equality? They distribute pink laddus to celebrate the birth of a girl child.
PS: One of the reasons for the popularity of laddus is the versatility that its recipe offers. Motichoor laddu, besan laddu, rava laddu, sesame laddu, dry fruit laddu, bandar laddu are just some of the varieties!
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Posted in Food, India
Tagged with: History, India, Laddu, Sweets
Illustration by Mayur Mistry
The origins of the marching Indian wedding band
The practice of hiring an Indian wedding band baja (baja roughly translates to a musical instrument) for marriages started in the 19th century according to the book Brass Baja: Stories From The World of Indian Wedding Bands. This trend took hold as Indians were influenced by British traditions in all walks of life. As colonization took roots, many practices associated with the wedding such as the reception or even the practice of printing wedding invitation cards became popular among Indians.
Interestingly, the British military introduced marching brass bands in India to impress the locals! Here is an extract from the book Music & the British Military in the Long Nineteenth Century by Trevor Herbert and Helen Barlow – “They were a crucial apparatus through which Indian subjects could be impressed by, and British rulers assured of, the strength and purpose of the imperial enterprise.”
Interestingly, some of the musicians from the Imperial military bands trained Indians on using the instruments.
Here is another interesting information from the book.
The book calls out one specific individual (John Mackenzie Rogan) from the British military band who trained a set of volunteers from the Indian Railways to play the military band music. He also transcribed some of the Indian music after he befriended local royalty. These Indian tunes went into his compilation called the “Fantasia on Melodies of our Indian Empire“.
Rogan’s band also started playing at wedding ceremonies of aristocrats for additional income! Interestingly, they never actually marched with the wedding procession and instead sat in a circle when they played.
As we can see, the Indian wedding band music evolved from these early British influences into something that’s uniquely Indian. The tradition of hiring an Indian wedding band is a lot similar to how Indians made the Ambassador car something that’s uniquely India.
It is estimated that the there are over seven thousand Indian wedding bands or brass bands!
The Indian wedding band is not all that appreciated!
Sadly, the practice of hiring a wedding band is no longer the in thing. The advent of professional DJs and changing preferences when it comes to music and rituals has resulted in a steep decline in the viability of this profession.
According to this article, “Poor wages, irregular work hours and endless travel eventually take their toll, said Shanawaz Ali, a bandmaster who plays several instruments.
“At the end of more than 35 years of playing in different bands, I have no savings. Nothing,” said Mr. Ali, who has urged his children to take up other trades. “There is no future in the band musician’s profession.”
There are several reasons why the Indian wedding band is disappearing fast.
1. First of all, the marching Indian wedding band is a part of the “baraat” or the groom’s wedding procession in North India. This is seen as a celebratory occasion and is not seen as a religious ritual. Celebratory events are prone to changes depending on the latest trends and concepts. The same way cheerleaders went out of fashion at IPL while umpires are still employed!
2. A typical Indian wedding band has musicians drawn from villages. They come to the cities only during the wedding season to make some money and then go back to their villages. Every person in the band makes about Rs.500 to Rs.600 per wedding and see this as a way to augment their income. This is not a serious profession and hence, the quality of music is not a big focus for the band members.
3. The band musicians are mostly drawn from the lower strata of the Indian society and are not accorded any respect. In fact, their presence is completely ignored during a wedding procession! They wait endlessly for the groom’s party to assemble, churn out Bollywood songs with their loud instruments (good enough for drunk members of the groom’s / bride’s family to dance wildly) and get back to their cramped temporary accommodations very late in the night.
4. The advent of more ‘sophisticated’ music preferences, the popularity of hiring top DJs has disrupted the practice of hiring wedding bands. More and more families are playing their own music from flash drives to save on wedding expenses. Companies that offer the services of wedding bands have now started diversifying into other areas such as renting out colorful umbrellas for processions as well as horses for the groom to ride on. The band itself is losing importance.
The Indian wedding band is a photographer’s dream!
An interesting trend we often come across is that photography is probably the only way a declining trend gains prominence. For example, the disappearing “truck art” in its traditional form has seen a spurt in interest from filmmakers and photographers!
The endangered Indian wedding band is no different. All the colors and pomp set against stark working conditions make any surviving Indian wedding band a photographer’s dream.
We lined up a bunch of interesting photographs of Indian brass bands. Enjoy!
Perhaps the most poignant photo series on the life of a typical Indian wedding band is captured by Mansi Thapliyal of Reuters. Click on the image below to view her photos.
New York Times has also documented an interesting video on Indian brass bands at weddings.
Tell us what you think of hiring a wedding band for your own wedding. Add your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Posted in Arranged Marriage, India, Marriage
Tagged with: Baarat, Brass Bands, India, Indian Wedding Band
Kolam designs – A thriving tradition in India
Every morning, millions of households across many states in India have one common ritual cutting across class and social divide. It is the tradition of decorating the entrance to the home with exquisite Kolam designs.
What is a Kolam?
The word ‘Kolam’ is used in the Tamil language to denote geometric patterns created based on dots (“pulli”) and ornate lines (“kodu”). There is a clear linkage between kolam and various branches of mathematics such as abstract algebra, sequences and fractals as shown by several researchers.
Kolam traces its origins to the pre-Aryan times. This is over 5000 years ago!
Kolam has two key functions – aesthetic and religious. The ornate and sometimes colourful kolam patterns bestow beauty and grace to the entrance of the home. It is believed that Kolams are meant to welcome Goddess Lakshmi and also feed ants and insects as the Kolam powder is made from grains.
This ancient art form and cultural practice continue to enjoy patronage in the real world as well as online!
Check out the Facebook page of My Mom’s Art Gallery. This page has over 70,000 fans and just showcases amazing kolam designs and patterns by Mangalam Srinivasan.
10 Amazing facts about Kolam
Here are some key facts about Kolam designs and patterns.
Kolam designs are known differently outside Tamil Nadu. For example, in the Telugu language, it is called ‘Muggulu’, and it’s known as ‘Rangoli’ in the Kannada language. In fact, Rangoli is more common outside Tamil Nadu and essentially serves the same purpose as Kolam patterns. However, there are differences and you will find out more about it in the next section.
Traditionally, Kolam patterns are drawn by hands by the women in the family.Things are changing with readymade, Kolam stickers and stencils are now available to make the job easy!
Kolam designs are drawn using powdered white stone or with rice flour. The usage of rice flour provides an opportunity for feeding ants, insects and birds. Vegetable dyes are used for colour and also provide nourishment to insects and animals.
Kolam patterns are usually drawn on the ground outside the gate of the house. The ground is first made wet so that the kolam will stick to the ground. If the surface is made of cement or stone, Kolam designs are drawn using wet rice flour. They are more durable than dry rice flour Kolams. However, Kolam designs are meant to last a day or two.
In villages, people wash the ground outside the house with cow dung mixed with water. This is intended to sanitise the area (as cow dung is thought to have antiseptic properties) and also provides a darker background for the white Kolam patterns to stand out.
Wedding ceremonies usually involve elaborate kolams with lots of colours outside the wedding hall as well as in the courtyard of the wedding halls. Kolam designs are considered to signify auspicious occasions and are used ‘liberally’ for all major functions and festivals.
South Indian temples also host a variety of kolams. Women apply kolam designs outside temples when their prayers and wishes are fulfilled. These Kolams sometimes spill into the streets surrounding the temples and provides a festive welcome to temple visitors.Some household apply readymade stickers with kolam designs even inside their homes as they are easy to maintain and last longer than just a day! Kolam stickers are usually used in the corner of the house where all the photos and statues of Hindu Gods are kept (typically known as the Puja room or shelf).
It is thought that kolam and rangoli designs are based on Tantrik mandalas and yantras that represent various gods and goddesses and natural spirits. Here is how Devdutt Pattnaik explains the significance of kolam designs.
“A downward pointing triangle represented woman; an upward pointing triangle represented man. A circle represented nature while a square represented culture. A lotus represented the womb. A pentagram represented Venus and the five elements.”
Kolam patterns are much more than a traditional art. Kolam designs have caught the attention of researchers as well! Some of them have created software applications that provide a library of kolam designs and generates new kolam patterns! Dr Gift Siromoney of Madras Christian College studied kolam designs to develop picture languages!
Difference between Rangoli and Kolam designs
Via J Henney / Flickr
The traditional Kolam patterns that you will find in Tamil Nadu are usually made just with dry powdered rice or wet rice paste and hence they have just one colour i.e white.
In North India, Kolam is called Rangoli. The key difference being the use of different colours, usually from natural products such as turmeric, vermillion, coloured rice, dry flour and flowers. While women in Tamil Nadu have made Kolam a daily habit, you will find Rangoli mostly during major festivals such as Diwali or during auspicious functions such as a wedding.
Rangoli is also known as Chaookpurna in Chhattisgarh, Mandana in Rajasthan, Aripan in Bihar, Alpana in Bengal, Sanskar Bharti in Maharashtra, Aipan in Kumaon, Kalam in Kerala, and Saathiya in Gujarat. That’s not all, Rangoli designs and patterns vary across India.
Kolam designs with dots – Step by step instructions
Here are a couple of videos from Thilagalakshmi Sridharan and S2 Kolam that provide detailed instructions for creating Kolam designs with dots. These Kolam designs are simple and are suitable for beginners.
If you would to graduate beyond basic Kolam designs, check out these instructional videos by Sudha Balaji.
Kolam design with 6 dots
Kolam design with 9 dots
Kolam design with 11 dots
Kolam designs without dots – Step by step instructions
Here are a couple of instructional videos for creating Kolam designs without using the dots. These videos were created by Rajeshwari Arun and Easy Rangoli.
Kolam designs for Pongal
Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated across Tamil Nadu. One of the highlights of the Pongal festival is the colourful Kolam designs that every household create to celebrate the occasion. We picked out five Pongal Kolam designs for your inspiration.
The Pongal Kolam designs were originally published here and here.
Kolam and Rangoli designs for Diwali
Diwali is one of the major festivals of India and is a celebration of good over evil and light over dark. Diwali Kolam and Rangoli designs are stunning and most Hindu households across India bring out their best designs and patterns to celebrate Diwali. Here are five Diwali Kolam patterns.
Diwali kolam designs were originally published here.
Margazhi Kolam designs
Winter is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with elaborate kolam designs. Called Margazhi kolams, they also come with a pumpkin flower in the middle of the kolam. Here are three margazhi kolam patterns.
Margazhi Kolams were first published here.
Wedding Rangoli designs
Traditional Indian weddings are grand occasions that call for eye-catching and colourful Rangoli designs. Here are seven patterns from weddings.
Via Shyam Mani On Flickr
The wedding Rangoli designs were first published here and here.
Kolam designs to celebrate the New Year!
Indians usher in the New Year with stunning Rangoli and Kolam designs. We handpicked five samples for you.
The New Year Kolam images were published here.
12 Kolam designs from experts for your inspiration
Kamala’s Corner has a treasure trove of traditional kolams from Tamil Nadu. We picked out two kolam designs specifically used for Karthigai Deepam festival that fall after Deepavali in Tamil Nadu.
Here are a bunch of kolam patterns and designs from Vani Muthukrishnan. Her website has hundreds of kolam patterns in case you want more. We picked eight designs.
While kolam is a traditional art form, it has not stopped artists from reimagining kolam patterns for the digital world. Rishidev RK is a Fine Arts graduate and currently an Art Director by profession. Here is a couple of his Kolam inspired designs from his portfolio.
Kolam designs for download & purchase
We rounded up some interesting books on Kolams that will give you plenty of ideas for Kolam patterns as well as interesting information about the history and the evolution of Kolam in India.
Click here to download an old Tamil book on Kolam patterns that was first published in 1901!
Grandma’s Kolam has a collection of Kolams created by the wife of a famous Tamil writer, Kalki Krishnamurthi. You can buy the book from Amazon.
Kolam Art by Madhuri Bapat provides step by step instructions for 10 different Kolam designs. This book is also available on Amazon for purchase.
If you would like to explore the art of Kolam designs from a different perspective, read Chantel Jumel’s work. She is a freelance writer from France who specialises in visual arts of India. You can read about her work here.
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Posted in India
Tagged with: Culture, India, Kolam
Divorce in India – Fast and furious growth!
Divorce in India is no longer the rare breed of animal we get to hear about in a distant world. ‘Divorce’ or the big D word is now heard more frequently than before.
While high-profile celebrity divorces are treated as salacious sources of speculation and gossip in India, the reality is considerably different when divorce happens to ordinary couples. Complex socio-cultural factors, convoluted legal system and divorce procedure, and the conservative mindset of society make divorce in India a very a challenging task. In fact, it can be confusing and outright scary to go through a divorce in India.
While no official statistics are available, it is generally accepted that the divorce rate in India is very low as compared to developed nations like the UK which has a divorce rate of 2.8 divorces in 1000.
India lacks a central registry of divorce data but the information gleaned from family court magistrates suggest that the rate of divorce in India happens to be highest in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, and Lucknow. In fact, three more family courts had to be opened in Bangalore to cater to the growing number of divorce cases.
4 Reasons for increase in divorce in India
The alarming increase in the number of cases related to divorce in India indicates a steady but subtle shift in the underlying socio-cultural fabric of the country. There are four primary reasons for this trend.
1. The reduced influence of the joint family
The concept of the joint family had a very disciplinary effect on marriages where couples stayed together through really rough patches and difficult times to appease the needs/respect of the family. The concept of nuclear family, on the other hand, gives couples more liberty to think only about their own interests leading to an increased tendency to divorce.
Nuclear families don’t have the support system that a joint family may offer to tide over a crisis. A joint family set up provides the option of mediation and also imposes peer pressure in ensuring a successful marriage.
2. Women are becoming more independent
Another factor that contributes to this increasing trend of divorce in India is the fact that women are psychologically and financially more independent now leading them to break free from what can be termed as “restraining” or “unsatisfactory” marriages.
Women in India have already started to exercise choice before marriage as their economic and educational background is improving. The same trend is seen in decisions after marriage. Educated working women may not have the time needed to focus on running the household and this creates a lot of stress on the family resulting in divorce.
3. Late marriages mean lesser ‘tolerance’ for change in lifestyle
Couples nowadays get married late in life and both partners enter wedlock with fixed behaviour patterns and lifestyle, making it more difficult for them to adjust to each other.
Couples in India often find that they have nothing in common only after marriage. They cannot get along, have unresolved differences, and cannot agree on anything!
Here is an extract from Psychology Today that sums up the situation for many couples – Invariably, we yearn for perfection but are stuck with an imperfect human being. We all fall in love with people we think will deliver us from life’s wounds but who wind up knowing how to rub against us.
4. Divorce is no longer a big deal!
Family court lawyers indicate a changing perspective towards divorce and a marked reduction in the stigma associated with divorces, which is why couples opt out of a marriage that has in essence degraded. The reasons for divorce earlier used to be property disputes, domestic violence, and family issues while modern age couples file for divorce because of emotional incompatibility, lifestyle differences, and disenchantment with each other.
Data collected from psychotherapists and marriage counsellors indicate that couples are more willing to end a marriage that isn’t working. In fact, the practice of attending counselling sessions or therapy goes beyond mending the relationship. In many cases, families are also counselled about the need to support the couple’s decision to seek a divorce.
Indian women and divorce – Bankruptcy or Liberation?
While divorce in India is is generally not looked upon favourably, there has been a growing acceptance of the fact that marriages do end and that divorce is not a sin. The way the woman is treated post-divorce depends on her individual circumstances, financial position and the strata of society she belongs to.
People in the metros tend to be more accommodating and understanding about divorce as compared to people living in small towns and suburbs.
Most modern Indian women view divorce in the context of their circumstances. For example, if the woman is financially liberated and has a strong sense of individuality hen she will probably view divorce as a precursor to a better life.
However, in case, the woman lives in an environment where divorce is still regarded as a taboo and she is not financially independent, divorce automatically becomes the last resort to escape her personal misery and worth the trauma of dealing with the stigma associated with a divorced woman.
Here is one woman’s response to the question in Yahoo! answers about the general views on divorce in India.
Times have changed and so have marriages. People are now choosing their partners and are taking action if they are unhappy with its outcome. Yes, they can still remarry after having a divorce. At least, that is what I think can happen in the urban areas. Things are different in the rural areas, where honour, pride, and respect matter above everything else.
In spite of the changing attitude towards divorce, most divorced women are subjected to unwanted male attention as they are automatically regarded as “free spirited “ and “willing sexual partners”. There is still an underlying assumption that if a woman is divorced she has a flaw in her character. Married women tend to stay away from divorced women categorising the later as potential threats to their marriage.
Click here to read what men should know before marrying a divorced woman.
Legal and financial position of women after divorce
The Marriage Law Amendment Bill 2010 was first introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August 2010 and the Government is still considering the amendment of marriage laws in India. Currently the clause of “irretrievable differences “is not considered to be sufficient grounds for divorce in India.
Check out this interesting debate on the pros and cons of strengthening divorce laws in India to support women going through a divorce.
Women often end up with a bad bargain when they go through a divorce in India. A recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India granted a divorce to a man on the basis that his wife refused to stay with her husband and in-laws after marriage!
Women are also short-changed from a financial perspective when they go through a divorce. Presently, the maintenance amount (varying between 2% to 10% of the husband’s income) is only granted by the court after production of the necessary documentation from women. In many cases, the woman does not have access to such documents.
According to New York Times, “In India, where tax authorities estimate just 3 percent of the population pays personal income tax, and “black money” or under-the-table cash is common, the man’s actual earnings are often hidden. Additionally, the wife may not have access to documents that prove what her husband earns.”
Until the time suitable amendments are made in the legal system, divorce continues to be a raw deal in the financial sense for the Indian woman.
Indian men and divorce – Culprits or Victims?
For the modern Indian man, divorce is no longer weighed down with so many negative repercussions as it was even 5 years back. Most Indian men are now more readily convinced to divorce their partner on grounds like “emotional mismatch”, “lifestyle differences” and “differing aspirations”.
Here is an interesting story of a man who ended his marriage citing lifestyle differences.
Soumik Pal, a 35-year-old Mumbai surgeon, met his wife, a Tamilian and also a doctor when they were in medical college. They married after a short courtship. But soon, Pal realised it was impossible to live with an “extremely domineering” woman. He felt she always wanted him to do things her way. Adding fuel to the fire were the many cultural differences, likes and dislikes in food and so on. The last straw was when Pal realised her family in Pondicherry wanted them to settle there. In three months, he decided to end the marriage and be on his own.
Men in India are now increasingly leading lives outside the restrictive framework of the joint family unit thus making the dissolution of the marriage an easier step.
Considering the fact that India does not have a uniform civil code, different communities treat divorce based on religious and cultural grounds.
Muslim men in India are allowed to divorce using the Triple Talaq. There was even a case of a Muslim man divorcing his wife via Whatsapp!
The Hindu personal law allows divorce petitions if the couple has been living separately for one year while the Christian personal law requires at least two years of separation.
Intercaste marriages that head for a divorce also face significant complications for men (as well as women).
However, the power equation in divorce is not always in favour of men in India. There is a growing clutch of divorce cases where women and their families are misusing laws meant to protect women from domestic abuse and fraud.
An article titled “How the Indian women misuse the law for divorce“, published in the DailyO.in, talks about numerous instances when women or their families used section 498-A to benefit from a divorce by hook or by crook.
A total of 63,343 married men committed suicide in 2012, with a fair amount of them having faced domestic problems,” says Amit Gupta of Hridaya, a men’s rights organisation.
“It is the middle class that bear the brunt of this draconian law,” says men’s rights activist Deepika Bhardwaj. “A hard-working middle-class family needs to cough up huge sums of money to save face in their society while the rich want the matter to die quickly and settle for the sum asked. This could be in crores.”
Nor surprisingly, there are a growing number of men joining self-help groups or seeking support from men’s rights advocates to navigate the complex web of divorce laws and their interpretation in the Indian context.
When it comes to divorced men attempting to re-marry, discreet and overt inquiries are made about the man’s character. While Indian society is more forgiving towards a divorced man (when compared to a divorced woman), the issue of remarriage sometimes poses a problem as the prospective bride’s family tries to delve deep into marital past of the man.
Things to consider before heading for a divorce
Divorce disrupts the basic fabric of life and there are far too many couples in India who try to rush into the process only to find that it’s not that easy for anybody. In reality, there are many things that should be carefully considered before the decision to divorce is taken.
Here are 10 things that every person heading for a divorce should consider
1. Divorce (both for the man as well as the woman) changes the socio-cultural setup. There is a change in the way the society views a divorcee and many common friends take sides with one or the other partner. A person might suddenly find friends/ relatives turning hostile after the divorce.
2. There are many workplaces that still subtly discriminate against divorcees and treat them as sources of speculation. In some conservative workplaces like schools, the discrimination becomes overt while in other cases disapproval is expressed through social exclusion and malicious gossip.
3. A person who is about to file for divorce should carefully consider whether he/she is mentally prepared for the emotional repercussions of staying alone and dealing with feelings of anxiety and loneliness.
4. Financial assets (if shared) will also have to be separated legally. If the divorce is not amicable there is a bitter tussle about who owns the assets and the division ratio. If most assets are in the man’s name the woman is left high and dry.
5. Divorce involves long and tiresome paperwork involved. Even if a lawyer handles the majority of paperwork, a lot of time is required in reading and signing documents, forms, and countless other notices.
6. Divorce still represents a social stigma as it goes against the Indian traditional belief that “marriages are forever”. Partners are questioned about the logic or validity of the divorce by friends, family, and colleagues.
7. Joint insurance plans, health insurance schemes cannot be owned jointly anymore and the estranged couple has to dissolve all such plans. This involves a lot of time and effort and often there is a loss of benefits.
8. Divorce especially a non-mutual one is an expensive option in India. Both partners have to shell out a huge amount of money for the lawyer’s fees.
9. The divorce case might drag on for years leading to emotional and physical exhaustion.
10. The most sensitive issue for would-be divorcees is their kids who are badly affected by the divorce. It is very important to counsel kids before and after the divorce so that they are able to come to terms with the painful transition in their lives.
Can mutual separation be another alternative?
Most people suffer from the wrong notion that divorce and separation are the same while in essence, they are not. While divorce ends a marriage completely, a mutual separation will give both parties time to think and cool off before they reach a decision as to whether or not the marriage should be continued.
There are different kinds of legal separation options available in India:
A Trial Separation Clause gives couples an opportunity to reconcile their differences. The court fixes a time period between 2 weeks to 2 months for a trial separation.
A Living Apart Clause enables couples to reside separately for a fixed amount of time. This happens when the couple has decided not to co-habit.
A Permanent Separation happens when the couple wants to live separately but maintain all joint property and assets. Couples can still maintain same bank accounts and insurance plans under this clause.
A legal separation is almost like a divorce as property and asset division happens. The only difference between legal separation and divorce is that divorce is necessary before remarriage.
There are many benefits that come with legal separation as social and health insurance benefits can still be accessed by a separated spouse. The separation mode gives couples a chance to still revive the marriage. In any case, apart from cases of intolerable mental and physical cruelty, separation is probably a better alternative to divorce.
Indian law is yet to catch up with the reality of divorce
The Indian legal system till date remains anti-divorce. It is significantly more difficult to obtain a divorce in India as compared to western nations like USA, UK, and Australia.
Only a few reasons such as impotence, chronic degenerative disease, mental/ physical torture, abandonment can be considered as legal grounds for divorce in India.The legal system has not evolved as swiftly as the socio-cultural fabric which is why many couples have to fight a long and bitter battle to obtain a divorce.
The recent changes in the divorce laws include the introduction of the Marriage Laws Act as well as the 2010 Amendment Bill that seeks to make the much-needed changes in the 1955 Hindu Marriage Act. The inclusion of the clause of irretrievable breakdown is one major change that is likely to take place soon.
Changes need to be made to the divorce laws to ensure that the number of false dowry and torture cases registered under the protection of women from domestic violence is reduced. It has come to light that many partners use these clauses to pressurise the other party into divorce and then claim alimony.
The laws pertaining to divorce in India do not reflect the realities of modern life and are in severe need of amendment and change. Many lawyers use the legal loopholes to extract huge sums of money from the harassed couple.
Divorce in India – Our verdict
The Indian society has evolved a lot in the last decade. The perspective towards divorce in India varies drastically across all classes of society, all economic strata, and all geographical locations.
In the metro cities, perspectives towards divorce have changed but the vast majority of small towns and suburbs still maintain a rigid viewpoint and consider divorce to be unacceptable.
The general consensus of the society is still to question “who wronged whom” making the divorce a battle between right (the partner who didn’t initiate the divorce) and wrong (the partner who filed for divorce).
In many matrimonial advertisements, it is seen that the prefix “innocent” is added before the word ‘divorcee’ so as to claim that the divorce was not initiated by that person and she was simply the “victim” of a bad marriage. You can read more about this trend here.
As a rule, it can be said that though divorce has now become a far more familiar word than before the Indian society is still struggling to take the word in its right spirit.
The general concept of a divorce happening because two people have irreconcilable differences is not accepted. Instead, divorce is construed to be some kind of moral battle. This perspective is responsible for the prolonged emotional trauma that people undergoing divorce in India still have to face.
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Posted in Divorce, India, Marriage
Tagged with: divorce, Divorce in India, divorce laws, Divorcees, India, Indian society, separation, society