Big Fat Indian Wedding in Mumbai

When I say I was overwhelmed by the wedding in December, it is an understatement. After we settled in, there was constant activity at my cousins house for the wedding preparations. Every day there was activity, more family visiting, more ceremonies, more rehearsals for the the festivities (Pre-wedding and wedding).

For 5 days we didn’t even leave the general vicinity of the house we were staying in. Shopping, eating, shopping, eating, dance rehearsals, wedding preparations and daily evening festivities were the order of the week. For these days passed so quickly, that I felt like I was living in a different world. So this was what it meant to have a real Indian wedding!

We were fortunate that we had purchased a cell phone with totally “free” service so we could communicate with the outside world. Keep in mind as a foreigner this kind of purchase has to be done by a native. For approximately $80 I got a phone which had dual Sims and unlimited data, voice and text messaging. Outstanding!

We were able to get currency exchange at the local market (thankfully), so we were able to spend cash freely. Keep in mind, the de-monitization issues were still visible everywhere. No money at ATMs and getting change when you do spend money was not easy.

With every day wedding activities and shopping, by end of day, we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Keep in mind of the first day or so we were both having jet lag issues, so sleep was a commodity!

Anyway.. we survived and back to the wedding preparations:

The love within the family for each other and their togetherness was absolutely genuine. What I realized is that family is family no matter if you are in India or outside the country. First and second generation cousins who had never met each other were spending hours upon hours and days together and enjoying each others company! Every day was a blast! When you have a large family like mine (I have like 17 first cousins), and of course these cousins have their kids!

Generation 1 (me and my cousins) and Generation 2 (the kids of my cousins) were so amazing and so in tune with what needed to get done for the wedding. There were three major event preparations happening simultaneously.

  1. My aunt’s 80th birthday celebration and the wedding preparations. Two nights before the wedding was my Aunt’s 80th birthday celebration. This was  a dual event as in addition the the birthday celebration, there were simultaneous Henna being applied to all the women and girls that were part of the wedding celebration!
  2. Dance Rehearsals for the Dance party (Sangeet) the day before the wedding ‘
  3. Wedding preparations (including all Hindu religious pooja’s  and food preparations on a daily basis

All of the above was going on in the same house we were staying!

My Aunt’s birthday celebration was a huge success. She had no idea about the party and she was absolutely overjoyed. For me it back fond memories of my mother and how great it would have been to see her here enjoying her younger sister’s 80th birthday party!

The night before the wedding was the Sangeet (singing and dances) celebration at a hotel near to where we stayed. OMG, the preparations, the dance rehearsals (your’s truly did perform a dance – which we will not discuss further), and the performances at this event were a sight to be seen. Let’s just say the alcohol was flowing and and everyone was having a great time!

The next day was the wedding! This wedding was an all day affair that included wedding and reception. There must have easily been a combined of about 500 to 750 people at both events. Of course my cousins and our huge family out staged everyone at the wedding and reception. We are absolutely a loud bunch of people! Someone called me their ring leader,  yet I do resemble that remark!

To see a wedding like this is kind of overwhelming! To see cousins and family you have not seen in years is such a joy and you get a sense of belonging. This is something I absolutely feel at times here. I really don’t have any close relatives that are in NJ and my cousin in California is quite a distance away.

Pre-wedding  shopping that my daughter and I did was endless. My daughter and I had to buy our wedding outfits and even though it was pretty straight forward, the choices were amazing. As I had said in my other posting, everything was just a taxi ride away at the local market area in Vile Parle East. Even after converting into dollars the purchases were a tremendous bargain!

By the time we got home from the wedding reception, we were exhausted!

The day after the wedding, my daughter and I took a taxi tour of Mumbai.. This was amazing! The crowds, traffic and the sights and sound of Mumbai was visual and audio overload! Let me leave details on this for another post!

The wedding celebration my daughter and I experienced, is something that neither one of us will forget for a long long time. It was exhilarating to spend time with family and to see the love that my family showed towards each other was something I have NEVER experienced.

To say that this wedding was “A big fat Indian Wedding” is an understatement, but from what I understand, most weddings in India are like this!

 

 

 

 

 

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Irrational Morality

I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago and we were discussing the issue of morality.

Of course I had an opinion (as I always do) about this, and I came up with two words that describe the way I think.

Moral Brain

Irrational Morality – My definition of this is when you do the right thing for the wrong reason. This could mean doing something for your spouse, children, friends for the wrong reason.. Now what exactly does that mean? Let’s talk of a few examples and of course you are free to chime in with your feedback if you have any.

Here are my thoughts and examples on Irrational Morality

  • If you are single you stop seeing someone because they are too good for you. The person you are seeing is perfect and loves you unconditionally. Even with your flaws and questionable emotional, or psychological patterns of behavior.
  • Getting married for the sake of getting married. You know you are marrying the wrong person, but you say to yourself: “There does not seem to be anyone else better, so might as well settle for the person with you are with“.
    • Now why is this irrational morality? You are getting married for the wrong reason yet you think you are doing the right thing morally by marrying someone that you know will not make YOU happy, but THEY will be happy to be married to YOU
  • To know the difference between right and wrong is important, but to be able to make the right decision for the right decision is key. When you make the wrong decision (i.e. Divorce) because you think you will be happier and more “independent” being single, is a classic case. Divorce is death.. Death of a relationship and it takes a few years to rebuild your life, and even then you are walking a fine line between sanity and insanity. h
    • A friend of mine related this to me.. and this guy was married for over 20 years! I know this guy better than anyone and he’s one of the most balanced guys I know.
      • When I asked him about “irrational morality”.. he got it right away: He said: “I can attest to this as I’ve gone through this “process” over the past two years and let met tell you I had totally underestimated the total impact of divorcing to do the right thing (morally)”
      • “I figured being divorced would be easy, so I gave up and went through the “process”. My Ex felt that being not-married to me would give her independence but she is more dependent on me than ever.”
      • “Thanks to the legal system, alimony and child support guarantees me unhappiness and the the sole responsibility of child care guarantees her unhappiness. So we divorced and now we lead two separate lives and and half the financial stability. The kids will now grow older with a broken home, because we irrationally felt divorce would solve our problems!”

Do you have any examples of irrational morality? If you do I’d like to hear about it.

Endless Winter of 2014 in NJ

Some illustrations of the winter of our discontent in NJ and the beauty of horses in my backyard!

I haven’t written much here over the past few weeks, because every time I think of a topic, it snows again. Tonite as I sit here we are getting another few inches of snow.

The one good thing about the snow is that from one of the rooms in my house, I have an amazing view in my backyard. My neighbor has a few horses and the horses just love the snow. Every Time it snows, they are out there frolicking and playing in the snow.

Horses Frolicking in My back Yard
A view to the back of my house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We expect to get another storm in the middle of this week, but hey, such is the winter of 2014 in the NorthEast this year.   

Horses 3

Good news is that there are only 38 more days till Spring!

 

Life, insanity and hiatus for Dad’s Taxi

When life moves faster than you can react to, what do you do? Absolutely nothing, Just go with it and have fun!

ImageAs you can see from over the past month, Dad’s taxi has been on hiatus. Life as I know it has been high gear both at work and home and that’s added to my writers block. Ugh!

ImageAt work, in addition to my F/T job managing a testing team, I’m also the President of an employee resource group for Diversity. Basically full jobs are being done by one person with one salary..I actually find both roles challenging, but I find that my priorities are becoming more and more convoluted every day! More ugh! Of course the challenge is not in doing both roles, but in keeping my sanity in the process.

At home, my younger daughter has been performing at a talent show in Middle school as well as keeping all of us on our toes as she becomes more of a talented performer at a ripe old age of 13.

Add all of this to the fact that my writers block is ongoing, it ends up that Dad’s Taxi is in hiding and no new posts are being written. Oh things do happen in my life that are blog worthy, but if I really want to continue blogging this long term writer’s block has to end.

Indo US FlagOh I almost forgot, in the back of my mind is my other passion is falling to wayside. That of course is BharatBeat where I’m still trying to work with my co-founder to establish a niche both on Facebook and do a full redesign of our main site

Last week I was in Atlanta and I gotta tell you, it was just as chaotic for my business life, but I actually got a great blog posting idea that I’ll be putting up soon, it’s called “The Boot”!

On this Memorial day, I sit here and realize that either my life is evolving into more daily chaos both emotionally (let’s not even start with this issue) or I’m just starting to realize that my insanity is not just at work but it encompasses all of my life.

Of course I can continue to write about nothing, or I can open a new venue to define how truly unbalanced my work & life has become. This of course has tremendous risks associated with it as I’ve found out that many of my followers are both at home as well as work. Hmm, how do I deal with that?

This weekend was opening the pool and the un-official start of the summer season, with 3 months of fun in the sun and pool work. Yet I constantly ask myself the following question:

How would you answer this question?

“Am I having fun yet?” – Most of the time the answer is yes, but when start taking myself too seriously (as I do a lot these days), I truly wonder when the fun really begins.If not this I constantly say to my self with my inside voice “Stop this train, it’s time for me to get off!”

So for all my followers, tell me if you think I made any sense in this litany of nothingness and how I defined the hiatus that I see my self being in on an ongoing basis.. Don’t be shy, feel free to tell me what you think!

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If it were My Home

Find out more if you lived somwhere else than where you live! Must Read!

In my endless thirst for obtuse knowledge, I wanted to share a site that I found while I was drinking my Chai on a Saturday Morning (After my Facebook of course!)…. Did you ever want to compare you hometown to another country?

If it Were my home does an excellent job of comparing your hometown to almost every country in the world. The comparisonc can be socio-economic or by size? If It Were My Home lets you do just that.. I always thought that I could put a few countries the size of India in the physical mass of the US. 

Allow the site to use your zip code or your location and you can compare your hometown to almost every country in the world. I’m impressed, you’ll find this on my links site for future refeference

What a great way to compare where you are to how others live in other parts of the world! So when your kids ask you the benefits of where you live you could always say.. you could be living in… I’m sure you will enjoy this one!

I bet you didn’t know the facts below:

If India were your home instead of The United States you would…

have 8 times higher chance of dying in infancy

The number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in India is 49.13 while in The United States it is 6.14.

This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year; included is the total death rate, and deaths by sex, male and female. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country.
Source: CIA World Factbook

consume 96.38% less oil

India consumes 0.0956 gallons of oil per day per capita while The United States consumes 2.6400

This entry is the total oil consumed in gallons per day (gal/day) divided by the population. The discrepancy between the amount of oil produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.
Source: CIA World Factbook

use 96.12% less electricity

The per capita consumption of electricity in India is 484kWh while in The United States it is 12,484kWh.

This entry consists of total electricity generated annually plus imports and minus exports, expressed in kilowatt-hours. The discrepancy between the amount of electricity generated and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is accounted for as loss in transmission and distribution.
Source: CIA World Factbook

make 93.32% less money

The GDP per capita in India is $3,100 while in The United States it is $46,400

This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year. A nation’s GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measure is difficult to compute, as a US dollar value has to be assigned to all goods and services in the country regardless of whether these goods and services have a direct equivalent in the United States (for example, the value of an ox-cart or non-US military equipment); as a result, PPP estimates for some countries are based on a small and sometimes different set of goods and services. In addition, many countries do not formally participate in the World Bank’s PPP project that calculates these measures, so the resulting GDP estimates for these countries may lack precision. For many developing countries, PPP-based GDP measures are multiples of the official exchange rate (OER) measure. The differences between the OER- and PPP-denominated GDP values for most of the wealthy industrialized countries are generally much smaller.
Source: CIA World Factbook

die 11.78 years sooner

The life expectancy at birth in India is 66.46 while in The United States it is 78.24.

This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. The entry includes total population as well as the male and female components. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures.
Source: CIA World Factbook

have 54.3% more babies

The annual number of births per 1,000 people in India is 21.34 while in The United States it is 13.83.

This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1,000 persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate. The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth. It depends on both the level of fertility and the age structure of the population.
Source: CIA World Factbook

spend 98.72% less money on health care

Per capita public and private health expenditures combined in India are $86 USD while The United States spends $6,719 USD

This entry contains the per capita public and private health expenditure at purchase power parity using US Dollars. This figure combines government, personal, and employer spending on health care
Source: World Health Organization

experience 18.22% less of a class divide

The GINI index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income. In India is 36.80 while in The United States it is 45.00.

This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest. The index is the ratio of (a) the area between a country’s Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to (b) the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country’s income distribution, the closer its Lorenz curve to the 45 degree line and the lower its Gini index, e.g., a Scandinavian country with an index of 25. The more unequal a country’s income distribution, the farther its Lorenz curve from the 45 degree line and the higher its Gini index, e.g., a Sub-Saharan country with an index of 50. If income were distributed with perfect equality, the Lorenz curve would coincide with the 45 degree line and the index would be zero; if income were distributed with perfect inequality, the Lorenz curve would coincide with the horizontal axis and the right vertical axis and the index would be 100.
Source: CIA World Factbook

have 15.05% more chance of being unemployed

India has an unemployment rate of 10.70% while The United States has 9.30%

This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs.
Source: CIA World Factbook

be 50% less likely to have HIV/AIDS