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5 Things About India that Attract Me

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To Blog or Not to Blog?

by Sharell शारेल on December 28, 2013

in Work in India

A number of people have gotten in touch with me recently to ask why I’m not updating my blog (my gosh, it’s been more than three months already!) and if I’m okay. I really appreciate the concern, so I thought I should at least explain my reasons here.

First of all, I’m fine. I’ve been devoting a lot of time to traveling all over India in the last few months, including a trip with my husband and parents in law to Udaipur, a trip with my husband to Kashmir (I did feel safe there), and most recently a solo 10 day trip to Tamil Nadu. My job, writing and managing the content for About.com’s India Travel website, is my passion and I’m loving devoting more time to it.

In short, the reason why I haven’t updated my blog is because I’m not inspired to. My blog was becoming burdensome, demanding, and intrusive. While I’ve been fortunate to have interacted with some wonderful people here (some of whom have become my good friends in real life) and learned a lot, I grew tired of publicly sharing so much of my life and my thoughts, answering questions, and dealing with Internet trolls. What’s more, I grew tired of being defined as a “blogger”, “expat”, or someone in a “cross-cultural relationship”. More and more, I felt like my life wasn’t my own anymore. It was wearing me down.

Quite simply, I feel freer, less stressed, and more relaxed now that I’m having time away from my blog.

When I started my blog around five years ago, there weren’t too many in the same genre. However, these days there are some excellent blogs from foreigners married to Indians, and foreigners living in India, that people can use as resources.

Will I start blogging again? Maybe!

In the meantime, you can keep in touch and interact with me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter, add me on Google+, like my India Travel page on Facebook, and follow me on Pinterest.

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2014!

67 people like this post.

2013 Ganesh Chaturthi Blessings

by Sharell शारेल on September 10, 2013

in Festivals in India

Post image for 2013 Ganesh Chaturthi Blessings

Lord Ganpatti joined us once again yesterday, with the commencement of the annual Ganesh Festival. My building society has made a big effort with its festival program this year. As well as the evening aarti, there’s a dance performance, fashion show, and bhajans on different nights.

Although I feel most connected to Hindu Goddess is Saraswati (no surprises there, since learning and creativity are a focus for me), I love Ganesh festival celebrations and the energy that’s present.

Ganesha is popularly worshiped to remove obstacles, support new beginnings, and achieve prosperity — not just material prosperity but spiritual prosperity too. In fact, he’s a very versatile god! Siddhi, one of his wives, possess great spiritual power. Hence, worshiping Lord Ganesha is believed to be the best way to attain spiritual strength and insight. His other wife, Buddhi, is associated with wisdom and intelligence. Wielding an axe in his upper left hand, Lord Ganesha is also able to help us conquer our emotions and cut the chord to worldly attachments. Destroying selfishness, pride and ego are his specialties as well. And, importantly, he encourages us to view the world as an abundant place, full of potential.

Way before I moved to India I bought a beautiful book called Indian Wisdom 365 Days. Today, I read through it and found these quotes which feel inspiring and meaningful to me for this festival, which celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesh.

Life is like a garden. Quite normally, leaves wither and flowers fade.
Only if we clear the decay of the past
then and there can we really enjoy the beauty of the new leaves and flowers.
Likewise, we must clear the murkiness of past bad experiences from our minds.
Life is remembrance in forgetfulness.
Forgive what ought to be forgiven; forget what ought to be forgotten.
Let us embrace life with renewed vigour…
We should be able to face every moment of life with renewed expectation, like a freshly blossomed flower.

~ Mata Amritanandamayi (better known as Amma).

What we are about to undertake is an expedition together, a journey of discovery
into the most secret recesses of our consciousness.
And for such an adventure we must travel light, we cannot burden ourselves
with opinions, prejudices, conclusions that is, with all the baggage we have collected
over the past two thousand years or more. Forget everything you know about yourself,
forget everything that you have thought about yourself,
we are going to set off as if we know nothing.

~ Krishnamurti.

Blessings to everyone!

Pandit lighting the lamp.

Pandit lighting the lamp.


[click to continue…]

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My Husband’s New EP Release

by Sharell शारेल on September 4, 2013

in Family & Friends

Post image for My Husband’s New EP Release

Anyone who’s read my blog for a while will know I rarely write about my husband and his work. I like to let him have his privacy as much as possible. However, his new EP was released a couple of days ago, and I’m so darn proud of him I have to share it here.

When we moved to Mumbai five years ago, my husband gave up DJing and music to do the “right thing” and work in the family business. Except, he ended up feeling so unhappy. His passion was music and he wanted to get into production. He devoted all his spare time to teaching himself and learning from friends.

And this is the result! If you’re into EDM (electronic dance music) and techno, you can check it out here and buy it.

It’s very exciting that the EP is current sitting at #28 on the Beatport Techno Top 100 Releases chart, up from #33 yesterday.

Party on!

Party is on!

Also check out his website (which I made).

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A Walk Around Lalbaug to See Ganesh Idols Being Made

by Sharell शारेल on August 31, 2013

in Festivals in India

Post image for A Walk Around Lalbaug to See Ganesh Idols Being Made

There’s nothing like the arrival of Lord Ganpatti to brighten the spirits of Mumbai, myself included! I was so thrilled to spend Wednesday morning wandering through the workshops in Lalbaug, where artisans are busy handcrafting the idols for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival. (It’s less than two weeks away!).

There were so many statues, of all kinds of shapes and sizes, and in various stages of completion. Not only was I able to have a special early darshan of the Lord, I also got to meet the artisan who makes the famous Lalbaugcha Raja. He was such a lovely, unassuming man. In fact, everyone in the area was friendly and quietly going about their business.

It was a very memorable adventure!

You can read about my experience in this article and see my pictures in this photo gallery.

Artisans busy at work.

Artisans busy at work.

Having a chai break.

Having a chai break.

Lord Ganesh's vehicle waiting to be painted.

Lord Ganesh's vehicle waiting to be painted.

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Man Up India! Raising Men to End Violence Against Women

by Sharell शारेल on August 23, 2013

in Inspirational India

Post image for Man Up India! Raising Men to End Violence Against Women

In amongst the numerous current media reports of sexual harassment and rape in India (yes, unfortunately there’s been another gang rape, this time in Mumbai), I’m pleased to have stumbled upon an organisation that’s proactively doing something to address the problem of violence against women — at the root cause of the issue.

Called Man Up India!, it’s a campaign that was launched by the Equal Community Foundation (based in Pune, in Maharashtra) on International Women’s Day in March 2013. Unlike other initiatives, it doesn’t focus on empowering women. Its actions are based on the findings of a study titled What About the Boys?, conducted on the premise that violence against women is a product of the environment in which men are raised.

As is stated in the Foreword section of the report:

“Men and boys are not born violent but are made to be what they are – violent, intolerant and controlling as part of the entitlement and privilege indoctrination. Global evidence on attitudes toward gender equality show that in most cases men are perpetuating violent behaviors they learned as children, often by experiencing it themselves in families and schools and also by witnessing violence against their own mother”.

The CEO of the Equal Community Foundation, Will Muir, goes on to say:

“In this, our first piece of formal research, we seek to find solutions for India that will help tackle the root cause of violence common around the world: the attitudes and behaviours of men towards women. We ask the question, “How can we ensure every man in India has the opportunity to study and practice gender equitable behaviour?” The results will surprise you, in part because they are logical and simple. Also because, despite being so glaringly obvious, they are rarely aired in public, and even more rarely implemented.”

The Man Up India! website lists a number of ways in which citizens, parents, teachers, and the media can get involved.

What’s more, there’s also a section where people can submit their stories about what they’ve done to make a difference and read the stories of others.

Do take a look. I think it’s a heartening and commendable campaign worthy of support, and I’m so pleased that it exists.

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