Skip to main content

Are Indians stuck in a Victorian era?


I started working on a project that involves flower names and meanings. I found it really interesting to read that the language of flowers first developed in the Victorian era where people were pretty hesitant to express their feelings. I dont know if much of that has changed, at least in India, i think its still a Victorian era.

In India, not every one expresses their love through flowers. No body i know does that. Maybe i know the wrong people. Whatever, the thing is sending and gifting flowers is talked of but I havent seen that happening much around me. People prefer to gift each other candles or food items, things like that....reminds me of Taslima Nasreen's novel, French Lover, where a character says that Indians can think only about food because they had been a much starved population. But yes, food is the most important aspect of any social gathering in India, that much is for sure.

When I was a child, the Onam festival was something I looked forward to. Children had to collect flowers to make 'pookallams' or floral arrangements in a circle but it wasnt as easy as that. It was lots of fun coz you needed kilos of specific kinds of flowers to use for the pookallam. Things have changed now and everything is so readymade. In a way, I think it was my father who taught me to understand flowers. He loves describing flowers and their meanings. He loves to explain poems about nature and i've heard so much from him about flowers.

Nowadays, you can find information on the Internet but it wasnt like that when I was a kid. Your source of information was either your family, friends or the school library.

During Onam, collecting flowers was a wonderful feeling. The flowers we used were called thumba poov(Lucas Aspera), Mookuti (little tree plant), and the different varieties of the Chemparathy (Chinese shoe flower). Oh, how can i forget the crimson colored, frail thread line Chethi poo or Ixora. I've spent ages plucking these flowers. They are so tender, delicate and easy to pluck. They resemble crimson threads. I wish i had snapshots of these flowers to show you how it looks.

What I loved best was to collect the flowers, sit with my dad and make pookallams. Be it advertisements, songs, or festivals, flowers have an important place in Kerala. The funny thing is that no one grows flowers there but every one loves to wear flowers. A wedding, for instance, is where you can find women wearing lots of jasmine flowers in their hair. For festivals, everything is imported from Tamil Nadu.My son doesnt know anything about Onam. He doesnt get to pluck flowers or celebrate Onam. He is interested in butterflies, squirrels and rabbits more than flowers.

Those days are gone and I feel sad that work and city life make it impossible for me to recreate the same magic for my son....who knows, maybe i can do that for my grandkids....let me stay optimistic.

Comments

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

A Book Review: Custody by Manju Kapur

Manju Kapur's fifth novel – following her highly acclaimed works such as Difficult Daughters (1998) and The Immigrant (2009) – explores the tumultous relationships once again set in the thriving, upper-middle-class colonies of Delhi in the mid-90s. The story thrives against the backdrop of the initial surge of foreign investment in India. The very first chapter of the book begins to enthrall a reader with the couple's love making scene. 

The only glitch is this: it is a married woman having a romantic adventure with her husband's boss. Cheesy as it may seem, the book sets itself apart by diving straight into the troubled waters yet without taking any sides, revealing once again the mark of a true family writer.


Extramarital affair breaks a solid marriage Shagun, the green-eyed beautiful wife of Raman, falls in love with his charismatic, handsome boss Ashok Khanna, who has never been in love before and is determined to possess the woman he now loves. It does not matter to him …

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.



To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.
The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.
And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:
'M…

A Book Review: Samira's Awful Lunch by Bharathi Jagannathan and Preethi Krishnamurthy

A book review for you, dear reader.

At the World Book Fair 2012, I bought a lot of books for my son, Jyotiraditya who loves it when I read out books to him. Wherever we go, I always tuck in two books for him in my bag. And I read out to him whenever he asks.  I make sure I keep two new books always because it is wonderful to see my son's surprise and enthusiasm when he sees it. Today, when we went out and were at McDonalds, Adi suddenly asked me if I could read something out to him. I took out a book that I had bought for him. I wasn't sure if he would like it.

Titled "Samira's Awful Lunch," the book is short, simple and well conceptualized. It is written by Bharathi Jagannathan and Preeti Krishnamurthy. Pratham Books is the publisher.  



The story talks about a problem we, as parents, tackle every day - kids who don't like to eat veggies.

The story revolves around Samira who doesn't like to eat healthy food.She tells her mom that upma tastes like wet sand and…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

'Amar, Akbar, Antony' movie review: Clean family entertainer by Nadirshah who tackles child abuse with sensitivity, like a seasoned director

Hard to believe that Amar Akbar Antony is Nadirshah's directorial debut. 
Like a seasoned director, Nadirshah brings together the most popular 'poster boys' of Malayalam cinema - Prithviraj, Jayasurya and Indrajith  - in a well-paced interesting comedy thriller. I liked the scene where the guys get drunk and they talk about how women are 'heartless' and men are all 'hearts.' Their versions of heartbreaks gives you a different dimension to how men feel about heartbreaks and break-ups. 
And yes, Nadirshah pulls it off almost effortlessly, getting many nuances right, especially in music and cinematography. 
'Amar, Akbar, Antony' movie review: Tapping into actors' talent Director Nadirshah has also tapped into remarkable talent while portraying and bringing out the best in 'side characters' especially KPAC Lalitha, Srinda Ashab, Baby Meenakshi and Kalabhavan Shajohn whose performance was both touching and impressive as Jadayu Sabu. Ramesh Pishar…

Premam Malayalam Movie Review: A Superb Entertaining Love Story in which Nivin Pauly conquers hearts and Sai Pallavi is a delight to watch

Alphonse Puthren's Malayalam movie "Premam" starring Nivin Pauly has been a most talked about film as Malayalis across the world have shown great love for "Premam."  
"Premam" is a movie that will take you back to the bittersweet memories of your first love, second love and maybe, third and final love!
[Image credit: Google Images]
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love
I had a big smile on my face when I read the words "Butterflies are mentally mental, so is love" on the screen. This was shown just before the credits started to show.
It marks the perfect beginning to a "nutcase" love story! I was all set to enjoy this delicious tale of teenage crush, love & mature love - the phases that each of us have gone through in this journey of life at some time or the other.
Premam Malayalam Movie Review: Story
Premam's story revolves around the butterfly-like, romantic journey of  George David (Nivin Pa…