Monday, January 14, 2008

Politics, Playgroups and Prevarication

Wow, I did it again with the title. I can't help myself.

The pressure is on. Now that I have told (a few) people this exists I need to actually write in it now and then. Normally Mondays are playgroup days. Mommy gets to talk to other grown ups and Swift gets to play with (OK, alongside) his little buddies and buddettes. The best of plans as they say ... So, today I won't be doing much travel by car because all the major thoroughfares are blocked due to a huge political rally going on in the "Open Theater" or Khulla Manch (a much more fun name to say than "Open Theater"). This is actually good news for Nepal if a bit wearing on those of us who have to stay home today - a small price to pay for a little free speech action going on in the name of democracy. So the government has named a new election date, April 10, while the Maoists continue to extort, bear arms and generally harrass the populace. There was a cartoon in today's paper depicting the election commissioner reading off the election calendar including the date the poll would be called off. Incredibly cynical -- but who can blame them?

This is unrelated but give me a minute and you'll get where I am going. I am reading Julie/Julia by Julie Powell at the moment. Bill gave it to me last year when I was reading Julia Child's autobiography. The book is about a woman who embarks on a project; cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Fine Art of French Cooking in a year. Now this doesn't sound too crazy to me but if I tried this I'd turn into a mammoth mamma in no time flat. So Julie is incredibly profane, but pretty dang funny - she wouldn't ever use the word 'dang' for instance. But reading about all this fine french food just highlights the culinary doldrums in our household. Kids are famous for having a fairly narrow repertoire in the healthy food category and mine are no exception. I have been trying to sneak in pureed veggies into their food. Deceptive? Yes, but I am desperate and not above this at all. The pureed cauliflower in the Mac and Cheese was a colossal failure - all three of them spit it out - it was a fairly hilarious scene: Mommy tries to act nonchalant as the first bites are taken hoping against hope that maybe she was successful in sneaking a few more nutrients into their little bodies. In turn, three small heads turn to her in horror - "this tastes funny", "I don't like", "splahhbt". So .... in defeat I will ice a cake this afternoon by request of numero uno daughter - in rainbow colors. Now that is something to do when you can't go anywhere while Democracy flexes its muscles.

Peace, Laurel

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finally Festival Fotos

Sorry about the title. I can never resist an opportunity to alliterate. So ... I have a rare moment and am posting a few promised photos from festival season. If I knew how to post process in photoshop they might look better - but I haven't figured that out yet.

Teej - the three day festival for women involves feasting and fasting. Women wear their wedding saris (red and gold) and fast and pray for their husbands (or would be husbands if that is the case). The main event centers around Pashupati - a most sacred site in the Hindu world where people also cremate their dead. It is a sea of red saris lined up for hours and hours. They sing and dance, get their hands decorated with henna. Not everyone goes to Pashupati, but it is the most desired locale. Some just go to any ol' Shiva temple. The second photo just amused me. Just a few of Sadhus bestowing wisdom to a young man. They are often high - not sure what that is about.

Indra Jatra fell on a rainy day. During this festival, among other events, the Kumari, a child goddess, emerges from seclusion, rides on a chariot like structure from Basantapur square to Hanuman Dhoka and blesses the King and nation. I wonder if she has ever withheld it? In this politically dramatic year it was notable that it was not the King who was to be blessed, but the Prime Minister. While the weather was gloomy (Monsoon was supposed to be OVER!), the colors were still fabulous. I was within twenty feet of the Kumari as she was lifted onto her chariot - her feet are not to touch the ground. She is a little girl. She is the object of worship because the people believe she has the power to bless or curse the nation as a reincarnation of Vishnu.

Tihar, the festival of lights. Chundevi Temple, a small neighborhood temple, has just had its candle's lit by local women.

Enough for today - a certain cute toddler want's Mommy's attention. Namaste.