Posts Tagged ‘puja’

Enfield Puja Mojo

by Phil

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Before we started riding the Enfield for real, we took some local advice and brought it around to the nearest Hindu temple for a puja. This is very common here; people bring bicycles and motorcycles to the temple all the time for a ritual blessing. Given the traffic and driving conditions here, we’ll take any advantage we can get.

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The temple holy man had us park the machine in the proper spot, and purchase some flowers, floral garlands, coconuts and limes from a nearby vendor. He lit a spoonful of something on fire and wafted the smoke about the bike; we warmed our hands over the flame and then placed our hands over our hearts. Then, chanting all the while, he strung the garlands onto the front of the bike, and made various marks on the bike’s frame with kumkum. He placed the limes underneath the front wheel and instructed me to run them over, while he continued chanting.

Finally, he blessed us, placed a lotus blossom over the speedometer, and sent us on our way, with his business card and a request that we e-mail him the photos we had been taking throughout.

True: On the way home, we ran out of gas…

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Bhaskar’s Beautiful Family

by Phil

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Bhaskar, our amazing driver-slash-nanny, invited us to his sister’s home for lunch with their family last Sunday. A simple and delicious meal of naan and lamb meatballs in some ginger coconut curry, she served other people only after Pam and I had finished eating. We were not sure whether that was because we were guests or because there were only enough dishes to serve a few diners at a time; it was lovely in any case.

The flat was quite small, maybe only a couple of rooms, down an alley off a main road near downtown. She said she had lived there for forty years in the same place. Notice the Jesus puja above everyone. A Hindu-style home altar to your chosen God, but in this case instead of an elephant or snake, it is Jesus: Bhaskar’s family has been Catholic for generations.

You can spot Pam in the back row if you look real hard :)

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We’ve Got A Bike !

by Phil

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We bought two new Atlas Goldline Super bicycles today. The bright green color in the picture above is protective wrap. The gentleman with the bikes is bringing them out to prepare them for delivery: we need heavy-duty racks in back, mine will have a top-guard only over the chains, they both need seats with big fat springs, and the most important part: installation of the signature Atlas hood ornament. Cost ? Sixty bucks.

The Atlas bicycles, as well as the Hero brand bikes, are ubiquitous in India; and by “ubiquitous,” we really mean ubiquitous: these beasts take people to work, to the movies, to the villages and back; and with the rack on the back they can hold a family of four, several bushels of produce or sticks, or, tied together properly, a moveable showroom of cane furniture. With a few alterations they can pull an ironing cart, a fruit vendors cart, a pony-cart schoolbus, or a barbershop in a box. Sounds weird but we will get around to posting on those subjects at some point ;) Anyway, like the beautiful Roya Enfield Bullet motorcycles and the Hindustan Ambassador automobiles, the designs are virtually unchanged from 50 years ago. I like that.

Tonight, Rathnama and the rest of our band of gypsies are planning on making a puja for the new bicycles, to keep the riders safe during the coming year. How cool is that?

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