She Reads South Asia


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Konkani is the official language of Goa, India. Stop in and have a listen to the only online Konkani Music Station on the Internet. Also, please check out Goa World.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Triumph over adversity...

This article was circulated over Goanet by Prof George Pinto of San Jose, with the comment: "I first learnt of Joseph through Goa Sudharop ( His courage is inspiring. Rather than allow a challenge (sight) get him down, he makes it a point to triumph over adversity. He is what is good and noble about Goa, a real-life hero in our midst. His story below.

by Valerie Rodrigues
valerie_goa at

The sturdy bags made of thick coloured paper and with neat handles look so professionally done, that it is a surprise to hear that they are handmade. And the surprise turns to astonishment when one learns that Joseph Pereira, the young man who makes these bags, is totally blind.

Joseph lives in Orlim, South Goa. As a little boy, he had perfect eyesight till the age of ten. His loss of vision was sudden, when he suffered a retinal detachment in his left eye.

Ophthalmologists were unable to save his vision, nor could they pinpoint the reason for the detachment. Joseph, then studying in Std V, could still see with his right eye, and therefore continued his studies.

Unfortunately, soon after, he also suffered a retinal detachment in the right eye. Operated upon at Mumbai, he regained sight temporarily. The detachment however occurred again, and this time nothing more could be done. Just twelve years old, Joseph was totally blind.

Says Joseph, "That was a difficult time. Suddenly everything changed. I was not able to go out and play with my friends, not able to go to school."

Through the National Association of the Blind (NAB) at Santa Cruz, Goa, Joseph joined the St. Xavier's Centre for the Visually Handicapped at Old Goa where he learned Braille. He also learned to cane chairs and to make jute bags.

An uncle from Pune brought him a machine to make chalk sticks, and Joseph decided to try this. It took a lot of effort but with some innovations of his own, he ultimately mastered the technique and began supplying chalk to a few schools in Margao. Joseph was always interested in studying further and with help from NAB, he continued with his studies and passed his SSCE.

Through NAB, Joseph also learned to make paper bags and his first break came when Lorenz Photo Studio at Margao gave him a big order.

Today, Joseph makes and supplies different sized bags of excellent quality, with printing as per the customer's requirements. His satisfied customers include Lorenz Photo Studio, Costa's, Sula Wines, D-Link, designer Philu Martins, Verma Bridal Studio, Acron Arcade and others.

Joseph has faced many major setbacks in his life, but has managed to draw on his inner resilience to overcome each and every hurdle that he has encountered. Not only is he able to manage all household tasks, but he is also very active in local village activities.

Amazingly, even though he once fell and fractured an arm, Joseph still climbs up to replace the roof tiles of his house, whenever required.

It was joyous occasion a couple of years back when he married Albertina, a perfectly sighted girl from Cortalim, who is very appreciative of her talented husband. Joseph's elderly mother also resides with the couple.

In 2005, a documentary by an amateur filmmaker focussing on a day in the life of this ingenious young man, was screened at the Kala Academy at Panjim, Goa.

Early in 2006, the USA-based NGO, Goa Sudharop, employed Joseph as a resource person to provide training in the making of paper bags to the mentally-challenged residents of Peace Haven, Caranzalem. In appreciation of the excellent paper bags that he makes, Joseph recently received an award from NAB, Mumbai for the most successful cottage industry.

Joseph's determination and grit are evident as he says, "If one has the willpower, nothing is impossible. When people see what a handicapped person is capable of doing, they are surprised."

Truly, Joseph has succeeded in carving his own niche in spite of all odds and his life is an inspiration to us all.

GOANET-READER WELCOMES contributions from its readers, by way of essays, reviews, features and think-pieces. We share quality Goa-related writing among the 7000-strong readership of the Goanet/Goanet-news network of mailing lists. If you appreciated the thoughts expressed above, please send in your feedback to the writer. Our writers write -- or share what they have written -- pro bono, and deserve hearing back from those who appreciate their work. GoanetReader welcomes your feedback at
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Bangles that behold!

I found this very informative article in The Hindu - India's National Newspaper from Jan of 2003. Enjoy!

Bangles that behold!

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On most festive occasions, women wear bangles, a symbol of good luck and part of tradition.

Bangles are made from every conceivable material

BANGLES ARE in fashion. Gone are the days when they were worn by few and matched with traditional wear. Today, jean glad girls are wearing it with as much style as what their mothers and grandmothers wore as part of ritual, tradition and occasion. The festival of Sankranti, which just went by is one such occasion when bangles are worn as a ritual.

Be it for their enthralling colours, their lovely designs and patterns, ornamental appeal, their musical tinkle or the traditional value, bangles have survived the test of time. Indian women still consider bangles to be fashion accessories that enhance the way they look, while also helping them remain faithful to long-established customs.

It might surprise some to know that bangles were worn as decorative accessories during the pre- and post-Vedic periods, and they had little or no ceremonial association.

The excavated remains of the Indus Valley civilization bear proof to the fact that women wore bangles on their arms and forearms to make themselves look more attractive.

It is said that medieval India included bangles in various customs and gave the

ornament a ritualistic significance.

As a result, arried women and young girls customarily wear bangles today.

It is considered inauspicious, by those who choose to believe so, to have arms bereft of the colourful adornment.

And yes, it is coloured bangles that are deemed to be more propitious than the gold or silver ones. Green and red glass bangles are auspicious for married women. In Maharashtra, women wear these on all important and special occasions in the family. As a matter of fact, pregnant women are given green glass bangles to wear on both their arms.

In Northern India and in the South, red assumes ritualistic relevance.

In Bengal, married women wear red and white bangles.

The white bangle is beautifully crafted from conch while the red is made either of coral or lac.

While the red and white ones are quite important as a symbol of matrimony, what is crucial is the loha or iron kada that is worn along with them. Some Bengalis get the loha gold-plated rather skillfully, giving it a more contemporary look.

The custom of the bride wearing ivory bangles extends from Punjab to Gujarat and Rajasthan. In Gujarat, the bride receives an ivory bangle from her family just before marriage.

The saptapadi (or the seven rounds around the sacred fire) cannot be carried out without her wearing this bangle. Rajasthani brides wear ivory bangles on their arms and forearms, right up to their shoulders.

In Punjab, the bride is given very slender and delicate red and white bangles in ivory, in multiples of four. These are called choodas. Of course, these have now been replaced with white plastic and red lac bangles, while the Bengalis still stand by tradition.

Bangles are vital not just during weddings, but also on the occasion of baby shower, which in the Indian context can be referred to as the bangle ceremony.

It is believed to be an event held to ward off evil spirits that might be lurking around the mother-to-be or the baby in the womb.

The mother-to-be, full of health and radiance, diverts the evil spirits' attention to her arms full of bangles (glass, silver, conch, or shell bangles, depending on the region and community), thereby deflecting danger to her or the baby.

The only time that a married woman removes her bangles is either at labour while having a baby or when she is widowed.

While the former is significant of an easy delivery, the latter has tragic connotations.

That is why, when glass bangles break, it is thought to portend ill luck.

Bangles (the word having been derived from the Hindi bangri or bangali, which in Sanskrit means the ornament which adorns the arm) have become a fashion statement today.

Young women wear bangles for their

jingling sound and for value as a trendy accessory.

They wear them by the dozen and even match them with their clothes.

They do not restrict themselves to glass, gold, or silver, but buy lac, metal, beaded, stone, conch, terracotta, wooden, pearl, and plastic bangles, as well as those studded with gems and precious stones.

Hyderabad and Firozabad are the favourite haunts for those looking for an amazing variety of strikingly beautiful bangles. If you happen to visit these places, you just might chance upon Kasars there, who specialise in the art of making bangles.

So, when you see beautiful arms with strikingly pretty bangles resting delicately on their wrists, make sure you give them a second look. You might just be inspired to wear some yourself.


SOS from India

Abhijit Dasgupta, 45, has been in English print media journalism for 24 years now, six of them as Editor.

He was the launch editor of Calcutta Times, the city-centric supplement of the Times of India, with a nationwide circulation of 250,000 daily, before deciding to embark on this novel. Abhijit’s first e-book was published at by a Canadian publisher, Medalion Enterprises, and it is called Troy's Boys: Is India Wilting Under Western Pressure? It is a short 10,000-word analysis and would be of interest to India lovers. Abhijit has also written for the London-based magazine, OneUp and contributed short stories for many websites.

Abhijit has earlier worked with papers like The Telegraph, The Indian Express, The Financial Express, The Pioneer, The Sunday Observer and finally, the Times of India.

At the moment he is looking to find an agent for his new book - 'Three: The Destruction'. If you are an agent or know of one that deals with Indian writers, please contact Mr. Gupta at the contact address given at the end of this post. Thank you in advance.



A two-in-one debut novel by Indian author-journalist Abhijit Dasgupta. The two stories combine to make up around 100,000 words.

In a dark Calcutta of the late 19th century, ruled with a populist wand by the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, the upper-class Bengali gentry struts their erudition while, at the other end of the spectrum, fellow hedonists indulge in obscene nocturnal practices to the mortification of their British rulers.

In the first of the two stories, Anandamoyee, young protagonist widow of the household Sen, a family of respected newspaper editors working in the still extant Creek Row Press, shocks with her drunken behaviour as much as with the proof of many whispered rumours of her inappropriate relationship with her brother-in-law, a controversial, militantly anti-British editor.

The story is fiction placed within historical reality: where the legendary reformer Vidyasagar fights against the criminal tradition of widow-burning (suttee) and for widow remarriage, and where giants mingle with midgets as helpless onlookers to an unfolding, unstoppable, black tragedy.

In the second story, The Inheritors, which moves in the world of 21st century Calcutta journalism, history seems to repeat itself with bloodline passing down mirror-images of a tragedy which happened a century and quarter back. Only time seems to have passed as tragedy strikes one after the other, with uncanny familiarity, as two women, almost like the Anandamoyee of yore, take it in their hands to devastate the man of their lives.

Abhijit strings together the two stories as one epic journey through common gadgets like a tattered, lost-and-found journal, a tragedy repeated in the same family, straddling more than a century, while he handles, with equal felicity, the devastation of two journalist-men brought about by intriguing tragical character flaws in three women who destroy their loves at the altar of addiction, ambition and ailment.

The two dark stories together make one, an epic genre not explored with such powerful and lyrical effect ever before. THREE is a must-read for those interested in realtime British India and also provides a peek into modern-day Indian journalism. It’s an enriching and amazing experience for readers whose picks are black tragedy and magical realism.

Details and other works of Abhijit can be found at Abhijit7 and mail can be directed to

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bollywood in Review

I just started a series of articles called Bollywood in Review on Associated Content.

Here are the first reviews

Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Kal Ho Na Ho

As each one goes online, I'll add the link here. Thanks and enjoy!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Goan Potato Chops

I'm trying out some Indian recipes and thought you all might want to as well. Here's one from a an acquaintance of mine - Ruth De Souza in New Zealand. Her recipe is for Goan Potato Chops. They're really yummy! Enjoy.

Goan Potato Chops

Chef: Ruth DeSouza, as heard on Saturday Morning with Kim Hill Saturday, July 22, 2006


3 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger, crushed
1 fresh chilli, minced
1 tin of tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp masala paste (bought or homemade; use more for taste!)
500 gms minced beef
½ C fresh coriander, chopped
750 gms potatoes, peeled
breadcrumbs, to coat

Sauté onions in one tablespoon of oil on high heat. Add garlic and ginger when golden.

Cook a little, then add chilli and tomatoes. Cook until thickened and add masala paste.

Stir and add the mince. Saute until brown then reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the coriander.

At the same time, cook and mash the potatoes.

Take a handful of mashed potato, put some mince in the middle and shape into an oval. Coat with breadcrumbs and shallow fry in rest of oil until golden. Serve with a salad.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

AW Chain - End of Round III

From Grumpy Smurf and the depths of snarkdom to Everything Indian and all that it entails, my wonderful writing colleague Olivia posted her comment on the AW chain about all the birthdays she didn’t give gifts for and it kind of left her in a grumpy mood. So, it’s my job to become a superhero and save her and the end of this round of posts, so we can start Round 4.

Gifts being the subject (although I wanted to comment on Liv‘s adept ability to tread water on a bicycle with a fruit basket on her head - see her blog), let’s see how we can wrap this round up in a nice, neat little package with a big bright bow on top.

Since my blog always stays within the bounds of “Everything Indian”, we’re going to go with the word “gift” in the context of a contribution. What has India, more specifically Indians contributed to life as we know it today. Someone I know sent me a list some time back with these interesting facts about India and some of its pretty interesting people.

Indian People

The GM of Hewlett Packard is Rajiv Gupta.

The creator of Pentium chip is Vinod Dahm.

The third richest man on the world, according to the March 2005 report of Forbes Magazine, is Indian-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.

The founder and creator of Hotmail is Sabeer Bhatia.

The president of AT & T-Bell Labs (AT & T-Bell Labs is the creator of program languages such as C, C++, Unix to name a few) is Arun Netravalli.

The new MTD (Microsoft Testing Director) of Windows 2000, responsible to iron out all initial problems is Sanjay Tejwrika

The Chief Executives of CitiBank, Mckensey & Stanchart are Victor Menezes, Rajat Gupta, and Rana Talwar.

Indians are the wealthiest among all ethnic groups in America. There are 3.22 millions of Indians in USA (15% of population).

38% of doctors in USA are Indians.
12% scientists in USA are Indians.
36% of NASA scientists are Indians.
34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.
28% of IBM employees are Indians.
17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.
13% of XEROX employees are Indians.

These facts were recently published in a German magazine, which deals with WORLD HISTORY FACTS ABOUT INDIA.

1. India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.

2. India invented the Number system. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.

3. The world's first University was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.

4. According to the Forbes magazine, Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.

5. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.

6. Although western media portray modern images of India as poverty stricken and underdeveloped through political corruption, India was once the richest empire on earth.

7. The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 5000 years ago. The very word "Navigation" is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.

8. The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is now known as the Pythagorean Theorem. British scholars have last year (1999) officially published that Budhayan's works dates to the 6th Century, which is long before the European mathematicians.

9. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th Century; the largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 10 53

10. According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds to the world.

11. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century-old suspicion amongst academics that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

12. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.

13. Chess was invented in India

14. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India.

15. When many cultures in the world were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley India in 100 BC.

Quotes about India

We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made. ~ Albert Einstein.

India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of tradition. ~ Mark Twain.

If there is one place on the face of earth where all dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India. ~ French scholar Romain Rolland.

India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. ~ Hu Shih (former Chinese ambassador to USA)

Amazing isn’t it? So, how many of these “gifts” or contributions from India did you already know? After reading these facts, it made me wonder, “What valuable thing have I contributed in my lifetime, that made this world a better place to live (even if only for my children). Interesting concept to ponder for all of us, I think? What say you?

And now I hand the writing quill over to Laurie, the next AW blogger in line. She will be the one to start round 4.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Mumbai EP CD

Check out this cool site about a Massachusetts singer/songwriter Don Hammontree and his new CD, which sports songs inspired by Bollywood starlets Juhi Chawla and Karishma Kapoor and their homeland, India.

The Mumbai EP

Read my interview with Don and the event coverage of Don's CD launch too.

Enjoy the snippets of the songs and don't forget to buy the CD. Thanks.

Interview with Mridu Khullar

My good friend and colleague Mridu Khullar was interviewed about her writer's life. Please stop by her site, where you will find some great writing tips and the site where the interview titled “The Win-win Storyteller! - An interview with Mridu Khullar” appears.

Thanks and enjoy the interview!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Recognition is wonderful!

I have to say after adding my name to the Absolute Write (AW) Blogroll on Teddy Gross' site - Cobwebs of the Mind (see the fourth site down from the top), I had no idea that a connection would be made. Not knowing me personally, Teddy wrote from the heart, what he felt about me as a writer and my site after visiting it. He absolutely made my day and encouraged me all the more to continue with my passion for writing.

It makes me so thrilled to know that I can touch another human being so deeply with the words I use to paint the blank white canvas of my blogspace (well, actually in this case the color of the canvas is pink). It reminds me of something I wrote some years ago. Thank you Teddy for reminding me of the best gift my mother gave me after the gift of life.

The clean, crisp pages of a new journal beckoning to be
touched by the ink of a gracefully flowing pen

They wait to be transformed into a treasure, story,
or poem

A personal creation, part of the inner self,
a window into the soul

Complete, it waits for others to read, experience and
be transcended to places, imaginary or real

It possesses the power to make others laugh, cry, and show
emotions which otherwise are kept hidden deep within

Writing and reading the printed words is something to
be cherished and given to others as a gift which lasts forever

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bombay, My Mumbai

Here is a poem on Bombay/Mumbai that I simply love (especially the last four lines). It's by Jane Bhandari, who has made Mumbai her home for more than two decades. It originally appeared in The Daily Star on Sat. February 26, 2005.

Bombay, My Mumbai

I posted a parcel from England.
Said the clerk at the post office,
Where is Mumbai?
What is the nearest big city?
It's my home, I said, it's Bombay.
Mumbai is Bombay.
Sounds fatter to me, he said,
Laughing, and I thought,
Well, second marriage,
They usually are fatter,
Shapely young Bombay
Became matronly Mumbai,
Sprawling on the beach
With her feet in the sea.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More help for Sari (saree) wearers

Many people have come to my site after googling "How to wear a sari". My earlier post gives you some information on this and links to places wear you can buy saris (sarees). Here are a few more great links for you.

Puja's site

Cultural Information on the Sari (saree)

Another "how to wear" site

Monsoon Season Help

Yahoo India offers some creative ideas for indoor fun during the monsoon season.

Ideas For Kids

For those of us that worry about our makeup and hair holding up to the rains, the following links are for us.

Makeup Woes

Hair Care

What do the stars think of the monsoon rains? You can read there ideas through the link below.

Masti in the Monsoon

Need to rainproof your wardrobe? Here are some tips for you.

Rainproof your wardrobe

How about some taste treats for the season?

Gujarat On A Platter

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Drivetime with Raj Baddhan

If you've noticed in my links listing there is Sabras Radio in the UK. It's great because even though I don't live in the UK, I can listen to it online and so can you!

Recently, I conducted an interview with one of the DJs - Raj Baddhan, who does the drivetime show from 5-8 PM You can read the entire interview Here. Enjoy!