Ganapati and Gauri Puja

Aarti of Ganapati Mumbai Arun Shanbhag

Na tatra suryo bhaati na chandra tarakam
nema vidhyuto bhanti kutoyamagnihi |
tameva bhantam anubhati sarvam
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati ||

Sun cannot illumine him, nor the moon, nor the stars
Lightning cannot, much less this little flame I wave |
Verily, when he shines everything is illuminated
By his light alone all of us shine ||

~ Kathopanishad II v 15

Continue reading “Ganapati and Gauri Puja”

Makar Sankranti: Here’s To Longer Days

Makar Sankranti Happy Sankranti Laddoo pics by Arun Shanbhag

To Surya, the Sun God as he starts his Northerly trek

Grace us with Warmth and Light

Happy Sankranti to All!

Tiil gool ghya, goaD goaD bola!


New Year Greetings 2010: Center of My Universe

Meera Universe

Wishing you all,
A Wonderful New Year!

Good Health and Peace!
M & m
and A

Continue reading “New Year Greetings 2010: Center of My Universe”

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali Deepavali Greetings

On this festive occasion of Deepavali,
May the Gods grace you and your loved ones
Peace, Good Health and Success!

Happy Deepavali!
Meera, M & A

Previous Greetings:

Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before

Picture photograph of Ganapati murthy, Ganesh utsav murthy during Ganesh Chaturthi by Arun Shanbhag
After a few days respite in Goa and Kumta, we returned home for the Ganesh Chaturthi Utsav (festival). Over the next few days, our extended family home transformed into a festive temple. Resident cooks arrived and made traditional Konkani snacks (chivda, mando, shankar paLLan, masala shaenga, chuklee, etc). Siblings and cousins descended on our home. Professional flower stringers decorated our main hall in elaborate arrangements of plump marigolds. Humongous pots and pans, giant oil lamps and other puja accompaniments were retrieved from storage and polished to a high gleam. Continue reading “Ganesh Chaturthi – The Day Before”

Shira – Cream of Wheat Pudding: Ultimate Comfort Food

Shira cream of wheat pudding Soji halwa Arun Shanbhag

I could have a tough day at work, or come in cold and shivering from shoveling snow. On days when things just don’t go right and you start wondering if the Universe is conspiring against you. I walk in the front door and get a whiff of roasting wheat, … Yaay! Its Shira for dessert! What problems? Continue reading “Shira – Cream of Wheat Pudding: Ultimate Comfort Food”

Rām Navami: A Tribute to Rām

Frieze of Hanuman paying tribute to Ram, Lakshman & Sita in Hampi by Arun Shanbhag
Frieze of Hanuman paying tribute to Ram, Lakshman & Sita on Hemakuta, Hampi

shri ramachandra charanau manasa smaraami
shri ramachandra charanau vachasa gruNaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHirasa namaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHaranam prapadhyae

On Rama’s feet I meditate
With words I praise
With lowered head I pray
At Rama’s feet I seek refuge!

Continue reading “Rām Navami: A Tribute to Rām”

New Year Greetings 2008 – Alaska Glaciers

(click on image for a larger version)

Wishing You,
Your families, and
Future Generations

the Magnificent Joy of Nature’s Bounty
Enjoy it to the Fullest!
Leave it behind for the others!

Have a Wonderful New Year
Take care of the environment!


Continue reading “New Year Greetings 2008 – Alaska Glaciers”

Shādi in the Family

Last week we enjoyed a shaadi in the family. It was a magnificent production over four days, amidst the beautiful rolling hills of upstate South Carolina. And yes, it was a respite from the Fall here, to greenery, well manicured, lush lawns and Southern hospitality.

And what a great occasion for a family reunion! For four days we reveled in family panchadika (chit-chat), gorged on a wide variety of indian dishes (no dish was repeated over four days!) and the reception had a teeth chattering, gut expanding array of 28 desserts!

Of course, on returning to gray skies and cafeteria goop we are clinically depressed. I want my masala dosa and south indian kaapi for breakfast!

So, here are a few pics.

During one of the pre-wedding services, the women in the house are getting ready to bless the bride. The priests says: ashta putra sowbhagyavati bhava and translates it: May you be a blessed mother of eight children. My cousin sister lets out a hearty laugh!

Continue reading “Shādi in the Family”

Gokulashtami Food Spread

Over the last several weeks I have found scores of excellent Indian Food Blogs. These are not written by celebrity chefs, but by regular, albeit very talented women cooking everyday meals at home for their families. And many are based in the US and use locally available ingredients. The collection is truly spectacular and makes me drool.

Even M has taken to following their recipes and trying them at home!

Many of these home chefs also organize ‘Round-ups’ with a theme such as ingredients (Rice, Banana, etc) or festivals; and have others submit their related posts. Latha from the Yum Blog recently compiled a virtual gathering of Janmashtami foods. She had more than 30 submissions and they are all posted in this Janmashtami Round-up.

Browse, link through and revel in these beautiful culinary creations. A lot of easy to make desserts!!! Of course, I was thrilled she highlighted my Gokulashtami post. 🙂

New Year Greetings 2007

Patscherkofel, Innsbruck, Austria

Wishing You All
A Peaceful and Enlightening New Year!


The Complete Travelogue from Austria:

Be Mine

Valentine's Day hearts in Montreal pic by Arun Shanbhag

Wishing You All
A Heart Healthy Valentine's Day!


My Other Montreal Related Posts:

Festival of Sweets

My namesake lives in a different city, but when it comes to mithai, we think alike too.

“Mithai are like physical therapy for Indians,” says Arun Sinha, owner of Foods of India on Lexington Avenue. “You come home after work, you have one small piece, you eat it slowly and you become completely relaxed. And when you ask for another piece, your wife must say, No!”

Read the rest of the article on NY Times
Saw this link first on 's superb Diwali picture post.

Ganapati Bappa

ganapati ganesh chaturthi Arun Shanbhag

Ganapati from our home, 2002.

On this occasion of Ganapati
Wishing Everyone
Days full of Peace and Good Cheer!


Recent Ganapati Greetings

Sare jahan se achha, Hindustan Hamara

Aug 15th: India's Independence Day!

Saare jahaan se achha, Hindustan hamaara
hum bulbule hai iski, yeh gulsitaan hamaara.

[Best in the Universe, Hindustan of ours
We are its nightingales, it is our garden]

Parbat woh sabse ooncha, hamsaya aasmanka
Woh santari hamaara, Woh pasban hamaara.

[The mountain most high, a neighbour to the sky
it is our sentry, it is our saviour]

Godimein khelti hain, Jiski hazaaron nadiya
Gulshan hai jinki damse, Raksh-I-jinan hamaara.

[In her sweet embrace dance a thousand rivers
breathing life in her gardens, outrivalling heaven]

Mazhab nahin sikhaata, Aapas main bair rakhna
Hindi hain hum watan hain, Hindustan hamara.

[Faith does not teach us to hate each other
We are all Indians, Hindustan is our homeland]

Excerpted from Tarana-i-Hind
by Allama (Mohammad) Iqbal

Happy Gudi Padva


Celebrating Ugadi & Gudi Padva
Wishing Everyone
Joy, Peace and Contentment in
the New Year
M & A

Other Gudi Padva Greetings:

Thanksgiving: Boston Public Gardens

Pictures of Boston Public Gardens by Arun Shanbhag
Nikon FM3a; 50/1.8; 100 ISO Reala

Wishing you a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
Travel safely!

About three weeks ago, coming in to work early after meeting my college roommate for breakfast, I cut across the Boston Public Garden. It was one of those magical Fall Days. The rains over the previous days had downed a few leaves. Now the sun shone brightly and each tree was aglow with a million yellow-red-gold lights. I felt I had stepped into a dreamy impressionist painting!

Fortunately I had carried my Nikon with the 50mm/1.8 lens to shoot a few pics of my friend's son. The park is only a 10 min walk from my office and occasionally when I am stressed, I bring my reading here and sit on one of the benches on the right. But I have never seen it this heavenly! Beyond the gates, urban chaos reigns!

For Bostonians: on the right and parallel to the path is Beacon St with the “Cheers” bar behind the 4th or 5th bench. I am standing near the Charles St entrance.

Previous pics from the Boston Public Garden:

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