Posts Tagged ‘Bombay



For the past two days Sam and I have been glued to the TV, watching the news of the hostage drama unfolding in south Bombay.  We have been so moved by the incredible suffering being experienced there- the hostages and their families, families mourning the loss of loved ones, and families that will learn of their losses in the coming hours.  But I must also remind myself of the suffering experienced by the hostage-takers and their families.  To dehumanize them is to perpetuate the isolation and ignorance that spawned their actions.  To advocate further violence against them does not fundamentally change what has occurred nor prevent similar activity in the future.  Violent retribution may provide a temporary release for our collective fear, vulnerability, powerlessness, insecurity, or sense of injustice.  But is does not relieve the true suffering.

So, what do we do?   

I say we because I do believe the solution lies in our collective efforts.  The world needs activists as well as scholars.  We need teachers and doctors, selfless service and financial commitment.  We need spiritual leaders who stand up and denounce terrorism and violence in its many forms.   

More than ever, we need compassion.

Yesterday Sam and I celebrated a non-traditional Thanksgiving with a quiet sushi dinner for two at a  local restaurant.  We needed a break from the constant news coverage, but sitting at  the dinner table we found we could think of nothing else.  We remembered everyone directly affected by the tragedy.  We speculated about a resolution to the stand-off.  We were grateful beyond words for the blessings in our own lives that are too numerous to count.  Our reflection certainly was a true Thanks-Giving.  

We also wondered aloud about our social responsibility.  What can we do to promote tolerance?  How can we work for social justice?  How can society be transformed?  Right now I have only questions, not answers.  I welcome your comments and suggestions.  How do you work for social justice?  What do you think needs to be changed?

 What is your vision for a better world?




ganesh chaturthi.

Once upon a time the god Shiva was called away from home for a very long time.  His wife Parvati became quite lonely in his absence and decided to create a child to keep her company.  Using her perspiration to moisten the earth, she fashioned a boy from the mixture.  Parvati and her son spent every moment together.  

One morning Parvati decided to go for a bath, and instructed her son to guard their home.  She told him not to allow anyone to enter.  Her son dutifully stood at the gate and watched over the home.  It was then that Shiva returned from his journey only.  Naturally he didn’t recognize his son, because he’s been created in Shiva’s absence.  When the boy refused to allow him to enter, Shiva severed the boy’s head.  

Parvati emerged and was horrified at what her husband had done.  She cried in grief and explained how she had created the boy from her own sweat.  Shiva was filled with regret.  He promised Parvati that he would restore the boy to life.  Shiva then went from the home, determined to bring back a head for his son.  The first creature he encountered was an elephant, so he killed the animal and brought the head home. He fused the elephant’s head to his son’s body, reanimating the boy.


The son of Parvati and Shiva was called Ganesh.  This beloved elephant-headed deity is the god of wisdom, good fortune, and auspicious beginnings.  His name is invoked at pujas before any new project.  The likeness of Ganesh adorns many Indian homes.  

This week marks the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Ganesh.  Many Hindus bring a statue of Ganesh (Ganpati) into their homes, a symbol of welcoming good fortune and wisdom.  Families perform daily pujas and welcome guests who come to acknowledge the presence of the god at home.  The puja period may last longer than a week, at the end of which the family releases the god by submerging the statue in the sea.  Many communities perform the puja and submersion in public spaces. 


shoe repair.


The strap on my favorite pair of sandals broke this afternoon. Fortunately, this stall fixes shoes on the spot for 10 rupees only.

Originally uploaded by mbdoctor

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August 2020

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