One of the two India booths at the Celebration of Cultures, October 3

One of these days I am going to India.

I purchased a book the other day, and after reading the first paragraph I was at peace with my decision to start planning a trip there. Things began to become clearer and I am daily becoming more intrigued, for other reasons besides the great pleasure I take in a plate of Chicken Tikka Masala or my profound adoration for Mother Teresa.

I have often described myself as “a bundle of paradoxes,” and these words drew me deeper into the her story:

“Inda is the world’s most anciet civilization, yet one of its youngest nations. Much of the paradox found everywhere in India is a product of her inextricable antiquity and youth. Stability and dynamism, wisdom and folly, abstention and greed, patience and passion compete without end within the universe that is India. Everything is there, usually in magnified form. No extreme of lavish wealth or wretched poverty, no joy or misery, no beauty or horror is too wonderful, or too dreadful, for India. Nor is the passage to India ever an easy one for Western minds. Superficial similarities of language and outward appearances only compound confusion. For nothing is obviously true of India as a whole. Every generalization that  follows could be disproved with evidence to the contrary from India itself. Nor is anything “Indian” ever quite as simple as it seems. Each reality is but a facet of India’s infinity of experience, a thread drawn from the seamless sari of her history, a glimpse behind the many veils of her maya world of illusion.” “India” by Stanley Wolpert

Walking upon the India booth was the second highlight of my time at the Celebration of Culture. The Celebration was beautiful, absolutely lovely. I appreciate opportunities to experience and glimpse the cultural & ethnic diversity that does exists in Nashville. Plus it was a lovely day to walk the streets of Nashville and share with my sister.
Given my recent decision to make plans to travel to Kolkata, India, the India booth definitely one of the highlights. The people staffing the booth were so kind and eager to provide helpful information as I make travel plans. I look forward to visiting with them in the very near future to get some advice for the journey.
One of my favorite treats from my encounter with the people at the booth was the gifting of the bindi I wore for the remainder of the day. During my year of discernment about piercing my nose, I studied a number of articles regarding beauty symbols of Northern & Southern India. I have been intrigued by India’s story, life, food, culture, religions and understanding of beauty for years. I was thankful to be offered an opportunity to bear this mark of beauty on my forehead for a day.
The bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating of all forms of body decoration. Hindus attach great importance to this ornamental mark on the forehead between the two eyebrows — a spot considered a major nerve point in human body since ancient times. Also loosely known as ‘tika’, ‘pottu’, ‘sindoor’, ’tilak’, ’tilakam’, and ‘kumkum’, a bindi is usually a small or a big eye-catching round mark made on the forehead as adornment.

That Red Dot

In southern India, girls choose to wear a bindi, while in other parts of India it is the prerogative of the married woman. A red dot on the forehead is an auspicious sign of marriage and guarantees the social status and sanctity of the institution of marriage. The Indian bride steps over the threshold of her husband’s home, bedecked in glittering apparels and ornaments, dazzling the red bindi on her forehead that is believed to usher in prosperity, and grants her a place as the guardian of the family’s welfare and progeny.” (http://hinduism.about.com/od/bindis/a/bindi.htm)

Ciona and her Bindi

Ciona and her Bindi

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