In My Hands Today…

The World Deserves My Children – Natasha Leggero

When Natasha Leggero got pregnant at forty-two after embarking on the grueling IVF process, she was over the moon. But once her feelings of bliss dissipated, she couldn’t help but shake the lingering question: Am I doing this right? And then, Should I be doing this if the world is about to end?

In The World Deserves My Children, Natasha explores themes like “geriatric” motherhood, parenting in an environmental panic, fear and love, discipline (and conflicting schools of thought on how not to raise a brat), and more. Ultimately, Natasha determines that motherhood is worth it. After all, where do you think the next five generations of humans will be if the only people who are having kids don’t believe in science? The world deserves my children.

Festivals of India: Bhagoria

The Bhagoria festival is a vibrant and colourful festival celebrated by the tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, which was originally the Malwa region. The festival is held annually in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which corresponds to February or March in the Gregorian calendar. The Bhagoria festival is a celebration of the arrival of spring and marks the beginning of the harvest season. It is a time for the tribal communities to come together, dance, sing, and exchange gifts. The tribes who participate include the Bhil, Bhilala, and Pateliya.

The festival takes place in the Badwani, Dhar, Alirajpur, Khargone and Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. It has agricultural significance and coincides with the end of harvesting crops. It is celebrated for seven days in March before the Holi Festival. Traditionally, celebrants travel to the festival grounds with their families on decorated bullock carts. There they purchase the things required to celebrate Holi, dance to traditional musical instruments, sing songs called Lokgeet, and enjoy meeting family and friends.

The Bhagoria festival is unique to the tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh and northeastern Maharashtra and is one of the largest tribal festivals in India. It is a celebration of the vibrant and diverse culture of these communities and attracts visitors from all over the world. The festival is celebrated in different parts of Madhya Pradesh, with the largest celebrations taking place in Jhabua, Alirajpur, and Dhar districts.

One of the highlights of the Bhagoria festival is the ‘Bhagoriya Mela’ or fair. This fair is a gathering of tribal communities from all over the region and is a place for people to come together, socialise, and participate in various activities. The Bhagoriya Mela is a lively and colourful affair, with stalls selling food, drinks, and handmade goods. There is also a wide range of entertainment available, including music, dance, and theatre performances.

The Bhagoria festival is famous for its traditional dance and music. The tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh have a rich tradition of music and dance, and the Bhagoria festival provides a platform for these traditions to be showcased. The dances performed during the festival are an expression of joy and happiness and are performed by both men and women. The music played during the festival is characterized by its use of traditional instruments such as the dhol, nagara, and manjira.

One of the most unique and interesting aspects of the Bhagoria festival is the ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ ritual. During this ritual, married women apply turmeric paste and vermilion powder to each other’s foreheads. The ritual symbolizes the bond between the women and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. The ‘Haldi-Kumkum’ ritual is an important part of the Bhagoria festival and is performed by women from all the tribal communities that participate in the festival.

The Bhagoria festival is also a time for love and courtship. During the festival, young men and women come together to meet and get to know each other. If two people are interested in each other, they can exchange gifts and formalize their relationship. This exchange of gifts is known as ‘Bhagoria Haat’. The Bhagoria Haat is an important part of the Bhagoria festival and is a time for the young people of the tribal communities to come together and celebrate their relationships.

The Bhagoria festival is a celebration of the rich and diverse culture of the tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh. It is a time for people to come together, socialize, and celebrate the arrival of spring and the beginning of the harvest season. The Bhagoria festival is an important part of the cultural heritage of India and is a unique and vibrant celebration that attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Bhagoria festival is a celebration of life, love, and joy and a time for the tribal communities of Malwa to come together and celebrate their culture and traditions. The Bhagoria festival is a true expression of the rich and diverse culture of India and is a celebration that should not be missed.

2023 Week 10 Update

Hello again from Bangalore! We are still here in the south Indian city of Bengaluru where my parents have moved to a retirement community and the children are having a great time here. We are also doing a bit of sightseeing which I will share in due course.

Today’s quote is attributed to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius who lived between 551 and 479 BCE. He is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages and his teachings and philosophy underpin East Asian culture and society, remaining influential across China and East Asia to this day. According to Confucius, we all have two lives with the second one starting when we realise we only have one life. This means that when we understand that we only live once, we can become free and start living. When we realise that the only thing holding us back is everyone’s expectations and measurements, that is when our one and true life starts.

The traffic in Bengaluru is horrendous, and as someone who has travelled to cities like Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta, I can safely say, Baengaluru can compete with them for the title of one of the worst traffic cities in Asia. And the best part is because the place where my parents live is so far from the city, going anywhere means sitting in the car for a minimum of an hour or more. But Bangalore has always been close to my heart and so I can forgive all the traffic. Being here has brought back so many memories of spending time with my paternal grandparents and going out with family and friends. Last week, at a coffee shop, I overheard some girls speaking and that typical Bengaluru accent brought such a smile to my face, BB and GG had to ask my why. It reminded me of being with friends in the city when we used to come here for our summer holidays and those uncomplicated days are always nostalgia inducing.

We are also back from a hectic trip to visit the Lord of the Seven Hills – Balaji in Tiruapati plus a couple of other temples and we were so tired from the hours of sitting in a car, that we took the day after we returned back to Bangalore as a day of rest.

Our trip is almost at an end and it’s been fun connecting with BB & GG and just being with them without the pressures of school and other distractions. The next update will be when we are back in Singapore.

In My Hands Today…

Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom – Lucia Jang and Susan McClelland

Born in the 1970s, Lucia Jang grew up in a common, rural North Korean household—her parents worked hard, she bowed to a photo of Kim Il-Sung every night, and the family scraped by on rationed rice and a small garden. However, there is nothing common about Jang. She is a woman of great emotional depth, courage, and resilience.

Happy to serve her country, Jang worked in a factory as a young woman. There, a man she thought was courting her raped her. Forced to marry him when she found herself pregnant, she continued to be abused by him. She managed to convince her family to let her return home, only to have her in-laws and parents sell her son without her knowledge for 300 won and two bars of soap. They had not wanted another mouth to feed.

By now it was the beginning of the famine of the 1990s that resulted in more than one million deaths. Driven by starvation—her family’s as well as her own—Jang illegally crossed the river to better-off China to trade goods. She was caught and imprisoned twice, pregnant the second time. She knew that, to keep the child, she had to leave North Korea. In a dramatic escape, she was smuggled with her newborn to China, fled to Mongolia under gunfire, and finally found refuge in South Korea before eventually settling in Canada.

With so few accounts by North Korean women and those from its rural areas, Jang’s fascinating memoir helps us understand the lives of those many others who have no way to make their voices known.