The Kolam, and thoughts on community arts practice in India

One of the most exciting parts of the Pongal season is the display of colorful kolams drawn in rice flower outside homes. Kolams - also known as rangolis - are a tradition of welcoming good fortune at the beginning of each day. Drawing them is one of the first tasks a woman does in the …

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Learning to Live in a Joint-Family System

Living with my in-laws during this Pongal trip has meant experiencing the joint-family system first-hand. It is a way of life that is so foreign to the individualistic, capitalistic society of the United States, and though I can appreciate the values of communal living and tend to disavow individualized capitalism in principle, the practice of …

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Even Buddhist Weddings Need a Little Drama

So far I've written about the Indian Special Marriage Act registration process, and the excitement of planning a Buddhist/Tamil wedding in three months. This chapter is about our Buddhist wedding ceremony, including traditional rituals and unexpected drama.... We were supposed to meet at the marriage hall at 6pm, for the ceremony to begin at 6:30. …

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