Tag Archives: bell

Gujarat Haveli…………..

Most people who live in a foreign country want to take something special from that country back home with them to remind them of their experiences. Furniture seems a good choice because it’s also practical – of course I am also a big advocate of the impractical bejeweled souvenir as well. But I digress. Lots of our friends in Delhi have told me about the Gujarat Haveli and we finally made it out there. Holy home furnishings batman! Just on the FYI side of things Gujarat is a region in India and Haveli loosely means (very) lovely place to live and trade.

This place was amazing. It reminded me of antique stores (barns) in the U.S. but with way cooler stuff! I have absolutely nowhere to put something like this horse- but I love, love, love him. He loves me too – I just know it.

This table has brass elephants on the side.

Beautiful pots.

More beautiful pots. The one on the left is made of iron with leather braiding. The one on the right is wooden with brass trimming.

These are dowry chests. The brides family would fill these up with prezzies and they would be rolled with the wedding procession to the groom’s house. My youngest daughter had a hard time understanding all of it until I told her not to worry. She will surely marry someone who will be giving her gifts and if he needs a chest this big to fit them all in – so be it. 😉

He might just have to come home with me one day.

Either him or one of his cousins.

Most of these are the bottoms of Hookah pipes. The ones on either end reminded me of spittoons from the wild west days but the shop keeper told me they were for water. He said that at night you fill it with water then in the morning you drink it. You leave it over night so you get the benefit of the all the minerals in the metals. Not exactly the same, same as a spittoon.

Tres cool statues.

I would not sleep at night if this guy lived in my house.

Oh, the fabulous finds just went on and on.

This chair is for the boy, the girl, and the chaperon. But it would also be great for a game of duck duck goose.

This is a coffee table made out of an old door. Magnificent!

An old swing that doesn’t have to involve a chaperon. Must be for a married couple.

There were a lot of painted things. They aren’t my fave just because I am too practical and I cannot imagine trying to fit these into a room with other things.

And you know how I love my bells! Ding ding!

We left without buying anything – because there is also Sharma Farms that I have heard we should see – but clearly we have lots to discuss. I’ll let you know how it goes. Yes, you should start feeling sorry for number one hubby right about n.o.w.

P.S. I have gotten a few emails asking for the address (I had a super hard time finding it too) so for those of you who are local – here it is….
Gujarat Haveli
Mobile 98100 66925 (you need an appointment)
43 KM Stone Delhi
Jaipur Expressway, N.H.-8
Gurgaon, Haryana
email: kutch@ndf.vsnl.net.in
(I will leave it to them to give you directions – I might get you lost. 😉 )

The bowl, the bell, and the therapy…………..

If you read Sufficient, then you know I met Fateh Singh. I wonder if I am taking it too far to say he changed my life. Well, maybe – but honestly, maybe it’s not. He reminded me of a few things that I had too easily let myself forget – and he shared a few things that I might not have ever have had in perspective in the first place.  I am “one of those” people who takes things too seriously and too personally and I get “caught up” in wasting my energy in the wrong ways on the wrong people. He certainly, at the very least, changed my week – and that was a tremendous gift. Smooches Fateh Singh.

So, I am writing this post to put down another lesson he taught me – to remember not to forget – that my energy is too precious to waste on those who could care less about it anyway. And I pinky swear promise that this blog is not trying to take over where Oprah and Dr. Phil leave off – but I need to keep it all in perspective. Maybe a tiny reminder is good for all of us.

Fateh: What is the most precious thing in your life?
Me: That is a no-brainer – my family. period.
Fateh: I will prove you wrong on that one.
Me: You don’t know me well, but I wish you a big fat dose of luck with that one.
Fateh: Okay. Are you ready?
Me: Bring. it. on.
Fateh: What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Me: Again, my family. Is this “life lessons – the remedial course”?
Fateh: That is the wrong answer.
Me: How So?
Fateh: What about breath?
Me: Damn you, that is true.
Fateh: Without breath you cannot enjoy your family.
Me: yeah, yeah, yeah – note to self – do not challenge Fateh in spiritual lessons. You will win big but you will not get the answers right.
Fateh: You breathe in and out so easily that you forget you must do it. As long as you can breathe, you can enjoy the blessings of life, including your family.
Me: and without breath – not so much.
Fateh: Slowing your breath can center you – if you focus on the gift of breath – everything bothering you might seem less important.
Me: How much for the bowl, the bell, and the therapy? 😉


Living away from home has been wearing on me these past few days. And today I decided to pick myself up by the purse strings and do some retail therapy. I have a lot on my list that I want to do before we go home for the summer and the weeks are closing in on me fast. So, rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I should give a little of myself to others and do the charity work that I do best – shopping.

I went and got a few of these beautiful boxes made from broken bangles. Yep, they are nice, aren’t they? Nope, they did not have enough for me to get everyone a box. So sorry.

And then I went to Sundar Nagar. I had heard about it. I had read about it – one of my real life-slash- blogging friends wrote this about it and I was reminded why it was on my list of places to give back shop.  I am not sure why I had not made it over that way but I had not shopped there yet. Big. Mistake. What. Have. I. Been. Waiting. For?

My favorite thing was this bowl ‘o bells. I dunno why – but I have always loved bells. Maybe we lived near a church when my mom was pregnant with me. Each one of these has a different sound. Fantastic.

So I brought a few home. I can just imagine myself standing on my front porch in the U.S. ringing one of these bells to call my kids home for supper all June Cleaver-like. Ding ding ding – sweet children get your arses in here it’s dinner time. They will bring a whole new meaning to ringing in the New Year.

And I saw all of these gorgeous lanterns that you could probably very easily find in an Anthropologie catalog near you for at least 4 times the price.

And I saw these boxes too. Number One Hubby and I have an anniversary coming up very soon and I think 18 years of marriage (and a move to India) warrants these boxes appearing under wrapping paper in my hands very soon. Although I might hold out for something a little more sparkly,  that I did not pick out myself, and that can be more easily transported on a finger or a wrist. As of the writing of this post, my husband has his heart set on getting me a street puppy – which is neither easily transportable nor sparkly and is quite possibly the very last thing I would ever want. We’ll see how this plays out. I will be sure to let you know.

There are two shops right next to each other in the corner of Sundar Nagar. The shopkeeper of the first store gave me this guy when I was done overpaying for my items. He told me it was a gift to wish me good luck – but actually it probably is more of a celebration of his good luck in finding  me as a customer. 😉

And then I met this man- Fateh Singh – in the second shop I went into. (His shop actually had the bells).

I ended up sitting and talking with him for a very long time. His perspective on life was refreshing and I really needed a “what are you complaining about” kick in the bee-u-tee-tee. (That is “butt”.) He told me many stories – a few of which I will share in later blog posts. But the conversation that hit home the most was a twist on the good old “glass half full/glass half empty” trick question.

By way of history, there is a standing joke in our house about my husband’s answer to that question. So he immediately caught my attention when he brought this up. I joke that hubby won’t even discuss if the glass is half full or half empty until you prove to him, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is actually water in the glass. Hubby loves to play devil’s advocate – but that is another blog post entirely.

Anybowl, Fateh was demonstrating the singing bowls for me. I asked him if you were supposed to fill them with water. So, he demonstrated an empty bowl first, then filled it with water and made it sing again.

Then he said
Fateh: Let me ask you one question. Is this bowl half full or half empty?
Me: (I was so excited that I knew the “right” answer that I nearly fell out of my chair trying to raise my hand.) Well, of course, it is half full. Right?
Fateh: To say that it is half full means that it is also half empty. Why can it not simply be sufficiently full?
Me: Hmmmmmm

Now, if you are not a big fan of the Chicken Soup for Soul feel good philosophy, the significance of this might be quickly lost. But I as I sat with him, I realized that my perspective of my last few days was not helping me out one tiny little bit. There have been some stumbling blocks for sure – I miss my family and U.S. friends, we are almost out of American cheese slices, it’s hot as hell here, almost everyone who works in my house is a pain in the arse in one way or another, I am not getting much sleep, there is more of me when I really, really wanted there to be less of me, and yet I have all I need (and frankly more than I need in every respect except patience).

Sufficient is good. And I plan to start embracing it.

So remember, there is no price too high to pay for mental health -even when retail therapy is called for – sometimes shopping is the best medicine. Because when you help yourself, others will help you too. I went out looking for a simple distraction today and found a little peace of mind (and some great bells and bowls – cha ching!).

the Silver Temple in Amritsar………

Nope, that is not a mistake – there is certainly a Golden Temple in Amritsar, India (it is the highest of all Sikh temples and you can read more about it here) – but there is also a Silver Temple in Amritsar. It is a Hindu temple modeled after the Golden Temple – and it looks a lot like the Golden Temple except it is (much) smaller and the lines are (much) shorter. The temple is also known as the Sri Durgiana Temple.

The Silver Temple got its name from the beautiful silver doors that adorn the entrance ways.

I was told this guy is the founder of the temple and he welcomes you outside the gate. Actually he is facing the entrance, so it would be more accurate to say he bids you farewell.

This bell is all full of awesomeness. Many temples have bells. I have been told they serve two purposes – one, to let God (or the gods) know you are there and two, to scare the evils away. Either works for me.

This is one of the prayer books.

There are statues of gods everywhere – by some accounts, Hinduism hails over 1 million gods – this one is Ganesha. He is known as the “remover of obstacles”. He watches over you when you try anything new. He is a good friend to have!

This one is Lord Hanuman – the monkey god and is seemingly the most popular of the Hindu gods.

This guy protects you when you travel. (I cannot remember his name, so if you know it, please share it.) So, we visited with him for a minute and took a picture with him just to make sure we had evidence that he knew we were there.

You can see performances in honor of the Goddess Durga while you are there. Apparently it is quite an honor to be selected for the performance – I think someone forgot to this little one that. 😉

According to Wikipedia, Durga “manifests fearlessness and patience, and never loses her sense of humor, even during spiritual battles of epic proportion.” Yep, it would be (very) good to have her on your side.

A lot of people in India like to have their picture taken and then they like to see the image on the camera screen. This guy asked me to take his picture. So I did, then I showed it to him. He was very, very excited. So, he asked our tour guide to ask me to mail it to him. Sure, that’s easy enough. He wrote down his number with a big honkin’ smile on his face.

Then he figured if it worked once, maybe he could ask again. You can imagine that once was charming, twice was amusing, but we were quickly approaching “enough already”. I took the second picture and showed it to him and then we wanted to get on our way. But he must have been concerned that we weren’t taking him seriously because he asked us to stop and he pulled out a piece of paper – he wanted us to know for sure that he was legit – so he showed us his medical release papers – from the mental hospital. Fantastic.

I have not mailed the pictures yet – and it isn’t because I misplaced his address – I know right where it is – it’s somewhere in my house. And when I find it I will mail it. 😉

Let Freedom Ring…………..

This weekend my niece turned one. Her party was in Philadelphia. Off we go.

It was a great party – she is (of course) the most adorable little one year old and as sweet as can be.

I figured if we were going to be near Philadelphia, we might as well go thru the city and soak in some history. Enter moans and groans from my kids. But, too bad, I am the one with the drivers license and I have always wanted to see the Liberty Bell. So we started off at the Liberty Bell Museum. Because it would make perfect sense that the Liberty Bell Museum would house the Liberty Bell. Don’t you think? Yeah, not so much.


It was a good thing though because that museum closed at 5pm and, for some reason, when you show up at 4:55ish, they aren’t exactly pushing tickets your way. We did see a lovely replica of the Liberty Bell and took a picture of it just in case the real Liberty Bell building closed at 5pm too. (The picture of the Liberty Bell above is the real deal. Luckily, that building closed at 7pm. Whew.)

I have always been a big fat patriotic dork and love this country. I am so proud of all we have accomplished and how we learn from our mistakes. I know we are not perfect – but I think we are as good as it gets. There’s no two ways about it – I heart America.

But I had more selfish reasons for wanting to see the Liberty Bell.

In 1976, the U.S. Mint printed a commemorative quarter in honor of the 200th birthday of the U.S. of A. On one side was a picture of the Liberty Bell – crack and all. When I was younger, my father had a bicentennial quarter collection. Every time he got change, he sifted through looking for the special quarters. If I found one, I would save it to give to him. He kept them in a very cool bank that was a clear cube with a Liberty Bell statue inside. When you put a quarter in the bank, it clinked and clicked against the bell. Good times!

I, on the flip of the coin, had a pinball habit.

Do you see where this is going? Yes, that was back in the day when a pinball machine was still entertaining and cost exactly 1 quarter for 1 game.

I stole borrowed some quarters from my Dad’s collection to play pinball at the local youth club. Yeah, I know. Brilliant. (You probably guessed that I did not exactly ask permission first. Clearly not the best approach. Ooops!)

Every Friday night the high schoolers had a dance at the youth club. Every Saturday night the middle schoolers had a dance.

My Dad knew there were exactly two suspects in the case of the missing quarters. My brother or the girl with the blisters on her thumbs and overuse injuries in her fingers. He told us that neither one of us would be allowed to attend the dances until someone fessed up. Smart that guy – no blaming – just giving us both the same opportunity to come clean with consequences for the other if we did not.

My brother was older – so his night was coming up fast. I had decisions to make. Disappoint my Dad or shortchange my brother. AUGH. I would like to believe that I confessed my crimes before Friday night and my brother was able to go to his dance. I believe I did. I don’t think my criminal streak ran deep enough to keep him from his night with friends.

Anyquarter, fast forward many years later. I now have that bank full of quarters. My Dad gave it to me. It was more significant even than the time when he passed me the car keys. Because along with that bank came his re-established trust that I would not waste the quarters away on pinball games and other foolishness.

Even now when I get change, I look for bicentennial quarters and every once in a while I find one. They always bring a smile to my face. And that bank is in my safety deposit box. It is a real treasure. My kids also keep their eyes open for those quarters – and yes, I have confessed my sins to them in hopes they can learn early from my mistakes – we’ll see how that goes.

So, while I fully appreciate all that the Liberty Bell stands for and I embrace its history. For me, it also represents the rise and fall of a stupid teenager who loved pinball a little too much – and it represents a Dad who loved her anyway – cracks at all. It may not be what the Founding Fathers intended but it is my own little slice of history.