The White Hindu has moved

The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sorry for no posts

I don't want to leave you wondering where I am...

It is the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. and I've traveled to visit my parents. It's an eight and half hour drive from home. I don't use the computer much while I'm here, since it's their computer.

I'll be back home on Monday and digging up more information for posts!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hinduism in Ghana

Tonight a friend at study group had just returned from a trip to Ghana, Africa. He showed us pictures of a thriving Hindu temple there, run entirely by Africans.

This article from BBC is about the temple and its swami:

My study group and I were very impressed. It shows a lot of dedication for them to be following Hinduism in the middle of an intensely evangelical Christian culture.

I think it also opened some people's eyes to the idea that Hinduism is not only meaningful to Indians. It holds a spirit that is enticing and desirable to many people of diverse backgrounds in different parts of the world.

I feel so happy knowing that this temple exists.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Travel Altar

This little craft came about because of a couple of different things.

First, I lost my ipod touch, so I no longer have the cute apps with Gods on them. (It's been missing for almost a month now, I've cleaned my apartment and my car and retraced my steps to everywhere I went the day it went missing, and it really does seem to be gone for good).

The second thing is that last night I was listening to one of the knitting podcasts I like, the Knitpicks podcast, and Kelli mentioned making little craft kits out of empty Altoid mint containers. Then she said that if you Google Altoid tins you will find some amazing art and crafts and different kit ideas.

I love little kits, so I did the Google search and it inspired me to create this:


This is the inside of an Altoid tin. I glued in a little Krishna pendant that I've had for years, which is meant to be a necklace, but I think actually this project would work better printing out a picture of a God and pasting it to the lid.

I glued in a tealight candle and a bunch of paper flowers from a craft store. I took two beads and glued them together to make a holder for a stick of incense. The incense can be laid flat in the tin and I plan to get a little box of matches. I found a tiny bell in the craft store, too.

So now I have a tiny altar that I can take with me in my purse where ever I go!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Indian Decorating

First of all, I'm probably not going to be posting as often for a little while. School is getting very busy and I am running out of time for everything I need to do!

But, today I'm going to post some links about decorating. I love to decorate, even though I think I'm only just starting to develop an eye for what goes together well.

I am going to be doing some redecorating next month, so I'm looking for inspiration. did a post about Indian decor and in the comments Gori Girl suggested these:

And I found this one An Indian Summer

I also found some neat looking books on Amazon (inspired by seeing a coffee table book on Indian Decor at my study group)

India Decorations

Indian Interiors

Home Decorating Indian Style

For further inspiration, here is a Google image search on Indian Decor

So far I do have wall art that is Indian, one poster from Dolls of India (They have a lot of beautiful items and they are very friendly. Even though it isn't one of their items, they tracked down a copy of Lord of the Rings in Hindi for me) and several beautiful prints from a Krishna Calendar that my Hindi Teacher gave me. I also have a 3D Krishna framed that was given to me as a "Secret Santa" gift a couple of years ago. I have several Ganesha statues throughout my apartment, also.

I would like to add a lot of fabric. Many pillows of various sizes, layers of curtains in vibrant colors, etc.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Appropriate Conversation

I often forget that not everyone thinks about things as much as I do. In fact, maybe most people don't. Or they think about different things.

For me, I am so fascinated by religion and the ways people find meaning in their lives and so somehow conversations almost always find their way to philosophical pondering around me. I don't intend for it to be that way, I don't notice that I'm doing it, but I'm sure that it's my great interest in the subject that almost always moves conversations with new people in that direction.

I think I need to get better control over these tendencies of mine. Religion is one of those subjects that is considered not appropriate for the dinner table, which is to say, not appropriate for casual, friendly conversation. I know it embarrasses my parents and makes some people rather uncomfortable.

I was trained in conversation, as part of lessons on being a demure and quiet "good" woman. I never mastered those lessons.

I need to learn how to have small talk that does not involve questioning the meaning of life! :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun Song and Dance

If any of you are as nerdy as I am, then perhaps you have seen the web-based show The Guild. It's about a group of people who play an MMO-style game together.

This may not sound relevant, but one of the characters is Indian and as an promotion, they put out this hilarious Bollywood inspired ad.

Watch for one of the characters speaking fake Hindi. (If you aren't familiar with Hindi, he says "hey" a lot because the Hindi verb "to be" sounds like "hey").

An Article and a Close Encounter

Speaking of marriages, I discovered this fascinating paper about various kinds of mixed-religion marriages in the U.S. (all of them have one partner who is Christian).

It was also interesting to see the graph of religions in America. Apparently Hindus make up only 0.4% I had no idea the number was that low!

The odd thing for me is that in my future relationships I will, almost no matter what, be either in an inter-racial relationship or an inter-religious one.

If I am in an inter-racial relationship, it will not be inter-religious and vice versa. In reading more of these blogs of people in inter-racial relationships, I am curious to see how many of them have different religions and how many of them have partners who had previously converted to the religion. I'm sure the assumption is that the white partner converted to their spouse's religion, but I would like to find out if there are relationships where the white partner was already a convert previous to meeting the spouse. I think that this is the case in many of the Muslim white/non-white marriages that I've read about.

(Please write and tell me about it if you are in such a situation, by the way!)

I almost got myself into a situation that would have made me mad. I was on my way to my Hindi class. When I got out of the subway, there was a young man passing out cards about beer tasting and theology talk.

Now, I don't ever drink, but I love to talk about theology and I've been meaning to be more social and expand my circle of friends. So, I took a card from him.

As I continued to walk toward class I suddenly realized that "theology discussion" might be code for "we want to talk you into converting to Christianity." Sure enough, when I found their website in tiny letters, the word "Christ" was in there.

I didn't go.

I love to talk about theology, but only in truly open-minded company. I want my ideas to be respected and I have no interest in telling people about Hinduism if their only purpose is to find loopholes in it and try to make Christianity sound better.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interracial Love

It seems that there has been an explosion of mixed race couples lately, half Indian and half something else (usually white) and a lot of these couples are moving back to and living in India.

An article came out in India a few weeks ago profiling a bunch of women who have blogs about their relationships with Indian men. Here is one blog that scanned and showed the article. I was contacted about participating in this article too, but it is focused on interracial relationships and I had to inform the person who contacted me that I'm not in a relationship and my connection to Indian culture has nothing to do with me meeting and falling in love with an Indian man :/

I've discovered more and more and more of them as I explore. I think this all began with The White Indian Housewife, here are several more:

This couple is Muslim and live in Pakistan, I know the woman from the knitting site Ravelry and she is a white American:

This is a Sikh couple with a white wife. I think I mentioned her a few days ago too

It sounds like this couple is no longer together:(

And I'm sure there are many more too! (Not to mention, a few I already have linked on the side, like our friend Kat and the Big Bad Bahu Blog).

I also know a friend of a friend from college who is married to an Indian man and apparently they are moving to India later this year.

I'm fascinated by this trend and I'm happy to see the world coming together like this, the boundaries between people melting, and the sharing of different cultures. I think it's wonderful.

It's too bad I haven't found any blogs of white men with Indian women. I know that happens too, but maybe men are less likely to write on the Internet about their relationships...?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy and Content


Here I am on my way to my Diwali party. I had an awesome time. (I got mistaken for Indian twice!) The potato dish I brought wasn't great, it was somewhat undercooked, but I am going to try making it again.

I got to see friends and meet new people and play games and enjoy great company. I'm really feeling very comfortable and content with my life right now. It's very nice.

Kodanda asked if I put on any holiday weight and that will have to wait for next Friday's weigh-in to see, but chances are yes! So far I have lost 13 pounds, but I may have put one or two back on this weekend ;)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wear Your Sari to Work Day!

So, our friend over at White Girl Coming Out of the Saree Closet had the thought to wear a sari to work for Diwali. She ended up wearing a salwar kameez, but a friend of hers suggested a Wear a Sari to Work Day and I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea.

Indeed, I decided that I should organize one.

I'll have to decide on a day, I'm thinking a Monday so that everyone in your office can enjoy something bright and beautiful on a glum day.

If your office has a dress code that wouldn't allow for a sari, you could wear it after work for the rest of your day.

Of course, there are a lot of male readers here, so I have nothing for you. If you want to you could wear a kurta, I don't recommend trying a dhoti!

I can post ideas about where to get a sari and pictures and videos on how to wrap it. Once I pick a day, I'll advertise on Facebook as well as here. We can increase the visibility of Indian culture in the western world and we can show that there are gorgeous, amazing clothing options out there that are not centered around jeans or a wrap dress.

If people ask, tell them The White Hindu told you to do it ;) Trust me, Indian grannies will be thrilled to see their clothing being worn by young people or non-Indian people.

All the girls can participate in this, even if you live in India and it's not as shocking.

Let's do it!

Hmmm, I'm going to take the total lack of comments as lack of interest. I'm not doing this by myself! So, until people start saying that they're on board, I won't proceed with organizing. But I will probably still at some point post information about how to wear sari in various styles.

Friday, November 5, 2010

शुभ दीपावली


This is my door decoration currently. (Since I started it, I can't complain if people put up Christmas messages on their doors!)

The chocolate burfi turned out great. It's an easy recipe to do, using the microwave, I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow I'm going to make an aloo dish I've never done before and head to a party in Virginia!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Diwali Puja from

A great newsletter came by email from They are the website that makes great, high quality toys based on Indian themes and languages. They shared some beautiful cards giving step by step puja instructions for kids. Here is what the author had to say about them:

Maybe rituals "aren't your thing." Maybe they are. Whatever your beliefs and lifestyle, the fact is that The Puja Ceremony is a key component to understanding Hinduism. It's how Hindus, for centuries, have connected with the Divine. And it's a vital element in almost all Hindu holidays - including Diwali - when the Lakshmi Puja takes center stage.

But how often do you see a 5-year-old (or an 8-or-10-year old for that matter) actually sit through a puja? Maybe they don't understand what's going on. Maybe all those Sanskrit hymns bore them.

This Diwali we encourage you to shake things up. Adults: sit back and let the kids take charge of the prayer ceremony with our Step-by-Step Diwali Puja Tutorial! From the starting preparations to final aarti and prasad, our Tutorial instructs kids on what to do - and, more importantly, the meaning and purpose behind each step. It's The Puja - deconstructed and distilled to the essentials. It's learning by doing.

Of course, keep in mind the puja won't be perfect (or very long), but the kids are sure to have fun being "in charge." And feel free to adapt the Tutorial - we set-up a very basic presentation, but you can insert special family traditions or longer mantras if you wish.

We hope our Tutorial will help kids connect with the more spiritual elements of one of Hinduism's biggest holidays.

And here are the cards:

Another Hindi Update

I had made it my New Year's Resolution to be fluent in Hindi this year. January is coming up soon and I'm not there yet.

It's easy for me to feel discouraged and crushed by the weight of how much I have left to learn, but when I think about how far I've come, I've been doing pretty good!

I started learning Hindi a year and a half ago, in the summer.

I can now:

-read the script extremely well
-follow the basic context of cartoons
-understand most of the words in Bollywood songs (though not always how to put them together)
-say basic conversational things

Things I need work on:
-genders. I have a lot of trouble with putting the correct gender endings on things or knowing which word creates the gender of the sentence (i.e., which word to use to determine mera v.s. meri)
-complex sentences. I'm starting to see how these work, but am not able to generate them yet

Last night I was at my Hindi class and feeling frustrated with myself when I realized that even though I'm struggling with the oblique case and when to use it, just a couple of months ago I didn't understand what the oblique case was!

I have new motivation and a test for my skills possibly coming up. My parents are talking about maybe making another trip to India early next year. Last time they went, I had to work. This time, nothing is going to stop me from going!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Holiday: Diwali

The end of the holiday season is fast approaching! The size and scope of Diwali makes it a good comparison for Chistmas. It's that important.

It is also called "The Festival of Lights" and I've seen amazing pictures of places where it is celebrated where there are strings of lights everywhere and oil lamps burning. It's very beautiful. The word Diwali is actually Deepavali and it means "row or lamps" in Sanskrit, so that's why it is the festival of lights.

There are a lot of different stories and significances about this day. For me, I see the lights as a metaphor for our inner light, for discovering the bright Truth within. It is also supposed to be the day on which Sri Ram returned from his exile in the forest.

Wearing new clothes is part of the tradition, as well as giving gifts of sweets to everyone.

I have a new silk sari given to me by a woman on Ravelry that I will be wearing. I also need to get working on some Diwali candies! I want to bring some to work, to study group, to game group, everywhere I can I think of.

I got this recipe for chocolate burfi from my favorite Indian cooking website. What a great blend of India and America! Burfi is one of my favorite sweets.

I have a string of lights on my balcony and a rangoli pattern on my front door. I'm going to a party in Virginia on Saturday. I am ready for Diwali!

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is not very relevant, but I wanted to tell you all that I had a wonderful Halloween. I can't remember the last time I felt so happy and content.

I had a lovely lunch with some new friends, one of whom knows Hindi and the other is learning, so we can practice together.

Then I went to my study group and after that, they had a big party. Lots of kids in adorable costumes. We carved pumpkins (I didn't have one and someone gave me one of theirs to carve) and we ate lots of good food and the kids went trick or treating. I haven't carved a pumpkin since I was about thirteen years old and even then my Dad did most of the work!

The gathering was all Indian except for me, but I felt welcomed, accepted, and part of the crowd. Everyone else there was married and had children between the ages of 2 and 10. I had fun with the kids and talked with the adults; I ate Amma-ji's halwa and brought home a cute little pumpkin.