Nirupama Vaidyanathan’s beautiful essay about finding a cure for her loneliness at Costco is a lesson for us all. (“Grief and Costco,” India Currents, October 2015)
Just as God is in all of us, peace and harmony as well as a sense of belonging can be found among the aisles of 50 inch televisions, ceiling high packs of Sam-E and endless rows of paper products. I sometimes find that the busyness of the train station at Whitefield or the Civic Center Bart station at 5 p.m. can offer beautiful opportunities for meditation.
There are many places and people in the world to assist us on our spiritual and earthly paths but sometimes the perfect place is where we are. We just have to be sensitive to our needs and be open and aware of what the universe is already providing for our healing.
Warren Rose, Martinez, CA
Diversity and Objectivity
Many thanks for printing my letter in your October issue about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his governance (in response to two articles in September). You do encourage diversity, but sometimes it’s misused. Facts are also interpreted and distorted by writers. However, free speech and free writing have no limit.
Kalpana Mohan’s article about churidars made me pause and reflect (“The Churidar Gets a Nod,” India Currents, August 2015).
We all have our stories. For me, it happened organically. I can’t remember precisely when I started wearing my churidar outfits to non-Indian events. My earliest recollection is that of the early 2000s when I began wearing churidar kurtas to work on casual days.
After an entire generation of women was taught how to “Dress for Success,” came the challenge of “Appropriate Attire” for casual days. Our employee handbook contained a long list of what was not acceptable for women to wear.
I only had a few churidar outfits but thought they seemed to fit the definition of what was appropriate for casual Fridays. I also thought it would be good to use them more often than just wearing them occasionally to Indian events. So, on Fridays, I donned the Indian outfit. After a few months of double-takes, the comments began to flow … “Where did you buy that?” “Is that hand-embroidered?” “Wow, the color of your pants matches the color of your shirt!” “I’ve never seen that design!” Co-workers loved the outfits. And, these comments came from men and women.
Over the last dozen years, I’ve worn a myriad of Indian outfits to western social events, from fundraising galas to the Ahmanson Theater to Disney Hall to the Hollywood Bowl or just out to dinner. The reception has been unexpectedly fantastic! Men and women comment on how beautifully breathtakingly elegant the outfits are! Individuals strike up conversations, from describing their own trips to India, to attending their Indian friend’s wedding or just to remark on the lovely outfit.
I’ve concluded that the positive response I’ve encountered may be due to a combination of factors: perhaps since my husband is Caucasian, we don’t conform to an ethnic stereotype; living in Los Angeles, where creativity rules is definitely a plus; the love affair between Hollywood and fashion is prevalent: Hollywood stars, millionaires and billionaires have admiringly bestowed compliments on my ethnic attire.
I feel totally accepted by my American compatriots. The quizzical looks, nonetheless, come from my fellow Indians, who, with their glances seem to say, “Why would I want to wear a custom-made outfit and be uniquely me when I can purchase an off-the-rack outfit and look like everyone else?
Punita Khanna, Los Angeles, CA
Self-help Blame and Shame
The article by Sarita Sarvate on self-help (“Annoyed by the Self-help Cult? You Are Not Alone!” India Currents, October 2015) is a ridiculous generalisation. No doubt the “self-help” industry has its share of charlatans and exploiters, but it is absurd to write off the entire sector. Many personal development programs deliver dramatic perfomance improvements, and often inspire their customers to make positive contributions to the quality of life for others.
Derek Deardon, website
Having been a part of the new age self help movement for around 15 years, I completely agree with what Sarita Sarvate wrote (“Annoyed by the Self-help Cult? You Are Not Alone!” India Currents, October 2015). Well, maybe not all of it, but a large part of it. People in these scenes have indeed become very narcissistic, blaming others for where they are. The law of attraction is about the worst thing ever, blaming and shaming people for their circumstances. I’d suggest people go watch the movie Humans on You Tube for a rather large wake up call as to what is actually happening in the world and get over their entitled western atitude.
Pippa Galea, website
I know the article by Sarita Sarvate is an opinion piece, but it seems to me that her research is somewhat short. The self-help industry is a billion dollar one and gets a lot of credit for contributing to people’s success. One of the biggest messages you find in the field is the very message Ms. Sarvate subscribes to: Go out and be of service to others. As opposed to sit on the sidelines and criticize.
Andre Darling, website