Kids should be able to enjoy their childhood. No child needs to get married. I was engaged at the age of 14, (see video here) and even though the marriage didn’t take place until I was 18, it had all the elements of child marriage. I was not free to choose. I couldn’t say no. I was too young to know what was happening or to fight for my rights. My human rights were violated, and my freedom to choose was taken away from me. I was forced to marry a stranger, and was put into danger. This happened to me not in India, but in the UK. Every day, children are not lucky enough to even wait until the age of 18. They are being forced into marriage at age 10, 12, 14 – you name it. It’s happening here in the USA, and believe me, it’s happening right in your neighborhood. There is a child out there who could be a victim of child marriage and you may not even know it. This is why it has to be brought to the attention of the general public. It’s only through awareness that we can try to make a difference, that we can even try to bring about change, so this does not continue to happen. If it can happen in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, many African countries, in the UK, and Denmark – then believe me – it happens here too!
Here’s an article for you to look at so that you can see for yourself: https://abcnews.go.com/US/child-brides-us-share-stories-exploitation-learning-wife/story?id=64589713 Sometime, it happens because girls get pregnant by their boyfriends, and they’re pushed into the marriage, either by the boyfriend or by the parents, so as not to bring shame on either of the families. However, many times, one or both the victims don’t even want the marriage, it’s the parents who thrust this punishment onto the child, in the name of culture and or tradition. It’s no one’s culture to abuse! We all have to stop this abuse, it’s our moral obligation to do so. Right now, people know they can get away with child marriage, in fact they can even go from one state to another to the one that will allow them to do the deed that should not be done – child marriage. I believe that anyone who enables this to happen (cake maker, the priest, the judge, the guests, the parents) is complicit in the abuse of that child, and the longtime suffering they will go through, so let’s just all bring about the necessary action – let’s end child marriage.
Until we raise the marriage age to 18 for everyone in the USA, we will not have done our very best for all children. Did you know that if parents give their consent to the marriage of an under-age child, a judge is very likely to sign off too and then a poor child is doomed to a life no child should have to embark on. Perhaps they blindly believe that parents have their children’s best interests at heart. But, sadly not all parents do. Parents are often the enablers of this cruel tradition that is a harmful practice. They are the ones that want their child married, whether it is to carry on a tradition, or to ensure the child marries appropriately, or does not stray into a relationship that would bring shame on the family – there are a multitude of reasons children, especially girls, are married off. Sometimes, it’s for horrible reasons such as immigration, where one person benefits at the expense of another! However, these reasons are a violation of a child’s basic human rights. Some traditions are best broken or ended, and it’s our job to call out harmful practices when we see them.
Just place yourself in a child’s shoes for just a moment and you will see this is no way to begin a life. A child forced into child marriage now has to serve a spouse in more ways than I would like to describe. However, describe it I must. No child should be subjected to sexual slavery just because they are now in a marriage that they were placed into. No child should be subjected to a life of domestic servitude and control, but this is very likely to happen when they are weak and vulnerable compared to the older spouse who has power and control over them. No child should have their health and safety compromised. Kids should not be giving birth to kids! I strongly believe in education first, then marriage. So many children are robbed of their right to education and placed into marriage as they are considered to be a burden.
If we don’t stop this cruel enabling of child marriage, we are letting our children down. We must ask ourselves “how would we like to be forced into marriage?” Let’s stop the perpetual cycle of abuse and also break the cycle of poverty. If kids are not allowed to pursue an education, they are much more likely to remain in poverty and be increasingly dependent on their spouse, and never be able to escape the unhappiness. Unhappiness often leads to domestic violence. Do we wish them to suffer one abuse after another? Let them have every opportunity they deserve instead of a lifetime of hardship.
I’m asking you as a very concerned citizen, please open your heart and stop the suffering of children. No child needs to be married. There’s no urgency. Marriage can wait until an individual is 18 years old, and as long as they are not forced into it. The real truth is that I would prefer that the marriage age be raised to 21 as I believe that when I was forced into marriage at 18, I was still way too young. How can being 18 be old enough when a week or few months before that you’re a child? Since I know we have to start somewhere with safeguarding children, I’m still willing to say 18 is way better than the alternative of allowing a child to marry prior to that age, so I’m definitely willing to work with this and hope to see a day when it’s raised to 21. I definitely say no to child marriage and no to forced marriage.
Please join me in signing this petition. I urge you for the sake of all children to raise the marriage age for all to 18 years of age. What I’m asking for is that a bill is passed in the House in California that would raise the marriage age to 18 without exceptions. Thank you.
You cannot stay still when you hear Punjabi music! Bet you! You will want to break out in bhangra, and why not! It’s definitely good exercise. Want to see a video that I made when I was in the UK? This video was made at a pre-wedding party, but I just called it Punjabi Dance Party.
I love the songs on the video, here’s a playlist. The timings are listed so that you can go forward and see certain songs without seeing the entire video – but why you would want to do that – I don’t know – you shouldn’t! The whole video is good!
At 19 seconds into the video: Aaja Soniyeh from Foji ft Gurlej Akhtar – Mentah. I just called it Aaja Soniyeh as these words are in it, but not sure what the name of the song is (one of my favorites);
At 1:01 minutes into the video: Aaj Blue Hai Pani Pani from Yo Yo Honey Singh
At 1:55 minutes into the video: I love the song, but don’t know what it’s called or who is the singer, but the dance to it in this video that I made is rather wonderful. This is when the men get together and dance like crazy! The song refers to Jallandarh, a big city in the Punjab – where I have been just once when I was 14 years old.
At 3:30 minutes into the video: There is a ritual dance that is in honor of the groom who will be married the next day (yes this is the party that the boy’s side held). The girl’s side held their own party the same day at a different venue. We were invited to the boy’s side.
At 4:25 minutes into the video: There’s a song that I like to refer to as the “Snake Song”. It is the same music that there was a fabulous dance to in Bride and Prejudice, the “Cobra Dance” that had one of the sisters entertaining the guest Darcy as well as Mr. Khan who was visiting from Los Angeles. Aishwarya Rai was in this movie and played one of the sisters. This was a truly fabulous movie!
At 5:57 mintues into the video, it’s the women’s turn to dance! Again, I don’t know the name of the song, or the singer – but you should tune into to see how Punjabi women dance – they do a dance traditionally known as “giddah” – a traditional folk dance.
At 6:40 minutes into the video, there’s Moorni from Panjabi MC (one of my favorites);
At 6:59 minutes into the video, watch out for the men’s turn again as they dance to the Dhol, and do my favorite – bhangra!
At 8:43 minutes into the video, tune in for nightclub/disco like bhangra!
At 9:04 minutes into the video, tune in for Spanish Bhangra! That’s all I can call it as there is a song that I should know the name to, but don’t and it is Spanish I believe, also popular, and the men love dancing to it bhangra style!
At 9:45 minutes into the video, tune in for the Bhangra finale!
If you love the songs you hear in my video, and want to hear the full version, and see the corresponding video from the artist click on the song links below
Aaja Soniyeh from Foji ft Gurlej Akhtar – Mentah.
Aaj Blue Hai Pani Pani from Yo Yo Honey Singh
Moorni from Panjabi MC
Cobra Dance from Bride and Prejudice, and I know this is part of another Bollywood movie too
Don’t forget with a good Punjabi Dance Party, you need a nice cup of tea, and some Indian sweets, so here you go – just for you! I took the first two pictures below in the USA, but the rest are taken at the Punjabi Dance Party in the UK at Walsall Football Stadium.
My daughter Niki took a selfie of us when we were in the car on the way to Walsall from Northern England.
Here I am at the party before it got started.
I hope you liked my video, and the pictures. Don’t forget to watch some of the other videos of the songs that I really like – they are some of the best, but mostly don’t forget to watch my video. Remember, there’s nothing like good Punjabi music, and especially bhangra!
The Diwali Mela took place in the Black Mountain Road area of Mira Mesa, San Diego on October 25, 2014. It was a packed-out event, and a great way to spend the evening. There were many performances to Bollywood songs, and of course at least one to Bhangra!
Here are some pictures, and at the bottom of this page, you can see some videos that I made. If there is one thing that should strike you from looking at the pictures is that Indian outfits are so colorful, as well as pretty!
Now, for a break away from the performances – just take a look at all the people, and there were more!
I tried a few different dishes including the Punjabi Karhi and Rice, one of my favorites – I should have taken a picture! I did take one of the Alloon Paratha – which were quite delicous (bread stuffed with potatoes and spices, that is cooked on a tava or griddle, and then smothered with oil or butter).
Now back to the pictures of the performers.
I hope that added some color into your day!
Here is the video showing the Punjabi dance:
Here is the video showing the Rajasthan dance:
Here is the video showing a variety of the performances, including the women’s fashion show and the men’s fashion show.
Don’t miss the performance towards the end of this last video showing a dance to Bang Bang – the Bollywood movie starring Hrithik Roshan, and watch out for the little boy in the audience who definitely has dance fever!
My favorite place in the world is London – it is one of the places I can go to again and again, and never be bored. I just love London! Me and my family flew to London on July 22nd, 2014 and arrived in London on July 23rd at Heathrow Airport at around 3:15 pm. We were to have 5 days in London…..I wish I could have stayed longer! In this post, I will just show you what we saw on Day One in London. Since we were going to stay in Trafalgar Square, that is the picture I will show you first.
I could have got a taxi into London, but no….that would not make sense – the traffic is crazy there, and it would have been ever so expensive. I could have got the Express Train from Heathrow, but that was £42 for all four of us (Chandi – my 5 year old would have been free). I thought, no…I have spent so much money already on this trip that I need to economize a little where I can – so what did I do? I was daring and did just as I have done many times before – I took the underground from Heathrow into Central London. Besides, you can’t beat taking the underground for speed – yes, the Express would have been faster – 15 minutes instead of 40 minutes or so, but after an 11 hour direct flight from San Diego, I think 40 minutes was not too bad.
Why do I say that I am daring? Well, you have to be daring to take the underground when you are traveling with three kids, 3 big suitcases, one smaller rolling carry on bag and about three or four more bags. After all, you get just a few seconds at times when those tube doors open and it is quite a process to get all the suitcases, myself and 3 kids out of the door on time! We changed lines at Piccadilly Circus where we got the Bakerloo Line (the brown line) and got off at Charing Cross – just one stop away. After getting out at Piccadilly Circus, and lugging our suitcases up a big flight of stairs (there are escalators, but sometimes you are faced with plain old stairs too and no elevators), I was tempted to just exit and walk about 12 minutes to Trafalgar Square, but decided to plough on and change lines – which meant for the sake of one stop – having to go through all that again…getting out of the tube doors on time, and going up more stairs. Understandably, it was daunting, and we were already quite exhausted.
So you might want to know how much it was on the tube? The tube is another name for underground – but you already probably know that. I had to get two adult one-way tickets since my daughter is 17 years old, and a child’s ticket for my 12 year old son who just turned 13 during this trip, and that cost a total of £14.20 – my 5 year old was free.
We stayed at the Hilton Trafalgar right on Trafalgar Square, you might be able to see it on this picture.
I think I’ll pass on telling you how much it was for my hotel for 5 nights and for our flights to London from San Diego….I’ll be paying it off for quite some time! Anyhow, we checked in and were really happy with our hotel. Additionally, it was heavenly to notice that there was milk for tea in the room, instead of cream or powdered cream….how I hate having to put cream in tea – I always call down to the reception to ask for milk. Similarly, I must have cream for my coffee, and not milk – let’s just say I’m spoilt when it comes to my hot beverages!
I had bought a new Nikon P600 and initially put a setting on it to print the date and time, however, I don’t think I changed the time to local time in England – so it probably reflects an incorrect time of at least 8 hours behind (USA time is 8 hours behind that of England). I subsequently decided to take off the setting a day or so later, as I was trying to decide whether it was kind of cheesy having the date on my prints. Some of the pictures were taken with my Canon G10 and some with my Note 3. I think you have to have a number of devices with you when you travel, as your batteries will get exhausted and what better than to reach into your bag for another fully charged camera!
Well, that is enough talking right now, and let’s get to some pictures.
We walked over to Leicester Square later that evening, it is only a 5 minute walk.
I craved fish and chips, but we ended up going to Pizza Hut in Leicester Square on our first night, that’s what the kids wanted.
This hotel looks ever so nice at night time – it’s right in the heart of Leicester Square
Well, that was Day One in London. I already am having the time of my life, and want the next four days to go ever so slowly. Next time, I will let you know about Day Two, and/or the remainder of my visit in London.
When in Rome, you won’t forget to do the usual touristy things like visit the Trevi Fountain
First you’ll want to photograph just about any part of it with other people in it
Then you’ll probably want to pick on an Italian-looking person to be in the picture
Then you’ll want to photograph the top of the structure
The middle of the structure
And other people taking better pictures of it
Don’t forget to take pictures that include the bottom of the structure showing the water.
Now, you’ll want to go elsewhere, and take more pictures
And somewhere else again
Take a picture from another angle
And then walk around the corner
Don’t forget to just take pictures of people, any people – don’t even ask them.
Don’t forget the street scenes
Don’t forget to get the Italian flag in your pictures
Did I mention that you are supposed to get the numerous statues too that are all over the place?
Can’t resist throwing in one more picture of the Trevi Fountain.
Did I also tell you that you should just about take pictures of everything?
Also, one more thing……..when in Rome, forget about home!
There is a place that I could go to again and again, and never get bored of visiting, and that is Italy. I have been there numerous times. On this occasion, back in 2006, it was right after the MSC Musica cruise. The cruise started in Venice and finished in Venice, but a trip to Italy is not complete without visiting some of it’s other beautiful cities. We chose Pisa, and were not disappointed. We also went to Florence, and San Gimignano, but I can’t remember if some of these pictures were taken there or not. I have decided to label most of the other pictures Tuscany, Italy just to be on the safe side.
First, the most famous place in Pisa – the Leaning Tower of Pisa
and here, it looks like it’s not leaning so much, but it’s just a different angle
Then here are an assortment of pictures taken in Tuscany which is the region where Pisa is.
What can I say about Italy other than I love the architecture, the fashion, the language, the food, the place and the people. Italy, it has it all, and you can get a big taste of what Italy is about just in Pisa.
Happy Diwali, and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park! The holidays are just around the corner, and this is surely a happy time for everyone! I love the holidays, and I especially love Christmas (the picture below was actually taken in San Diego Zoo, which is adjacent to Balboa Park).
I also love Diwali, which is the Indian Festival of Lights celebrated by Indians of all different faiths, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and many others. Diwali falls on a different day each year, but that day will be either in October or November of the year. This year, Diwali will be on November 13th, but it was celebrated on October 21st at Balboa Park.
Diwali is a colorful festival, and it’s significance is rooted in several epics and stories. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated with lights, especially candles and diyas. People rejoice in the occasion, and have parties, and there is definitely a lot of Indian sweets being sold and consumed at this time. If you would like to know more about Diwali, you can read this article: http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/diwali-significance.html or http://www.diwaliinlondon.com/whatisdiwali.html. To read more about this year’s Diwali Celebration and an article where San Diego Mayor Proclaims “Festival Of Lights” Day, click here: http://www.indiajournal.com/archives/30604
Here is a picture of the Indian sweets (they are delicious).
Here’s some pictures taken at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park. All the performances were held at the beautiful Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.
The night begin with the Indian National Anthem, and I have enclosed my video of this – now you will get to see a little more of the Organ Pavilion too.
Here is my video that shows a variety of performances that depict the many regions of India, therefore, you will see dances from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc. You may be amazed to see there are so many variations of dance styles according to the region of India that the dance is from.
Here is my video of just one performance to show you a dance in its entirety, and this is the Rajasthan Dance.
These are some pictures of the performances
This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this is when the Diwali Lights were on display, and it was a beautiful scene. All the women on the stage were holding trays with candles – Balboa Park was truly lit up!
In addition to the Annual Diwali Celebration where many Indian dances were performed, Indian dances are also performed during the December Nights outside the Houses of Hospitality at the International Cottages.
Here’s some pictures taken at December Nights, 2011. I will of course be taking more pictures at this year’s December Nights (I wouldn’t miss it)!
It does get a little chilly in the evening during the December Nights celebration, so you will definitely want to wear a sweater or a jacket. There is plenty of food on sale, including stalls selling food from all around the world, close to the Houses of Hospitality, and practically all over the park. If you are in the mood for fine dining, then you might want to check out the Prado on the Park Restaurant.
Here are more pictures of Balboa Park (all three pictures were taken a number of years ago, and were scanned in). It will definitely be time to take more pictures soon of Balboa Park!
This one was taken at the Botanical Gardens in Balboa Park
You may know or have heard of Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego…..if not, you need to visit it soon as it is a fantastic place to visit. This park is adjacent to the world famous San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park is so much more…..it is highly cultural. It houses the International Cottages where you can visit the House of Scotland, the House of England, the House of Russia, etc., and try a sample of food that comes from that region. However, when it comes to the holidays, such as Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) and Christmas (now called December Nights instead of Christmas on the Prado) – there is no better place than Balboa Park to celebrate in style! Not only can you enjoy a world class park in a world class city, but you can enjoy world class cultural arts and entertainment.
You can read much more about December Nights at http://www.sandiego.org/events/balboa-park-december-nights.aspx and at http://sandiego.about.com/cs/familyfun/a/dec_nights.htm
Looking for something fun to do this holiday? Why not come to San Diego, and come to our December Nights….it will be hosted on two different days: Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 2012. This is a fun event for all the family, and highly entertaining! Kick off the holidays in style!
I just finished uploading my video today, and hope you will like it. This video shows many areas around the Enchantment Of The Seas, and it shows the Sailing Away Party, in addition to the Farewell Party. What was interesting was that many people danced during the Sailing Away Party, when there was regular Western music, but as soon as Bhangra music was played, there was just one person dancing. I had to show this in my video – because I love Bhangra, as well as Bollywood, but I also love many types of Western music. Okay, I will admit that there weren’t as many Indian people on this cruise ship as I’ve seen on other cruise ships, but you would think that Bhangra music should have caught on by now. Bhangra music has a very catchy beat, and it’s hard to resist moving when you hear this wonderful music.
Other than the Sailing Away Party, I also showed the Captain’s Reception, some of the entertainment in the Centrum, and the common areas, including the main pool, Schooners Bar, and the Solarium.
Anyway, I hope you will watch my video, and remember……cultural enrichment can brig you joy!