Homepage Questions - Edition 4

April - June 2003
Q: I am an American lady who loves to wear saris. I have another American friend who wanted to wear a sari out to eat in a resturaunt in our town without a blouse underneath. I explained to her this is not proper etiquette, but she disagrees as she claims some ladies wear it like this in India. What do you think about this?

A: Personally I agree with you. Where in public is your friend going out? Is she wearing anything on the chest at all? I highly think this is not good. Even in Indian films when it looks like the women aren't wearing a choli, I do believe they are wearing strapless small bras and tie and pin the sari in such a way it looks as if there is no choli. A sleeveless type choli would be fine. She will not get good thoughts from Indian community if she does this.
Q: I am looking for a Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Bangalore. Do you know where one is located?

A: I am not sure, but if anyone out there happens to know of one, do e-mail it to me.
Q: Can you tell me what places I can go to to do good shopping deals in Bangalore, India?

A: I only stayed in Bangalore for a few days. I am not very familiar with Bangalore. However, any one reading this suggesting any good places for shopping (especially foreigner friendly) do email them to me.
Q: Hello, I am a foreigner living in Malaysia. I and my wife have a desire to go to India and learn Tamil language. Do you have any contacts to learn Tamil in Tamil Nadu? We would be so grateful.

A: Unfortunately, I don't have any good contacts. Anyone reading this having any good contacts and willing to share, please do by posting them to me.
Q: I am an American lady marrying an Indian man. Can you point me to resources on how to arrange an intercultural or traditional Hindu wedding?

A: I am not aware of resources, but anyone out there please e-mail me any resources.
Q: I am a Sri Lankan woman engaged to a Caucasian man. I would like to take him to Chennai. How awful would it be to walk around in Madras with a Caucasian? I would love to take him there but I am so afraid of all the comments and stares etc.

A: Well - just curious if you have been to Madras in a while. I am asking because you can see many 'white' people and foreigners there. People don't bother much and it is becoming more common for whites to marry Indians. In fact there is a Tamil Movie (Little John) it is quite funny cause in that movie it is assumed a white American marries the Indian girl. However, I don't have any direct experience in this. If anyone out there would like to share their experiences (good or bad) do email them to me.
Q: I am getting married soon. I am Catholic and she is Hindu. We are looking to perform a single ceremony that incorporates the various aspects of both traditions instead of having separate services. We have heard of this being done before and I was wondering if you know of any links that might describe such a ceremony.

A: I do not know any sites describing how to plan interreligious weddings. If anyone out there does, please send the links to me.
Q: I noticed that you had some detailed sketches/measurements about Indian blouses. Do you offer some service to stitch those clothes? I brought Sari/blouse pieces from India that need to be hemmed/stitched. If you do not have it, do you know some other resources local to US?

A: I have a friend in India who is doing this work. If you need something hemmed only I may be able to find someone local (in US) to do this work. If you are in US it is possible to find Indian ladies in your area (temple) who can do this work. Many can't stitch salvaars or blouses from scratch but can hem or alter. I personally can't. I am not suggesting because I would not ask here. I can do that, but if it is closer where you live it would be easier.
Q: What is gingerly oil? Is it the same as sesame seed oil? So, gingerly oil is not made from ginger?

A: Yes, sesame and gingerly oil are the same. Gingerly oil (aka sesame seed oil) is made from sesame seeds and not ginger. I also always thought it was made from ginger too, but I guess they call it that due to a smell coming from it. I do think that seed ellu is a translation for sesame seed. I also found this on a site here http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/engl/generic_frame.html?Sesa_ind.html, do check that out.
Q: Regarding sesame or gingerly oil, I heard you can mix fried cumin or peppercorns with it and apply it to hair and body and use this special powder to help remove it. Can you tell me more about it?

A: It is not necessary to add the fried seeds, some do that on special holidays like Diwali or Pongal. The powder is called sheekakai (spelling). I am not sure what it is made out of. If anyone out there does, please e-mail that information to me.
Q: How is adding gingerly oil to the hair or body beneficial?

A: One can use gingerly oil, but it is not the only type. You can also use coconut or olive. These benefit the skin by moisturizing it. They benefit the hair by moisturizing and giving strength and shine. In fact, in India women wear the oil in the hair during the day. This also protects you from the heat of the sun. It really works, as I have also practiced this in India. But if you don't want to do this, just add the oil to the skin or hair, massaging nicely and leave in for 10-30 minutes (you can do it as long as you like) and apply the sheekakai over it to help remove it. You can also then use shampoo or soap to wash your hair and body. I do this routine (hair only) at least once a week, but up to three times weekly, along with sheekakai.
End of Edition 4. Copyright July 2003.
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