Blogging Drought, Expectations of Tradition, and a Fond Farewell to Briyanshu

How do I explain my blogging drought?

Well on a recent trip to the local mandir,  The Hindu Temple of Minnesota,

I was faced with a sign that my non-Hindu reality-American side could scarcely live up to, let alone my fantasy Hindu traditional side could aspire to. Check these rules out that are posted within the Mandir and ask yourself which do you follow:

So I’ve been quite busy focusing on living up to expectations  as described in detail above, integrating my gori human shell with my inner Hindu atma. I was so confused because I already was following most of them, such as high educational pursuit, but then realized that it may not actually count because I’m not a doctor, or an engineer, and then I felt bad, but then I was pragmatic and realized hey I can still rely on myself with the education I have, yet then I suddenly felt violent, lacking all self-restraint, which I was able to temper just in time (due to my sense of time) and respect my own individual rights, and finally I felt a sense of duty and loyalty to the blog, and came back here again. I think I’m all set, so now I can blog again! Let me gather inspiration and strength first.

Nicki, aka Apunbindaas, the Hmong Chick who loves Indian Cinema, made a pilgrimage on Minnesota for a shaadi, but was kind enough to allow new blogger, Tollywood is my Bollywood,  and Kamala Chan of Daydreaming Lotus,  and me to show her around our fair city.  It’s always fun to meet fellow cyber friends in the flesh, and despite her attire, (see photo below) the monks did allow Nicki into the mandir, for her spirit is pure. I altered their images slightly to preserve anonymity, but pictured below are Jjake, Sita-ji, Apunbindaas, and Kamala Chan in the Hindu Mandir of MN.

Here’s another one of Nicki and I ouside the Mandir. 

Apundindaas posted more about the trip on her blog post Minneapolis Desi Style . Earlier in the year some Hindi movie enthusiasts traveled from The Dakotas to Minneapolis in order to see My Name Is Khan on the big screen, and also make a temple visit. Pictured below are Octoberzine, her escort, her compatriot, CL, and me, Sita-ji.

On that visit we also spied the Retaining Hindu/American Values declaration sign, and yet another sign on the door to the bathroom which captivated Octoberzine.

Please enjoy some more photos I took at The Hindu Temple of Minnesota, and if you ever visit the Twin Cities, look me up and I’ll take you on a field trip to the mandir.

Artists working behind the scenes at the mandir:

Nandi, waiting outside the mandir for  Lord Shiva:

Finally, I think another reason for my blogging drought is taking time to  mourn the loss of Briyanshu’s (A white, American gay guy looking at Indian men) blog, which he announced in a post last month HERE.

When I fall in movie-love with an actor, I could count on Briyanshu to have posted plenty of photos of the actor to satisfy my curiosity, and now what to do!?  I enjoy Briyanshu’s witty comments even more than his insanely delightful and meticulous screen capping of the actors, or in some cases, cricket players.  Briyanshu is a true connoisseur of lovely images. Thank goodness for his digital reference library of lustful imagery. Long may that live!  I offer a puja to the memory of Briyanshu’s blog…maybe I need another trip to the mandir, or maybe I’ll just search the word mandir, or temple, or pooja at Briyanshu’s blog to see what I find… or what about cricket?  Now I need a cool drink.

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20 thoughts on “Blogging Drought, Expectations of Tradition, and a Fond Farewell to Briyanshu

  1. Would have loved to raise a glass of “you-know-what” to this post, but noting the sacred contents will settle for a glass of holy water.
    And since I resemble Shetty or Feroz Khan (in Welcome); you need not put another Bollywood villain’s mugshot over my own. (Cannot get over that Amjad (Gabbar) shot in front of the mandir; almost died laughing. Probably a first.).
    My “strong-work-ethic” is certainly shot to pieces today.

    • Samir-ji
      Once when I was at the temple, I did have some holy water, but a peg of Johnnie Walker would have been appreciated, and I think considered sanctified in such a setting. Reminding myself to carry flask only. :) You know I suppose Gabbar Singh in front of the temple may be a first, and if not the combination of Madhubala, Gabbar, Rani, and Hema is certainly a first. Glad you enjoyed the post friend, and I’m even happier to have interfered with your strong work ethic today. :) Looks like I found a photo of you:
      Thanks for your nice comments.

      You should be on twitter if you aren’t already. My handle is @mynameissuzy

  2. Thanks for the attempt to comment on my post, and really loved “my photo”.
    I am on twitter (although not very active). My handle is @samirpad

  3. Very amusing post, Sita-ji.

    I admire your boldness and apparent lack of self consciousness in exploring Hindu temples for your own purposes as a Bollyphile. I am very timid about entering such places, all too aware of my status as a nonbeliever who is also supposed to be a Jew.

    The only Hindu temple I entered in recent memory was the one in Flushing, Queens, NY… Actually, I merely strolled onto their amazing courtyard, briefly. But I had to go, because that was the place where Padmini had started her dance school before she moved it to New Jersey.

    Now I am staying in Ithaca, NY, for an indefinite period of time… I haven’t found any such temples here, although there is a Tibetan Buddhist monks’ house of some sort down the street (but it just won’t have much appeal for me unless I happen to find some Tibetan Buddhist movies with good music and dancing).

    Meanwhile, I might be exploring the northern Midwest this fall… I am edging along the northern fringes of the U.S. in the hopes that one of these days I might make my way across the border for a better life in the land of single-payer healthcare. No specific plans to go to MN, but it is possible…

    • Thanks for commenting Richard-ji,
      I enter the temple not as a Bollyphile (though that’s surely an aspect to my personality now) but as a person interested in the spiritual and communal aspects of the temple, plus I have a status of a believer in all things spiritual, so entering is not done without this in mind. I know I may seem irreverent, but I think God gets my joking, so it’s OK, and if I offend anyone, that’s not my intent. :). Perhaps my Catholic background gives me a familiarity with looking at statues, smelling incense, lighting candles, and hearing bells? I took blessings from monks there: putting some water on my head followed by placing some type of decorative brass hat/crown over my head briefly, then eating some prashad. In fact I think Catholics may trump Hindus with more ritualized activities, but then the Hindus trump Catholics with more imagery of Gods, but then again there are the saints… Anyway, I view it as all takes on the same thing, finding path to meaning of life, just recipes to get something, made with different ingredients; Yahweh, God, Allah, Bagwan, Guanyin, Buddha, all the same really, hai na? Maybe I’m Baha’i? Anyway, while you’re edging along the border to our Socialist neighbor to the north, if you fall as far down south to Minneapolis, I’ll take you on a tour, I know there’s a Jain temple here I have yet to see. Now I know you know so much about South Indian cinema, and Pakastani cinema too, so because of this I thought you’d especially enjoy Dishoom Dishoom’s Rough Guide to South India – For Pakistanis – Part 1.

      Sorry for my late response an all the best to you!

      • Sita-ji, thank you for your very interesting response. I myself admire many of the cultural aspects of different kinds of religions and religious rituals. (In fact, just this past week, I have been delving more deeply into Sufi music and poetry and wondering if I should figure out how to become a Sufi so that I could get closer to all this wonderful stuff.) I also certainly appreciate people’s quest to find the deeper meaning in life. However, I never fully understood the nature of god(s) worship and only in recent years have I thrown off some of the arrogance of atheism that I had inherited for much of my life, in order to become a full agnostic. :)

        If I am uncomfortable with being in a Hindu temple, it is not that I am uncomfortable with people who have religion, but more of a self-conscious fear about being cast out as a pardesi. Maybe part of the reason for this is that my ancestral heritage, in addition to being Jewish, is strictly Russian and Ukrainian and I can’t forget what happened to that guy in Pardesi(!) when he tried to enter the temple (before Balraj Sahni came to rescue him)…

    • Richard-ji
      p.s. speaking of non-believers allowed in places of worship, check out the sign I saw (there were 3, in English, French and Spanish, I think) outside a Mosque in the medina in Fes Ironically there is a famous sufi buried there (sorry have to do more research to get the name) who I believe would NOT like that sign. Really the sign is only anti-colonialist (French) in its origin I believe.

      • Sita-ji, yes, I saw that documentary a few months ago, and it was good!

        And yes, that sign is a bit unfortunate, isn’t it?

        By the way, I am curious to know the name of the famous Sufi… I tired to do a quick search, but there’s a lot to go through, and there might be a few of them buried in Fes. :)

      • Richard-ji,
        Glad you saw that great documentary. I loved it!
        I zoomed in on another photo I had and found it is called Mosque Sidi Ahmed.
        “Sidi Ahmed Tijani is the founder of the Tijaniyya Sūfī order. The al-Tijani was born in 1735 in Ain Madhi, Algeria and died in Fez, Morocco at age of 80 in 1815.”

  4. Glad you’re back, Sitaji! Blogging drought, I can understand it completely. It’s a big committment to keep a blog going, and that’s why I’ve never considered doing it. However, it must be nice to be part of the blogger community, and I bet you had a great time with the girls on your trips.

    Love the photos of the mandir – wah wah wah! I should go look for the Hindu temple in Manchester. I bet it’s a good one, but not on the scale of the Minnesota mandir or I’d have seen it from my eyrie in the ‘white highlands’ out of town where I live. I have to make a half hour drive just to get some ladoos, or decent Bombay mix.

    I look forward to reading some more from you. First, however, I need to respond to some of your older posts. I managed to track down a number of the recommendations from your best of the decade list, only I never passed on my comments. There were some good films in there, thanks! Since then, though, I’ve watched one dire film after another. I’ve binned four in a row, after the first hour!

    • Joss-ji,
      Sorry for my late response to your comment. Yeah, you understand the blog can take too much time, but there are the fantastic rewards of connecting to people who appreciate the obsession, like you! I have really scaled back, but try and post once a month at least. If I’m ever in Manchester I’ll check out the mandir, which I be is a lot more elaborate than the one here, which is certainly nice, but it’s more of a set of mini temples all in once building. Photos inside the actual temple aren’t allowed, so sorry I can’t provide those, which would be very colorful. Sorry to hear you didn’t like those films I mentioned in that other post. Forgive me. ;) Some are a bit over the top and like a lot of the genre, I think one has to often wait for the films to progress to the halfway mark (which you know takes a huge suspension of belief in reality, and A LOT of time) in order to begin to reap the wacky rewards. Thanks for checking in to comment friend. :)

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