Little People, Big Things

“Unstuck”. The quotation marks in this post below are all too familiar. They stemmed from well-worded conversations that traveled across the 16,894 kilometers between Kochi, India, and Costa Rica. Between me and Crist Inman. About “getting back in”. Going back and forth on happiness and redefining it. On dreaming. Together.

And, I remembered this bouncing, hugging ball of happiness that owned me by the beach at Xandari Pearl in Kerala. Little person, but home of good things.

Continue reading

In the Name of the ‘Salvation’ Fish

Also known as candlefish, eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) are so oily that they can ignite when dried. Traditionally, eulachon were used at times as lights by Nisga'a people.  PHOTO:  PAUL COLANGELO

Also known as candlefish, eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) are so oily that they can ignite when dried. Traditionally, eulachon were used at times as lights by Nisga’a people. PHOTO: PAUL COLANGELO

A Nisga'a woman hangs eulachon on a ganee'e, or air-drying rack. PHOTO: PAUL COLANGELO

A Nisga’a woman hangs eulachon on a ganee’e, or air-drying rack. PHOTO: PAUL COLANGELO

Often referred to as “salvation fish” for safeguarding native people from starvation, the eulachon is now in need of a lifeline itself—as its habitat and population are in danger. National Geographic reports on the fish’s historical and cultural significance and the the many changes in the ocean that have led to the decline of the eulachon’s numbers:

The fish are also known as halimotkw, often translated as “savior fish” or “salvation fish.” Eulachon return to the rivers here to spawn at the end of the North Pacific winter, when historically food supplies would be running low. In lean years the eulachon’s arrival meant the difference between life and death for people up and down the coast.

Today, the fish that used to safeguard native people from starvation is itself in need of a lifeline.

Continue reading

Food for the Soul

Sun Woo directs the visitor program at Jinkwansa, a Buddhist temple outside Seoul famous for preserving the art of Korean temple food. Behind her are giant jars filled with fermented soybeans. PHOTO:  Ari Shapiro/NPR

Sun Woo directs the visitor program at Jinkwansa, a Buddhist temple outside Seoul famous for preserving the art of Korean temple food. Behind her are giant jars filled with fermented soybeans. PHOTO: Ari Shapiro/NPR

When it comes to faith matters, it’s interesting to see how matters of divinity are linked to food. One interpretation of it could be the need to connect the intangible with the tangible. And no better universal language than food as a medium to impart lessons for the soul. While most Hindu temples distribute prasadchurches have the Eucharist, Jewish rituals revolve around the seder meal and so on. The Buddhist temple at Jinkwansa too has a food tradition, one that goes back 1,600 years and is renowned for its detoxification power.

Continue reading

Women of Their Worlds

In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, a matrilineal system operates - but some men are campaigning for change PHOTO: Karolin Kruppel

In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, a matrilineal system operates – but some men are campaigning for change PHOTO: Karolin Kruppel

What does the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya and a valley on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China have in common? They are home to a couple of the handful matrilineal communities that still exist. In an age where most important offices of power are held by men, it is critical to evaluate how these communities hold on to a way of life unchanged for thousands of years. Not to forget the challenges they face in continuing to look at women as the driving force and the soul of their existence.

Continue reading

Over Bullets and Blood Trails

No, this is no story of gore or of violence that have come to be a mainstay of sentences framed around Karachi and Pakistan. No, sir, no. But, this is still a story of a battle – one where paint brushes and colors are the arms for the cause of reclaiming a city. For a city whose walls are spattered with political slogans, hate graffiti and dubious advertisements of faith healers, a group of artists have a makeover in mind. They don’t talk about the healing power of art for nothing.

According to Wajiha Naqvi, the ‘I Am Karachi’ campaign manager, the consortium is trying to create a counter-narrative to promote tolerance, peace and diversity through reclaiming public spaces in the city. For her, the idea behind ‘Reimagining the Walls of Karachi’ is to evoke a sense of civic activism, unity and interest among the residents of Karachi, inspiring individuals and communities to take ownership by protecting their walls, their spaces and, ultimately, their city.

Continue reading