Day #237 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Healthy Indian customs…

Mr. & Mrs. Ostrich were trotting down the road. Moments later they took off on a fast run into the bush. Ostriches can run up to 70 km (45 miles) per hour.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2018 from Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

As Diwali festivities continue, we can hear the celebrations, particularly at night, as fireworks are shot high into the air. Unfortunately, since we’re surrounded by tall buildings, some in various states of construction, we are unable to see them from here. It wouldn’t help to go outdoors based on the hotel’s location.

India has restrictions on the numbers and intensity of the fireworks used due to the already significant rate of pollution in the country with many of its cities the highest in the world. Nonetheless, we heard them firing off well into the night. We awoke several times during the night, hearing the sounds of doors opening and closing in the corridors, as surely guests and employees were celebrating somewhere in the hotel

Now that the restaurant is open and we assume the bar is as well, most likely many guests and staff members are partaking of the traditional celebrations and festivities. Of course, we stay hunkered down in our room, knowing full well exposure to crowds makes no sense for us under any circumstances.

A pair of giraffes, each munching on opposite sides of the road.

Today, as mentioned in yesterday’s Diwali celebration post found here, included photos of a beautifully handcrafted sand display in the hotel lobby which was quite impressive. The people of India certainly know how to honor their belief system and their centuries-old customs, some of which we’re sharing here today in regard to those with a particular interest in good health.

Here are a few Indian traditions which are actually good for your health from this site:

“If you look back in India’s history, you will find it is full of traditions and customs. These traditions might look ordinary, but have several health benefits attached to them. These traditions are still practiced and hold a similar relevance, as they did back in those days.

Ear piercing

With most parents getting their child’s ears pierced at a young age, ear piercing is being practiced in India since time immemorial. According to Ayurveda, the lobe of the ear has an important point right in the center. This point not only helps in maintaining a female’s reproductive health but also balances her menstrual cycle.

Drinking water from copper utensils

You might have noticed your grandparents storing and drinking water from copper utensils. This practice has ‘n’ number of health benefits associated with it. Drinking water from a copper vessel can boost your immune system, aid digestion, decrease wound healing time, strengthens joints and improves digestion as well.

Walking barefoot on grass

Freshly mowed grass bed and dew drops on top, just thinking about it blows a feeling of freshness all over. Several types of research have shown that walking barefoot on grass can help improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension, and lower stress levels. So just take off those shoes and take out some time to walk barefoot on grass.


Wearing jewelry at functions, weddings, and even on a daily basis has been a part of Indian culture for centuries. While wearing silver jewelry helps boost blood circulation, aiding in cold and flu prevention and wound healing, gold jewelry has its own set of benefits. Wearing gold regulates body temperature, reduces stress, and attracts positive energy.

“In the wild, giraffes almost never lie down because of vulnerability to predators. They usually sleep standing, sometimes sitting, and they give birth standing up. When giraffes sleep, they curl their necks and sleep for about five minutes at a time, sleeping no more than 30 minutes a day.

Eating with hands

Eating with hands has not only been a part of our culture, but is still being practiced by many across the country. Using hands for eating is healthy for your gut, as the good bacteria on your hands get into your tummy and help to fight bad bacteria. Eating with hands also helps in forming a connection with food, which makes food seem tastier.


Be it ‘karvachauth’ or ‘mangalvar vrat’, fasting has been punctually followed by many Indians for years together. But do you know that fasting reaps several benefits for your body as well? The abstinence from food aids in weight loss, speeds up metabolism, improves brain function, and also increases longevity.

Surya Namaskar

The origin of Surya Namaskar, which is composed of 12 yoga poses for healthy well-being, can be found in India. Practicing Surya Namaskar helps lose weight, improves digestion, get glowing skin, improves sleep cycle, and even brings blood sugar down.

Eating with silver cutlery

Eating on silver plates has been a part of Indian tradition. You will find several mentions of people eating with silver spoons and plates in historical scriptures as well. Eating with silver cutlery is actually good for your body as silver has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, which helps to fortify the food you eat.”

Of course, there are hundreds of other customs and traditions of Indian culture which we’ll continue to share in posts to come. Right now, we’re experiencing the kindly expressions of “Shubh Diwali and Happy Diwali” from all the employees we encounter in the corridors or at our door.

A  waterbuck’s body odor is so bad that it deters predators.” A male can weigh up to 260 kg (573 pounds).

Last night, when dinner arrived, there was a little plate with two chocolate coconut candies that Tom ate and I sniffed. It certainly smelled good to me.

Today? The usual. We are watching the local news for any updates on international flights resuming from India. And, although South Africa President Ramphosa stated borders would be opening it hasn’t happened yet. Thanks to hundreds of our readers who wrote to us with news reports on South Africa’s borders opening. As you can well assume, we keep close tabs on this, practically by the hour. But, we certainly appreciate all of your support and updates.

May your day be filled with pleasant activities!

Photo from one year ago today, November 15, 2019:

When we hadn’t taken new photos while in the US one year ago, we posted a photo from the prior year as shown here. This young bushbuck always stayed very close to her mom while others we’d seen would wander off but not too far away. Please click here for more.

Day #236 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Shubh Diwali…Happy Diwali…

Today’s photos are those I took yesterday in the hotel lobby when I went downstairs to pay our bill. The hotel manager showed me this gorgeous handcrafted sand display in the lobby that left me breathless. Such a beautiful colorful display! No captions were added. The beauty of this display speaks for itself.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned discussing Indian customs today when Diwali had slipped my mind. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share many of India’s customs, some of which we’ve had personal experience during our first six weeks on tour in the country. 

Today is Diwali, the annual five-day Festival of Light holiday in the Hindu faith worldwide. It is described as follows from India Times here:

“The much-awaited festival of light is here. Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated across India with great enthusiasm as it symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dipavali’, which means a row of lights, Diwali has been celebrated since time immemorial.

Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Lord Ram killed Ravana (Dusshera) and rescued Sita from captivity in Lanka. The celebration marks the return of Lord Ram to Ayodha after 14 years of exile. To welcome Lord Rama, Sita, and Laxman, the entire city was decked up and the people decorated the city with diyas (earthen lamps) to welcome their king.

This five-day festival starts with Dhanteras, which celebrates and welcomes good luck, wealth, and prosperity. On Dhanteras people buy jewelry and utensils because any kind of metal is believed to ward off bad luck and usher in wealth and prosperity. Dhanteras is followed by Chhoti Diwali, Diwali, Govardhan Puja, and finally, Bhai Dooj marks the end of this festival.

How to celebrate the festival of light
‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ and none can explain this better than people who celebrate Diwali. The preparation for this grand festival starts much ahead with people cleaning their houses and offices. Then they decorate their places with flowers, lamps, lights, and rangolis.

The celebration starts with people buying jewelry and utensils on Dhanteras. This is an auspicious occasion to buy any kind of metal as it is believed to ward off evil and bring in prosperity.

The next two days—Chhoti Diwali and Diwali—are the most-awaited days of the festival when people enjoy the most. The evening starts after performing puja and offering prayers to the gods. People then light diyas and burst crackers. The entire atmosphere reverberates in a festive note. On the fourth day, Govardhan puja is performed and the festival of lights ends with Bhai Dooj, which is very similar to Raksha Bandhan as it is a celebration of love between a brother and sister.

Although it is a tradition to burst crackers on Diwali, we should now refrain from doing it because of the increase in air pollution. We should aim to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way and respect nature. Instead of bursting crackers, we can light diyas, decorate our house and surroundings with fairy lights, and spend a magical evening with friends and family.

Happy Diwali 2020: Messages, Quotes, Status, and SMS

On this Diwali, I wish you wealth, prosperity, glory, and happiness not only for this special occasion but for today and forever! Wish you a very very happy Diwali!!

Happy Diwali 2020! May your day be filled with delightful laddoos, incandescent diyas, a whole lot of smiles and laughter!

May millions of lamps illuminate your life with endless happiness, wealth, prosperity & glory forever! Wish you and your family, a very very happy Diwali!

On this Auspicious Festival of Diwali, May Goddess Lakshmi blesses you with Joy, Prosperity, & Happiness. Happy and safe Deepawali!

May you achieve everything your heart desires with the blessing of Lakshmi-Ganesha. Happy and safe Diwali 2020!

Let’s celebrate the festival in the true sense by spreading joy and light up the world of others. Have a happy, safe, and blessed Diwali!!

May the beauty of the festival of lights fill your home with happiness and may the new year bring joy, peace, and prosperity in your life. Wish you and family a very Happy Diwali!!

Wishing you a gleam of diyas, echo of holy chants, contentment, and happiness today, tomorrow, and forever. Have a happy and prosperous Diwali!

Rejoice on this blessed occasion by spreading joy with your friends and loved ones. Happy Diwali 2020. May this Diwali be bright for you and your family. May God fulfill all your wishes this Diwali. Happy Diwali!.”

We wish all of our Hindu friends we’ve made throughout the world a safe, fulfilling, and blessed Diwali today, over the next several days in celebration, and in years to come. Thank you for sharing your country with us!

Photo from one year ago today, November 14, 2019:

We took granddaughter Madighan to her weekly karate class. It was fun watching her and four boys in the same age group, learning the moves presented by Sensei Luiz. For more, please click here.

Today is a holiday in Fiji and around the world..Diwali…Festival of Lights…

Suddenly, these petit orange flowers appear in these white blooms.

Today is a special day in Fiji for many Fijians, Diwali, the Festival of Lights, celebrated by those of the Hindu religion. Forty percent of the population throughout all of Fiji is Hindu and many of the locals with whom we interact are of the Hindu faith.

This tree has changed over these past few weeks as this drooping greenery has grown.

From this website, the following regarding Diwali:

“Diwali (or Deepawali, the “festival of lights”) is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere) every year. Diwali is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. The preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow,  then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Deepavali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

Pretty purple flowers on the grounds of the resort.

Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days, as well as the rituals of Diwali, vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras (in Northern & Western part of India), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on the second day, Deepavali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife-husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhau-beej dedicated to sister-brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually fall eighteen days after Dussehra.

On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali remembering Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism.  Diwali is an official holiday in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.”

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Rangoli decorations, made using colored powder, are popular during Diwali. (Not our photo).

Diwali is a big day of celebration in Fiji.  As we’ve wandered through the village these past months we’ve noticed numerous signs posted about Diwali and special attire in window displays that the local women and men of the Hindu faith may purchase to celebrate this special holiday.

These flowers grow prolifically throughout Fiji.

All the shops in the village are closed today. Most of tonight’s celebrations will occur in private homes with family and friends throughout the islands (and throughout the world), with massive fireworks displays an integral aspect of this special time of observance.

Unfortunately, it’s raining heavily today.  Fireworks may be hard to see throughout the island tonight, but we shall see.  We’ve been told that homemade sweets are the highlight of the celebration. 

This morning’s view of Savusavu Bay when the clouds had cleared for a short period.

Ratnesh was heading out to a family celebration on the opposite end of the island and won’t be available to take us to the fireworks festival in the village after dark. Hopefully, depending on the weather we’ll be able to see a few from our veranda after dark.

As we sit here writing now at 8:20 am, we can hear fireworks every few minutes. Surely, it will be much more lively after dark which at this point is around 7:30 pm.

The special clothing in this shop window is often purchased for Diwali celebrations.

Last night at midnight, just about the time I began to doze off, a round of fireworks lit the night sky with loud booms filling the air.  Tom never heard a thing, while deep in sleep.

Speaking of Tom…he’s doing well so far. Part of the swelling in his mouth has receded and we’re hopeful that by Monday when we return to the dentist, he’ll be told he can wait two months until he has this area treated by a periodontist in New Zealand.

Special clothing for men is offered for “Mystical Diwali.”

Rain or shine, we’ll be heading out tomorrow to grocery shop and to possibly go sightseeing, weather providing.  For today, we’re hanging out, hoping that by dark we’ll be able to see the fireworks.

Best wishes to all of our Fijian readers, their families, and friends during this special time of celebration!  And a happy day to everyone else!

Photo from one year ago today, November 11, 2014:

Maalaea Marina near our temporary home in Maui. We’d planned an outing that day but important family matters took precedence. For details, please click here.