Note to Self: Adopt

…because any gloriously chubby baby who wants to crawl in to the kitchen to sneak dairy products is fantastic by me.

adopt.png

Since I had to shrink it a bit, the caption at the bottom of the frame says, “Adopt: You never know who you’ll bring home”. If you click the picture, you can see a slightly larger version of it.

This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen on my Facebook feed; I’m grateful that one of you took the time to post it, and say:

a surprise punch of cuteness from the BigB’s blog: adorable psa, especially for fans of TheButterThiefInChief. [link]

The Butter Thief in Chief? Loves it. :) I couldn’t keep all that cute to myself, so I decided to inflict it on all of you. Enjoy.

73 thoughts on “Note to Self: Adopt

  1. Its funny how Kush Tandon always comes out of the woodwork to vehemently deny the blackness of Krishna or Kali whenever it is mentioned. Why do these facts bother you so much Kush? Why so traumatized by the balckness of hindu gods and goddesses? Are you afraid of what the whites will think of hinduism? Did you buy into the Aryan Invasion Theory hook line and sinker? Inquiring minds want to know :) Dude/ Dudette,

    I came out of woodwork to deny complete bullshit that started with the comment #. 30 by babulu.

    When did I deny the blackness? Holi was last week, the effect of bhang has not worn out on you apparently.

    What do I care about white thinking about Hinduism, and Aryan Theory ?…….I have been commenting on SM (it used to be very regular, almost daily) since 2004, and go and google my name on search bar up on the right hand corner on SM. The answer will be clear in a minute, my friend. And check out how much I have commented on religion in past, and kali – this is the first time, I am even commenting on these topics because of ……

    Now to Kali, don’t you think understanding her origins a little more makes more sense. Here from wikipedia:

    KālÄ« is the feminine of kāla “black, dark coloured” (per Panini 4.1.42). It appears as the name of a form of Durga in Mahabharata 4.195, and as the name of an evil female spirit in Harivamsa 11552.

    The homonymous kāla “appointed time”, which depending on context can mean “death”, is distinct from kāla “black”, but became associated through folk etymology. The association is seen in a passage from the Mahābhārata, depicting a female figure who carries away the spirits of slain warriors and animals. She is called kālarātri (which Thomas Coburn, a historian of Sanskrit Goddess literature, translates as “night of death”) and also kālÄ« (which, as Coburn notes, can be read here either as a proper name or as a description “the black one”).[2]

    Kali’s association with blackness stands in contrast to her consort, Shiva, whose body is covered by the white ashes of the cremation ground (Sanskrit: Å›maśāna) in which he meditates, and with which Kali is also associated, as Å›maśāna-kālÄ«. PS: Email me if you want to know more, inquiring mind, tata. Please do.

  2. “have been commenting on SM (it used to be very regular, almost daily) since 2004, and go and google my name on search bar up on the right hand corner on SM. “

    SINKER!

  3. 52 · gekogeko said

    See this recent mother jones article on “The Dark Side of Overseas Adoptions” about how children in India are kidnapped form their birth parents and sold by adoption agencies to American families.

    We did see it, when Portmanteau linked to it way up in comment #9. It inspired half of this comment thread. Wow, you guys really don’t RTFT, do you? ;)

  4. 54 · SM Intern said

    52 ·said

    We did see it, when Portmanteau linked to it way up in comment #9. It inspired half of this comment thread. Wow, you guys really don’t RTFT, do you? ;)

    Ha ! I think these threads move so fast that it is easier to prepend every statement with “Apologies if someone already stated / posted this”. As soon as it gets to 50+ comments, harder to keep up your thoughts after reading all the posts – these threads are so organic it’s awesome.

  5. afaik: Kali is depicted as blue-complexioned and black-complexioned in visual representations (even in ink-and-paper representations). I can’t say what percentage or which art schools show her as blue/black.

    Interesting backstory to why Siva is shown to be blue :)

    Nilkanth is a name used to refer to Shiva, one of the Hindu trinity of Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu), and Destroyer (Shiva). According to the Purnas, Shiva received this name as he drank the poison that emerged from the oceans after it was churned for getting ‘amrut’ – the nectar of immortality. With his yogic powers, he stopped the poison in his throat, preventing it from going any further and harming his body. But the poison did turn his neck blue, so he has been known as Nilkanth – the Blue-Throated one.
  6. Port linked to this adoption story:

    this investigative piece on international adoptions originating in India (ht: ultrabrown).

    Since the child in question is male, I am inclined to think he was stolen. Stories come up all the time of male children being stolen and the extent to which the parents, even very poor parents, will go to get their son back. There may even have been such a story posted on SM back in 2007.

  7. Kush declared:

    NB: Sure, you see Hindu gods and goddess in all hues (black, brown, blue, pale) but blue is the dominant color.

    Green too. Meenakshi, an important goddess in my neck of the woods, is green, and another interesting detail, three breasted. Also, I’ll have to do a histogram or something. but I think a lot of the gods are fairer than wheatish. Even the blue ones are often depicted fair. Kush, maybe you have been spending too much time with the Vraj bhoomi crowd. There is more plurality than Krishna/Rama. Personally, I really really don’t like Krishna and not just because he is a blue philanderer. Saraswati, the pretty white one, I like her the best. And the nice Raja Ravi Verma painting helps me appreciate her all the more.

  8. I would say blue is the dominant colour for the most popular major deities; like Vishnu in his avatars Ram and Krishna, Shiv and Kali. the only major figure that breaks this trend and is represented as blue to my knowledge is Draupadi and her popularity lies more with the nomadic and Dalit communities of northern India. Quite a few of the simple idols of The Mother are either made from yellow or caked in yellow as well. Most of the other deities though are represented as having fairer or less colourful skin-tones.

    The strong historical association and the still important place many of these ‘blue-skinned’ deities enjoy amongst marginalised communities that lie outside the orthodox caste hierarchy, and the way that blue and black were interchangeable when protraying these figures in the npast indicates that the use of the former is an artistic way to depict darker skin. I don’t think this is too surprising given that they drew on religious traditions that didn’t place a high premium on their Gods/Goddesses having fair skin; unlike the more orthodox Vedic tradition and it wasn’t necessary to justify it by philosophical metaphors or mythological episodes. These were brought in later to synthesise contradictions in merging the various streams into the established orthodoxy. I think they have little impact on the vast majority of practising Hindus, who have no problem in aorshipping these deities without seeking the need to explain their ‘blackness’ (or lack of).

    On the actual matter of the original post; yes, it is true that adoption raises many problems in a country like India. However, both practises and attitudes are changing and some forms of adoption are much more common than is realised. Very often you will find, children who have been suddenly orphaned taken in either by long-standing neighbours or friends of their parents; when no appropriate next of kin can be found. In a situation where social welfare services are non-existent and mortality still quite high, this is a prevalent practise that while not a sufficient response is significant. Given the economic conditions that much of the population live in, I think it says a lot about the existing generosity of spirit that still exists.

  9. Once we stop assuming that the Vedas are canonical documents and are some sort of apex for the history of “Hinduism” discussions become more fruitful. Conrad, Draupadi is v.popular in Tamil Nadu. There are some parts where you have a Draupadi Amman kovil/mandir, that are known by 2-3 different names. For some of these kovils, there is a regular priest (or cretaker) and then on festive occasions you may have a brahman priest coming in to perform special pujas. So while the locals would call it Draupadi, it may be better known as, say, Mundakanniamman Kovil. Hindu lore reaches before the Vedas with even better assembled narrations such as the Srimad Bhagavatam describing the stories of kings who supported the writing of the Vedas. Coming to Krishna, the South too has contributed to the tradition. Maayon (Maayaavi) a pre-classical Tamizh deity of the river valley (or Marudham) is like Krishna. He is dark as the clouds that bring rain, and also plays tricks upon people, and takes care of them.

    While the small blue Kali icon is sometimes kept at home, the murti that is brought out for Kali Puja at home in Eastern India (coincides with Divali) is black. At the Kali Pujas I have attended Bengali/Maithili, meat (mutton made without garlic and onions) and alcohol are a part of the feast. There is also a more elaborate Kali Puja that is conducted at the smashaan ghat, where one can find the blue Kali. This puja usually starts well after midnight and goes on till about daybreak, after which they serve the finest khichdi you can have with some fried veggies and lots of kheer. The Kali of Eastern India sticks out her tongue, but with her big eyes and chubby visage, looks more like a naughty kindergartener!

  10. Once we stop assuming that the Vedas are canonical documents and are some sort of apex for the history of “Hinduism” discussions become more fruitful.

    I agree with this strongly, I dislike attempts to try and “semitise” Hinduism by codifying it; it is hard to do so. There is are many underlying interlinkages in the variety that exist; there is bias towards written and elite versions of Hinduism to be privileged over other more demotic versions, which are quite often looked down for various reasons. This is a matter of regret since what I would perhaps term as popular Hinduism contains far fewer prejudices than what we see in the more orthodox forms. Caste plays a role as well here.

    Conrad, Draupadi is v.popular in Tamil Nadu.

    Thanks, for those details, I didn’t know that but then my knowledge of the South – particularly the rural areas is very limited. It was always irritating that when the epics were discussed many disparaging comments were frequently directed towards the character of Draupadi by some of my ‘respectable’ peers simply because she did not fit into their, predominantly conservative notions of what a virtuous woman should be. There are several faultlines within Hinduism with some streams looking down on others for practises like meat-eating, consumption of alcohol, selection of deities worshipped etc. I find this ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude extremely condescending but this is present through most religions in one form or another.

    So while the locals would call it Draupadi, it may be better known as, say, Mundakanniamman Kovil. Hindu lore reaches before the Vedas with even better assembled narrations such as the Srimad Bhagavatam describing the stories of kings who supported the writing of the Vedas.

    This is not dissimilar with how Draupadi is linked to a lot of adivasi and nomadic religious figures. The classical combination of Great tradition-Little tradition linking up. There was an excellent book by Alf Hilbeitel that examined collated oral histories of Draupadi across many communities without a written tradition and which pieced together how those who didn’t have access to formal literacy had their own understanding of the religious epics. Great book, though this kind of work demands a breadth of linguistic knowledge that few people have these days.

  11. Since we are on the topic of adoption, it would help to look at the many epic characters of Hindu folklore. One popular saying in Tamizh suggests that it is pointless to study rishimoolam (the origin of rishis) and nadimoolam (source of rivers). These are so tangled, obscure and unconventional that the knowledge may upset our pretty drawing-room notions.

  12. Personally, I really really don’t like Krishna and not just because he is a blue philanderer. Saraswati, the pretty white one, I like her the best.

    Yo, my dog, maybe if you picture baby Krishna as white instead of black maybe you wouldn’t dislike him so much? Lol. There are millions of white westerners who do not seem to recoil from the worship of the “Dark Lord”, thanks to the hindu missionary Praphupada.

    So when did hindus start painting the goddess Saraswati white? After the white europeans conquered India? The ancient statues look non-white: http://www.lotussculpture.com/images/saraswati2.jpg

    I can see why the hindu gods are depicted as black or bluish-black. It could be anthropomorphism or, more likely, the color black being the color of infinite space/sky is meant to remind us of the infinity of God.

  13. Actually Boston Mahesh @48, I’d say a high percentage, if not the majority, of the Indian children internationally adopted to the U.S. in the last 5 years were adopted by families with one or two desi parents. My famiy is one of them. And domestic adoptions withiin India have increased dramatically. Things are changing.

  14. I would say blue is the dominant colour for the most popular major deities; like Vishnu in his avatars Ram and Krishna, Shiv and Kali……….The strong historical association and the still important place many of these ‘blue-skinned’ deities enjoy amongst marginalised communities that lie outside the orthodox caste hierarchy, and the way that blue and black were interchangeable when protraying these figures in the npast indicates that the use of the former is an artistic way to depict darker skin. I don’t think this is too surprising given that they drew on religious traditions that didn’t place a high premium on their Gods/Goddesses having fair skin; unlike the more orthodox Vedic tradition

    The above reads like western racially inspired psuedo-scholarly nonsense. Who are these “fair-skinned” gods worshipped by the “orthodox caste heirarchy”??? It is patently illogical to claim that the dark deities Vishnu, Shiva, Rama and Krishna are only worshipped by “marginalized communities” when in fact they are the main deities worshipped by hindus in general.

  15. So when did hindus start painting the goddess Saraswati white?

    Just google Saraswati. She is known as shwetambari. Whiteness/purity is her essential character. All our gods has things associated with them. For Shiva, it is Nandi, Varanasi etc… So Saraswati is white-skinned and always dressed in white. As for me referring to her as the white one–well that is the color she is associated with. I wouldn’t like Krsna if he were white, black or purple–for reasons that are off-topic. I’m actually an atheist. Hinduism is my culture, not my religion.

  16. It is patently illogical to claim that the dark deities Vishnu, Shiva, Rama and Krishna are only worshipped by “marginalized communities” when in fact they are the main deities worshipped by hindus in general.

    I am talking about their historical origins; they certainly were not worshipped by most “Hindus”(however you choose to define this term) over large parts of history. Many like the emergence of Saivism and the cult of Krishna are later developments that clearly borrowed fron non-Vedic sources. You can see the tensions inherent in this in the Puranic tales that tell of the displacement of Brahma by Vishnu and later Shiv and the competition that occurred between Vaishnavism and Saivism. I am grossly simplifying the picture again here but there are space constraints.

    The above reads like western racially inspired psuedo-scholarly nonsense.

    Hardly. This kind of response might be popular amongst hyper-nationalists but it indicates an ignorance of history and literature. Although the most detailed empirical works would be produced mainly by scholars based in the West (which doesn’t make them either ‘racist’ or ‘pseudo-scholarly’ despite what some might claim) the original line of thinking can be traced back much further to figures like eminent social reformer and philosopher Ramouhan Roy and the anthropologist NK Bose. I don’t think having an indigenous source for these critiques makes them more authentic but it speaks to a lack of knowledge to try and paint such thinking as some sort of Western-inspired ideological ploy.

    Who are these “fair-skinned” gods worshipped by the “orthodox caste heirarchy”???

    You mean the rest of the deities who aren’t portrayed as blue-skinned or the orthodox caste hierachy who have populated most urban centres and dominated written traditions for most of recorded history? I would have thought the terms and definitions were pretty self-exlanatory.

  17. How did a post about cute chubby babies and adoption turn into a discussion regarding racial / skin color characteristics of deities in the Hindu pantheon ? Let’s just agree that chubby babies are cute and more brown kids need adopting from India. Let’s start a letter writing campaign to get more celebrity adoptions in India :)

    But seriously – one of my aunts was also adopted by my grandparents, and this was after they already had like 8-9 kids already, mostly daughters – always been proud of that.

    Maybe since Anil Kapoor kept yelling about how all the awards won by Slumdog were dedicated to the children, maybe he should start a foundation for all of the street kids, or adopt / hire some himself - especially the child stars who are now literally back on the streets (still can’t wrap my head around that part).

    But yes – chubby babies rock……until they get older :)

  18. dude… dont.diss.Mr India. The guy donated all his proceeds from dawg to a mumbai charity focused on alleviating child poverty. also rubina and azharuddin are in today’s G&M’s photo section walking the catwalk in delhi for some fashion show and not quite in a state of pecuniary want as you stated. fact based arguments are generally superior, old baingan.

  19. I love Mr. India as well and have grown up with him like many others.

    Was just weird to see Frida and cast attending fashion shows and parties around the world, while these kids went back to the slums one week after the oscars and the movie has now made over 100M dollars. They didn’t know the movie would do this well, and I know they set up a trust for them, education, etc – But for now they are back in the slums (which will be demolished soon for development). Alot has already been posted about this subject and these kids - I hope we hear some more positive news regarding their situation. Maybe this has already changed.

    Making a tongue in cheek comment – not attacking the guy. Anyone who watched the awards shows knows what I mean in relation to his exuberance (which is understandable considering the excitement and acknowledgement).

    Jai Ho !