The Story of Ellis Island & The People That Arrived

The Story of Ellis Island & The People That Arrived

Did you know Ellis Island officially opened as an immigration station on January 1, 1892? Seventeen-year-old Annie Moore, from County Cork, Ireland was the first immigrant to be processed at the new federal immigration depot.

The Statue of Enlightening the World

Most of us have heard of New York’s Ellis Island and it’s immigration depot. When mentioning Island, it often brings to mind the Statue of Liberty, which many believe both to be located on the same island. But in fact, they are not. The statue welcomed millions of immigrants entering New York Harbor on their way to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island was previously called Gull Island. This was before Samuel Ellis purchased the island in the 1770’s. Samuel had a good sized tavern built on the island, which was used by many Manhattan residents in its day. But “Ellis Island” is also the name given to the immigration depot located on the island, which first opened on January 1, 1892.


Questions Answered Here. 

After I discovered the above information, I was curious to know more. Like what the island was used for between the time Mr. Ellis ran his tavern, when America became a nation in 1776 and when Ellis Island, the immigration depot began in 1892… I had questions like:

1. Where did all if the immigrants to America enter as they came through the New York Harbor between during that century?
2. Why was the immigration depot built on an island in the first place?
3. Were there records of the people who entered America before the immigration depot opened.
4. If so, what happened to them?

So, I set out to do more research and was able to answer those questions, as well as several others that I didn’t even know I had. Although the research was vague between 1776 and 1811, it picked back up just prior to the War of 1812.

Preparing for War

With tensions rising between America and Great Britain due to America’s departure from Great Britain’s rule in 1776, an armament known as the Southwest Battery was built on Ellis Island in 1808 in lower southwest Manhattan. This became known as Fort Clinton. The fort was one of four built within close proximity to each other used to protect New York Harbor.

What happened to Fort Clinton?

Getting back to Ellis Island and Fort Clinton. In 1823, following the war, the fort was deeded to New York City. It was turned into an opera house and theater called Castle Garden for the next 31 years. Castle Garden was a hot spot for cultural entertainment, showcasing not only entertainment venues but also the newest inventions, such as Samuel Morse and his telegraph and steam powered fire engines.

Within a year after Castle Garden Opera House closed its doors, Castle Garden started being used as an immigration station. Here, clerks were hired to process and log every person entering American shores through the New York Harbor from various countries. This was America’s first immigration depot. Prior to this, passengers exited the ships directly onto the shores of Manhattan, often bringing with them many different diseases.

Many of the ill passengers had already been struck by disease before they even boarded ships in their native country, although many also contracted diseases during their nearly twelve day voyage across the ocean.

Somewhere between 8 and 12 million people came through Castle Garden until it closed 1890 when the federal government took over the task of immigration, which happened in part because of the corruption among clerks who were designated to process voyagers at this time.

Corruption such as blatant use of a federal act of 1882 forbidding entry of “lunatics, idiots, criminals and public charges” (prostitutes and other unwelcome professions) by making their own personal judgement calls. Typically, they did this in hopes of be offered bribes to look the other way.

Building Ellis Island Depot

While the first federal immigration depot began being built on Ellis Island, designed by Edward Tilton and William Boring, a temporary depot was located on a barge just off shore of Castle Garden. In 1891, the barge welcomed just over 400,000 passengers.

Ellis Island was no where near large enough to accommodate the new depot, so it was necessary to increase the size of the island. This was done by unloading the ballasts of ships (stones in the lowest level of ships used for balance) and using the dirt and debris from the building of elevated railways in the in New York City.

On January 1, 1892, when the island finally opened, it is said that a young girl, Annie Moore 17 years old, was the first to be processed through the new wooden immigration depot built upon the island. She came on a ship from Cork County, Ireland with her two younger brothers to join their parents who were already in America.

Eventually, Annie married Joseph Schayer, of German decent, a salesman at Manhattan’s Fulton Fish Market. Together they had at least ten children. Annie died in 1924, although my research wasn’t clear as to the cause. Many accounts relay it being a horrible streetcar accident, while others report she died of a heart attack.

Rebuilding the Immigration Depot

It was on June 15, 1897, that a fire on Ellis Island broke out. It destroyed the wooden structure taking the majority of the 1.5 million immigration records of not only those of the island itself, but also the records which were being stored from the Castle Garden days. As a new fireproof structure began being built, the barge depot once again welcomed new passengers. By December of that same year, the new fireproof building reopened and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt appointed the first immigration commissioner, William Williams to manage the depot.

Commissioner Williams fired the vast majority of the depot’s employees in 1902, eliminating widespread corruption and abuse. He began offering awards based on merit and announced any suspected dishonesty were grounds for dismissal. Signs featuring Williams new rules of kindness and consideration were posted as reminders all around the depot.

This new generation of immigrants saw many of Jewish faith, who left their home country due to political and economic unrest, as well as people of Italian decent escaping poverty. Ellis Island welcomed many Polish, Hungarians, and Greeks to name a few, also many non-Europeans from locations such as Serbia, Turkey and Armenia.

Story Of Ellis Island and The People That Arrived | History of Ellis Island | Raising World Children

Why People Came

After learning all of this, I was interested in finding out about specific stories of some people who took a chance to voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. I discovered families like Barnet Chadekel, who chose to travel under his wife, Chann’s maiden name of Mirelowitz because in their native land they were perceived to be wealthy because he owned a glass working shop. In the country they left behind, they were considered to be wealthy and were persecuted for this. Often put to death.

As another aside: For a little over ten years in the early 2000s, I taught a life journaling class to hundreds of senior citizens all over the metro Detroit area. Every person in every class had an interesting story to tell, but many had traced their family histories all the way back to Ellis Island and beyond. What they discovered during their research was that there were many family members who, when they told immigration clerks their name, the clerk wrongly spelled their name the way they heard it so their name turned out to be something different from what it really was. Some clerks shortened their name. And some immigrants, like Iparhos Perdikis (who you’ll read about here) chose to give the clerk at their departure from their home country, a completely different name. I learned so much while working with everyone during these years, about immigration and their personal lives I was also able life lessons, which I still use today.

The Many Reasons Why People Came

The reasons people made the long expensive journey to America vary widely. Some escaped war in their home country, as well as drought, hunger, and persecution for their religious beliefs. People came hoping for jobs, some were only in the States long enough to earn enough money to support their family when they returned to their homeland and some came hoping to get land to farm. But everyone came in hopes for a better opportunity.

Passengers waited in long lines on the island following their nearly two week voyage, some of them waited only to be detained for weeks… or worse, deported because they didn’t pass the interviews with immigration inspectors, who claimed they were too sick or deemed as illiterate. During various different periods, immigrants from certain countries were banned entirely. But this didn’t stop people from coming in search of their dreams.

Nearly 12 million people were welcomed by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor during Ellis Island depot’s 62 year history. Though due to a multitude of immigration acts in the U.S., immigration to the island dramatically decreased by 1924. Ellis Island immigration depot finally closed its doors in November of 1954.

Meet Giuseppe D’Amico

Giuseppe D’Amico was an electrician by trade. His family was already in America, but upon arriving, he found that in Manhattan, his profession had already seen unionization, which left him unable to find work. Fortunately, a family member, skilled as a seamstress, taught him her trade. Guiseppi went from learning the basic skills of dressmaking and through the years, worked his way to becoming a highly skilled dressmaker, managing a shop, then creating his own business designing beautiful gowns for the women of his day.

Tong Ly Jue Journeyed from China

Tong Ly Jue, a herbalist by trade, immigrated from China. He and his wife, Jeang Quai, settled in San Francisco’s Chinatown. With him, he brought many Chinese herbs and medicines and was able to come to the aid of people afflicted with many different diseases. Tong Ly is said to be among one of the first herbalists welcomed to America.

The Perdikis Family

Lastly, let’s meet Iparhos Perdikis. In 1921, the 16 year old traveled with his parents who settled in New York City. Iparhos chose to completely change his name to Harold Perrin, as many others often did, when he came to America. He studied hard in school before finding his calling and consuming himself in music and dance. Later, he performed on vaudeville stages and in nightclubs all across America.

When reflecting back to his arrival through New York Harbor and looking up at the lights of the New York city, Harold recalls, “From that beautiful city, I got my dreams.”

Over all, from the time Ellis Island opened until 1954 when it closed, more than 12 million people were welcomed into the United States. Today, the island is a National Park and hosts a museum in the main building. Restoration is being done, with the help of donations, to the Ellis Island hospital building. While visiting, you can go on guided tours of both the Ellis Island immigration depot island and our Lady Liberty. You also have the opportunity to take a guided cruise through New York Harbor and much more.

Janie Saylor | Raising World Children | Parenting | Cultures | Diversity | Cultural SensitivityJanie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 21, and her daughter, age 25. In 2006, Janie published the book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in various communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”
Is it really essential to be a secular being?

Is it really essential to be a secular being?

Or is it all just a hype ? 

In the fast paced modern society, when everything is changing so rapidly, I think it’s our obligation to make us as well as our family, more flexible, more adjustable so as to be more compatible with the norms of the society. The migration of people from one part of the world to another has also become one such norm.

Whether in search of job or to earn more money or just for a change or for their families or for any other reason, people today are not reluctant in making a change. Though the world is a small place, still the cultures, customs and traditions are quite different in each and every part, whether it’s within a particular country or outside a country.

In this age, the idea of being secular becomes essential.

When you respect each and every religion along with its customs –

–You’ll be able to mingle up with the residents of that place and definitely feel one amongst them.

–You’ll be joyful throughout as you can take part in their celebrations too , with full energy and enthusiasm.

–You’ll never be aloof or desserted in the hour of need as there’ll be a support system for you with whom you can share your griefs and sorrows.

–You can have celebrations round the year, thus leaving little or no room for negativity.

–And most importantly, you’ll also have a chance to spread your fragrance too.

Having no idea of tomorrow, I make it a point to teach or discuss various festivals with my kids so as to make them a responsible and a compassionate being. But, it was not easy initially as the obsolete but important question—

How to give them knowledge when I myself was not aware of most of the facts?                 

But it’s said-Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And in the process of finding the answer to the above question, I also became a ‘Learner’. And that helped me a lot, even helping now.

What I did was

–I educated myself about the particular festival. For example, if about Christmas, I learnt about its origin and importance through books and internet, of course.

–I got myself involved with the members of the particular community, who used to celebrate it and learnt to make the dishes and little things related to that festival. Like for Christmas, I learnt to make Christmas tree, bells and Christmas cake. Once we even made the snowman. And believe me, the experience was ecstatic.

–I even learnt some stories to narrate to my children about that festival. For Christmas, I learnt the story about Jesus Christ .

–And nothing is complete until you give your imagination, some colorful wings. So for Christmas, I created an imaginary Santa in my kids’ mind who would give them chocolates on 25th December. And it worked. Just after getting up, they look for their chocolates under their pillows. They thank Santa for the chocolates and relish the experience that they get from these little things whenever we come across any Christian family as they never feel left behind.

That’s why I feel it’s the feeling, the empathy towards any religion that matters a lot which only, we as parents can instill in the little hearts of our children .What they develop is faith, which they’ll definitely cherish later.

How Do We Achieve A Goal When We Have No Knowledge Of The World | Raising World Children | Parenting | family | kids | teaching Kids

  Ruchika Rastogi, an Indian who was born and brought up in Delhi. She loves to explore the unexplored. A mother of two lovely kids, she works as a teacher and her passion for writing has helped her survive during her hard times. Her first non fiction book got published last year with the name-A Mystical Majesty-the woman. As a contributing author, her anthology with the title–Wait Till I Tell You got launched recently. With dreams in her eyes, she believes in living life optimistically.
Using Halloween To Impart Values To Kids

Using Halloween To Impart Values To Kids

A chill has set in the air. Leaves are turning brown, dancing away to the tune of the swirling wind. This usually means Halloween is here! 
While partaking in the fun, this is an opportunity to give the children an all round experience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help children make this holiday about more than chocolate and character costumes? To give them life lessons crucial to their very being. 
Safety First
Being safe is always paramount. And by re enforcing the below guidelines before trick or treating, you give children a gentle reminder to always be safe.
  1. No candy from strangers. This is for kids who go trick or treating themselves. No matter how friendly, they should be wary of taking candy from strangers or going near cars with unknown people in them.
  2. Candy has to be brought home before being eaten. Parents should always be given a chance to go through all the candy before it is eaten to check for any allergy issues or in case it has been tampered with. Yes, this is a scary thought but a necessary precaution.
  3. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors so that the children can be seen as darkness falls. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen.
  4. Always walk on sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. 
  5. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Children should never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  6. Make sure costumes are not too big to avoid kids tripping on them.

Create Costumes

Do you really want to spend $50+ on a costume to be wore for an evening or a couple of parties ? I know we think about what the fun outfits and you go, “ Yay !” You immediately imagine the cute pictures your kids will be posing for. But this too can be turned into a learning experience by using your imagination to get the final output. You don’t necessarily have to get Martha Stewart crafty!
Two years ago, our son wanted to be Iron man. We stuck a dollar store light on his Iron man t shirt (after a lot of trying), put on a beard and he was Tony Stark! The year before that, he wore a long, tattered black sweater and one dollar glasses with a lightning rod on his forehead with a marker and he was Harry Potter!
But discussing with your child months, maybe weeks in advance how you can get the desired output without taking the easy road and picking something. Now I must admit this may take a bit of convincing on your part.
The force of peer pressure and easy of shiny store bought costumes is strong but it is truly worth it when they get really into it. You can actually see the kids’ brain gears moving and the spark in their eyes when they feel they have the right combination of things to throw together.

Last ear, a neighbor came to my house with a black cloth wrapped around his head. Just a cloth but he was so proud that he was a Ninja that I gave him extra brownie points and candy for putting in the effort. On the extremely inventive side, another kid rigged up a blood squirting apparatus to turn into the character from the movie Scream.
Most importantly, this helps kids subtly understand the essence of being unique and not falling under peer pressure.

Plan Pranks

Play a joke. Scare them silly. Take some time to plan some old school or new off the internet, kid friendly pranks. Get some gags at the store or make your own. I love playing the “I’m pulling my thumb out” joke on my kids. It freaks them out but they secretly love it (which is why they ask for repeat performances!) .
Pranks are not a necessity but teach children to be able to laugh at themselves. That being scared is okay. They learn to not take themselves too seriously, which they tend to grow to as they get older.
Planning kid friendly pranks with them assists in thinking ahead and anticipating reactions. Of course this should include the discussion of not playing pranks that might hurt others’ feelings which will invariably educate them about empathy.

Rehearse Manners

I sadly often see kids knocking on the door, grabbing a handful of candy and walking away. This leads us to necessity of the below re iteration of etiquette with children days before the event.
  1. Say “Trick or Treat” or “Happy Halloween”. Wishing on an occasion is very essential. You need to greet anyone celebrating and specially anyone who opens the door.
  2. Limit yourself to one. This is a great time to drive home the dying art of moderation in the face of instant gratification.
  3. Say “Thank You”. Children need to be told not everyone chooses to partake in the festivities. This makes it incredibly important to display gratitude towards those who choose to be generous this holiday.
  4. Do not scare kids who are already nervous or make fun of kids who might have a costume mishap or get petrified of a trick gone wrong.

Use The Candy For More Than Consumption

One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.
Eating a bucket full of candy is not healthy in any way. Not for your teeth, not for your body and certainly not on your mind. There are many other options to choose to multiply the joy of the receiving the candy. Firstly, make sure you have a set number of candy you and the children can partake. Then,
  1. Give to the less fortunate. Keeping your selections, the rest of the candy can be delivered to in person or be mailed to a charity of the kids’ choice. Searching for a charity piques their interest to learn more about the world around them. This is a wonderful way to teach children awareness, responsibility and of course the joy of donation.
  2. Get crafty and make gifts out of them for an upcoming occasion. For eg : with Thanksgiving right after, it is a great way to turn the left over candy into special treats for their friends to express gratitude to.
  3. In the immediate days after, the kids can wear their costumes and take extra candy to a local senior center for an evening of reverse trick-or-treating.
  4. Another wonderful sharing opportunity would be to share their left over candy with those children who for whatever reason could not celebrate on Halloween day. Have a party, extending the festivities and ask everyone who has candy to share and divide them among all attending.
  5. Introduce the Candy Fairy. Ask children if they would like to swap out their candy with a toy. They can place all the candy into a bucket and the next morning the Candy fairy magically transforms them into a toy.
  6. Freeze the candy or save it for later. This is the simplest thing you can do while teaching children how to save for later and indulging only as treats.

Talk About the History & Evolution of Halloween

For children interested, the historical transformation of this holiday will carry significance. Halloween is actually a celebration of Celtic origin to ward of evil ghosts and spirits. It marks the advent of the winter season as the days get shorter and winter gets longer. Historically/Culturally, this is supposed to be a day when the lines between the dead and alive blurs so bonfires were lit and costumes were donned to ward them off.
From being a day of the dead to a day when all dead, specially saints are celebrated with child like activities like the bobbing of apples and having festive parades to now being enjoyed all over the world with candy and costumes: Halloween has certainly morphed multiple times into it’s most fun form. You can read more here Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween and fun easy to read ghost stories for the kids here – Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories


Any opportunity is exponentially meaningful when used to impart moral values to kids.  Let kids be open to the idea of starting new traditions. Partying and gratification aside, it is wonderful to use every chance we can to raise caring children who know how to celebrate responsibly. Wishing you you all wholesome and happy Halloween!
Read more on our book, Strong Roots Have No Fear, how to use every day moments to raise confident, global thought leaders.
Use Halloween To Impart Values To Kids | Raising World Children | Wholesome Halloween
Making Diwali Special With CultureDabba - Giveaway

Making Diwali Special With CultureDabba – Giveaway

This post is a collaboration of Raising World Children and CultureDabba but the opinions are of the author.

The Festival of Lights is coming! It brightens up our lives with love and hope. Diwali is the time to celebrate the essence of family. Festivals, though, are not only a time to splurge, eat and enjoy. They a special time to nurture values.

Values like

  • Curiosity – having healthy dialogues about mythological stories of origin of festivals.
  • Empathy – understanding the root of the many flawed characters in the tales mentioned.
  • Being inclusive – taking the time to connect with all our friends and family.
  • Experiencing life with all our senses – food, fireworks, new clothes, gifts.
  • Spending wisely – choosing to create gifts, decor by hand.
  • Being yourself – creatively and in expression.
  • Appreciating talents and art.

and much more.

We can make this Deepavali and any festival a great time for significant connection. And for that one of the outstanding sources I found was the Diwali edition of CultureDabba, a great initiative to make Indian Mythology, Diwali and even India relatable to kids from around the world. How does it do that? 

Raising World Children Giveaway With CultureDabba

Stories – 

The stories behind festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Janmashtami, Dussehra, and of course Deepavali  or any festival around the world are wondrous examples of teaching kids how there is always good within all that seems bad. Mythology though, is hard to comprehend  by young minds. It is paramount we connect these stories to real world examples to make them easier to understand and digest.

They even have stories long forgotten. Stories that talk about moral values that help kids nurture their own qualities. Akbar Birbal, Panchatantra all were wonderful to share again with my children. Tales which I myself had forgotten long ago.

Encouraging Curiosity –

Stories are just a tip of this colorful iceberg! They go onto talk about the festival and how it is celebrated in vibrant detail. Some customs were new to even me and the kids and I had fun discussing the same with each other. I can foresee some new traditions beginning soon.

Crafts – 

The magazine has DIY crafts for kids to do on their own. In the issue we got, there is a card that you can make and replicate for your family and friends. They even have coloring pages to encourage kids to do their own thing. Creating something helps kids use their imagination and helps them relate better to any occasion/topic.

Laughter and Riddles –

Aunty Bindi tickles the kids’ brains with fun, unique riddles. My kids had a great time guessing what the answers were. They now ask all their friends the same and share the jokes that are there in the joke section.

Stimulating the Mind With Light Exercises –

Crosswords, mazes, find the differences and more were a pleasant surprise to be included. We truly enjoyed together finding the answers and played along.

Explore A City –

CultureDabba truly brings India to the finger tips by sharing special things to do in a city. The one we have is Delhi and even I was surprised to learn unique features about a city in India I have never visited.

The magazine even has codes that you can go online and use to access more fun for your kids.

CultureDabba Giveaway

It was for these reasons and the colorful presentation that Raising World Children is happy bring to you a special Giveway this Diwali, with not one but three winners !

One lucky winner will get a gift set of three different festivals filled with the above and more and two bonus winners will get copies of the Diwali edition to cherish to empower kids understand the essence and celebration of Diwali l

You do not want to miss out on three chances to win this amazingly fun filled magazine bringing kids closer to Indian culture in ways they are so used to these days. Click here !

Making Diwali Special With Culture Dabba and Raising World Children | GIveaway | Free Books | Diwali Books | INdian Mythology

Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. In her spare time she volunteers for Circle of Peace International and impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmondmomsblog, Desh Videsh Magazine and is author in an upcoming Anthology 100+MomsOneJourney as well.
Pregnancy experience on a lunar eclipse

Being Pregnant In The Shadow Of a Lunar Eclipse

People’s excitement on viewing the solar eclipse that occurred on August 21, 2017, brought back my lunar eclipse experience.  Viewing an eclipse,  Solar or Lunar, total or partial, is no doubt an exciting event! Certainly, once in a lifetime experience. You have to be in the right place at the right time. But, in Indian culture, eclipses had certain superstitious beliefs. As a kid, talking and learning about eclipses were fascinating for me. But my parents restricted me from viewing the eclipse as it might be harmful to the eyes.

Mostly during an eclipse, I would stay at home with my working mom as schools would declare it as Holiday. Yet, sometimes I manage to sneak out and try viewing the eclipse. However, if it’s solar or lunar eclipse it always seems like an overcast day, perhaps a bit eerie, with the sun not shining as brightly.

Eclipse Rituals Followed in Indian Culture:

I wasn’t credulous enough to believe in the eclipse rituals knowing that eclipses are caused when these heavenly bodies, namely the sun, moon and the earth cross each other’s path. Nothing changed my perspective of not caring about the superstitions associated with the eclipse. Until I got pregnant!

 When I was 8 months pregnant on April 4,  2015, a Lunar eclipse occurred in India and the beginning of the eclipse was at 3.47 pm and it ended at 7.32 pm. I was supposed to adhere to lots of do’s and don’ts  during an eclipse as per my family’s advice. Even though I am aware that the stories and beliefs are myths, caring for a tiny human being inside me became cause for fear.

My pregnancy days made me weak. I decided not to look for explanations that question my baby’s safety. So my pregnancy brain worked in a way to believe the scary stories of viewing the eclipse.

My family’s rules for this day –

” Do not  cook or light a matchstick” – because the child would bear some burn scars.

“Don’t view the eclipse or step outside in the sun”- because if a woman steps out during an eclipse, her child will be born with marks all over his/her body.

“Do not  cut or stitch anything, not to hold a pen, keys or any sharp object in my hand!” – because chances are that the child will be born with a cleft lip.

“No reading or browsing” – because the child will be born with eye problems or eye deformity.

” No  eating or drinking anything” – because any food cooked or eaten while an eclipse happens will be poisonous and impure.

Finally, they decided it would be better if I stayed in a room, with the windows locked (covered with dark curtains).  I wondered how would I spend about 4 hours sitting idle inside a room without eating, drinking, reading, browsing etc. They suggested I should rest or sleep.

Sleep I did, but not too long especially when my family advised me only to sleep. It was the longest afternoon of my life. Fortunately, I had my child’s company who were listening to me from my womb. As the time approached the end of the lunar eclipse I was on a verge to break the door and get out. Finally, the lunar eclipse ended and the moon is out of the Earth’s shadow as am I out of my room. At last, I had to take a head shower and worship the God and I thank him for helping me to successfully complete the eclipse ritual. I felt relieved.

Putting my baby first:

I was not happy by playing dumb believing the myths but I remained satisfied for being a good mother.  My mother-in-law had no intention to stop me from seeing the eclipse other than caring for her grand kid’s well being and I respect her love. I chose to sleep over my logical-thinking out of love and respect for my baby and mother in law.

Ancient belief associated with Eclipse:

Later I tried to understand why these events were such a big deal to elders. Eclipses were considered to be an important event from ancient times. Especially people who worshiped the sun considered the eclipse as a negative force which plunges the earth into darkness.  In the middle of the day, the sun suddenly going dark is viewed as a bad omen. Which could be a frightening experience. I don’t want to be a quintessential rebel and judge my Elders’ belief. While science has given the perfect explanation for the natural phenomenon like Solar and Lunar eclipse, religion always chooses to lie in the domain of faith in the unknown rather than accepting the facts to usher in a change.

What was your experience on eclipse watching? Do you have any restrictions or family ritual to follow during an eclipse? Share your stories with me .

Raising World Children | Prega


Suja Dinesh Raising World childrenSindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.
Indian Books for Children - Bharat Babies Giveaway

Indian Books for Children – Bharat Babies Giveaway

The Give Away Has Ended. This post is a collaboration of Raising World Children and  Bharat Babies but the opinions are of the author.

Raising World Children BooksMythology is hard to explain. There are often so many complicated story lines that can be hard to comprehend, specially by minds yet to grow. Enter Bharat Babies. Since, I came across them I wanted to get a hold of the amazing line up they seemed to have. Using Indian culture to explain simple concepts to kids. Not religiously, but using mythology as the base for story telling. Stories for every level of reader and from every walk of life!

Surely enough, once I got my hands on the books my expectations were surpassed. They are not only easy to read and explain but also have concepts that are profound in their thought.

Padmini is Powerful 

When I read Padmini is Powerful to my kids they understood what each God in Indian mythology stands for. Not just that, what quality of them they hold within themselves. And this  is true for every single child. They Are Powerful. My daughter loves sitting and looking at the pictures of the different Gods and Goddesses. And Padmini is so cute that she can totally see herself in the story!

© Aditi W.Singh

Sarla in The Sky

My son is in the phase where he doesn’t know what to make of girls. As a mother and woman, I want to encourage him to accept that girls, when they put their mind to it can do anything. In comes Sarla in the Sky. A book of girl empowerment, setting a wonderful example for boys and girls alike.

Ganesh and the Little Mouse

Another amazing book that I picked up was Ganesh and the Little Mouse. The base for this book is one o my favorite stories of mythology  portraying out of the box thinking where you understand that there are often many ways to do the same thing with one of the ways being easier and more meaningful. Not only have Bharat Babies’ author Anjali Joshi explained this but has always used the same story to talk about a different side which I hadn’t discovered till date. My children were enthralled and my son has re read this book a number of times now.

Aditi Wardhan singh

© Aditi W.Singh

Harini and Padmini Say Namaste 

Which brings us to both my kids’ favorite of the books we have collected, ” Harini and Padmini Say Namaste “. My son had done a week long yoga camp in preschool once and since then has been fascinated with the concept. This book is a beautifully depicted, sweet story of a Padmini as she discovers the art of yoga. I can never forget the first time we read the book. My daughter immediately started doing yoga poses as she had seen in the book. My son, “expert” that he is after his camp, went along to correct her and soon began a beautiful bonding session between siblings.

Choti + Me

Photo Credit: Jess Benjamin for Scout Somerville

After so loving so many of their books, I was happy to learn that they are coming out with a new venture. A children’s magazine called Choti+Me (Little One and Me). I have already signed up to be the first to know when the new magazine comes out but for RWC readers there is a wonderful opportunity to participate in a give away hosted by Raising World Children and Bharat Babies where we will give away not one, not three but a WHOLE YEAR’s subscription for FREE !!!

You do not want to miss out on this chance of getting 12 months of wonderful stories and activities for your child to grow into a person accepting of new cultures, growing with a global perspective.




Aditi Wardhan Singh Raising world childrenAditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. In her spare time she volunteers for Circle of Peace International and impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmondmomsblog, Desh Videsh Magazine and is author in an upcoming Anthology When You Are Done Expecting as well.


Raising World Children Marriage With A Foreigner

Don’t Marry a Foreigner Till You Know This


I never thought I would marry a foreigner but there I was. I sat on the pull-out bed in the dark. Alone. In a foreign country. Where did my boyfriend go?

I thought when someone said they loved you it should be the happiest moment. Thankfully he came back, the light shining bright to my unaccustomed eyes. A small red box was in his hands.

And got down on one knee. My heart jumped to my throat. “Will you marry me?” he asked, accent thick.

In shock and smiling, I said, “Yes.” But before you can marry your international delight, there’s something you should know.

What It Means To Marry A Foreigner

A dream Life. But…

We all want live happily ever after, right? Sure, our dreams are different. I want to be a writer. You may want to be an engineer, or travel the world. Or some just want to find their tall, dark and handsome prince.

Without expecting to I found my mine, and it has been the greatest ten years of my life. But it wasn’t always easy.

Advantages to Marrying A Foreigner

Today’s world seems to be against the foreign man. Some are afraid to let him in.  And marriage is already difficult without adding a different culture.

But, there are advantages.

  • Explore new food.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Meet fascinating people.
  • More opportunities for travel
  • See amazing cities and nature.
  • Learn about the country your loved one is from.
  • Meeting your future spouse’s family introduces you to a new way of life.
  • And the best part is your future kids would benefit from learning from combined cultures. 

It’s a win-win situation, in theory ! However, you should know something.

You will be wrong. Often !

The Reality When You Marry a Foreigner

Marriage is difficult, that’s no surprise. Part of the difficulty is learning to accept differences, and marrying someone from another country comes packaged with changes.

They have a unique belief system and may not be afraid to point how they believe your culture is wrong. And it’s not just your spouse.

Your in-laws may be worried if you don’t take your kid outside with a red bracelet or necklace to protect your baby from a stranger giving an ‘evil eye’. Or you all may not agree on what is best to feed your child.

And while fighting for your beliefs is fantastic and needed, sometimes the best action is acceptance. Being wrong. It’s part of maturity. And an important lesson for children. How do you find that balance of the advantages and disadvantages ?

Raising World Children Marry a Foreigner

Photo by Anne Edgar on Unsplash

Ways to Deal With Cultural Differences


Every relationship needs compromise. A little give and take. It may take time to discover which compromise works and is an evolving process, but it is a great feeling once you do.

You may have to not give your child peanut butter that your child loves if you spouse is against it for personal health beliefs. It may be difficult, but they will do the same for you next time you are against something.

Be Willing To Learn

Study language, and cultures, especially your future spouse’s.

There is an app called Duolingo where you can learn over five languages at an easy but fast pace. If you can’t travel you can video chat and give his loved ones a tour of your home and life.

Travel Together

If possible, after you marry a foreigner, visit other countries. Studying is well but there is something special about seeing and smelling new sights for the first time yourself. Plus, there is no better way to get to know your spouse than through his family. Who doesn’t love embarrassing baby pictures of their spouse?

It may take a while, but saving up for this important trip is worth it. Be sure to take a couple weeks off to see the sights and get used to the time change.

Take Time to Breathe

Learning about cultures can be stressful. Meeting family members can be terrifying. And being wrong or being accused of being incorrect is difficult. Sometimes you need to take deep breaths to calm your body and mind.

Go somewhere alone and take deep breaths. Or even out of the house, and listen to the silence. Or do a hobby you love. Just take a moment to get away and be you.

Acceptance is KEY

We can believe we are right so strongly that we will fight to the ends of the earth. Then find out we were wrong. This is the time to step back and admit our mistake. It may seem obvious but once you’re in that situation, it is very hard.

But in marriage it is vital.

Sometimes you may have to lose an argument. Yet, accepting that your partner or their family is right, or thinks they’re right, will save you many headaches and heartaches.

Every country is unique, incredible and right. Including you and yours. Marrying a foreigner can be the best choice you ever make.

Follow Your Heart. Accepting how people from other cultures, including your partner, have different views than you is a great start to a happy marriage. So, if your heart is filled with love, take that chance. Let them get down on one knee and as the question you’ve been waiting for.

Say yes!

Marry your foreigner. Just understand they will be wrong. And so will you. But it’s worth every moment!

Things To Know Before Your Marry a Foreigner | Marriage | Inter racial | Multiracial | Life | Marry

Jewel Elise Raising World ChildrenJewel is a fiction writer, wife to a serious comedian and a mother to two lovely munchkins. You can find her at Every mother can write!
India vs USA

Parenting a Newborn In USA Vs India

Parenting is all about facing  adapting to challenges. I experienced the magical moment of motherhood in India at my age of 24. Aside from the excitement and happiness, I felt the fear of responsibility. I had already decided to give my little baby girl the best.

In the initial days, I tricked myself believing that overcoming the sleepless nights will be the only challenge I have to face and everything else would be easier as the days pass. But each day I had surprises that made me realize I was totally wrong. However, I had my family’s support which made my mommy journey bit easy. Everyone advised me to relax and told that I have enormous time to get skilled in parenting.

When the time came for my husband to return back to Chicago, we all thought that it would be easier to travel together with a 4 month old. So, I decided to travel back to Chicago with my husband. It was our own tiny self-sufficient universe.

Me and my husband both invested ourselves deeply in the minutiae of everyday life.  Adapting to the new lifestyle introduced me another level of complexity. I saw it as a balancing act.

Coping Without Family in USA

Now, my only concern was my baby. I didn’t have the time or energy to stress over with the household management like I did in India where there were other family members helping out. Mothering my kid without my family’s guidance was intimidating. I quickly became too wrapped up with the demands of caring for a tiny person and myself.

Acclimating with Chicago Weather

Being a South Indian, having to face the fickle weather in Chicago was pleasure at times. But the excitement didn’t last for long. I realized I hate winter season. I was frustrated with spending the unending winter days by binge watching series on Netflix. Now having a baby made me crazy. I worried about how my daughter would grin and bear with the Chicago weather.

The horror stories of frostbite, flu virus, cold feet haunted me. But fortunately, the weather forecast is fairly accurate. Mostly we stayed at home. We made sure not to expose her too much to the winter as she was still 5 months old. We spent our winter mostly in hibernation mode. I wished we could take her out more often.

Thankfully over time, the warm summer sunshine came as a welcome relief. The timing was perfect for indulging in activities like playing in the park, strawberry picking etc., Thankfully, now my daughter is 26 months old and she has accustomed to USA weather.

Beginning Solids Differently

I never had to worry about my daughter’s diet since she was breastfed. But breastfeeding alone isn’t sufficient for a 6-month-old and I was supposed to introduce the solid foods as per doctor’s recommendation. In India food prepared with rice is considered to be the best option for an infant in the initial days. Preparing the boiled rice and mashing it enough for a kid to easily chew and swallow is a recommended method for introducing solid.

I have seen kids here feeding themselves as early as possible in the high chair with table usually with Cheerios or other cereal, small pieces of boiled veg or fresh fruit and packed fruit or vegetables. But I had no confusion on which diet to follow for her.

Fortunately, Indian grocery stores were the saviors which made my decision easy. But, at the same time, I don’t want to give the food cultural shock to my kid by making her dependent with the Indian cuisine. However, she has to cope with the American menu when she enters her preschool. So we add Cheerios and other American food items occasionally to our menu.

Leaving Cloth Diapers Behind

When we stayed in India my kid used to wear cloth nappies traditionally called “langots”. We used diapers only for travel or doctor visits. It was more of a cultural decision. So, no questions asked. But, staying in the house covered with carpet I have no choice but to make her wear the diapers.

I felt very bad and worried for her. I hated to see my kid in a diaper. Sometimes I sounded like a grandma who would be whining all the time. The fear of diaper rash made me crazy. Even though I was so strict with a schedule of diaper change(every two to three hours), she would suffer from diaper rash sometimes. Thankfully, diaper rash creams helped me and preventive creams are truly a reliever. However, my daughter was comfortable with wearing diapers.

When the winter approached I really understood the advantage of disposable diapers. Without diapers, my daughter would have slept in a pool of her own pee and being tired, I would have snored away. This, of course, would have let her catch a cold. Now I’m thankful for disposable diapers.

Potty Training Later

Comparatively, potty training the kids in cloth nappies are easy than training kids in diapers. Probably because the wetness helps kids learn sooner. If my kid was raised in India I would have started the potty training at her age of 1. That’s not the case here.

 At her 15th month, I gradually started the potty training and of course, we had some setbacks in the initial days. She became diaper free at home at her 20th month and we used diapers only for travel. At her 24th month, she amazed us by getting rid of the diapers completely. We are now one diaper free family and I am proud of her.

The only way to getting around these change was expecting the unexpected. Even though it was hard to me, knowing ahead of time and understanding the cultural differences made me survived in the name of compromises.

Now as a 26-month-old my kid is coping with both traditional(Indian) and modern(American) lifestyle we impose on her. I am very proud of my daughter and I owe my whole life to her. I hope she will grow with better values and the ability to understand and work with people from different backgrounds.

Most importantly, a better human being!

Cultural Challenges of Parenting a New Born in India Vs USA Parenting | Indian Parenting | American Parenting | New Born

 Author: Suja DineshSindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.
8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba

8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba

Havana has been on the hot list ever since tourism opened for Americans. As someone who blogs about travel to Cuba and has gone five times in the past year, I get the question all the time: is it safe for kids?

Short answer: YES! Long answer: Some cities are just better than others.

The Most Kid-Friendly City In Cuba

The city of Havana is just like every other major city. The underbellies of society put out on front street: trash, crumbling buildings, and massive amounts of pollution. Don’t get me wrong, there are great things about Havana. But when I think of children, my number one suggestion would be the city of Viñales.

Why Is Viñales Safe?

Viñales is a town 2 hours west of Havana and can be accessed by taxi for $60 from the airport. While Cubans in general are very family and community-oriented people who incorporate children in every aspect of life, the city of Viñales itself is especially community-oriented.

With only one main road, and houses of every color lining the street, you immediately feel safe and secure. It’s a town where children can walk the streets alone, run in and out of each others houses, and play together in the town square. You better believe you can’t get lost or in trouble without a neighbor or two knowing about it.

[bctt tweet=”8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba with Kids” username=”contactrwc”]

Salsa Lessons for Kids

Speaking of the town square, there is always live music. Whether it be at a restaurant or the Casa del Cultura, music is sure to follow. Children and adults alike can take salsa lessons for $10/hour at the casa del cultura or booked through their casa particular. And at night at the Casa de la Musica, there is a nightly cultural dance show that starts at 9PM.

Stay With A Cuban Family

Accommodations in Cuba are fairly inexpensive at around $25-$30/night. But it is best to stay in a casa particular. These are either separate apartments or guest bedrooms where a Cuban family will rent out their extra space. To be in community with the locals is the best way to travel and the best way to have your children’s accommodations met. But please also be respectful! This is someone’s home, not a concierge service.

My personal favorite is Casa El Cactus. They will arrange everything from your salsa lesson, to your taxi transfer, to your tobacco tour, and will even cook you breakfast, lunch, or dinner in house.

Go On A Horse Ride Through The Tobacco Farms

Travel in Cuba

There are two options for touring through the tobacco farm: the walking option or the horse option. The guides have trained their horses to handle people of all ages from birth to the elderly. There’s no greater feeling than going on a slow walk through the tobacco farms by horse with your little one sitting in front of you. These tours only cost $25/person for touring with a personal guide through caves, lakes, coffee plantations, and tobacco farms.

The tobacco farmers walk you through the entire process of growing, preserving, and rolling the cigars, and even give adults a complimentary cigar to enjoy. These are the authentic Cuban cigars that John F. Kennedy loved so much. Viñales Valley is the only place where you can purchase cigars and the profits will go directly to the farmer as opposed to the Cuban government.

Snorkel and Swim at Cayo Jutias

A trip to the Caribbean just isn’t complete without a beach day. Daily trips to the nearest beach of Cayo Jutias are made from 9AM and return at 5PM. Upon arriving on the beach, you’re greeted with the most crystal clear blues and greens that you’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to grasp how perfect the water glitters and how calm the sea is. Palm trees offer shade on the white sand, coconuts filled with rum are served at the bar, and fresh lobster is sold on the sea. In addition, if you walk far enough, you can find starfish hidden in the shallow waters. You just can’t get a better beach day than this.

Bike Rides To The Mogotes

If your kids are old enough, I highly recommend doing a bike ride through the Mogotes to see the huge limestone cliffs that are signature of the Viñales Valley. If that is not an option, you can take a taxi to Hotel Jazmines and see the incredible view poolside. The landscape is so beautiful it doesn’t even look real.

travel in cuba

Other Tips for Kid-Friendly Travel in Cuba:

  • The water is not safe to drink.
  • Bottled water is available at every store for mixing formula.
  • Pack lots of sunscreen.
  • Bring a mosquito net.
  • Be flexible because Cuba is about laughs and going with the flow and not for the uptight.

8 Amazing Things About Travel in Cuba #travel #cuba #kids #traveltips

Kiona, Ph.D., is an advocate for women, minority populations, and being self-aware and accepting when cultures mix. She believes that if more people traveled, the more humans would have mutual respect for each other and a greater appreciation for the things they have at home; making the world more about love and less about hate. Her blog partners travelers with the best recommendations on how to conquer a country with minimal hassle and on a budget. You can find her website here.
Nurturing Relationships Authentically in Digital Age

Nurturing Relationships Authentically in Digital Age

Are we meeting this weekend?

When are you making me brownies?

Do you know where can I find almond flour?

Can you please send me the notes from today?

These are how conversations online begin in this digital age. Unfortunately, it seems like basic social etiquette of asking about one’s well being, about the family, about one’s work, or about life in general have gone out of the window. Smart modes of communication seem to have made our conversations cold and to the point. Emotions have gone missing and convenience seems to have taken over compassion.

But would we want our kids to grow up to be adults with no empathy?

Every single day, I remind my kids that when they meet someone they know, they MUST greet them with a smile and ask them about their well being. The struggle is real believe me! Children are often so caught up with their play and imagination that they tend to be too distracted to acknowledge a new presence.  

[bctt tweet=”So many of us are guilty of communicating with our family and friends only when we need something or need to know something. ” username=”contactrwc”]

But what is our reason as adults to have no time for basic etiquette? So many of us are guilty of communicating with our family and friends only when we need something or need to know something. Unfortunately, the desire of keeping in touch and the feeling of wanting to be there for someone is slowing fading away.

Communication Years Ago 

Almost two decades ago, I moved to the US to go to university. When I was leaving home, I took with me a little telephone directory filled with my family and friends phone numbers. I manually entered each number on my phone and stored them all. Those were the days when we made phone calls to keep in touch. Then came the email and it became the coolest mode of communication.

Even then, emails were filled with emotion and would make one feel so close to someone so far. We poured our hearts and minds out in our emails and saved our loved ones replies for a later read (which would be so comforting!) We probably had more value for emotions and etiquette because we saw our parents and everyone else around us displaying it. How I wish I could turn back time!  

As much as technology plays a huge role in the advancement of human evolution, the question is…is it helping us evolve into better human beings? You may have all heard the cliche line that smart gadgets are making humans less human ? 

Using Technology As Tools 

Not necessarily because a lot of people use these gadgets wisely to enhance their skills, to get their work done, to run a business and so much more. Using social media responsibly is an art too. But when it comes to communicating, relationships seem to have been taken for granted, and time and convenience are given more priority.

In the age of NO mobile phones and NO internet, we were all so happy and content with Graham Bell’s invention. Who remembers those days when you would wait for the clock to strike 12, to call your friend and wish them ‘Happy Birthday!’ That excitement of being the first one to wish (sigh!) and the disappointment of finding an ‘engaged tone’ because someone else beat you to being the ‘first one’ to wish your friend.

Life was so uncomplicated. ‘Call Declined’ in those days was keeping the handset off the hook. Even if we were in deep sleep we would reach out to that phone because if we didn’t, then it would just keep ringing. Back then, receiving a phone call and telling the person that you will call them back later was more convenient. Besides that is the right thing to do!

Invitations for gatherings, congratulatory messages, wishes for special occasions and asking for one’s well being, which were all done over the telephone have been replaced by Whatsapp messages.

Connect Personally  

Raising World Children Relationships

We may have hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of Instagram followers, but even today one phone call from a dear one, and you are left smiling all day. Feel blessed if you still have a few loved ones, who make time for a phone call. Those are the ones who you need to hold on to.

 Let us take our relationships away from the digital world and bring back the warmth into our relationships.

  • Ditch the likes and comments and meet up for a cup of coffee.
  • Avoid typing a message and make that call instead.
  • Once in a while, make a video call to a loved one who lives far away.
  • Start your online conversations by inquiring about the other person’s well being.
  • Initiate a meet up and don’t just wait for someone else to make a plan.
  • Plan a yoga session together or a digital detox getaway.
  • Set up play dates so that you can catch up with friends, while the kids are busy playing.

Let’s not forget that one day our children will grow up to follow in our footsteps. The world is only moving ahead at a much faster pace than before. The least we can do is inculcate in our coming generations – the value of relationships and the importance of social etiquette. Perhaps this could be our small contribution to making the world a better place!

Important of Nurturing Relationships in Digital Age #digitalage #relationships #nurture #love #friendships #maintain

Minali Bajaj-Syed is an Indian, born and settled in Kuwait. Having lived in Kuwait, India and the United States, She has had the opportunity to experience a diverse set of cultures. She thus, considers herself a global citizen. She is always learning, evolving and trying to spread some positivism. On most days, she is a mother to two kids and a food blogger on Instagram @cinnamon_cardamom.
Unknown Perks of Grandparents' Stories

Unknown Perks of Grandparents’ Stories

Story, the word embodies so much in itself. But grandma’s stories ! Wow!! They have their their own charm, their own aura, their own charisma.

During my childhood days, I used to do accomplish any task in a fraction of second whenever my Grandmother is about to tell a story. Only to those children who have finished their work. That time the fun element was there. We, as children used to cherish that time spent together. listening to her stories without realizing its importance.

Now thought I realize their true importance.

Increases The Bond

It enhances the bonding between the elders and the children. which, I think is very essential to maintain a connection between various generations , specially in today’s time.

Desire For Time Spent Together

Children spend more time with the grandmother or grandfather. The spending of time is relished by the grandparents.

Greater Understanding Between Generations

The understanding develops between them which leads to higher chances of sustainability of peace at home.

Out of The Box Thinking Develops

The morals in the stories and the stories themselves help the children to understand some complex situations very easily.

Enhances Imagination

it also develops their imagination, their creativity. You will notice they even use it in their gossip with other children.

Develops Habit To Listen

That pin drop silence, that mesmerizing attention and that peaceful sleep while listening to the stories or may be just after that, is really astonishing.Those moments amazed me to an extent that I decided to continue that tradition after them also.

These are just a few benefits that I had figured out from the lot. Just a small habit of story telling — be with grandparents or parents can strengthen the bonding as well the relations within the family.

If we categorize this time as “Fun time” or “Family time“, the children themselves eagerly wait for this particular time. In my case, even if I forget, my kids start shouting -” Mumma , Story Time. We want our daily dose.” They don’t even go to sleep without listening to the story. And that time is auspicious for me as well as for my babies and their grandparents.

But the habit is not developed by me alone. The whole credit goes to my grandmothers and their grandmothers.I remember their eager waiting for the session whether by Nani (mom’s mother) or Dadi (dad’s mother).

Stories themselves have many great benefits but being passed on by generations has many more advantages. I have realized the efforts, the love, the sentiments,the affection behind this small act of story telling is priceless.

Ruchika Rastogi, an Indian who was born and brought up in Delhi. She loves to explore the unexplored. A mother of two lovely kids, she works as a teacher and her passion for writing has helped her survive during her hard times. Her first non fiction book got published last year with the name-A Mystical Majesty-the woman. As a contributing author, her anthology with the title–Wait Till I Tell You got launched recently. With dreams in her eyes, she believes in living life optimistically.
I Don't Need a Ring On Me

I Don’t Need a Ring On Me

A few weeks before I got married, I had an engagement ring,my first marital symbol . The first day I wore it, It drew too much attention. Friends and strangers called it out with equal exuberance.

They held my hand and ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ about the sparkling stone and wanted to know everything about my “love story”. It felt like I had announced my wedding on prime time TV. It made me way too conscious. So, after a few days, I hid it in my purse.

Following the wedding, I was adorned with the Mangal Sutra. I willingly wanted to wear it as part of the wedding ceremony. It was my homage to tradition.

Jasmine flowers in my hair and Mehendi in my hands, this was part of the quintessential wedding fantasy.  I had unknowingly nurtured this dream since I was a little girl. But within a few days, the black and gold chain, as well as the shiny engagement ring, were both forsaken in an obscure corner of the dresser drawer.

Raising World Children Indian Wedding

Significance of Mangalsutra in India

In India, when women get married, they wear a  Mangal Sutra. It is a simple chain made of gold with black beads woven into it. But, it is no ordinary chain. In it is packed centuries of tradition and history.

It is the upholder of virtue, a cornerstone of social norm and a shining symbol of loyalty. You may grudge it, seeing it as a weapon that men use to make sure their women are branded as theirs. Or you may revere it as a reminder of one’s change in identity, the first step of a new journey together in life. No matter your viewpoint, one thing is for sure, you may not ignore it.

Significance of Rings in America

When I came to America, instead of the chains, I witnessed rings. The symbol of a marital bond was shared here by men and women. Here, the ring was the sign of a couple’s commitment to one another. Single people filtered eligible men or women they might see at the bar, grocery store or random meetup group by a quick, expert glance at the ring finger.

Men and women thus make sure their spouses are not exposed to roving eyes and unwelcome advances. The power of the diamond studded metal ring ensures couples are able to a secure, UN-threatened, marital life.

Raising World Children Engagement ring

My Real Marital Identification

Initially, there were some occasions like the annual Diwali celebration, a guilt-induced temple visit, or a friends baby shower for which I frantically looked for the ring or the chain and wore them for an hour or two. But as the years went by, I realized I had no use for them.

It is not that I don’t like jewelry, I do. My drawers were filled with earrings – long ones, terracotta ones, gold ones, beaded ones. I used to purchase little trinkets from all the places I traveled to. I had a necklace from Peru, a bracelet from Amsterdam, a pendant from Arizona. But the charm of all these was that they didn’t need to stay on me forever. After a few hours, I could put them back in the jewelry case and get back to an unencumbered life.

Wearing stone studded metal rings on my finger all the time got in the way of me cooking, cleaning dishes and daily ablutions. It was too much trouble.

As for the chain, it swung about when I went running, slipped when I went swimming and itched when it was a hot day. So I discarded them both in the 2*2 foot locker of my bank. I might indulge in cosmetic jewelry every now and then, but I don’t bother with the ‘real’ stuff anymore.

If you see me now, nothing sets me apart from a merry spinster. Well, nothing other than the baby weight that is sticking to me like a piece of discarded chewing gum on hair. If you are wondering whether my husband ever worries about romping men hitting on me because of the want of a chain or a ring, rest assured.

For one, he doesn’t wear one either for similar reasons. And secondly, he has nothing to worry about.

I have a better symbol of being ‘taken’ that I carry around with me all the time; My cheerio infested, melted crayon marked, sticky candy filled, eight-seater minivan.

What is your marital identification ?

True Symbols of Marriage #love #marriage #america #india #weddings #mangalsutra #rings

Sandhya Acharya, author of the best selling children’s book the Big Red Firetruck grew up in Mumbai, India and now lives in the Bay Area. She worked as a financial professional and now pursues her passion for writing. She is also an amateur runner, a dance enthusiast and loves reliving her childhood through her young sons. Her work has appeared in NPR(KQED), ThriveGlobal, Peacock Journal and India Currents among others. She blogs regularly at