Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 Dec 2002, 13:42 p.m.

Leonard alerted me to an Antarctic weblog (use a graphical…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Leonard alerted me to an Antarctic weblog (use a graphical browser -- neat pictures!), and an Indian reports on his country.

Yesterday Adam interviewed me for items of folklore, e.g., superstitions, myths, jokes, etc. I told him my mother's explanation for the origin of the bindi (a.k.a. kumkum or kunkma; a red dot Hindu women wear between the eyebrows). Mom says that, long years ago, women ground a red stone into powder and wore the powder there as a depilatory (nobody liked the unibrow even then), and that the powder eventually acquired ritual significance. Only yesterday did I realize how reassuring this explanation is. Someone who had never heard this story would probably think the red dot implies blood or a wound. And, for all I know, the bindi really originated in a smear of sacrifice-blood on a pujari's forehead.

In other mythical news, Leonard and I realized that the Amar Chitra Katha "Nasruddin Hodja" stories were the same as these Turkish tales starring Nasr-ed-Din Hodja. I can't believe I didn't realize before that of course Nasruddin was a Muslim. Hello? Hodja=hajji?

Postscript: "You're right, too", and ACK said this was a Birbal story. Also, in ACK, this story ends, "They were arguing over who would get to take my blanket when I came outside," but I like the idiom, "the quilt is gone and the fight is over."