Author Archives: Arpit Bhanderi

“Don’t Procrastinate” Proverb (Gujarati)

  1. Main Piece
    1. Original Script: કલ કાર જેથી કાર આજ . આજ કાર એએબી જેથી
    2. Phonetic Script: ““Kal karo so aaj kar. Aaj karo so abh”
    3. Transliteration: “Tomorrow do what today do. Today do what now.”
    4. Translation: “What is to be done tomorrow, do today. What is to be done today, do now”
  2. Informants Background
    1. Where did you learn it: “Jyare hoon nani hathi, thyare Vaghela na adults chokrao ne kehtha tha, tho chokrao kaam puru kare velu, ne raah no jowe kaam karwa maate.”
      • “When I was young, the adults of Vagela (her village) would say it to us kids to teach us to complete our work on time, instead of procrastinating”
    2. What does it mean you: “varso pachi khabar paidi ke Kabir Swami na shabd che. Kabir Swami, je bhudhi vaparvanu sikhwadtha. Etle mari maate a jem jivanu shabdh che.”
      • “I learned years later it is a saying of Swami Kabir (a priest) His words are meant to inspire and spread wisdom amongst the community. So this proverb in particular, having come from a swami, serves as rules to live by”
  3. Context of the performance: No real context, simply a proverb that is said to teach good habits.
  4. My thoughts: After doing some research to Swami Kabir, it came to my attention that his life spanned from the year 1440 – 1518. It is common for Indian Villagers to take the word of Priests to be very sacred, thus it is believable that his words spread the country and lasted through the generations. The phonetic flow of it also must have played a large part in preserving it through the generations and become a common household saying.

Folk Dance (Bhangra)

  1. Main Piece: Bhangra Video
  2. Informant Background:
    • What is it: Bhangra is a form of folkdance originating in Punjab (northern India). This form of dance originated as a form of entertainment and fun for Punjabis, who were traditionally farmers. Bhangra often has use of live music, and is danced to with sticks and flags that resemble farm tools used by Punjabis out on their farms.
    • Where did you learn it: I picked it up myself largely, but soon after I joined a Bhangra team here in the Los Angeles area, and began to learn from my pears and my coaches.
    • What does it mean to you: Bhangra has, for quite some time now, stepped into the competitive scene in North America. There are tens of thousands of teams between America and Canada – high school affiliated, temple affiliated, university affiliated, city affiliated, etc. Competitions have been around for decades, and Bhangra has transformed into a competitive sport. I have been the captain of UCLA’s Bhangra team for 2 years, and we have been very successful in the past. I aim to keep up the reputation and continue to bring to the world high quality performances. We aim to hype a crowd with our high energy and creative in choreography, musicality and formations.
  3. Context of Performance
    • There are many different contexts for performance of Bhangra, but the one Vaibhav has focused on is dance competitions.
  4. My Thoughts:
    • I believe that the spread of Bhangra for a competitive purpose helped keep the Punjabi culture alive for people abroad, away from Punjab. However after spreading into the competitive scene, I believe that it began to take on it’s own purpose and it’s own identity, and now there are people like Vaibhav, who is from Gujarat, but identifies much more strongly with Bhangra, the folkdance of Punjab, than he does with Garba, the folkdance of his own region.

Remedy for Gastro Problems

  1. Main Piece: Rubbing a blend of Honey, “aajma” and hot water on your stomach, and allowing it to sit for 15 minutes will relieve a stomach ache caused by “gas”
  2. Informant Background:
    • What is it: A remedy for gas
    • Where did you learn it: My mother used to treat my stomach aches caused by gas in such a way.
    • Would you rather be treated this way, or with medication from a pharmacy? This way, it is better to not put foreign chemicals in your body. This is all homeopathic.
  3. Context of Performance: Medicinal Purposes
  4. My Purposes: It is very common for the older generation of India to find more comfort in homeopathic treatment. This is the form of medicine they grew up with, especially my grandparents who have only known of homeopathic treatment until the last 20 years of their life due to their upbringing and living in a small village. Thus it is understandable that my grandfather would have so many homeopathic remedies for all different kinds of illnesses.

Cancer Remedy

  1. Main Piece: Drinking a blend of Turmeric, Garlic and Honey every day can cure cancer
  2. Informant Background:
    1. What is it: It is a cure for Cancer. in fact, it is seen as a cure for all health abnormalities.
    2. Where did you learn: I heard rumors of the incredible healing powers of this blend when I was growing up in my village, however it was only after I read several books on homeopathy that it came to my attention what this blend was actually capable of.
    3. Do you believe that it works? Absolutely
    4. Then why do doctors not prescribe it? Because their is no money for them to make in prescribing such a homeopathic treatment.
  3. Context of Folk Belief: Medicinal Purposes
  4. My Thoughts: I have been told by my mother and my grandmother about the healing properties of Turmeric, however I do not believe that it can be a cancer-curing process. I have no doubt that it helps your body maintain equilibrium, and that it is also healthy to intake (garlic and honey have also been widely accepted as benefactors for health), however I do not believe it’s power to be that vast. I believe that homeopathic books have exaggerated the power that they possess.

Turnbull Canyon

  1. Main Piece: Ghost stories that encompass this place in Southern California known as Turnbull Canyon
  2. Informant Background
    • What is it: It is a street near Whittier that winds through a Canyon, and has many horror stories linked to it. There is a long straight road along a cliff that is rumored to have drivers often race down, however there are those who don’t know that there is a sharp turn at the end of the road, and thus they drive off of the cliff. There is also a graveyard located along Turnbull Canyon, and that only adds to the scare around the location. It is also said that people come out to practice dark magic here. Beyond just that, there are many rumors of murders in the area. And finally, the cherry on top: it is said that Native Americans would hang those sentenced to death at a tree in the Canyon named the “Hanging Tree”
    • Where did you learn it: In high school, there were always kids who would talk about experiences they had at Turnbull Canyon. Some kids saying that they saw the ghost headlights of racers who died in the Canyon in their rearview mirrors. Some kids saying that they hung from the “Hanging Tree” and heard a bellowed shout that said “LEAVE FROM HERE NOW!” I had to experience it for myself, so a couple friends and I, equipped with flashlights and baseball bats, decided to drive down Turnbull Canyon one night. The scariest part about it – there was no cellphone reception and there were no streetlights in the deeper parts of the Canyon. It was not too distinct, but we heard a shout as we drove by the Hanging Tree, it was right near the graveyard. We had heard the stories, so none of us were willing to stop the car and get out. We turned back around and left the Canyon after that.
    • Who have you heard variations of these ghost stories from: 
      • Friends
      • Teachers
  3. My Thoughts
    • These stories seem to be motivated and fueled by the stories and the folklore that already encompass the area itself. The experiences that people have in Turnbull Canyon could be largely exaggerated either through the adrenaline the individuals are feeling as they are going through the Canyon (due to fear from the stories they have heard), or through simply telling and retelling of the story.