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20 March 2016

Happy Naw-Ruz!

“The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand”

AS THE Baha'i Fast comes to a close, springtime begins, and a new year unfolds. It's Naw-Ruz, the first day of the new year in the Baha'i calendar. With Baha'is present in 100,000 localities in over 200 countries and territories around the world, the event is a global celebration. In most countries, Baha'is gather together for prayers, dancing, singing, and dining. Hie over to the "The Largest Baha'i Facebook Group Ever", and you'll see how Naw-Ruz captivates communities around the world.

Naw-Ruz has roots in Nowruz, the traditional Iranian celebration that welcomes the first day of spring. Abdu'l-Baha, Son of the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, has written about the advent of springtime:

The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jessamine trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad-tidings of the approach of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver.

Happy Naw-Ruz to everyone around the world!

Related Stories: Happy Naw-Ruz (2007)! | Happy Naw-Ruz (2009)! | Happy Naw-Ruz (2014)!

01 March 2016

The Baha'i Fast

AND SO that time of the year has come when Baha'is are up before the sun is, have a filling breakfast, pray, and make their most uncompromising effort to detach from all material passions and desires. The annual 19-day season of the Fast has come.

To all my fellow Baha'is, may the Fast be refreshing, reflective, and reinvigorating for you! Happy Fasting!

28 February 2016

Focal point:
Pia Andrade, “Being Free”

"Being Free"

THIS YEAR makes the thirtieth year of the People's Power Revolution that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. In commemorating the milestone event, the Philippine Daily Inquirer asked my niece Pia Andrade, one of their junior writers, for her thoughts on freedom. Pia wasn't born yet when the peaceful revolution occurred, but her thoughts capture the essence of freedom with universal truth. “Trust and respect everyone the same way

We can maintain freedom by using it wisely and not abusing it. We can say anything or do anything, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody. Do not bully others and do not let yourself be bullied.

Trust and respect everyone the same way. Be fair, just, and do not take sides. Love the country where you are born and raised.

Related Stories: Pia becomes a writer

26 February 2016

Focal point:
Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond,
“You Don't Bring Me Flowers”

"You Don't Bring Me Flowers", Grammy Awards, 26 February 1980

THIRTY SIX years ago tonight, I tuned in to the live telecast of the Grammy Awards in Manila, and I watched the mesmerizing and unannounced performance captured on this video. Thus began my unending enthusiasm with the incomparable artistry of Barbra Streisand. Watch the video and believe. It doesn't get any better than this anymore.

Festival of Ayyám-i-Há

THIS YEAR'S festival of Ayyám-i-Há has five days of fellowship amongst Bahá'ís on account of leap year. Translated from Persian as "days of joy" or "days outside of time", Ayyám-i-Há brings Bahá'ís together in in a global spirit of goodwill, performing acts of charity, giving gifts to friends and family, and attending social gatherings before the annual Bahá'í Fast begins.

Bahá'u'lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá'í Faith, said of Ayyám-i-Há:

"It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name."

Happy Ayyám-i-Há to Bahá'ís around the world!

17 January 2016

Biba comes to DLF Mall of India

BIBA OPENED its 200th store in Noida, India last 11 January 2016, at the cavernous DLF Mall of India. I'm excited about this store for two things. One, the company has reached a new milestone by hitting the 200-store mark. Two, we have introduced innovations in shop design and display that no other brand in the ethnic womenswear industry has ever done, making this the most up-to-date and most competitive Biba store in the world! From the Flickr slideshow below, you can see such compelling ideas as "The Biba Look This Month" wall that increases shopper engagement in the store.

It seems like just yesterday that the store design team and I travelled to see the Biba site at the dusty Mall of India. Seeing the shoppers that have been stopping by after we opened, this store is going to be very popular!

Images: Biba, DLF Mall of India. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, 11 January 2016
Source: Paul Ancheta on Flickr

01 January 2016

As 2016 rolls in

Happy New Year!

WELCOME, 2016! I'm pretty excited about this year. After working out the massive kinks of settling into India's most difficult city for a job that I truly like, I expect to finally, fully live in the present moment. One of my favorite musical groups, Swing Out Sister, has a song that resonates exactly what's on my mind for the new year:

Better use your wits or you'll lose your mind.
There's a world to discover and you're running out of time.
Life's a roller coaster ride
that took you by surprise
now you're burnin' up inside!

Make the most of what you've got
for it's better than to not have anything at all.
Take each day as it's your last
or you'll find the future's passed
and you're left with nothing at all!

The song is called "Better Make It Better". Check it out:

2016 is here. Let's all make it better, and let's all make the better things last!

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