Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Effort Worth Taking ...

Earlier this month my fellow blogger Gaelikaa of “Gaelikaa’s diary” passed on an award to my blog and I thank her for that. I like to receive awards of all types like any other fellow human being. For awards and citations are recognition and appreciations for what we do.
I have not received many awards like most of the achievers of today’s world. I remember having received only a few of them, 3 to be precise. And out of that only one was at a national level and remaining 2 at zonal summit and nothing in the International level. Those were long way back during my college days. I do not even have the certificates as they were hanging in our college department wall when I saw them last. I hope they are still hanging on and have been joined by many more brought by the boys, who came after us!
Though I was very happy to receive the award, I was not able to put it up in my blog. I was a bit too busy doing something which I have not done in years and definitely not done it enough when other does it most. Yes! You guessed it correctly. I was preparing for a professional exam and by the grace of good God, I was successful and my score was way above average but unfortunately not the “Crème de la Crème”. It was quite difficult for me to say the least. But I was lucky to have my wife around who used to be a school teacher. She not only did take care of the daughter but also monitored my monitor so that I did not drift away from my goal. It was a good reminder of good old school days!
But as the saying goes... All Well that ends well! I am happy and so is everyone else. An effort worth taking!
Once through with that I decided to put a bit of effort on the other blog that I want to put up. It is called “A slice of Art & Design”, I intend to showcase Art and Design and Architecture in there. I invite all of you to pay a visit there whenever your time permits. I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Durga Puja ..... In our hearts and minds

The Bengali self within me does not allow me not to think and talk about the Durga Puja while at home we are celebrating the biggest annual festival. This is the time when all Bengalis come together in celebration leaving behind all their differences, well most of it! This year we did not get the taste of the Puja, we thought of going up to Muscat and then we thought of visiting Abu Dhabi but finally decided to sit back ruminating through all the earlier Puja. The only taste of Puja this year was when my brother let us listen live to the “dhaak and kasha” playing in our building for the “shandhya arti” via Yahoo Messenger voice service.
The puja in Agartala used to be the greatest in terms of fun and enjoyment and I cannot imagine having the same fun in any other time of place. Ironically I did not quite enjoy the celebrations in Kolkata to the same extent even though it is the heart of the Bengali land. But it definitely provides immense pleasure to see how vibrant a place can be and how all sections of people can have fun forgetting all their worries.
Delhi which was my next stop used to be quite a different place. For us it was the first time that we realized that the 4 days of Durga Puja could be working days. This is something which is quite unimaginable for a typical Bengali. We used to have a small theatre group of our college friends and we used to go around the city (with prior booking) and perform one act plays with portable sets, stages and equipments which we carried along in our car. I used to be the light man or the prompter and giving hands to all the ancillary works. We could perform only in the outskirts while the stars performed in the downtown. I still remember the massive gathering and celebrations in C R Park areas both the old ones and the new one that started in pocket 40.
After New Delhi, it was Muscat. Muscat had two well structured temples and is the only place in the Middle East to have proper temples. Every few years there used to be a new idol and I was there in one such occurrence while we unpacked the Goddess who came all the way from Kolkata and put her up in the altar. The ladies usually would take care of the worshipping and other rituals during the morning hours. The men folk used to gather after working hours and after few moments of socializing all used to move out to one of the auditoriums reserved for the purpose far away from the temple. It was a big community get together and invariably a “Good food – Good wine” event.
Twice I went to Sohar, a suburban town and a few hours’ drive from Muscat where the Bangladeshi community hosts two Puja. I was touched by the way they received us took us among them in spite of being total stranger and mind you this is in stark contrast to their Indian counterpart (outside India).
We love to sing the song ….
“Mehman jo hamara hota hai
Who jan se pyara hota hai
Zyada nahin lalach humko
Thode mein guzara hota hai”
(The guests who visit our homes are dearer than our lives, we do not ask for a lot and are content with whatever little we have). And they love to practice the same! Since then I only visit their celebrations! Because they are so much like us yet so different. I am not sure how many of you will agree to this?
While I was in Bahrain there used to be two Puja in the same temple, one by the Indian Bengalis and one by the Bangladeshi counterparts.
And then it was Kuwait and again we spent our time with the Bangladeshi community and we enjoyed a lot. Here are a few images of the Puja in Kuwait.
Finally Shobai ke janai Sharod Abhinondan!
Wishes to you all on this festive season!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Those Two Days

Two months back I celebrated my first birthday. Do you this was the second biggest party of my whole life. We celebrated the first one in Kolkata. It was the day I got to taste of rice for the very first time and along with that a lot more thing that made very little sense to me. Many curries including Fish and also sweets, which could hardly fit within a 10” plate... all I could think of at that moment was... "ore baba re" (OMG)! They (ora) like to call it my annaprashon. You know, I was very sad this time as we do not have my relatives here in Dubai and I missed them all very dearly. I thought I will not write about this party at all as I missed the family so much. But now that I have spent a good one month time in Kolkata with all of them, I feel much better. This time most of the uncles and aunts we know here in Dubai have also gone out for their summer vacation and there were suggestions that we postpone the birthday party. But tell me how can we postpone my first birthday party.... yes the first birthday! Actually at the end we did have quite a few guests and I made many friends though they appeared to be a little elder than me. I had great fun running after them and shouting aloud... yes shouting with all my strength.... you see, I still have to learn how to talk like you guys! It was sad though that Ma did not allow me to go around the pool as it was too dangerous.I actually thought it would be somewhat similar to the annoprashon party. at one was in Calcutta Rowing Club and believe me, it was a great party. I almost felt like a queen, that evening. We actually sent out invitation cards well in advance all those cards created especially for me. I had my grandparents, uncles, aunts and so many other guests.
At the annoprashon earlier in the day it was great fun too. You know for we Bengalees it is a very auspicious occasion. This is the day we worship our family Guru and are introduced to the real world of all the perceivable senses. Everyone was ready with their cameras when Pishimoni (aunt, father's sister) got a plate with lots of goodies, as I was sitting on my mama's (mother's brother) lap and I was supposed to select whatever I liked. There were money, jewelry, cosmetics, pen, pencil and a book. Can you imagine that I selected the book from all those things? Everyone was very excited ... I did not quite understand why! It was actually a book on finance from kaka (father's younger brother). After that all the elders started to shower me with all sorts of ornaments.... I wish I had many of such occasions! But it only comes once in a lifetime.But all in all both my parties had been great fun. ... A lot of fun!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thinking Aloud

Be it a tilt in priority or a time management issue but the matter of the fact is that I am not being able to do much of blogging for the past few weeks. I do try and take a quick tour of the blogs that I follow whenever I can manage. I wish I could scribble a few lines in my blog now and then but ….. I guess blogging have to wait a bit more!
I could best describe this situation by following Filmy line …. “Majboor ye halaat idhar bhi hai udhar bhi” (“I am restrained by the compulsion is on either side”. Excuse my poor translation)
Following are a few pictures of My City, Calcutta. These are taken from emails which have been making round for sometime now and most of us have received once already! These pictures were taken in 1930ies (nineteen thirties) less than two decades prior to our independence from the British rule.
One point bothers me whenever I look at these images. Almost 200 years into British rule our people have been dressing themselves in traditional attire. But what happened in the next 25 years that made us to abandon(except for special occasions/ festivities) the “dhoti - kurta” altogether? Could we not have tried to do make our traditional attire evolve itself to stand up to the need of the 21st century?
I am thinking aloud and would welcome your thoughts on this!
Please click on the image for a bigger picture.