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Indian Culture and Festivals


Threads...

In these threads of silk are wound
Emotions deep; promises profound
Immortal love – selfless and blind
Hope and belief, so hard to find

Drenched in memories, these threads do say
The tales of celebrations; joy and dismay
Those relentless quarrels, the unending talks
The mischievous pranks and never-ending walks
The smile that hides thousands of words
The same old jokes and the games absurd

These strings do fight a battle with time
To preserve these memories in form of a rhyme
Patiently they wait, as they wait for long
Carrying priceless memories and a belief strong
Years do pass, but the hope does persist
That one day they would adorn a brother’s wrist.

Nostalgia…Impressions from the Past…Part 1


Cultural Diversity – National Integrity

Some Moments don’t die. This is one of them

The Festival of Spring


Vidhya-Devi-Saraswati-Mata-Wallpaper

Fragrance spreading in the breeze
Flowers swaying, chattering trees
Restless butterflies fluttering in joy
Birds singing melodies for hearts to enjoy.

O Mother! the charming, the peaceful, the wise
With you the treasure of music lies
The source of wisdom; be one with my soul
Help me achieve the long envisioned goal

The source of music, the eternal sound
Accompanied by joy, spreading all around
Bless the the world with the season of love
May we bathe in the showers of blessings from above.

Yesterday, we celebrated Vasant Panchmi: The festival of spring and the day to worship Ma Saraswati: The Goddess of wisdom and music. And hence did the spring, officially arrive in India.

Festival of Light; Not So Bright


 

The city decorated as a bride

Millions of faces gleaming with pride

Each home twinkling with light

Never seen the city so bright

But emotions in my heart fade

It seems deserted and betrayed

 

Birds which sing, Birds which dance

Announce the festival well in advance

The morning dew on a solitary leaf

Watches the people’s growing belief

In a season when happiness flows

Why is my heart in such a low?

The songs on the radio, out in the streets

Greets the people whom it meets

Reminding us of the same old day

When a king returned from exile, they say

On a day when people meet with gratitude

Why does my heart seek solitude?

 

Sweets are made, distributed when people meet

Why does today’s sugar, not taste so sweet?

A spoon of love; a pinch of care

I think is what may relieve me from despair

A little smile, a drop of tear

An emotion no word can bear

Oh Mother! I will miss you the whole night

To day the festival of light is not so bright.

Happy Diwali to all

Mahisasur Mardini in Bhopal


Thousands of mahisasurs killed; people all over India overjoyed; festivities all across; happiness all around and myself proud to be a part of the celebrations. It all started with the all familiar voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra in Mahalaya (invoking the goddess) which marked the Akalbodhan (the act of untimely awakening) or the start of Indian festive season. The temperature suddenly dropped and I could see the fog outside my window; AND YES! THE TIME HAS ARRIVED!

And simultaneously started my vacations. I boarded the plane back home – Bhopal. I saw my city from the air as the plane was landing – and I swear – the city looked no less than a bride. Lights all around – some still; a few dancing; and many twinkling – as if a dream had come true.

Then came the four days – long awaited – when it is nothing but jolly faces all across. Hundreds of Pandals showcasing the age old tradition; tradition of devotion, tradition of celebration, tradition of joy. I must admit that Durga Puja or Navaratri is the grandest festival celebrated in India – both in terms of number of people celebrating it and the ways in which it is celebrated. And here is where staying in Bhopal help. Being in Central India, you can see all the different ways in which it celebrated.

On one hand the mesmerizing rhythm of the Dhak and the Dhumch Nach force you sway in its tune (as in Bengal), one the other you can see the showcase of utmost devotion and religious beliefs (as in the central India). Not to forget, the dance tunes of Garba and Dandiya (from Gujrat). And yes, the Mahabhog – I bet this is the tastiest food that you can ever have – it is not a dish; just the plain Khichdi, Sabji, Chatni and Payes but the taste is AWESOME.

At this moment in time I feel so helpless – words are such poor conveyors of emotions – they can’t describe how attached is an Indian is to this festival; but I make a single attempt to this by stating that – people cry when it is time bid adieu to the goddess.

ABAR ESHO MAA

And yes Subho Bijoya to all….

The City of Joy…The Epitome of Culture


There are many ‘eye-catching’ cities in India, posh, vibrant, full of sky-scrapers, luxury buses and what not. Go to Mumbai or Bangalore and you will realise that ‘mordernisation’ is the talk of the day. Malls coming up all around the city; AC buses running up and down the road and what not.Talk to anyone of the ‘iconic’ city of the country and they would name Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and maybe Hyderabad. There is one city however which does not look so ‘mordernised’ at first sight. But it is that city (or the state) which has left an imprint on my heart which can probably never fade away – Kolkata (or Bengal).

A striking difference between Kolkata and other metropolitan cities of India is that Kolkata is Bengali by soul. As Vir Singhvi (a reputed journalist) says, “Tell any person in Mumbai that the city is essentially Marathi, or any Delhite that his city is Pujabi, he would most probably raise an objection. However it is not so with a person in Kolkata; he believes that the city is Bengali and he even feels proud of it.” There is a very strong sense of cultural awakening in the region. Bongs are in general very very proud of themselves and their culture.

The city will definitely not please any outsider at the first sight. The first thing that scares a first time visitor is the GIGANTIC population. Probably the number is too large for anyone to imagine. Other problems include traffic jams (which occur very frequently) rains (let it shower for 1 to 2 hours and large parts of the city are flooded) and humidity (95 to 98 percent at summers with temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius).

But the lovely part of the city is its people. Here you you can meet rickshaw (a non-motorised public vehicle), who finds it difficult to make his ends meet, being extremely knowledgeable about the highest quality of poetry in Bengali. Here people who never met earlier can be found discussing regional politics. This is a place where you can have a decent lunch at prices as low as Rs.5 (Rs. 50 = $1). This is a place where people are evaluated not on the size of the wallet but on the size of their heart.

Live as a common man and enjoy the beauty of the city. Sacrifice the feeling of being special and see how the city captures your imagination.

There is certainly something in this land which gives rise to greats – people who defined their own feild. Take Rabindranath Tagore as and example. A poet who created timeless beauties. What more, he also composed music for each of these poems to convert it into songs which are now known as the famous Rabindra Sangeet. Sons of the same land include Vivekananda (the man who shook the world with his words in Chicago), J. C. Bose (who showed that plants have life and discovered radio), S. N. Bose (co discoverer of Bose-Einstein Condensate) and Subhash Chandra Bose.

One must remember that it is the people who make a city. A city is not a dead piece of land – emotionless and mechanical, but is vibrant entity – personal and affectionate. In today’s world where relations and emotions dry out, this is a city which still preserves its personal identity. This is the city of joy; the epitome of culture: Kolkata…

N. B: If you are wondering why in this post there is no mention of the Durga Puja or the Local Trains of the city, I would like to say that these aspects of the city are too elaborate to discuss here – they require a post for themselves. So keep your fingers crossed…

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