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Festival

How many ages have passed?


mans hand using door knocker on wood effect upvc door cold calling household
So, ‘the festival’ has ended. Although the festive season in India is in full swing; ‘the festival’ of Bengal culminated yesterday with ‘Vijayadashami’ or ‘Dussehra’. So Shubho Bijaya and Happy Dussehra to all of you. BTW, is anyone still here?

Before I move on; it is my responsibility to tell you about my whereabouts during these days. Simply put I was busy doing effectively absolutely nothing. So let’s see what did I do in these months. Firstly I spent my birthday alone in a foreign land (Germany… to be precise) sitting lonely in a room as no-one knew about my birthday. No-one except probably a bird who used to sit on my window each day. I also wrote a 200 odd page document that contained nothing… well effectively nothing… although some people call it a ‘Project Report’ and were seemingly impressed by it.

After coming back home I spent effectively 2 months in one of the most ‘interesting’ endeavors of my life – preparing for PhD applications. It might seem interesting to you that it order to get a very good PhD position in ‘Physics’, the most important skill to master is ‘English’. You heard it right… English vocabulary is the key to succeed in Physics research… Not the laws, equations, theorems, diagrams, postulates or any other crap that you learnt in the last 5 years as a physics student… ONLY ENGLISH. Confused? So to put things straight, to get a successful PhD position in a reputed place in USA or Europe, you need to score extremely well in and English exam called GRE which requires you to know meanings of words which you would never use in a ‘sane, cultured society’. There were 1500 such words that I mugged up ‘in principle’; and needless to say, deleted from my memory the second I walked out of the exam hall. And this, my dear friends is called ‘system’.

Agaain, it goes without saying that thanks to my brilliant luck, my exam was scheduled yesterday – the last day of a 10 day long festival – and hence when my friends were enjoying the festival on the streets, I was sitting in my room improving my English. People buy new dress during the festivals, I couldn’t even mend my torn shoes this time. Although the reason for that is ‘laziness at its peak’.

And yes, there is one more thing that ‘we’ did as a nation. We reached mars. I guess you have heard a lot about that news, so I would just like to congratulate ISRO and my countrymen for the achievement. Although as a science student, I know that for future missions, a technological leap is needed (for the science enthusiasts; we need to perfect the cryogenic stage of GSLV to carry heavier payloads). I wish ISRO the best for that too.

So this was a random post, just to wake up my blog and to pay gratitude to my readers who have been following me. Especially the few of you who actually poked me time and again, informing me how they missed my blog. ‘Serious’ stuff comes in the following posts. Till then, take care.

Vijayadashami… Festival, Mythology and Musings


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With her divine presence spread throughout, she fades away to nothingness… Only to return once again

 

Days of celebrations are over as the days of wait begin. A-midst the rhythmic  beats of the drum we bid adieu to mother with her promise to return again next year.

 

And in these moments where tears awkwardly merge into joy, the mind switches to the thinking mode and tries to look beyond the stories… and asks, “What is the essence of the celebration?”. For those who are unaware of the story, here is what the Hindu mythology has to say about the festival (in brief)…

 

Once upon a time, there was a demon or ‘asura’ named Mahishasura (The demon who could change into buffalo) who aspired to capture the all the worlds and rule them via unjust means. To accomplish his task, Mahishasura meditated and pleased Lord Brahma (the creator). As a boon he got the assurance that he won’t be killed by a man. Overjoyed with the boon, he fights and conquers the heavens and the earth. Commotion is created across the universe. On seeing this dangerous situation, the supreme gods: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer combine all their powers to give rise to Durga, a female warrior. She is depicted with 10 arms, adorned with numerous weapons gifted by various gods. The creation of Durga is marked by Mahalaya (the first day of the 10 day festival). Subsequently after 10 days of fierce battle, Durga kills Mahishasura and perishes his army. The 10th day is celebrated as the day of victory called Vijayadashami.

 

Overall, it is the same old story of victory of good over evil, but the subtleties are worth pondering upon. One of the highlighting features of the story is the depiction of woman in her powerful, ruthless form. The same woman who is seen as peaceful, loving and caring in motherly forms like Parvati, Saraswati or Ganga is depicted in a devastating form here. So if time arises, women can perform acts of courage and bravery which are even beyond the reach of men.

Some other points that catch my attention include the meditation and boon of Mahishasura. The creator gave the boon to Mahishasur knowing its potential misuse in future. This in my viewpoint shows the concept that regardless of who you are, efforts always yield the fruits. Anyone who is dedicated to his work, gets his reward – be it a saint or a demon.

There is also a point of unification of powers. Durga was created by the combined powers of the trinity. To me it signifies the importance and necessity of unity of good to combat evil.

It may be very well possible that there was never any Mahishasur or Durga in the real world. But this story would always be a source of motivation and inspiration to millions. The story, which may seem rudimentary at first glance has simple yet deep interpretations hidden within…

Anyways, this festival has much more to do with culture than religion. This is an excuse for thorough cleaning of the household; new clothes; fabulous food; creativity in designing of idol, pandals, rhythms and… overall the environment. There has to be a something in this grand festival that so many eyes await her arrival, so many hearts celebrate her stay, and so many eyes moisten as she departs… There has be a reason so many poets write in her praise and so many musicians sing in her awe.

Shubho Bijaya to all… Celebrate the victory… Spread the joy 🙂

The Festival of Spring


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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….

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