Monday, September 22, 2014

Durga Pujo in Kolkata- 5 days of Life :)

When I got this request of writing something on Durgapujo it made me nostalgic as always. They say life changes with time but when it comes to Durgapujo in the City of Joy- nothing really have changed in last couple of decades. Yeah, then I used to hop from one pandal to another holding my Mom’s hand and with family and now there is the loved one and friends but the essence of Kolkata has remained just the same. Junk food, chitchat, new dresses, excitement, pandal hopping and forgetting worries for those five days- this quite sums up the feeling.

Last year I made a promise to myself that no matter what this DurgaPujo I will be there in Kolkata. Checked the calendar by the end of last year and set the reminders so that we could book the tickets successfully for the festival and yes, we are going to city of joy to enjoy the festival of all festivals this year.

When you stay outside of the "city of joy" what you do not get is how involved we feel with the whole festival and not just any one pujo. It is not just pandal hopping or meeting new people but it is something that makes us look forward to those five days. From the poor to the rich everyone feels happy and connected and at the end everyone feel sad to bid adieu the Goddess and her family.

It is not sentimental or foolish of us when some people cry on “Vijaya Dasami”, it just shows how much they loved these few days and how much they look forward to this festival.

DurgaPuja is the extravagant festival but in other sense it is the epitome of “Hope”.

It is easy to criticize it by calling it extravaganza or pandal hopping but it is not really tough to feel the essence inside. All you need is to open up your heart a bit.

The bhog, the sound of dhak, the late night pandal hopping, the junkfood, balloons, and lighting- everything makes Durgapuja a magical affair. Outside Kolkata in many places Durgapuja happens but there the essence is often missing. It is not dancing and singing that makes this festival so special but the feeling of joy that makes us laugh and cry both. It is not how many new dresses we have but how many moments of happiness we get in the end.

It is about eating bhog with everyone, sharing a few moments of laugh with everyone and just feeling happy from inside.

Do you feel irritated of crowd? Let me ask you a question aren't you a part of the crowd? Crowd is made of people like you and me and the fun is there when you just feel how everyone is happy about the festival. You don’t know them while standing in the crowded street but you overhear a few lines and realize how they reflect your feelings.

You think Kolkata DurgaPujo is all about pandal hopping? Then you just do not get it and can never get it. It is about the madness in Maddox square and the different colors of the coconut trees and asking friends to come there and have long chit chat sessions. It is about meeting new people and making new friends without being judgmental or shrewd. It is about giving the street children a few extra rupees so that they can also feel a moment of happiness.

It is just five days, short lived but long enough to spur some hope inside everyone to look forward to something.
Close your eyes, feel the smell in the air- can you? Yes, that is the smell of DurgaPuja we all have grown up with and away from the city of joy that is the smell I sometimes miss amidst the concrete jungle.

5 days of hope...
5 days of fun...
5 days of life...

Dear Goddess- we are coming home :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Book Bucket!!!

There are many benefits of being the only child of a nuclear family. But this post is not about that. This post is about the 10 books that has changed your views or somehow made you a better person or have simply leaved some impact on you.

I remember my Mom was a bookaholic and even before I could learn reading she used to take me to "JayKrishna Library" children section to read out the stories. I remember everyday she used to tell me couple of stories to make me eat my lunch and dinner. Then there came a time when I couldn't resist my urge to read and know more stories and I finally started reading. I used to spell out every word and read (was barely 3 or 3.5 yrs old). My dad used to bring me storybooks often and then oneday unknowingly they became my first love.

Over the years hundreds of books I have read and it is impossible to make a list of just 10 books that had any impact on me. However, I am going to give it a try-

1. The Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson- Read it a few years back and I was awestruck. This trilogy was an experience itself. It shows be it the antagonist or the protagonist we all have that grey strike in us. What storytelling!!! Absolutely Masterclass.

2. Na Hanyate- A Bengali book and the narrative is magical. Well, apart from the narrative it somehow made me realize that to get something I need to fight. It made me realize it is too easy to give in but the fun is in the fight and not to give in.

3. Escape from camp 14- The only book that has shaken me from inside. The brutal and real story of the North Korean prisoners is disturbing yet brilliant.

4. The Alchemy of Desire- The best descriptive book I have ever read. It's beautiful, erotic and strangely romantic.

5. Biswasghatak- Another bengali masterpiece. No words can described the beauty of this novel. Passion, betrayal, love, politics and everything else is there and this book is more than just brilliant.

6. Harry Potter Series- I am a Potter Maniac. Period.

7. His dark materials by Philip Pullman- Another awesome series. This series is not for the kids for sure. This trilogy took me to many worlds and it was absolutely great reading it.

8. The City of Djinns - Willam Dalrymple is a magician of words. He made me fall in love with Delhi.when too many things were going on in mind before coming to the Indian capital, this book helped me to embrace the city.

9. Notes on a scandal- Joe Heller- Exactly how complex a person's mind can be. To know it you must read this book.

10. Notes to myself by Hugh Prather- This book has been my soulmate for many years. It seemed that whatever problem I had I can find a solution in this book. Amazing read.

So, Here are the 10 books/series. Books bring you to a different world, a saner world I think and I want to live in that world forever.

Friday, September 05, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life

He looked at the table and again he did not like the set up.
This was the 5th time and he still did not like any bit of it. It is just half an hour to 9 and he looked flustered.

He knew he had to say this on that night and that is why the setup needs to be just perfect.

Half an hour later everything was perfect. The peppy and foot tapping movie songs in his phone speaker, the black table cloth with the red rose and red wine perfectly placed upon... she couldn't ask for more.

He saw the sparkle in her eyes again and the blush even her beautiful hair couldn't hide the blush on her cheek. He loved to just look at her.

She felt the Goosebumps again and her hands started trembling. She couldn't believe somebody could make such great arrangement for her, JUST FOR HER!

He knew the perfect moment was it. He looked in her eyes and read what was written there.
The kiss was tender, rough, gentle, lousy and Passionate.

She looked at him, gasping.
He looked at her, thinking.

Was the passion lost? Did they really lost it amidst of all achievements and expectations? Did they really lost it before that moment?

The song changed in the mobile playlist as if to remind him the next step…

Going down on the knees ….to ask her to be with her for the lifetime…
Her wrinkled hand trembled… The big diamond shone in her hand…

He just whispered…  “Happy 35th anniversary Sweetheart…” 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Humanity- Lost

She died and he couldn't do anything.

He was thrown away from the shared cab with broken ribs and twisted hands. She was thrown with a lifeless body with no strings.

They saw but they had to use their mobile, to show the face of the society so they clicked them- the assaulted boy and the raped girl.
He wanted to cover her- they asked him who is she your girlfriend or Sister?
They wanted to know how did they rape her or was she gang raped?
He lost his senses.

Later he read  -"how a boyfriend fought to save her girlfriend and got assaulted".

1 Month later- He saw them in front of India Gate in a candlelight march.

He still couldn't say the truth that he didn't knew that girl.
He couldn't say he just wanted to save her.

He couldn't say they were just strangers- two “Human beings”.

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