Category Archives: Festival

Thoughts on Youth Day

Today is 12th January, Swami Vivekananda’s birthday. This day is celebrated as National Youth Day in India in his honor. We have always had his photo in our house. Stories about events of his life were told to inspire us. He was my first role model of public speaking. His participation in the World Parliament of Religions inspired me for Chicago trip which is there in one of my blogs (https://sanchitahobby.wordpress.com/2019/09/15/promise-at-9/).

Swami Vivekananda always followed his heart. There were obstacles in his path but he did not give up and eventually created history. People often associate youth with age but i think it is more with ones thinking. The day one decides to follow his or her dream, with determination to work hard and without bothering about the comments, that day the youth in that person stands out. One must not ignore their wishes regardless of their biological age. There are cases where people have started trekking in their 40s and conquered mountains, cancer survivors have run marathons, etc. The moment a wish takes birth in your heart, you should believe all the resources to fulfill it will appear. All one needs to do is put a little effort in finding them or reskilling for that wish. There is no goal that cannot be achieved with hard work.

One of the major problems most of us have is procrastination. If we can conquer that and work hard diligently then we can be anything we wish to. Swami Vivekananda will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come. He has given many inspiring quotes. My favorite quote among those is “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached. On this National Youth Day, I hope everyone takes inspiration from Swami Vivekananda and works to create a better version of themselves. Happy National Youth Day.

Time to Mend

Today is 1st January 2022, the first day of the year. Resolutions seems to be most trending topic. My mother handed me a few clothes which needed little mending with the lovely instruction of “You can use these clothes with a little mending”. This reminded me, its not just clothes but a lot of things that need to be mended. Mend the lifestyle, mend old habits, mend relations, etc.

Our wishes are like new outfits when they are just brought, all perfect. We all wish the outfit always remains the same but forget the efforts needed to do so. One needs to clean them, starch them, iron them, mend them when needed. Often the effort to mend seems so large that we put aside the outfit even if it is just 5 minutes of work. One fine day when we look at it, we just react it just needs 5 minutes of stitching. Similarly, our wish also requires efforts. I think instead of adding new goals its time to look back at the old ones and work on them. Dreams in any area of life be it work, hobby or physical fitness requires hardwork. Just as shown in the image, no matter how different the color of the thread be, one only needs a needle to stitch using them. Similarly no matter how many goals you have, the only way to achieve them is through hardwork and persistence. This new year has come with new variants and new restrictions, the best way to stay fine both physically and mentally is to work on oneself. I wish everyone A very Happy New Year, stay healthy stay safe.

Preparing for Diwali

Diwali Diyas

Today is Diwali and Kali Pujo. I always look forward to this time of the year. Its a holiday all over India. We used to have a mini vacation of 3 weeks during our school days. Preparations start way before the festival. Bedsheets, cushion covers, curtains, etc to be put up on this day are pulled out, cleaned and ironed. The entire house is cleaned and sometimes renovated. All these activities bring a lot of excitement for the kids as there are new things to do everyday. I used to enjoy setting up the diyas or lamps on the Diwali evening. The chief attraction was the crackers. We would go with our father and get the crackers.

These days I see a lot of hue and cry over pollution due to crackers. This year it is so much in news that sometimes it makes me feel guilty of using crackers as if our crackers are the only reason for pollution. At the same time a thought comes to my mind that Diwali is only for a few days in a year but the pollution increases the entire year. Just as we prepare our houses for the festival, can we not reduce the pollution the entire year. If we reduce the use of vehicles and rely more on walking or cycling for small distances, we would not only cut down on pollution but also improve our health. Even for work, if people opt for carpool or public transport, traffic may be reduced. Additionally people can also plant more trees. These habits would not only create better environment but also better health.

Today evening when I went out to light the diyas, it was dark. As soon as the diyas were lighted, the darkness was removed. The world has faced a lot of loss and sadness in the last 2 years. Diwali reminds us that we can come out of the darkness of dispair through the light of knowledge and persistence. This has been proved by the development of Vaccines. Let us not take away the enjoyment of festivals but use it as an opportunity to create a better life. May this Diwali bring happiness and joy in all your lives. Happy Diwali to everyone.

Wait for Shiuli

Durga Puja is a special time for a Bengali. We start planning weeks before the festival. My father had planted a shiuli(night jasmine) flower tree in our house. This flower blossoms during Pujo. It has amazing fragrance which reminds one of festivals. There are songs and poems dedicated to this flower.

This year I was at home after a long time. Everyday from the month of July, the first thing I did after getting up is to go and see the tree. There were no flowers even though the tree was watered regularly. I used to ask my mother if the tree needs any manure. My mother’s response was “Patience, the season is yet to come”. This continued till September. I was excited the day I saw the first few flowers. It meant Pujo is coming. I ran indoors and informed, shiuli flowers have come. This just reminds me, everything has a specific time whether its studies, opportunities or vaccine. One needs to be patient and things will happen. We have a tendency of rushing towards things inspite of being aware of haste causing failures. Often in this process we ignore many things. The seasonal flowers remind us to wait for the right time.

The years 2020 and 2021 taught us the important lesson of being patient. Life is precious. We need to spend time with our near and dear ones instead of running behind worldly things. The shiuli flowers only blossom during season. Let us sit back and enjoy the moment.

International Labour Day Celebrations

Today, the First of May is International Labour Day. It is a day for celebration of labourers and working classes. Here is a story from the time when I started working. I was given a posting in Mumbai. Life in a big city teaches one a lot of things. I used to stay in a rented apartment with few of my colleagues. We used to get monthly salary. There were many freshers like us in that building.

There used to be an ATM and a few shops in the first floor of our building. They knew us within a few weeks. In the first few months, the arrival of salary used to be a big event. We would look forward to the first of the month. We hadn’t yet connected our cell numbers to our bank accounts. We would plan to check our accounts at the ATM while leaving for office but there was always a queue outside the ATM. While returning home, one of us would check her account in the ATM. She would come out with a big smile and announce “Salary has come”. This was a sight to see as everyone including the shopkeepers of the shops near the ATM and the security guard used to smile with us. This had happened once or twice. After that we all were placed in different projects which made it difficult for us to return home together. Still we used to get the news of salary arrival. It was from the security guard or the shop keeper. Your friend announced “Salary has come”. Our profession gives us an identity along with the freedom to make our choices. Everyday, the completion of work gives us a feeling of satisfaction. Our work motivates us to learn more to enhance our skills. I wish everyone Happy International Labour Day.

A day for Books

Today is World Book Day, a day to celebrate books and the love for reading. I was always fond of reading so the presence of this day simply means a lot to me. Whenever I go to a new city, the first thing I look for is the library. I still remember the first book exhibition held in office. It was my first year of job. I was still learning to live in a new city with room mates. Books were my best friends. Smartphones had not yet entered the markets then. I went around the books and the first thing that caught my attention was a Pocket Dictionary or a Mini Dictionary. My eighth grade English teacher used to say “If possible, always keep a Pocket Dictionary with yourself”. Like an obedient student I bought the dictionary.

This Dictionary was a huge help everytime I came accross a new word. During the same time one of my room mates was preparing for open tests for Management studies. One day she was confused about a word while solving the english questions. I had pulled out the dictionary, found the meaning and helped her solve the question. I could see the appreciation in her eyes when I completed. I told her once you find a meaning using a dictionary, you will always remember it. From then onwards, she too used to follow the same method. A few weeks later there was a long weekend, all of had planned to go home. Before leaving, she too bought the same Dictionary. Books allow one to inspire others. I still love the fragrance of fresh binding. There is a book for each mood, whether sad or happy, bored or relaxed, fiction or non-fiction, etc. Whenever I find a person liking a book that I like, I immediately am able to connect to him or her. People say with the advent of various gadgets, the habit of reading may get impacted but I feel the excitement of having an interesting book will always remain the same. I would like to keep this day to set up a checklist for reading for the entire year. That would help us in continuing this hobby. How do you think one should celebrate the World Book Day?

Small but Unavoidable

Few years ago I had attended a cousin’s wedding. The dressing room was crowded because the bride was being dressed up there. So I and a few other cousin’s decided to explore the wedding hall primarily the menu. We were just going to begin with the starters when one of the aunts called us to the dressing room. She seemed very tensed. There was mayhem in the dressing room. The moment we reached, the bride’s mother instructed us to start looking for a blue colored box. We were expected to get to the task immediately. I thought one of the expensive jewellery was lost. Suddenly a small girl shouted “Found it”. The box was handed to the beautician. I asked her what is there in the box. She said safety pins. It seems the bride’s dress was so heavy that additional safety pins were needed to tuck it. Since so many valuable things were there to be taken care of, no one bothered about safety pins. It turns out that was the most important thing since it was impossible for the bride to stand for so many hours without being tucked.

It is not just in wedding. Once I was standing in line at the airport, suddenly I heard “Madam do you have a safety pin in your purse. I need it to restart my cellphone”. The person behind me said “Its for you”. I looked around, there were 20 guys behind and 20 ahead of me. No matter where you are, you may be requested for a safety pin. It might be small in terms of cost or size but its use is unavoidable. Today, 10th April is International Safety pin day. It just reminds me, one should not be judged by their appearence but by their abilities. Next time you go out, please ensure you have a safety in your purse, since it is small but Unavoidable.

April-2021 The Month of New Years

First quarter of the year has passed. There are a number of New Years in April in India. They are based on the Hindu Calendar. We visit each other, offer respect to elders by touching their feet and wish everyone. Its the time to eat home made sweets and wear new clothes. There are special songs dedicated to these days. In some places fairs are held on these days.

The schools close by mid April for summer vacation so these new years also mark the beginning of holidays. It is the time to grow beyond studies and be carefree for kids. As children of a cosmopolitan city, it used to be a month long celebration for us since everyday one or the other person had New Year. Personally I feel these traditional New Years give us an opportunity to rekindle our lives. It is common to lose motivation on the resolutions of 1st January. One can take this time to assess ones progress and motivation, if needed, can also modify the resolution. They give us an opportunity to assess the first quarter of the year and decide whether we want to spend the rest of the year in the same way or make changes. As the covid counts are rising again, it is time to assess our activities and be careful again, so that we can control the counts and beat the pandemic. Wishing everyone a very Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year.

Enjoying with Colors

The festival of Holi happens when the season is about to change from Winter to Summer. There are warm days and cold nights. Many people fall sick. During my school days the final exam for an academic session used to happen in April. The month of march used to be full of internal assessment where our notebooks, workbooks and assignment books were checked. Falling sick had to be avoided because one may miss out on internal assessment.

On the day of Holi we used to prepare our bags with colors and pichkari. Pichkari is like a spray bottle. We would fill colored water in it and spray it on others. We would be given strict instructions to avoid water while leaving the house. Within 5 minutes of stepping out of the house, we would be colored and wet. In those days, cell phones were not common with kids so after 2 to 3 hours, it would be time for lunch. We would be so colored that it would be impossible to identify us. Calling up the neighbors to find out if we are near their house would not work. So our parents would come out in search of us. Once they found us, we would have to go home. That day we would spent long hours in shower. The rest of the day would be spent in instructions of being extra careful since we had exposed ourselves to the risk of getting cold by playing with water. The next day all of us would have colored faces. For a change, our school prefixes would be lenient in their checking. The amount of color on the face would show how actively one celebrated the festival. Although the festival of Holi would come right before the final exams, it would give us a colorful break from studies. I do pray those days come back again and we are able to meet everyone without the fear of getting sick. Wishing everyone a very Happy, Safe and Healthy Holi.

Celebrating Earth hour

Today, 27th March 2021 is the Earth Hour 2021. It is a world wide movement organized by World Wide Fund for Nature on the last Saturday of March. It is held every year by switching of non-essential electric lights for one hour between 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. We used to spend this time singing songs or reciting poems. We are so habituated of electric equipment that we cannot think of life without it. Pollution is increasing every day. Conserving forests and wild life has become a necessity. This day is meant to remind us of our responsibility towards our planet.

During lockdown many people spent their time on digital media. We all are aware of the side effects of looking at a screen for long hours. At the same time, there were many who came up with creative activities. People realized gardening is actually fun. They created beautiful vegetable gardens in their compounds and even on their balconies in flats. As one starts studying plants, seeds and manure, one realizes there is so much to do. One can use everything from broken mugs to jars to old boxes. I often used to wonder if every community had a green balcony competition or a green compound competition, where the greenery in each house or apartment would be judged. The one with the most healthy plants would be declared a winner. Every apartment would look so beautiful. How would it be if every kid’s school project included nurturing a plant for an academic year. This would help the child to learn so much. I think if all of us do our bit in increasing greenery and reducing carbon footprint, the world would be a better place to stay. Let us try to make this Earth a better place on this Earth hour.