Category Archives: Life

The Snow Heroes

The snow covered view from my window

It had snowed all night and when I looked out of window, everything was covered in a thick white layer of snow. It was a beautiful sight. I opened the window to feel the cold air. It was so cold that could not even stand for a minute and closed the window. I changed all plans of going out. For me it was a holiday but what about those who had work or other commitments due to which they would have to go out. My question was answered by a truck with a snow plow. It was removing snow from the roads, keeping them in usable condition. As long as it snowed, the truck kept on cleaning the roads at regular intervals.

The Snow Truck

Be it low temperature or snow storm, this truck would always be there to ensure the roads are clean. Hats off to the people driving it. They remind me of Heroes, even though they don’t have superpowers or jazzy outfits, the Snow Heroes. They make sure if need be we can always go out. In a way, they motivate us to go on, no matter how rough the situations are. Think about it, heroes are always identified by their outfits or powers in movies but in reality its the situation which brings out the Hero within us. There is a hero in all of us, it just needs the right motivation to come out. So the next time someone asks you who is favorite hero, don’t just think about the ones in movies but also those who are around you, making your life better everyday.


A unique festival

Have you ever received a notification which made you so curious that the first thing you do on the weekend is to rush downtown in spite of rains. I did, when an article on Picklesburgh was shared. This is a festival to celebrate all things pickled. My interest was increased when I read it would be conducted on the Roberto Clemente bridge in Pittsburgh. This was the most unique festival I had ever attended. The day began with rains which generally dampen my spirits for travelling. But my curiosity got the better of me and by afternoon I was on my way. As soon as I reached near the downtown, I saw huge crowd dressed in bright summer colors. The best way to find an event is to follow the crowd.

Roberto Clemente bridge with Picklesburgh

The bridge entrance

The bridge seemed to have come to life because of the festival. The excitement of the event was clearly visible on the happy faces of the kids. There were stalls of all kinds of pickles, jams, jellies, cakes and chocolates in addition to fries, sandwiches. There were pickles of cucumber, corns, beans, etc. Most of the food items had a little bit of dill be it sandwich or roll. The air on the bridge had the lovely fragrance of dill. Everyone seemed to have come with their families. Even the weather seemed to have given up to the enthusiasm and so the clouds had cleared to a bright sunny day.

On the bridge

live music

To add to this there was live music. This was a complete family event which reminded me of the fairs in my hometown in my school days. Everyone Even simple things when done differently can make wonders, this was one such wonder. These kind of events give us the much needed opportunity to enjoy quality time with our family. The crowded bridge and the still river, presented an amazing contrast to the viewer. I returned home with amazing memories. This festival will be pickled in my heart forever.

Introduction to Art

This weekend I had an opportunity to meet a painter Nispruha Desai. Her enthusiastic about travelling is infectious. But unlike most travelers, she shares her experiences through her paintings. Each of her paintings reflects her ability to notice exceptional things. Although all her paintings left me speechless, the ones which remained in my heart are the ones depicting monsoon. The painter had spent her childhood and youth in India. There everyone waits for monsoon. As soon as the first showers occur, everything seems to become fresh. People going around with colorful umbrellas is an amazing sight. All these memories are captured in her paintings. The colors are so vibrant that the effect is different in various volumes of lights. Her work is not only present in canvas but also on tables, lamp, etc. Her work covers both traditional and modern art. I was surprised to learn her painting exhibitions are conducted in Monroeville public library, which I visit regularly.

She simply inspired me to follow my passions. There is a huge misinterpretation of retirement. It is generally associated with following a uniform routine. But I learnt it is the time to go back to ones childhood and pursue all the hobbies which had got shelved. This meet turned out to be highly educational for me, as I learnt to look and understand modern art. Let us take some time from the daily grind of life and identify the colors of life. If possible let us express it someway. The results will help us discover ourselves. I hope to see many more works of Nispruha(Nipu) Desai. My best wishes are with her.

The Ultimate reason

They say a motivated person can meet any challenge. Also when you are focused on something, circumstances will complicate. This turned out to be absolutely true for me this weekend. I had qualified for the Toastmasters division contest for motivational speaking which was scheduled on 18th March 2017. The only problem was that the venue was 80 miles from my home. I had always had someone guide me while driving whenever I went for long drives. But this time, there was no one. If it were something else I would have cancelled, but it was public speaking my passion. Hence my only friend was google maps. A day before, it snowed heavily. Below is the status of the road.

A day before

My mother suggested me to go ahead and trust Almighty. I kept practicing my speech but all the while the drive was a big tension. A day before leaving I requested my manager to be available on phone incase I get lost. He replied, I would be able to make this drive if I have driven atleast 10 miles alone. This was very encouraging. Also everyone in my Monroeville Toastmasters club motivated me. My friends Ravi and Saritha also supported me. So on 18th morning at 7:00 am, I set out with google maps indicating the direction. After driving for 2 miles, the map holder slipped. I had to park at a nearby mall and fix it. Then I started driving. The snow on the road had been cleared but it was raining. At some places, the fog was so dense that one could barely see few steps ahead. Luckily there was less traffic and often it seemed, I was the only person on the road. At times I wished there was someone to take pictures of the road. There were postcard views with clouds shadowing the trees. I made it to the venue before time. I gave my speech at the International speech contest for Division C. Once I heard the speeches, it was worth the drive. Once done, I drove back home again 80 miles. This time there were many cars on the road. Although I could not make it to top 3 speeches, this trip will still be memorable to me as it was the first time when I drove all on my own. Challenges are difficult but all you need is the Ultimate reason to meet it. For me it was public speaking. I thank, Monroeville Toastmasters Club, my mother and to everyone who supported me. Without you all I would not have made this trip.

A Beautiful day

Sunshine in Winter (Sardi ki Dhoop) has often been used as a sign of soothing beauty in Hindi poetry. I was never convinced about it being soothing until today. Today morning I woke up early because the room seemed to be too bright. I was a bit grumpy but when was surprised when I opened the curtains. After weeks of rain and snow, it was sunny today. The temperature had risen by a few degrees. I decided to spend the entire day outdoors. The best way to start was by thanking God Almighty, so I went to the Sri Venkateshwara temple. Every building, shop, board and even the leafless trees, on the way, seem to be enjoying the sun. The temple too seemed to be shining in the sun and encouraging everyone to enjoy this day.

The Glorious temple

The Glorious temple

I was so inspired that I went to the community park. The entire park seemed to have come to life. The kids were just too happy to be outdoors.

The sprawling park

The sprawling park

After spending weeks with heavy woolen clothes, it was a relief to walk without sweaters for a day. The kids were running from here to there. Their laughter and cheer just made up for the missing flowers. The pets just couldn’t believe they were finally out for a long walk. The entire park seemed to be like a colorful pleasant picnic spot. Infact I felt so light that I walked for more than 2 miles at a stretch, a feat I could never achieve even on a treadmill. The sunshine seemed to have rubbed on everyone, as every person I passed had a broad smile. I left only after it started getting cold.


I think this applies to our lives as well. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we grumble whenever there is a change. But just remove the curtains and you will be surprised as someone truely said, Opportunities are like Sunshine.

Pujo in USA

Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga

The biggest festival that a bengali looks forward to, for the entire year, the Durga Puja 2016 is going on. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. This is the time when the air smells of festivity. This year I had the opportunity of visiting the Durga Puja at Pittsburgh, USA in Hindu Jain Temple. Once inside the hall, I felt as if I was in India. The rituals, the decorations, the people and of course the food, all made it a lively place to be. Durga Puja is the time when people get together and discuss on all topics ranging from sports to food. Here also it was so, the hot topic of discussion was Pittsburgh Steelers. Simply proves no matter where they are, bengalis just love sports.

The Hindu Jain Temple

The Hindu Jain Temple

It was raining yesterday night and so the weather was cold from the morning. Thankfully it didn’t rain after morning. Once I reached the temple, the serenity of the atmosphere filled me with happiness. I offered my prayers with flowers. The most admirable thing was, the priest translated the meaning of the prayers to the people in English, thus explaining the prayers to everyone. After the puja we had the delicious meal(Puja Bhog) which comprised of Khichadi, fries, veggies and sweets. Also there was a small exhibition of clothes, accessories and jewelry. Cultural programs were held afterwards. The children were playing around dressed in traditional attire. It reminded me of my school days. I thank the Bengali Association of Pittsburgh( for keeping the culture alive so far from home. Happy Durga Puja to Everyone. May Goddess Durga bless everyone with happiness and fulfill all their wishes.

Vasant Panchami

Goddess Saraswati

Goddess Saraswati

Today was Vasant Panchami. It means the fifth day of spring. In eastern side of India, it is celebrated as Saraswati Puja and falls generally in the month of February. The academic session in India begins from June and ends in April. The tension of exams starts clouding from February. Goddess Saraswati is the Goddess of learning. Hence Saraswati Puja is very important for every person learning something be it studies, music, art, etc. It is a very special day for 3 year olds. They are dressed in traditional attire of dhoti or saree. The priest makes them write a few alphabets on a slate with chalk. This is called ‘Hathe Khodi’. It marks the beginning of education in a person’s life. During our school days we used to dress up in new clothes mostly yellow and go to the venue with our school books. We offered our prayers with flowers to Goddess Saraswati. Then we used to have competitions for drawing, poetry recitation, etc. The flowers used for the ceremony were often taken by the students to be kept in books. I used to make sure those flowers are placed in all my textbooks, particularly those of mathematics. I still remember once a classmate in college started teasing me when a rose was found in one of my books. But the entire joke came to an end when I said its the flower from the Saraswati puja ceremony.

Detailed view of decorations

Detailed view of decorations

This year I wanted to attend this ceremony. It was going to be organized by the Bengali association of Pittsburgh. I was glad when my friend Sahana said she too was also going there and I can join them. It was -12 degrees Celsius as we drove. All the way there was snow on both sides of the road. I was reminded of my school days as soon as we entered the hall. The goddess was decorated with bright flowers. People were dressed in their traditional best. The kids looked elegant in their cute dresses. Everything was just as I had always celebrated, the prayers, the flowers and ofcourse the food. It was the super tasty khichadi with mixed veg curry, chutney, sweet, papad and fruits. We immediately felt at home inspite of being strangers. Below is my platter:

The delicious prasad

The delicious prasad

I am very thankful to my friend Sahana for taking me there. Kudos to the Bengali association of Pittsburgh for organizing this event so far. I just hope Goddess Saraswati blesses us all with knowledge. Happy Vasant Panchami and Happy Saraswati Puja.