Tag Archives: culture

Heart winning Event

This years shopping

There are so many questions in mind when one is moving to a new city. ‘Will I be able to adjust here?’, ‘Will the city accept me?’, etc., are just a few of them. These questions make a person nervous, which was my condition when I moved to Pittsburgh. Three weeks after I came here, a book fair was organized by Half Price books at a nearby hall. The streets were lined by small boards mentioning the sale. The moment I saw the boards, I felt so glad. The sight of a book fair always fills my heart with joy. It reminded me of the bookstalls at my hometown and cleared all the uncertainty and nervousness immediately.

The fair also consists of records and dvds in addition to books. The hall was extremely crowded when I entered. My excitement was boundless at the sight of rows and rows of books. There were books on fiction, cooking, photography, science, self help, etc. The collection had classics like works of R.L Stevenson, Jane Austen as well as new age authors like Danielle Steele. I discovered so many new authors here. It felt so nice to see so many people who enjoy reading. People had their shopping carts full of books. You can speak to any person and get knowledge on authors. People had come with their toddlers. The excitement of the children at the site of books was marvelous. I was moved to see parents encourage their kids for reading even in this age of gadgets. This event connected me to the city in such a way that I never felt I was new here. It just became my heart winning event.

This fair happens only once a year and I make it a point to attend it. These days people have to move to new places for job. When that happens, one should not crib about missing the old place but look out for events in the new place. These are the windows to the culture of the city. They are an opportunity to relate to the city. In fact they give us a chance to find new things about ourselves. So the next you face a transfer, remember to check the events that take place in the new city. You never know, the city you are going to may just be the one, most suitable to you.

Shubho Mohaloya (Happy Mahalaya)

Jai Ma Durga

Jai Ma Durga

Yesterday night, before going to sleep, I told my mother to wake me up before 5:30am. It was Mohaloya, the first day of Navratri. As a school girl this used to be a yearly ritual. We used to get up early and watch the Mohaloya presentation. Every year the story of Goddess Durga destroying the evil Mahishasur was presented with songs, dance and chandipath. It used to begin at 5:30 am and get over by 7:00 am. I always felt watching the programme made a pious start of the day.

The most amazing part was the Mohaloya Chandipath recited by Birendra Krishna Bhadra. His recitation is so unique that even today the same recitation is played in all the channels. All the songs of the program made me feel that festivity is in the air. I was brought up in Gujarat in western part of India. The festival of Garba begins from Mohaloya and continues for the next 9 days. In east of India, today is the day when the sculptors paint the eyes of the Goddess Durga. The markets are flooded with traditional clothes of various designs. The beating of the dhak(traditional drums) would give a feeling of the arrival of good times when we would be with friends and family. The tension of studies would be placed aside for a while. It would seem as if festivity is in the air.

In my school days it was only national television Doordarshan. Today different channels have different representations, each leaving its own signature on the event. I would like to show this to all the people who say culture has gone for a toss. Even today, entire families get up and watch the mohaloya presentation. The demand is so much that all the channels take the initiative to create their unique presentations, thus generating opportunities for creativity. With this year’s dhak I want to wish every one a Happy Mohaloya.

A call that changed my world

It was 15th september’2014, 11:15 pm sharp. I received a phone call from my mother. She spoke with a strange tone, which I had never heard before. Her first statement was “Make yourself heart strong, I have a news for you”. I felt strange and said “What is the matter mom? Why are you so serious?”. Again she said “Make your heart strong.” This was getting on my nerves “What is it mom?”. Her reply changed my world “Your father is no more”. I was speechless and shocked. I couldn’t believe my ears. Aloud I said “Mom what are you saying? Just two hours ago I called and you said he is fine and watching TV. You must have had a nightmare”.

She replied “Its true. He sat for dinner and asked me to fetch water in a glass. When I returned with a glass of water, he was unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital where he was declared dead. It seems he got a massive cardiac attack.” I was numb. My world was shattered. My father, my hero, my biggest strength was no more. No matter what I did, nothing would bring him back. Everytime I closed my eyes moments spent with him kept flashing before me. Memories which have become precious for me. The next day his funeral was held. All the arrangement was made by our neighbours and community members. Baba was a very cheerful person and always helped people whenever possible. That is the reason his funeral was attended by every person who had ever interacted with him be it the grocery store owner or my mom’s earliest colleagues. Inspite of being in a state away from his home state and not having any relatives around, he recieved an honourable farewell. My life is never going to be same again Baba.

We bengalis always touch our elder’s feet on VijayaDashami and take their blessings. This VijayaDashami, I am unable to touch your feet Baba. But wherever you are please accept my respect. Wherever you are, I just pray you are happy and contented.

I will always always and always miss you Baba. Shubho Vijaya Baba.

Music is Eternal

My grandfather moved from our home state to a state in another zone of the country. At that time my mother was a child. He was very fond of music. He carried our bengali culture through music in his gramaphone disks. These consisted of traditional songs to folk music to movie songs. The gramaphone was very precious to him. He used to ensure it gets cleaned up and played daily. As a result I used to hear those songs daily. He passed away when I was seven. The gramaphone was still played by my grandmother on alternate days to keep it running. This time we used to decide the disk to be played. There was a disk containing some old movie songs. One of the songs was my favourite “Ek poloke ektu dekha”. It was from the movie “Lookochuri” based on “Comedy of errors” theme. Below is the song:

In the video, the central character (played by Kishore kumar who is also the singer of the song) is alone at home and is happily describing his interactions with his love interest. The video is no less than the song and clearly reflects the mood of the song. One can’t help smiling at the thought of this song. I vaguely remember my grandfather listening to his gramaphone with a tranquil expression on his face. As I grew up, taperecorders and CD players entered and the gramaphone was packed and kept in the attic. Years later I heard that song on radio, I felt so happy. It brought back the memories of my childhood when there was no hurry, no tension, no responsibility but pure happiness. Today the song is there in my phone. Everytime I am upset or stressed, I hear that song. It relaxes me. When I got access to youtube the first thing I searched was this song as it always manages to move me.

When I sat to write this blog, it just reminded me, the listeners changed from grandfather to me, the devices changed from gramaphone to smartphone, yet the music and its effect remained the same. Music is above life and technology. It is eternal.