Tag Archives: poetry

Celebration of Learning

Today is Vasant Panchami, a festival to welcome spring in India. It is celebrated on the fifth day of month of Magh in Hindu Calendar. It is either in February or last week of January. The celebrations are performed to welcome spring(Vasant). In East India, people worship Goddess Saraswati. Goddess Saraswati is called the Goddess of learning, music, knowledge and arts. We dress up in yellow, decorate the temples with yellow flowers. We put up our books and musical instruments at the house temple. With the exams scheduled for April, we pray to the Goddess to bless us with good scores. Community functions are organized where we all meet up. This is special for kids who are about to start schooling. A ceremony called “Hathe Khodi” is performed. The priest prays in the name of the kid and then helps him/her write a few alphabets with chalk on the slate.

During my school days we used to have drawing competition and poetry recitation competition making it a celebration of learning. The poetry competitions were very special. I learnt to face the stage from them. We used to be given a poem of one of the notable Bengali poets. The community hall used to be filled by members. We had to stand on stage and recite it. It used to be interesting to see different kids recite the same poem. The first poem I had recited was Lichu Chor. It describes the experience of a village lad while stealing lychee and getting caught. I was 8 years old. I could remember only 4 lines from the middle of that poem today. Funny part is these were the lines that I forgot while reciting on stage. There are music and dance performances. These events made me realize my love for performing arts. This year the celebrations were different with social distancing and mask rules in place. On this Saraswati Puja, I pray to the Goddess Saraswati the pandemic phase gets over and life returns to normalcy. Happy Vasant Panchami.

Bijoya Sammilani

The festival of Dussehra holds huge significance in our lives. It is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. For Bengalis it is the time to meet and greet everyone. We wish everyone Shubho Bijoya (Auspicious Victory). This was the time we used to visit everyone’s house. I still remember my mother making all the planning for a Bijoya dinner. Then it was just food and fun for us but today I feel it was a wonderful way to familiarize us with our culture. It was because of this effort of our parents during Durga Puja, Bijoya Dashami, etc, we were able to imbibe the cultures of both our native place and our residential place. This has played an important part in helping us adapt to any place within or outside our country.

The tasty Luchis

Chicken Curry

This year a few of my Bengali colleagues decided to hold a Bijoya Sammilani (Bijoya meet), which took me back to my school days. But they did it with a twist. All the guys decided to release the females from cooking for the weekend. They had elaborate menu for lunch and dinner for both days. They even had snacks. The fun part was to see them cooking. All the resources were duly calculated and brought. During cooking there was an elaborate discussion on everything. It was surprising as well as entertaining to see software professionals arguing on ways of cutting onions and tomatoes instead of computers. I must say they all did an extraordinary job, even I got to learn a few things about cooking from them. Since the guys took the responsibility of cooking we took the responsibility of entertaining. This meant song performances, poetry recitations, dance and drama. We came to know about the artistic side of everyone. It was like meeting everyone again. At the end of it I felt, this is the essence of festival. We come togather, forget our day-to-day issues and create something to make a time memorable. As long as people with this spirit are there, the culture would stay alive no matter where we are. I thank my colleagues for this memorable time and wish everyone ‘Shubho Bijoya’.

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.

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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.