Tag Archives: year

New Year with New Challenges

Today, 14th april’2020 is Poila Boishakh, the first day of Bengali new year. As kids, we used to get up early, take bath, offer our prayers, pay respect to the elders and hug our friends and youngsters. My mother used to stitch clothes for us for new year. Special dishes would be prepared. There was an image of Goddess Durga in our house. She is dressed up as a villager in it. It always reminded me, God is within us and we can always make ourselves better.

Poila Boishakh used to be just after the final exams of the academic session. So we used to start our summer vacations with new year celebration. This year is different. It is a New Year with New Challenges. The world is going through an extremely challenging phase. The thought of celebrating new year in this situation may seem strange. New Year is the time to identify changes that need to be made to improve oneself. The past year reminds us that time and tide wait for none. This Poila Boishakh, let us resolve to maintain social distancing, let us ensure that we will continue to grow even while enclosed in our houses, let us resolve to believe good times will return. This has created free time for many of us. There are people cribbing about how to spend this time. Internet is brimming with online classes be it drawing, music, dance or new language. There are many book clubs. Most of the libraries have their apps from which readers can read online. This time has brought out the creativity of many people. Some of my friends have started their YouTube channels. As we continue with the shutdown, life without social life, may seem boring and monotonous but we should trust the God within ourselves and persist. Let us ensure, when this phase is over and life is back to normal, we will all be better human beings. Shubho Noboborsho (Happy New Year) to everyone.

Diwali Beginnings

Goddess Kali

The festival of Diwali has a special place in my life. There are tons of memories associated with it. The holiday, cleaning of house, preparation of sweets, new clothes, decoration and every activity makes the festival even more enjoyable. The bengalis conduct big celebration of Kali Pujo. Goddess Kali is the destroyer of evil. We pray to her to destroy the evil within us and guide us towards enlightenment. It is the time to clean our hearts and minds, to forget the pains of the past and to brighten our lives with goodness and positiviy. Diwali also marks the New Year in western zone of India.

Fall colors in park

It is a good time to make resolutions. This year I made a resolution to not give in to cold and explore my city. One way to do it is to find parks and wander around. Parks in cities are generally around monuments and have their own history. I started off with Monroeville Community Park. Fall was in full bloom with the tree leaves displaying an array of colors. To add to that an event for Halloween Trick or Treat was going on. There were kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Both the trees and the kids displayed a plethora of colors which would fill any heart with joy. I roamed around the park which completed my daily walking schedule. Trying to discover something through a healthy habit motivates us to continue it. The trip helped me discover the Halloween event. Lets see what the next park helps me discover.Till then Happy Diwali and Happy New Year to everyone.

Corporate Maternity leave

Maternity leave is the most sought after leave of married ladies in corporate offices. Generally its 3 months long. There has often been a debate about extending it. Here are three perspectives that I would like to bring forward:

Women
Ladies generally work till the 9th month and then go for this leave right before delivery. After delivery they become weak and the three months are needed for recovery. Even after 3 months the child is completely dependent on the mother. As a result many women go for a leave without pay or sabbatical after their maternity leaves. Those who continue generally create a support system of inlaws, nannies and day-care centers. Many of them even leave their jobs. Therefore women feel that the leave should be extended for 2 years.

Men
Generally the paternity leave is of 1 week in corporate offices. This is often the cause of envy of the men. They too feel like spending time with their newborn child, seeing him/her speak first word or take their first steps. They keep calling home after every 1 hour to know the status of their child. They often comment that Paternity leave should be increase to atleast 6 months.

Company
Now we come to the company. They have to pay the female candidates during the maternity leave. If we see from their perspective its a great expense but the corporate culture always encourages it. Increasing it to 2 years will be a big hit on their budget. On top of it if its increased then men too will demand that the paternity leave be increased.

This debate will continue forever. These days women have really excelled in creating a support system. Merrisa Mayer has proved that a mother of a new born baby can do wonders.

After a long day!!!

We make resolutions every year and break them. This year I had decided I will be more organized and read a few more books than last year. As they say “With an inch its a cinch, with yard its hard”. This year I had planned that I will do a little bit everyday to remain focused on my resolutions. I keep numerous things to do every day. Today’s tasks were simple. They were:

– To read atleast 10 pages of a book(which I am trying to read for the last 3 weeks but somehow not able to complete)

– To tidy atleast one part of the room if not all

Today morning I got up on time but it was cold morning and I rescheduled the alarm and went to sleep. Ultimately I woke up just in time to get ready and catch the bus in a jiffy. After I returned home, I just sat down. As for write here, write now, I don’t feel like doing anything. Somehow the dinner is made and I am having it. I feel guilty for not doing even the reading bit. I am not feeling like giving any exertion to my eyes. The television is on and there is something going on but I am not watching it. Just to ensure that there is some noise its on. It would be great to start meditation but I will not add it to my list because again I will not do it. I just wish we could sleep longer during winter hours and the days were slightly longer than 24 hours. Let me know if anyone else has had such a feeling and if there are any tips to face it.

A colorful sky

Today is 14th january. This day is celebrated as Makarsankranti/pongal/Uttarayan in India. This is the first festival of the year and probably the only festival to have a fixed date every year. I was brought up in Gujarat and loved the celebration of Uttarayan. Even in the chilling january, people used to go to terraces or playgrounds and fly kites. This used to be a whole day activity. People also take their music systems with themselves thus enjoy music with flying kite. The sky seems to be a collage of different colored kites. People just love the sun in the chilling winter. This combination seems to add extra energy in them. We used to meet up our entire neighbourhood on their respective terraces.

Festival also implies eating delicious meals. Jaggery has a special place in most of the dishes of Makarsankranth. In western India its gudpoli and chikki wherease in eastern India its pitha. My mother used to make pitha and thus we used to have a nice exercise of climbing up the stairs to the terrace for flying kites and then climbing down the stairs to eat pitha. The preparation has to be made a day before. A holiday is declared in most of the organizations.

Pitha

Another kind of pitha

Today special kite flying competitions and fairs are held. Shops are filled with readymade sweets but what was made by mothers and grandmothers still has its special place in my heart and mind.

Happy MakarSankranthi
Happy Uttarayan
Happy Pongal