Happy Diwali to all

Happy Diwali to all

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Mahalaya and Mahishsurmardini

Ma Durga

Ma Durga

I know I am late but it is still navratri and I found the some videos of mahalaya and Chandi path. I think all of us bengalis have been tortured and some point or other on Mahalaya by our parents……… waking us at wee hours of the morning to listen to AIR and Mr Bhadra. The only part I remember is the  part 4……….. only to go back to sleep. I found some videos of the same…….. ENJOY!!!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Bolo Durga Mai ki……. JOY

“Sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching, and love like you’ve never been hurt.”

That is what my facebook fortune cookie said today morning. Amazing start to the day.

Back from my trip to Kolkata, I had precisely two hours to SETTLE and immediately had to get on with the backlog of work that had accumulated since my holiday and since there has been no stop…… But I am glad I had the opportunity to pause for a few days before resuming

The highlights have been my detoxification from internet…….. which was looooong overdue and I am glad to say that I am finally successful. I am no longer obsessed with the net and have other things in life besides virtual friends…. like real people for a change. I finally made real friends and am catching up with lots of others over cups of tea and coffee. Personal interaction is making me happy……. the pain also seems very less…….. guess I finally found a way to cope with the arthritis. It does come back, but I think acceptance relieves the pressure and after one full year I feel as though I am finally back for good……. Hubby thinks I have my eyes back which should be something because Ma commented that they are cloudy all the time these days.

My Degree college students are good….. really good and it is intellectually stimulating to think beyond the box and do things…….. boring things in a new way….. that makes it challenging. My Diploma class is lacking and I am having to go to the basics. Considering that I don’t have much time with them and they the fact that are expecting miracles, I am not so sure about achieving this. I am putting in my best and keeping my fingers crossed for the rest.

The rest is just ordinary and…… THE USUAL.

I met my previous batch and it was so good to see them again….. MY KIDS!!!

Today in the degree college I lost my temper. I don’t like losing my temper. It takes out any kind of energy that I possess and in the end I am totally drained out and tired. It so happened that the degree college class has 50 students and 99% of them are Malayalees. These women are constantly chattering and when it is in Malayalam……. it is like somebody is doing a remake of BREATHLESS….. no full stop, no comma. It is like sparrows lots and lots of them chattering into your ear non-stop. I can almost feel the sound of it vibrating inside my ears and my brain….. going from the cerebrum to the cerebellum to the medulla oblongata…… to the auditory area then coming back to the temporal lobe and then back again. I could feel every single piece of my brain. Then I lost it and threw the chalk in hand on one girl…… no damage…… SHE SMILES and puts out her tongue but the others continue!!! (secret: nobody noticed but after that I reached for the duster…… now that would have been something…… you would have all seen me in the newspapers and the news channels).

Nobody listened and I was back to square one. I soon realised that it was a question of Patience and that I should be more tolerant so I instead I decided to do something constructive.…... one word…… one single word….. it got me total silence…. EXTEMPORE!!!! hehehehehehehe

As they say “Don’t get mad……. GET EVEN

Tomorrow is the first day of Durga Puja. It is that time of the year when we await the coming of Durga Ma and everybody seems to be preparing for it. Because of Dida’s demise we wont be celebrating the festival this year. But I am really hoping to be able to go home even if only for a weekend.

When I was young, when Puja was just round the corner, we would suddenly have a lot of bengali songs being played at home and Ma humming to popular bengali numbers….. I guess she was homesick and remembered her days of Puja back in Kolkata with her family. Everybody tells me that they miss the Puja back at Kolkata and that it is very beautiful etc etc….. and usually they all end up getting nostalgic and reminiscing the sounds of Dhak and chanting of the Chandi. I have never been there or seen that so must be good!!!

Though I am not officially celebrating the festival, Ma and sisters have already bought me clothes……. so I have three new dresses for puja plus the ones I have bought for myself. I hope I am able to wear them for Puja. I havent been to Ma’s in months!!! Puja without Ma and Pa and sisters and their family is like totally SAD!!! Leaving you with the sounds of Dhak  and dhunuchi dance from youtube.

Happy Durga Puja and Navratri to all of you and your families!!!
May Ma Durga bring joy and happiness to one and all!!!

Ohhhhh Kolkata

Truly and officially Kolkata is just not my city…….. Honestly I went there with an open mind…….. totally OPEN as OPEN as I could get but NAH, the way things work there is truly irrational and beyond the realms of my pea-sized brain!!!

The hospital is a place of worship where doctors are put on pedestal (like tons and tons of swamijis) and once they are found not so up to the mark they are whipped of their god like stature and brought down to the stature of dogs. I think I like it here where doctors rather be questioned and thought of like humans beings who could falter and thought of as people with a different line of education who have the capability to heal people of their sickness and in the process of treatment they explain to mere suffering mortals the reason for their ailment and the subsequent treatment.

I met the sweet tongued sari clad ladies who had soooo sweetly abused me on phone and guess what they didn’t actually look soooooo good to me rather they lived up to their sneaking selves of being unscrupulous thereby pacifying me that my judgment of them was not so wrong also they put me off my guilt trip. What works in the passionate city of Kolkata is sob stories…….. yeah that sells like hot cakes especially if you have somebody sick, somebody cheated you, denied of inheritance or just plain you being sick…….. so much for me putting up my brave facade of being totally well and sneaking pain killers down my throat and hiding my swollen legs.

My pa-in-law is well. Hospital’s patient care was good but can’t say the same of their information section or their billing section. It sucked!!!! They have employed a bunch of female nincompoops totally wet behind their ears…….. fresh out of college, totally unprofessional, who were getting slapped right left and center by one and all and took it all well without complaining…….. to repeat the same mistakes again and again.

Screaming at those people was just so normal that it did not even raise my bp this time……. everyone was screaming at them. It took us five hours to get our patient admitted in spite of making pre-arrangements and the hospital calling us in the morning to confirm every detail. Waiting five hours meant waiting/standing for five hours in the OPD as they did not have a separate waiting area and since OPD was in full force there was no place to wait……. emergency patients also were made to wait. Similarly clearing bill and getting together and clearing up took a long time……. because they had obviously wrongly billed us and after a session of table banging (by hubby) everything worked smoothly and the bill was reduced.

What was very alarming was the rate of bypass surgeries and angioplasties done in a day at the hospital. It seemed like an epidemic of heart diseases there. Very scary!!!

Another thing that I was exposed to this time was the disparities in the city………. the disparities between the haves and the have-nots……. the elite and the not so elite. My side of the family in Kolkata comes from the northern side…… the displaced partition stricken people whereas hubby’s family is the British Raj worshiping elite of Bengal. The difference is so striking that I was actually shaken.

Just 30 km apart from each other but the difference hits you like a punch to your stomach. On one hand you have a whole family living in a 12 by 12 room and on the other hand you have a family of 4 saying that 3000 sq worth of carpet area is not enough…… that is the part of Kolkata that totally still lives in the era of British Raj and the glories then even though the current generation has not seen anything of it…… they live on memories and on imagination of the utopian world fed to them by their parents and grandparents.

Memories of hoodless convertibles, of waltz dancing in the balls given by Horton Sahib, innumerable servants, going on drives whereas the other side talks of the crossover, of poverty, of going without food wearing the same clothes till they were tattered and moving from house to house in search of shelter. Where on one side the elite discussed how Rabindranath was the epitome of all Vedas and Upanishads put together and bramho versus Hindu religion and sociological developments across the coffee table, the other side family is discussing the factory’s closure with the wife who patiently cooks fish on the earthen stove for her family.

I experienced all this in a span of hours…… all in the same day. So much disparity!!!! Also another factor that everybody talks about is inheritance…… The son of Bengal survives on the inheritance left by his father or grandfather. Most discussions usually revolve around who got what and how much…….. kind of disgusting to self made people like me.

With this scenario in mind I am not surprised why the Communists have ruled the state for decades. I always wondered why and how the CPM came to power year after year……. the mystery is finally solved.  The truth is finally evident to me.

On the lighter side whenever I wanted to go from one side to the other I used to get a lot of advice take a rickshaw (hand pulled ones) then take a metro then take 52 no bus, then an auto (auto rickshaw or cycle one)etc etc….. It used to really scare me to even me imagine me on all these modes of transport with my broken leg and my rheumatic arms and legs!!! as scary as JAWS!!! I used to have my eyes like golf balls and my mouth hanging open just thinking of doing all that they had suggested.

They really have a lot of modes of transport. When I was young I used to be totally terrified of the tin buses with wooden floors which moved on the roads and looked slanting to me…… I always thought that it would turn turtle but it never did. All you have to do to stop a bus is to raise your hand……… unlike us who run like the devil is after them to the bus stop to take a bus. The trams were another experience I could easily walk faster than the tram I wonder why people bother sitting in them. I remember not so long ago, dad had told me how the whole city had gone on a strike because the fare had risen by 25 ps. (talking of paises, we had a real tiff with a guy and lot of screaming because we did not have 25 ps change…… it still works there……. I haven’t seen one in a long time.) There is the popular cycle rickshaws and the hand pulled rickshaws. You wont believe it but really fat women even fatter than me…… two of them…… sit on one, which is pulled by a really scrawny thin guy. There is also the jetty, the popular metro and the of course Mamta Banerjee’s Indian Railway. This is one city where the Ambassador totally extinct elsewhere still rules the road and it is amazing to find how good it still is.

Another striking similarity both sides is that they have huge large windows and at least two doors in the bathrooms and since Kolkata is a congested area there is always somebody else’s window on the other side. I don’t understand why anybody would install huge windows and so many doors in the bathroom. For a maniac like me with bathroom phobia this is a total nightmare.

I did visit Dakshineshwar and Ma Kali…….. my second mother!!! It was so peaceful there. It kind of sucks in everything from inside you and keeps you just peaceful inside….. total silence!!! I have no idea but the inner sanctum of the temple is really beautiful and the Ganga flowing by is so beautiful. It always takes away everything that you have inside you to put in just peace in there. That is the only place in Kolkata that feels like Home!!!!

Apart from all that I did have a lot of sweets and bori and saw the city totally buzz with activity for the upcoming Puja. Shopping everywhere……… sadly in my case I did not have the time. Also owing to my grand mother-in-law’s death this year we will not be celebrating the festival.

I came back with a different point of view and appreciated my city my home and my family a lot more.

Happy Sashti !!!!


Today is Sashti and my entire family sans me and hubs is at the temple taking the blessings of Ma. I wish that for today I had my wish of becoming a flamingo!!!

I pray that Ma grants all of you and your family peace, health and happiness !!!

I have no memories about Basanti Puja because it is my first time.

I have these lapses in my life wherein every six months I get full-to and totally spiritual. I call it lapse because that is what it was…… though I always wish that it was a permanent fixture in my life. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is Puja time. It could be with the happenings in my life which reach rock bottom every six months and the fact that I lose hope very soon.

Whatever the reason it gives me back my focus in life. I am able to get more organized and methodical. I wish I wouldn’t have to wait for calamities to take charge of my life but alas I am as bull headed as you can get. So coward me…… I take recourse to spirituality whenever the going gets tough.

I wouldn’t call myself a very religious person because I am not ritualistic even on my bad days. I have often wondered about the requirement of being ritualistic. Are rituals necessary??? Someone once told me it is!!!…… to give a certain discipline to religion. As for me discipline is one word not found in my dictionary and I truly hate the mundanity of routine (if there is a word such as mundanity)……. so try as I can I cant turn myself into a ritualistic freak much to the chagrin of my mother who spends hours everyday adorning the idols with flowers and clothes and ornaments and reading spiritual texts. As for me I am also illiterate as far as scriptures are concerned and my knowledge goes as far as amar chitra kathas.

I believe that there is a god in all of us and there is a god beyond the universe. Connect the two and you will find fireworks that no amount of chemicals put together can create. The trick is to sacrifice ego and self…… if you know what I mean…….. let go!!!!

Apparently that is also the way vedant describes the way to attain supreme and sublime feeling. My Ma believes it is a shortcut. Well it works for me and anything that works for me is OK. I am lazy to the core…… I dont think I will last even one day of the methodical ways of spirituality.

Talking of laziness…… now that my Jethu is fine as of today morning and so is dad as of today and hubs, and finally peace reigns in my abode, I will return to gymming.

Multitasking is not one of my strong traits. I can concentrate on only three things at a time. Only three!!! I can juggle between one-two-three not more. At the end of it I get totally drained out and tired. Right now it is health (everybody’s), work and home!!! Today the health is on its own so the gym can take its place.

So UNhappy gymming (I can never be happy gymming!!! You have to sweat it out remember) for me and all of you take care!!!!

What a week!!!


Last week was an absolute nightmare for me. It was like a week that wouldn’t end and a week with an absolute collection of things that I felt just wouldn’t stop.

Jethu had an angioplasty. Dad was not feeling well and getting worse and to top it all Hubs got sick. This had my BP hitting a double century. I hate it when anybody is sick. I know that it is a natural thing to happen but somehow I feel deserted. I hate that feeling. Ultimately I made a beeline for home (Pune). “Mulla ki daud masjid tak” kind of thing.

I was totally on the edge for the last few weeks and last week was the ultimate straw. I was on the verge of snapping when work came to the rescue. I truly appreciate the fact that in spite of recession I am able to get some work. Being a free lance consultant it is something I never really expected specially with recession et al. I am playing total turtle and ostrich by totally immersing myself in work right now because if I dont – they will all kill me or I will kill myself in frustration. I do surface at times to scream, howl and play heavy weight and make some real drastic changes in everyday life and then go back to pushing my nose in work. Gym is a thing of the dream.

Positive points were that dad’s reports are all clean and he has reduced the number of kms he walks. He is down to 2 kms from the 8 kms stretch he walks. Hubs has totally stopped eating outside and has promised not to do more of shifts. As for Jethu I think that he is grounded for life. I am really hoping that these positive changes do work and everybody gets back to their former health and they are all healthy and happy.

Today is the start of Basanti Puja. It is the five day Durga Puja that is celebrated in Spring. This is the original Durga puja that was done but legend has it that due to contingencies of battle Rama had invoked the Godess in autumn (akalbodhon)….. so the sharodiya durga puja.

When I was a kid I had no idea of this because being a Probashi bengali and having no inkling to rituals in Bengal I believed that Durga puja was the one that is celebrated in the month of september – October. This year the Basanti Puja is being celebrated in lots of places in Pune. It is the same Puja with all the same customs and rituals……. even the threat of exams for kids. Since living in Mumbai I will not be celebrating the puja but this time when I went to Pune I visited the temple and sat there for hours just to absorb the peace from it surroundings, I saw the preparations for the puja being done. Puja always gladdens my heart.

I just pray to Ma that she gets all my family members back in their former health.

Mahashivaratri

Today is Mahashivaratri a festival of Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction. Mythology says that anybody who fasts the whole day today and in the evening after sunset offers water on the Shiva linga is granted peace and unmarried girls a husband of their choice.

I come from a family of priests and teachers, which is truly very religious…… On this day My maternal grandfather would himself make shiv lingas with mud – one for every child and grandchild in the family and then they were worshipped fervently. At the end of the puja the idols were immersed in the Ganga.

Even today the same ritual is followed in our individual homes wherein after fasting the whole day we break our fast after offering pushpanjali and pouring a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey, and water on the shiva linga. This takes place in the night. So after staying hungry the whole day we do this at the night!!!! Usually midnight.

The legend has it that a very tired tribal, on the moonless night of amavasya was late, and could not return home in the night. As it was very late in the night he remained in the forest. He had not eaten anything the whole day. It was late in the night so he climbed a tree in fear of being attacked by the animals. There was a shivalinga at the base of the tree, which he had climbed. When the hungry and weary tribal rested on the tree a bel leaf touched him and fell on the shiva linga. This pleased Shiva a lot. The tribal got all that his heart wanted and since that day Shivaratri is celebrated.

In my home we have been worshipping the Shiva linga since we were very little. Every shivlinga is bathed and decorated with sandalwood and worshipped with bel leaves and white flowers – a favorite of Shiva. This is done in my household on a daily basis. It was imbibed by Ma to us since we were very little and we have done it ever since.

I recall an incident when I was little and Ma had asked me to do the daily worship of the Gods. It was a very tedious procedure and my sisters were very glad to offload the work to me. My job was to individually bathe the stone idols of Shiva (two of them) and metal Bal Gopal (three of them) and then make them wear fresh clothes and then decorate them with fresh sandalwood paste and flowers and tulsi and bel leaves.

The first couple of days I did it diligently after which the whole thing was getting rather cumbersome to me……. so I decided to take a shortcut. I took all of the five idols to the sink and washed them together under the tap. I got away doing this the first two consecutive days and the rest was not so bad……. On the third day Ma caught me in action and I was busted!!!! I tried convincing Ma that the Gods were fed up of taking a bath in a tub…… so I was giving them a shower!!! Well, what can I say!!! I was grounded!!!!

Hindu mythology is a sore topic with Hubs. He totally does not understand it. Hubs, though brought up in a similar environment as mine is totally ignorant about Hindu mythology so I really have to answer a hell lot of questions as to who is Shiva and why is Shivaratri celebrated which I normally answer rather patiently!!!

Hindu religion is quite difficult to understand for people who are non-Hindus specially when you say that there are 36 crore deities. Legends and epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata do try to enlighten us to some of them……. but quite a few of them are the unsung heroes….. This is rather difficult to be explained but I do try!!!

Yesterday there was this conversation whose gist was rather amusing and I wanted to share it with you: In my attempts to make hubs understand the Gods in Hindu mythology….. I tried using the hierarchy theme. I was trying to explain to hubs in a language which he would understand. I tried introducing a new method of inducting him into Hindu mythology……. Since he understands the corporate structure, in true teacher ishtyle I tried using that to make him understand.

So here goes the conversation:

Rn: Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh are the Joint Directors – wherein Vishnu holds the position of the CEO and Bramha of the Chairman and Shiva is the sleeping partner but also holds all the powers of running the company……. Though there are controversies by different sects in the Hindu religion as to who is more powerful!!!

Rj: Then what about the others???

Rn : The others are essentially Vice Presidents and HOD’s and managers in different departments.

Rj: Then who reports to whom.

Rn: They have a flat structure and they all report to the Joint Directors.

Rj: Then why do people pray to the managers and vice president why not to the individual Directors directly.

Rn: Vishnu is very difficult to please. It is very difficult to get into his good books. Bramha is more into the internal affairs of the God’s themselves. Shiva is the easiest to please but he has a bad temper and if you get in his bad books you are gone……. so it is easier to go by way of the smaller god’s in the hierarchy……. since they have the requisite powers……. and If they cannot fulfill what you ask of them; they will refer you to the department dealing with such kinds of affairs!!! So there are different Gods who are allotted different departments depending upon their core competencies!!!

Rj: What about the Goddesses???

Rn: Wives of the Directors. They have powers by themselves……….. First ladies!!!!

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