Suvo Sharadiya… the essence of the pujas

Maa Durga has come. The stage is set for all the fun, enjoyment, lots of eating and some mischiefs. Everybody has already completed  their stage rehearsals…. what to wear, where to eat, where to hop and so on. Where as the children are raring to go with their parents in their most beautiful puja dresses, the teens and tweens have already sorted their plans for the next five days. Fuchkas in the pandals, a little exchange of the mischievous eyes, long standing in the queues, observing the human deities (both the Kartiks and the Laxmis 😉 ) along with the deities from the heavens, the accidental but welcome touch of hands and lots of ADDAs will light up the days. Even the late night return to homes and sometimes staying the whole night outside are allowed for the next 5 days. Some new hopes, some new friends, some new relations are on the cards. The Pandal Hopping has never been tiring. As always we will be enthusiastic to watch the deities in the THEME PUJAS and the TRADITIONAL PUJAS.  Add to these are the experiences scattered throughout the pages of PUJA SHANKHAS (the special puja editions of the magazines). I still enjoy my childhood favourite SHUKTARA. The adventures of BANTUL THE GREAT and HANDA-VONDA still eludes me in the puja days. As if the puja is incomplete with these immortal creations of Narayan Deb Nath. The PABBUNIS (puja bonus) from the Grand Pas and the Grand Mas cannot be missed. Though I don’t receive it nowadays ( I used to receive it from my Grand Ma, now she resides in the HEAVENS… MISS YOU NANU ) but the thoughts really do make my heart warm… they really bring back the memories of childhood. But who can forget the NARUs (a variety of sweet meat) and the NIMKIs (a variety of chips) that our beloved MAA-KAKIMAS (mothers and aunts) prepare for us on the DASHAMI evening. They really write the ending of the Pujas in a mouth watering way 🙂

The Pujas have come and now it’s time to sway with the KASH FULS (catkins)  and dance to the beats of the DHAK. The next few days we will live the life to the fullest forgetting all our work, busy schedules and complicacies. Such are the essence of the Pujas.

Lastly, I would like to wish my readers a VERY HAPPY DURGA PUJA and NAVARATRI and DASHERA. Enjoy the festivities… enjoy the DANDIYA, the GARWA, the DHUNUCHI- dance and the SINDUR KHELA. As a festival gift I would like to give you my reader a phtoshop creation of mine…

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Signing off…

 

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The rain, Maa Durga and a little madness

It’s raining heavily for the last 2 and a half days. But yesterday morning the situation was a bit different. Around 7 a.m. the sky was somewhat clear and once again the sun was out. The sunshine had the feel of Durga Puja written all over it. I know this sunshine since childhood and I think every Bengali do the same. Anyways seeing the clear sky, a plan came to my mind. I decided to go to Kumartuli (it’s the seat of the clay artists in Calcutta) to take some snaps. I phoned Pravat to tell him about the plan. Luckily he was awake (Pravater pravat khub derite hoi kina!) and he at once agreed.

But the heavens had a different plan. I was on my way to Kavi Nazrul metro station when the skies opened up again. I decided to move ahead with the plan. We got down at the Shovabazar metro station and on surfacing we found heavy shower has already started. Pravat has already started cursing me for the plan but somehow I managed to calm him down. After that we started walking towards Kumartuli and around 11 a.m. we reached Kumartuli. By that time the downpour has increased greatly so we had to take shelter under a shed. I found it ideal to have a cigarette but as I was about to take the first puff Pravat told me to have a look at a particular board where it was written,

PHOTOGRAPHY STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

So we contacted the Clay Artists’ Samity and bought a season pass so that we can have the permission for the rest of the season. But as I said earlier luck was on the other side. The clay artists have already started covering the idols to protect them from the rain. Somehow we managed to take some snaps.

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I told Pravat that there is a ghat nearby. It is called Kumartuli Ghat (I have Googled the area in the morning). He was very eager to go there. So taking help from the locales we went there. The riverside view was really beautiful. Frankly speaking on seeing the raindrops falling in the river my heart suddenly became more enthusiastic. I could see the joy in Pravat’s eyes. I took some pictures of him.

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He’s really mad!!!

He was really happy and enjoying getting drenched in the rain. There we took few more pictures. By the time we finished taking pictures at the riverside I was completely drenched. I told Pravat why not return to Kumartuli again to take some pictures. Then we had a plan. We decided to take some pictures at Kumartuli and to return to Kumartuli Ghat again. From there we decided to go to Babughat from where we can return home.

DSC04434So we returned to Kumartuli where I found this idol. Though it’s in its formative stage yet its beauty really attracted my eyes. The artisans are really magicians. But it’s really sad they don’t receive the accolades they deserve.

Anyways we weren’t been able to take any more idol pictures. So we decided to come back after the sky changes its plan within few days. May be on the Mahalaya .

As per our plan we returned to Kumartuli Ghat and from Baghbajar Ghat we boarded a launch (marine vessel). I haven’t rode a launch on a rainy day like this. So I was excited to enjoy the river from the launch. But unfortunately my excitement decreased a bit immediately. I took out my specs from the pocket and as I was about to wipe its glasses I found it broken. Really a shock!!

Whatever… our journey across the Ganges began. Pravat was taking pictures. In the meantime he has taken a snap of mine and suddenly uttered,

Arre yaar tera chashma toota hai Dil nahi… so cheer up

I smiled and began taking pictures again. Each one of us gave different poses to the other to capture. Really we were enjoying very much.  Then we had Masala Badam and Cha.

Pravat said to me, “It seems the childhood has returned…”

Really the day was a reminiscent of the school days as a child when we used to enjoy Rainy days like this.

At last we reached Babughat. From there we had to take buses for our respective homes. But I was not ready to return home soon. So I called HER to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Pravat returned home and I went for Puja shopping with HER. Hearing everything she said,

“ You people are such mad…!!!” 🙂

But returning home my mother’s first reaction was… “ABAR?” (“aaaagain?”)

 

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Road to the HEAVENS !

REcently I along with my friend Prabhat went to a cemetery in South Park Street. From my childhood days I’ve heard about the place but never had the opportunity to go there. So that day when our University classes are over we went there. There we took photos, some of which I’m sharing here…

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View the site location according to Google maps

 

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WHeN the inNer VOiCe iS loud , ‘BUNKING IS ALLOWED’

Ya I’m really influenced by the tagline of that TV commercial (I think you have already guessed it)  😛 But I couldn’t find a better post header than this.

Ok no more GIBBERISH …. 🙂

The matter goes back to about two months back. By that time my 3rd Semester exams were just over. But unfortunately the university classes have already started (so inhuman!). Really I had neither the energy nor the intentions to plunge into my studies so quickly. I was looking for the scope to enjoy the post semester time.

The day was 27th. March 2009. I didn’t feel the urge to attend the university classes (which happens now and then). So I decided to bunk my classes and go with my friend  Madhurima Di to take photos across the city.

We started taking photos from Rabindra Sadan .

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artisans curving out wooden torsos

 

After taking  a few pictures at Rabindra Sadan we headed towards the St. Paul’s Church which is located beside.

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Untitled-2St. Paul’s Church 

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Just as we are about to leave the St. Paul’s Church a good looking gal entered  the compound.

09in search of green

This snap was taken by Madhurima Di on my request from far as my camera didn’t have that zooming capacity which she had. Reaally a member of the GANG GREEN (trust me she looked beautiful from front as well). 

From there we started taking pictures on road…

10 This picture was taken by Madhurima Di. Really a good one 35 The lady tramp guised in the dress of a sadhu is carrying a doll. I really missed the moment but somehow I was able to take a close snap of her (though that was not as captivating as this one).

Just moving a few yards ahead a funny scene captured my eyes… DSC03077  and this time I didn’t lose the opportunity 🙂

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  I tried really hard but couldn’t zoom in any more… still the angel atop the Victoria Memorial can be seen at a distance (though very blurred) 😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After wandering for a while in and around Esplanade and Park Street we decided that it’s time to take some food. Madhurima Di took me to a known restaurant of hers. There we took steamed momo ( I must admit that the momo was really lip smacking)DSC03164

After we had our lunch, I thought we will be starting again. But how could one resist a girl from shopping ? This reminded me that I was out with a girl… Madhurima Di  went on looking for Salwars, Scarves (and the list continues…).  

Sorry I have to keep out Madhurima Di from the picture on her request (tantrums of the beauties you know).

While she was busy I took some pictures of the area around.

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The boy caught me taking his picture. In fact in the picture he is looking at me. But I really wanted to be in his shoes for that moment 51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After she finished her shopping we went to KOLKATA HAAT (a carnival which started a week back) . There we witnessed some good moments 🙂

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At one place earthen faces of gods and earthen masks were being. Some guys were sitting there and giving an ADDA. Suddenly I saw one of them is putting on a mask. Just at the moment I was about to take his snap he removed it. But thankfully he was really supportive enough to put on the mask once more on my request.

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But while I was engrossed in the moment and taking photos, Madhurima Di was taking photos of me … 45

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Around 5 p.m. we turned back for our homes… THe day’s experience was fun filled and joyous36But every good thing has its end… so the day also ended and what was left behind are the memories captured in these photographs… 105

But one thing for sure…  it was worth bunking the class 115

 

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Election Time… Sukumar Ray revisited :)

I couldn’t  find a better time to write this post. Today is 13th. May, 2009 – the day on which the whole of Calcutta is going to cast it’s vote for the Lok Sabha polls42_002I’ve shot this picture on some pre-poll day at the institution from where I’m doing my Post Graduation. Though the picture explicitly show its political color but I’m not inclined towards that. I was just fascinated by the intellectual value of the picture. The political mockery has been dealt with a good sense of humor.  For the last 2 months I’ve witnessed enough of political mud slinging107(irrespective of FLAG COLOR) but this election banner has really attracted my eyes. It’s actually a sarcastic version of a poetry by Sukumar Ray named GOF CHURI.  Kudos to the creators of the banner 113

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Click the image to view the larger version

PS : This post is not aimed at venting my political views and has nothing to do with my political beliefs and thoughts114This is just for humor and appreciating intellectual sarcasm 32

A day for the HAZARI PAL-s

Many of you may be wondering who in the world is HAZARI PAL. For those, I would like to mention Hazari Pal is a rickshaw puller in the novel “City of Joy” by Dominique Lapierre. The novel was made into a film in 1992 with the same name.

A still from "CITY OF JOY"
A still from the film "CITY OF JOY"

Anyways let’s go to the real incident.

The rickshaw pullers are an integral part of Calcutta. On Sunday, April 19, 2009, members of this hard-working community got a much needed break from their daily bread earning toil. At least 100 rickshaw pullers took part in a unique race at Raja Subodh Mullick Square in the afternoon. The race was organized by SERVE THE NATION, an NGO that works with them.

Rickshaw pullers take part in a race
Rickshaw pullers taking part in the race

It was a day for the rickshaw pullers, who serve the city throughout the year but hardly ever get to hear a kind word….

Kudos to the NGO that has taken such a heart warming initiative 77

 

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