Archive for August, 2006

Pujo aasche!!!!!!!!!

I know iv become quite cynical about what pujos mean and all that it stands to symbolise….but its just a part of me that wants to blame ma durga for all that i wanted for myself but never got.
On closer introspection, I can really trace back the associations I have had with durga pujo ever since i could remember.
I remember when i was small………class III or so………..there used to be pujo outings with the family. Baba honestly never had time to spend with us during the rest of the year because he was heading admin and hr at one of the biggest hotels in Kolkata at that point of time. There was a long period of time when i kept blaming him for not allowing me to have any memories of my growing up years with him.There were also times when asked about which class i was studying in,he would be caught off gurad and had to have my mother remind him in a subtle way. Today after years,I have reconciled to the fact that he was working hard for us and to give us a life……its better to believe that than harp on the things we’ve missed out on. Anyway,it was during one of those pujo days when baba decided to take us out…….couple of cousins,me and my brother.I still remember the bus ride we took from Santoshpur to the Park Circus Maidan…..the bus was S24……to see the great Park Circus pujo. It was a huge deal for us …….to be able to hang onto his solid arms and visit all the stalls and then go somewhere nice on Park Street for dinner.
When we grew up and shifted house,ma became very involved with the Para pujo.which meant that for every morning of those five days she would be up at the crack of dawn and sometimes even earlier to get dressed and be at the pandal for all the work,gossip and laughter. I felt quite privileged in a funny kind of way for ma to be involved in such an intrinsic way……i felt i knew the inside happenings of the pandal…what the purut moshai said before he went up to do sandhi pujo…….what lakhi mashi wore and what she originally wanted to wear and all that trivia.
There was this one day when we would all be at durga bari ……..i was too young to have any of my friends there then but rather i had to tag along with my cousin and her friends who kept me quite entertained with icecreams,chips and chocolates . Not that i had anything to do at the durga bari but just that i had nothing else to do and being somewhere else other than your own para during pujos meant a lot.
And then when we grew up and were at college,pujo meant hanging out at maddox square on almost every evening just to be there and catching up with friends from all over. There was this particular year when there was notification of a cyclone to hit Kolkata during pujos. Knowing fully well that we night be caught in tremendous rain,me and a close friend still decided to waer expensive sarees and get to maddox square,the heart of Kolkata pujos for all college youngsters. It wasnt long before the cyclone struck and we were drenched to the skin,all in our silks and heavy jewellery. Another friend decided it was time he came to the rescue and turned up with his father’s battered ambassador to take us for dinner( yes,we were still soaking wet) and then to his house which was close by where we could spend the night. Of course,seeing this as the best option available we decided that this was the best thing to do and we climbed in only fr the car to stop working and us having to push it to a nearby dhaba,in the rain and in our saris while our good frind sat at the steering wheel,trying to make the engine purr. He said he needed to be at the wheel,today I feel he was just plain smater and thought it would be wise to not get wet.
Now sitting back after so many years of all these incidents,I fervently hope that pujo brings back the same enthusiasm it had for me then. Today,while sitting at my bedroom window and looking out at the pandal under construction just outside my window I dont feel any longing for another year………..and i hate this. I want to look forward to hearing the dhakker awaj and smell the dhunuchi naach during sondhi pujo.Im praying that Il get back all that I lost.


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I called out to you
You, who was standing at the edge of the river,
Watching the ripples and the stories it unravelled
On its journey from the heavens
Of all the tales it knew but wouldn’t say
Of all the love it had seen and washed away
Of all the tears that smelt of love and trickled into the earth
I called you to wait
To take me with you into its heart.


I called out to you
You, who was holding yourself up at the sky
Above all the streetlights and the smog in the city below
Drowning the sounds of cars that reminded you of the hours gone by
Of the bustle and drone of life that you had left behind
Of the home you once knew but now chose to forget
Of love and lust and the stories untold
I called you to wait
To take me with you into the high


I called out to you
You, who was sitting at your door,
Wiping away tears of pain
And the sorrows that you held in your heart
Of all the stories that you had heard but forgot to retell
To the generations that passed under your eyes
Of all the experiences you have had and warned the young
But they never heard your tale
I called you to wait
But it was you
Who walked away forever.

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FOUND THIS IMAGE REALLY INTERESTING-reminds me in a philosophical way about the masks we all wear.

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I am thinking aboutwhat to cook for dinner

I saida lot of things i shouldnt have when i was angry

I want tobe happy with my life

I wishi could earn enough money to travel the world

I miss my brother

I hearvoices in my head when im upset

I wonderwhat there is after death

I regretnot being able to live upto my mother’s expectations

I amgenerally happy

I dance to any music that i like

I singat wee hours of the night

I cryto relieve my tension

I am not alwaysas innocent as i look

I make with my handsfood

I writeto define my emotions

I confusebetween my head and my heart

I need lots of love

I should tryto be more patient

I finish…….every sentence

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I work under somebody who I must very honestly claim,is not the quintessential boss,who breathes down your neck at all times of the day but allows you your freedom to do your own work at your own pace.
Working in the development sector,it is but natural,that there are formed opinions about various issues that one has to tackle on an everyday basis and probably work your way around it if you dont necessarily adhere to the same point of view. I was thus surprised when,my boss,who is quite chilled otherwise would flood me with questions about how i sign my name post marriage.
I have never been the overtly feminist type who would jump at the mention of any wrong doing towards a woman without quite judging the issue with my own ideas and trying to balance out all sides of the story. Thus maintaining my maiden surname and tagging my husbands surname along with it was not such a big deal for me. I dont believe in crying myself hoarse at all wrong doings of men but i do believe that being a feminist comes from what you believe yourself to be. I dont need to be called a feminist by the entire world but if I know I can negotiate all relationships with respect and maintain my own at that,I am a feminist myself. If I can sympathise with the wrongs done to a woman if its not her fault and at the same time point out fallacies in arguments where the man is being victimised for no apparent reason, I am a feminist. Its not that I want to be called a feminist-I would be happy knowing I am somebody who can stand up for the rights of any individual,and praise any sex for the good things they have done.
My mother is somebody who believes that any kind of jewellery in the forms of anklets,bangles,sindoor or for that matter anything ,is a sign that the woman is tied down to the man.I beg to differ. While I do agree that most of these items of jewelery were used to symbolise a sign of ownership,things have changed now…….atleast in the sphere that I belong to. I wear a nose ring because I like to……I wear payals because I like the sound of it and not because I want to show that my man owns me.And for the same reason I dont wear sindoor because i ahve an allergy to it and my scalp itches for days afterwards for that one deed and not because I believe its a sign of ownership. Of course my relatives cry hoarse that not wearing sindoor means ill health and all bad things for my husband…..but he is quite well,professionally and health wise……so it doesnt bother me. Of course my motehr is happy because she never wanted me ot get married in the first place…….but i dont wear it because i dont like it not because she doesnt like it.
Anybody who hears that I use my maiden surname along with my husband’s surname has a lot to say.i do understand that it becomes too long to write……..but thats the ONLY problem there is to it. I believe that a name gives you an identity and the maiden surname is a family name Iv grwon up with. Abandoning that the moment i sign on a dotted line doesnt make sense…..why should I ? My presence at the ceremony proves what pains (actually!!!!!) my parents took to bring me up and I just cannot cut off a part of my being just because im married to someone else. It also makes sense that now post marriage since I am officially a part of two families,I would reflect that in my name.And I love doing it. Its nothing like the overrising sense of patriarchy in my life that is forcing me to do these things but just that I love doing it. I love feeling a part of two families and enjoying every moment of it.
I think everybody should just give me a break and let me do my own thing…..Im not breathing down ur neck…..so why breathe down mine????????????

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Pujo Ramblings

Suddenly this morning on the way to work I realised we are just a month and half away from pujos. Looking at the blue sky dotted with white clouds (incidentally its monsoons now and we haven’t seen any rain in the past four days-its been really hot) I suddenly remembered all the excitement that pujos used to bring for us when we were children. I remember walking with Ma down the crowded pavements of Gariahat looking for the right shade of colour for the blouse piece and getting pushed and hurtled around in the process. Ma used to then take me down to one of her favourite shops on Gariahat road…I forget what it was called…for some moghlai porota and cold drink. In those days that used to be such a grand treat. Some more shopping done and frilly frocks bought we used to return home feeling quite nice with ourselves. And it continued year after year…the same routine…same shops and the same people. And suddenly one day it all changed…everything remained the way it was except for me…I just changed.
The constant surging crowds of Gariahat just could not me lure me enough anymore to get into its skin and be a part of it once again. The thought of new clothes both for myself and others became a thought I found childish and stupid. Being the youngest in the family, I was pampered with “pujor jama” of all kinds-right from the “ebaarer style” skirts to salwars, jeans and even a nice saree to wear on ashtamee. But nothing seemed to interest me anymore.
Today sitting back I realise the cause of my disinterest. I wasn’t disinterested in the festivities. I had lost my belief in God. I am not a devout Hindu-was never one but god was the only person I considered to be my friend. Ever since I learnt the “My father” in school, I used to recite that sincerely at bedtime every night not because I was praying to Jesus but because that was my only recognised way to talk to God. I never prayed to him/her but spoke to it. I shared deepest of secrets and worst fears and I knew deep down that he knew even the untold things and it would respond in its own way and own time. And it’s been two years now that she hasn’t responded. I purposely call her she because that’s how she comes to us in this time of the year-bedecked in jewellery on a visit to her maternal home with all her children. While for most pujo means visiting pandals and meeting friends over an adda session at Maddox Square, she has always been a reflection of my inner self-giving me strength and asking me to move on. But in the last two years every time I looked at her, she refused to talk to me-refused to even look me in the eye-I felt she was looking perhaps at the person right next to me or maybe behind me but never at me. She refused to answer questions I asked her, refused to acknowledge my fears and give me her hand to hold- I have stopped going to her-I pray to her for the well being of others but not of my fears-for the health of my parents, the success of my husband and the mental peace for my brother but nothing for me-I don’t enter her house but I call out to her for all those I care-I keep hoping she will listen to all the things unsaid and look at me again.

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It was one of those horrible meetings i have been dreading for so long-my visit to the endocrinologist……….basically a specialist in thyroid.And there it was all in front of me…..extremely high thyroid and high bp…..which simply means eating almost nothing and staying off all the things i love which includes potatoes(in any form) biriyani,chocolates,icecreams,cold drinks,alcohol………basically everything thats nice and is needed to live,very ironically a happy life.
So here i am……dying with frustarion but very determined to shed off all that excess weight and get back into shape asap.
Till then…….see you and all of you…….keep eating

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