When Pujo Is Just a Month Away

Durga Puja in C.R. Park, Delhi

Durga Puja in C.R. Park, Delhi

The sunlight is different. More golden, less yellow. It touches you differently – more softly. When this happens, Mom says Pujo is approaching. That glorious time of the year when my Bengali neighbourhood looks lovelier than ever and the air is delicious with luchi, aloo dum and khichudi. I feel it in me today, even away in Pune. Durga Puja is not too far.

My Granddad never tires of telling me how I would roam from one pandal to another unceasingly, never getting tired. How could I? I was comfortable in his arms, higher up than the rest of the world. If I wanted, I could even tug at balloons or banners that said “Sarbojanin Puja Samity”.

On Dussehra morning, everyone would say Ma Durga was crying. Her eyes would indeed look teary, mirroring how all of us felt. Once, after the immersion of the idol, I pestered Granddad to take me to the pandals again. “There’s nothing there anymore.” He tried to tell me. I didn’t listen. It was when I saw Ma Durga missing from the mandap, the food vendors absent, and the brilliant lights replaced by a few flickering bulbs that it began. My crying.

But today is not the time to be sad. As I look ahead, I think about shopping trips with Mom, debating animatedly which colour saree we should wear on Ashtami Day. I think about curtains and bedsheets and cushions that will be changed. I think about the big buses parked in our locality, packed with guests to Chittaranjan Park – the mini Calcutta renowned for its wondrous Durga Puja celebrations. Finally, I think of R and me, fidgeting on our way to the airport, longing to take in long, deep whiffs of Durga Puja food and click tons of pictures.

Yes, sun, I know. You are more golden by the minute, sending me incessant signals of the times to come. I will get you new clothes from Karol Bagh and toast to you with a bowl of oranges. Durga Puja is coming, and Delhi, I am coming too.

10 Things You Used to Do On Independence Day – And Should Totally Repeat!

As we celebrate India’s 69th Independence Day today, why not rewind to some awesome things we used to do to celebrate August 15? Saturdays are blessed as it is and today is perfect for a beautiful trip down memory lane!

1. Wait in line for your share of motichoor ke laddoos, handed out by the school captains, and then gulp them down quickly so no one else can steal them.

2. Dress up in tricolour clothes without feeling conscious at all and groove to “I Love My India” in the school auditorium.

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A Morning Ritual I’ve Abandoned

Morning Peace

Picture: zeus1001.deviantart.com

What do you do first thing in the morning? No, I am not about to suggest yoga and a glass of lemon and honey – practice before you preach, you see. I have intermittently tried stretching and waking up my sleepy nerves with lukewarm water. But then, the prospect of shutting my eyes to five more minutes of dreams is often very inviting. There is something, however, which you should definitely NOT do immediately after waking up.

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Moony Over Hyderabad

Moon over hyderabad

Picture: frank.itlab.us

There’s something very special about attending a friend’s engagement. You feel a great sense of surprise that everyone is growing “big”, apprehension that the impending wedding may take your friend far away, and excitement about dressing up and digging into awesome food. And then, if you also get to explore Hyderabad – the city of Nizams – it’s a priceless combination!

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The Enemy We Don’t See


I don’t think the biggest roadblock between us and happiness is stress. Or emotional turmoil. Or even too much work. I think it is simpler and more dangerous than that.

I met a man the other day who started a conversation on this note: “Today is a big day for me. I have crossed 5000 friends on Facebook. Isn’t that cool?” Super cool, I nodded. I felt like setting him a memory test that would need names to be matched to faces. But I refrained. I knew he would fail.

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The Mantra That Kept Her Going

James and Lily Potter

It was a slow Tuesday at work and Chhaya had one of her familiar headaches. Her headaches had really worsened over time and the best part of the day was right before bedtime, when her husband gave her a head massage. Sitting at her desk and staring blankly at her screen, that was what she wanted now.

She glanced at her phone and spotted her Mom sitting inside, smiling at her from the wallpaper. Chhaya wished she knew how to turn it to an animated GIF, like those wizarding pictures in Harry Potter. That way, she could feign a “Hello, how are you Mom?” every now and then and Mom would actually move her lips in answer!

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8 Totally Random Things I Overheard People Say in Pune

*If I have accidentally quoted you, send me a card.

Say that

*Picture from flatonmyback.com

Auto Wallah to an office-goer: You will need to pay me 80 bucks extra as I don’t personally like that area. (Girl starts to walk away frowning) Okay Madam, sit. It was worth a try!

Middle-aged woman to a shopkeeper: Bhaiya, you really need to give a chocolate free now that I have bought so much from you. My old nerves need a sugar rush. (She had bought a packet of Britannia biscuits)

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5 Search Terms That Made My Saturday

The internet is really the biggest human museum of our times. It allows you deep insight into the functioning of the human brain (and a bundle of giggles while you’re at it). As I randomly sat analyzing the kind of search terms that have led people here, I came across a few which deserve wider discussion and acclaim:

I write a poem about food paneer: Oh, you do? Why, that’s what I spend all my weekends doing! Here’s one dedicated especially to you lest you come scouting for odes to paneer again:

Dear paneer, why are you at a boil?
Is it because we fried you in hot oil?
But when we bake you, if you recall –
you are usually not pleased at all!
I suggest you put on a smile, there!
After all, you must have your share –
of worldly rules, of water and fire,
you can’t always have what you desire!

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