A Little Girl & Her Mom At The Anondo Mela

Durga Puja C.R. ParkSomewhere, in a parallel world, a little girl dressed in Durga Pujo finery is walking hand-in-hand with her mom. The two are going to the Anondo Mela in the Mela Ground Pandal, one of the biggest puja pandals in C.R. Park, Delhi.

“What all will we eat there, Mummum?” The little girl jangles her purse. It is full of new notes and coins that her family has given her to spend at the Anondo Mela. Continue reading

Oh Delhi!

CRPark

Outside Shiv Mandir in Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi

I travel to Delhi tomorrow. After almost eight months of living away from the madness. And while I can’t claim Pune has been particularly sane, I have been away from the morning Metro rush, the honking cars outside my house, and the slight chill in the air that starts coming in this time of the year. But madness, really? This evening, randomly, I realize I have actually missed it all!

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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.

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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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A Midday Spell

~*Winning Entry in Snapdeal’s #DilKiDealOnSnapdeal activity

Tiffin Box

I was absolutely uninterested in the day ahead. Outside the window, the world was silent as the grave, still as the mountains you could see from some localities in Pune. All I wanted to do was snuggle up in bed and stare into the distance, except that this can be particularly hard when you have a growling stomach. More so, when the stomach refuses to welcome instant noodles.

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New Beginnings this Mahalaya

Durga Puja @ Durga Bari

A whole month has gone by and P&P has been deserted. The dust of negligence has settled on the menu; the archives have developed strain with being shifted to the backburner so very often. This morning, however, marks a change. And no wonder, it’s Mahalaya.

In my mind, the last set-of-weeks is clubbed into one big, unpalatable blob. A lot has gone into its making – sleepless nights, piles of work, irritable moods and a constant crunch for time. Not a recipe I would ever like to re-experience. There is something, however, that tells me I will have this dish shoved down my throat again. But until the time comes, I am all set for delicious Durga Puja fare, beginning very soon.

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Of Durga Puja and creepy tabloids

Ma Durga looked a wee bit anxious when we went along to pay her a visit last evening. She had only arrived in a grand palanquin when the newspapers started brimming with strange tabloids.

A puja has been scrapped this year. Another is to follow suit the next. The pandals – parks, per se – have apparently grown too fancy and their people too environment-conscious to afford a homecoming party. One of these parks for instance, has been converted into an ornamental garden, replete with musical waterfalls and fountains that pour wine. And to deck such a beauty up in an ugly tent and have a section in it for eateries and hawkers is too much to digest. The people in that area have complained of rowdy behaviour and brawls that accompany Puja every year. Such an eyesore, I tell you.

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Homeward Ho!

I hear the cats are ready, wish washed behind the ear,
Collared up and clothed as the eighth is finally here.

The house so decked up stands, the colours all of a glow,
And the potted plants now wet, lie glistening in a row.

The terrace freshly scrubbed, the clothesline stripped,
Unruly weeds spliced, the brown dust whipped.

Fragrant the kitchen I believe, with delicious things to bite,
Gift wrapped hordes of goodies, ribbons unfolding at sight.

My family of four debates, riotous plans are shaped,
A corner hastily cleaned, the television newly draped.

I close my eyes and wait, the streets of Delhi come alive,
Into the car everyone’s stuffed, early they wish to arrive.

To my high-school swing I’ll return, my monsoon hideout will scoff,
The years rewind to long past, as my flight finally takes off.

Weaving Magic: an ode to a song…

“Jodi aaro kare bhaalo baasho, jodi aaro phire nahi aasho….
jodi aaro kare bhalo baasho, jodi aaro phire nahi aasho,
Tobe tumi jaha chaayo, taayi jeno paayo,
aami joto dukho paayi go…
Aamaro porano jaha chaaye,
tumi taayi, tumi taayi go…
Tuma chada aar e jogote mor keho naaye, kichu naayi go…
Aamaro porano jaha chaaye…”
— Rabindranath Tagore

“If it’s someone else that you love, if to me you never return,
Then all that you wish for, I hope becomes yours.
No matter how much sorrow befalls me.
For all that my heart desires for,
is you, is only you.
Apart from you, in this whole wide world,
I have no one, I have nothing.
For all that my heart desires for,
is you, is only you…”

There’s something about the song. Something divine, mystic, hypnotizing. I have been listening and I have been listening to it since last evening and it was what I woke up to at dawn. Maybe it’s the longing in the voice, the sheer beauty and innocence and selflessness. Or maybe it’s some magic running its course.

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