Welcome Navratri, waiting for you!!!

Today is the first day of this year’s Navratri, one of the most important festivals of India. The word “Navratri” is made of two words “Nav” meaning nine and “Ratri” meaning nights. So, it is a festival which is celebrated across 9 nights. Since my childhood I was always excited about Navratri, especially for the Dandiya and Garbha with my North Indian friends and for Sundal and Golu with my South Indian counterparts.

Bommai Golu or Bommala Koluvu  is majorly celebrated in the four southern states of India. It is the arrangement of Dolls on steps or “padi”. The mighty deities in various forms like Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, Siva, Vishnu to name a few are arranged in the form of dolls and worshiped for these 9 days.

What does Hindu mythology say about this?

According to mythology, the gods were defeated by the evil energy of the demon Mahishasura and they approached Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara, whose collective energy gave rise to energy in the form of Goddess Durga to her to kill the demon  “Mahishasura”.

Durga is considered to be in the most powerful form of energy during these 9 days. The first three days of of Navratri, the goddess is worshiped as Durga  who protects us from evils, 4th, 5th and 6th days, goddess takes the form of Lakshmi who blesses us with wealth and 7th, 8th and 9th, she takes the form of Saraswati, blessing us with wisdom.

Why Golu?

There are various explanations for golu or bommala koluvu, be it mythological explanation or  homespun, I enjoy believing it. Some of them say that during this auspicious time, goddess Durga was most powerful, while all other gods were  ‘powerless’ as dolls. That is the reason we display gods and goddesses as dolls and worship.

While the others say, that the gods formed a procession for Durga to defeat Mahishasura and so we arrange them in steps or “padi” as like in procession and preach them.

Personally, I feel respecting all the reasons, it’s a wonderful time for the social get together with the family. In our families,we have a tradition of inviting our relatives and friends for lunch / dinner. I so much enjoy cooking for them as much as I enjoy eating their delicacies, needless to say the weight gain after the festive season!!

Usually, the golu dolls are kept in 9 / 7 / 5 or 3 steps. There are no specific rules for this. This year, we managed to keep 5 steps golu, with a projectile son and a lazy husband, don’t expect me to keep more than this (sigh!!)

Why return gift?

Whatever is the reason, I love this part of Navratri. My project of buying a good return gift starts one month before the festive season. I follow certain ground rules like we should not repeat the last year ones, we should not repeat what our neighbor has given, we should buy age appropriate gifts..etc etc, I am sure most of you are relating with me on this!!

This year, I had an idea. Keeping in view the current roaring grocery prices, why don’t I pack a kilogram of potatoes and gift it?

Yes, I got the same look from my family as well, so planned to drop this idea for the time-being. Usually, the history says, the return gifts are supposed to be in line with Amman like bangles, kumkum etc etc. But, I don’t mind gifting some useful items, I am sure the Goddess would not have laid this restriction.

What mythology says?

I tried getting this answer from elders in the family, googled it and tried researching it a little. From the bits and pieces of information I gathered, I understand that  in olden days, kings used to present alms to the people for their blessings and similarly we are doing it during this auspicious time to win the good wishes of the people. Now, my justification of buying useful things perfectly fits in, the more useful thing you gift, the better blessings you get :p :p

Now, comes the best part, Sundal!!

As a part of Devi Neivedhyam, or the offering to the goddess, Sundal ( Meaning lentils or pulses soaked, boiled and sauted)  are made in most of the houses in the evenings. It is believed that Goddess Durga, was tired fighting the demons in the morning and so in order to rejuvenate her energy, she was offered protein rich sundal ( ooo, she sounds to be diet conscious !!!)

For whatever reason, Sundal is a good food rich in proteins. With the number of houses to visit during this festival and the weather being gloomy ( October / November), I think this is the way to go!!!

Some captures from our Golu

Dasavatharams, Astha Lakshmi

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Rama, Lakshmana, Sita Devi and Hanuman

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The famous Hare Rama, Hare Krishna with blissful Radha and KrishnaIMG_0007

Most romantic couple I ever knew, Radha and Krishna in a boat ride

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Saraswathy Devi with the Veena blessing us

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Lord Siva and his family with Avvayar

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Lord Vishnu preached by ladies

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Marapachi Bomma, a must for golu

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Chettiyar’s colorful shop

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Traditional wedding with ponnu, mapilai

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Small zoo, as my little son worries how does the big car go inside the small zoo!!

IMG_0681Happy Navratri to one and all. May the goddess shower her blessing on each one of you

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Memory Intrigues – Chapter 16

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Our Team logo done by Ruchita

This is the 16thchapter of Memory Intrigues , a mystery series in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “ Dynamic Word Weavers” as a part of #CelebrateBlogging campaign by Blogadda.

You can read the previous chapter here , or check out all the chapters on our FB page here

The story so far

“I think I can help you. I am a blogger and am active in social media too. Send me the links to your best stand-up comedy episodes and I will publish it in my blog. I’ll also spread it in my social media channels. Who knows, it may reach the right people”.

As they say, life is a game of luck, and luck often favors people who work hardest. Mr. Ahuja knew that in the entertainment industry, especially, every bit of exposure counts. He gladly accepts Cyrus’s offer and they exchange cards.

“I need to take a picture, and ask some questions – I am planning to publish your interview too,” Cyrus says.

“Sure. You can come home today evening,” Mr. Ahuja says, and they leave. Cyrus goes along with Tara to her home, after work. He plays with Roohi for sometime, who accompanies him to Mr. Ahuja’s house. Cyrus sets up the camera on a Tripod for the photoshoot and Roohi jumps on Mr. Ahuja’s lap as she is also eager to get photographed. Cyrus drops Roohi at her home after the interview, says goodbye to Tara, and leaves the apartment.

***************

Tara sets off for work, highly enthused about her new place.  She thinks triumphantly “Won’t old man Motwani be delighted when he comes to know about this!”

“Trying to outrun the ‘Cheetah’, she tries to find a place to hide. The ruthless goons are chasing her.  She wants to reach the police at any cost and divulge the secret only to them. The past three days has been tough and she has tried to protect herself from the goons in every possible manner. She hopes to reach the nearest police station today and protect this earth from the virus. After all, the secret to save the world from the deadly virus has been revealed only to her before the death of the scientist.”

Shekhar wonders how to end the fiction series he has been writing for a local newspaper.

“Lungi dance lungi dance lungi dance…..” the loud sounds from Mr.Ahuja’s house disturb the already disturbed mind of Shekhar. Though he is still worried about Jennifer, he is aware of his duties as a writer. He knows that he still has some way to go before he can establish himself as an author. While his counterparts who have chosen the conventional path of content writing for IT firms are flourishing, he is still struggling to settle and make a name for himself in his field.

Writing, be it in any form, has always given comfort to Shekhar – be it poems, articles, ongoing current affairs – it has always helped him to keep his usual bubbly nature alive. He has always been a good father and an understanding husband but unfortunately over the last few months he has been living in his own bubble and trying to establish himself as an author; this has been at the root of all the discord at home.

Shekhar chooses to ignore the noisy music, pulls himself together to complete the article he was originally supposed to submit to ‘The Hindu’ two days ago and plugs in his earphones with channel soothing melodies of Jagjith Singh into his ears.  Music has always helped lift Shekhar’s spirits and unleash new thoughts.

“Inky pinky ponkey, father has a donkey”

“Inky pinky ponkey, father has a donkey”

Shekhar’s phone rings. That has been Roohi’s work!  She has mischievously changed the ring tone to a nursery rhyme.  Shekhar shakes his head and starts looking for his phone. He hopes this call is from Jenni and that she is safe somewhere. After the initial call from Jenni, he has been unable to tame his sub conscious mind and it has been a potpourri of various unpleasant thoughts.

“Mr.Shekhar Dutta, Ankit Mehra here.”

Hello Mr.Ankit, how have you been?”

“I was doing very well Mr.Shekhar until I signed you on for giving me the articles for the Editorial.”

“Mr. Ankit, I understand that there has been an inadvertent delay from my end. I shall try to finish the column at the earliest.

“Sorry Mr. Dutta, if the article is not submitted before the end of the day, you are not leaving us with any choices. We have a long list of writers just waiting to be given an opportunity. “

Dismayed, Shekhar wishes his worries would leave him alone and makes up his mind to submit the article today.

He slumps down in his chair, his glasses giving him a very erudite and scholarly look and starts to write his article “How the Scots reject independence in historic vote and the Scotland referendum”

“Shekhar, the international photographer’s conference will be conducted in Scotland and I have been shortlisted to visit the conference.  All charges paid!!” screams Jenni in ecstasy.

That’s great news Jenni, wish you all the best. I am sure you would be the best debutante photographer. Let me know if I could be of any help.

The doorbell rings and Shekhar is shaken out of his trip down memory lane.  The mention of Scotland made him fondly recollect his old memories with Jenni during his college days. Jenni and Shekhar always had a divine connect ever since they met each other. They loved spending time in each other’s company.

A lean boy with glasses stands in front of him with a handset to capture a digital signature.  “Courier sir ji!!”   He gets Shekhar to sign and moves on.

The phone sings the nursery rhyme again.

“Mr.Shekhar, this is Ankit again. This is just to remind you that we still trust you will send us the article by end of the day and we are waiting to publish it”

Sure Mr.Ankit, I am almost done lies Shekhar trying to open the courier.

Shekhar tries to read the sender’s address on the consignment through his glasses. The address is not too clear and is vaguely written. He cannot see anything other than the courier agency’s name ‘Pankaj Mishra Couriers’.

It is a small neatly packed brown cardboard box. Opening it he finds a memory card. “What could it be” he wonders.  Has some fan, if he has any, written something appreciating his work?   Could it be the photograph of himself with Deepika Padukone which was clicked at a recent mall opening ceremony?  The photo with Deepika was a surprise gift he had won.  Or does it have any connection to the missing Jennifer?

He sticks the card in the USB port of his laptop, thinking of getting himself a new laptop once he makes it big as an author.

“Looks like my lappy is also thinking of Jenni” he thinks as it takes its own sweet time to open the card.  As he sits down excitedly, there is another knock at the door.

Roohi with her heavy bag runs to the bathroom to freshen up as she is already late for her favorite cartoon show, ‘Chota Bheem’.

Shekhar comes back to his laptop, curious to know what is in the memory card. The card demands a password.

“Please type the password to open the file” flashes the computer screen.  How would he know the password!!! he wonders.

He tries to type in a combination of his birthday, first name, last name, the customary way for credit card statements; he tries various permutations and combinations of the same. He tries to call the courier office to find out the sender’s name but is unable to get any proper response.  He tries to read the address himself but the efforts bring no results.

Seeing her dad confused, Roohi says “Dad if you are not too busy, do you mind making some ‘Maggi’ for me?  I would prefer it not to be black this time!!”

Laughing at his daughter’s wit, Shekhar moves to the kitchen hoping to make good noodles this time.

You can read the next chapter here

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You may please like our FB page to get automatic updates in your newsfeed here

Me and my team ” Dynamic Word Weavers” Sulaiman Sait, Purba Chakraborthy,Kiran Acharya,Ruchita Shah,Rajesh KGanga Bharani, Satchitananda, Aditi Kasuhiva are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

P.S : This post is a part of a fiction series and does not bear any resemblance with any one dead or alive.

Memory Intrigues – Chapter 5

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Our Team logo done by Ruchita

This is the Fifth chapter of Memory Intrigues , a mystery series in the “Game of Blogs” for the team “ Dynamic Word Weavers” as a part of # CelebrateBlogging campaign by Blogadda.

 You can read the previous chapter here , or check out all the chapters on our FB page here

 A bubbling laughter directs his attention to the door where he sees swinging ponies, and brown eyes peeking into the kitchen, and he chuckles. The burnt smell must have drawn Roohi and her teddy. He wonders how long it has been since he heard her laugh.

 A monotonous ringing cuts through the house, and Shekhar dashes to the phone; he has to know that Jen is safe.

“Bloody call centre!” He exclaims, as he tosses the mobile back on the table.

 ***************

Gazing at his daughter’s laughter Shekhar lazily walks into the kitchen to clean the messed up “Maggi”. He knows Tara would freak out to see the kitchen in this state and it would invariably end up as an argument. As he struggles to clean up, his mind still keeps wandering around  ‘Kerala? Chennai?  Bangalore? or did she reach Mumbai? Where is she? Is she safe? What could the mystery be which put her life in danger?’

His mind is a jumble of dubious impressions caused by scores of disturbing thoughts. Unable to control the whirlwind in his mind, he leaves the kitchen half way through and goes back to his chair scratching his french beard, waiting for the mobile to ring. He desperately wants to talk to Jennifer and confirm that she is safe.

The doorbell screeches as the clock strikes 9:00 P.M. Shekhar sitting on his chair wonders why Tara cannot open the door with her own set of keys and looks for Roohi to open the door. Roohi is preparing for her upcoming Maths exam trying to understand the logic of multiplication, wondering if it will ever help her in her life. She knows how mom would get irked if she notices cartoon dancing yet again. 

At school Roohi has always been an industrious girl. Though she makes diligent efforts she fails to make it to the top of her class. She feels an emotional void at home. Like all her friends, Roohi too wants to share the pranks her parents play, the memorable weekends, but she is deprived of all these. Though she never openly confronts her parents with these issues, she waits for such happy days in her life.

**********

Lost in thoughts of Jennifer, Shekhar ambles along to open the door. Struggling to manage a laptop bag, a handbag, a lunch bag while searching for her ringing phone she enters the house. Shekhar comfortably ignores her grumpy look and gets back to his chair wondering if he has missed any calls in between.

Tara changes to comfortable tees and night pyjamas and starts thinking about preparations for dinner.  Roohi pipes in quizzically, asking

 “ Mom!!  Did you ever eat black noodles??” 

“No dear, so in our house noodles are made in black colour as well!! Strange!! That’s what happens when we have people who only think and do nothing”

Tara fumes on seeing the kitchen top and tries not to start a fight again as Shekhar has been deeply worried about something which he has not shared with her for the past two days. She wonders if he is working on any new spooky script!! 

Roohi, trying to balance a maths book and her teddy bear, goes running from her room to the kitchen to ask her mother about a  multiplication she is trying to comprehend for an hour now. 

“Roohi, why don’t you ask your dad the same question? He has been home all through the day and I am sure he does not have anything better to answer!!

Overhearing the conversations  Shekhar pretends to be oblivious, acting as if he were really busy with an upcoming project, all the while waiting eagerly for his mobile to ring. Curious, Roohi runs from the kitchen to the hall with her book and Teddy, expecting that her father will answer her queries.

“Roohi, I would not be right person to answer your query dear. After all, I know only to write and can never go beyond that!!! Wait for your mom to answer your questions”

Dismayed Roohi returns to her study room trying to solve the problem herself and slowly falls asleep with the Teddy and book in her hands.

Tara and Shekhar are dramatically opposite personalities and of late find it very hard to live with each other. Tara has always been a career oriented woman while Shekhar is more laid back and tries to define his own life. The only bond between them is Roohi, their innocent growing daughter.

After dinner, Tara is busy replying to her e-mails. She wonders about Shekhar’s low spirits and decides to get to the bottom of his melancholy.

“Shekhar, what’s wrong with you? Is every thing ok? For the past two days, I find you perturbed, Is anything important bothering you?”

Shekhar cannot deal with his anxiety any more. He feels like a small baby in his mother’s lap and does not try to hide it from Tara anymore . He narrates what has happened to Jennifer and how he has been eagerly awaiting the phone call from her for the past two days .

You can read the next chapter here

You may please like our FB page to get automatic updates in your newsfeed here

Me and my team ” Dynamic Word Weavers” Sulaiman Sait, Purba Chakraborthy,Kiran Acharya, Shetall Ramsinghani,Ruchita Shah,Rajesh KGanga Bharani, Satchitananda, Aditi Kasuhiva are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

P.S : This post is a part of a fiction series and does not bear any resemblance with any one dead or alive.

 

 

Fortunate dreamer

Sheetal was the most effervescent girl in the college. She was loved for her charming wit, stunning simplicity, penchant for the subject and above all for her being herself.

She was the lone daughter of an industrious middle class Government clerk. Upon graduating, while all  her peers were  busy preparing for Master’s degree, not once did she think of continuing to study . She embraced a mediocre  job with ease.She knew it was her turn to support her family financially.

At work, she was the show stopper. She had the perfect attitude towards work. For her, work was worship. She consistently topped the performance charts with diligent efforts. Her greedy colleagues many times tried to imitate her, but Sheetal was one of a unique kind.

No matter how situations changed, she had a self contained goal in her life. She aimed to work for couple of years and pursue post graduation from a reputed institution and procure a high paying job. She wanted to be no more dependent on her parents and was secretly saving for this goal of her’s.

It was a pleasant summer evening. In their best costumes, Sheetal and her parents reached the venue of a family function. Dressed in a bright red lehenga, she greeted everyone with her warm customary smile.  As a custom in Indian marriages, Sheetal touched the feet of the elders in the family to seek their blessings. With air flowing in between her broken teeth and with difficulty to speak, one of the oldies prompted that it was time Sheetal gets married. Instantaneously, Sheetal’s dad was informed about a prospective groom in their relations.

Though the boy was not present at the venue, she was introduced to other immediate family members of the prospective groom. It was decided that the boy would meet the girl the upcoming week. Her dreams of higher studies were shunned by her parents who were totally convinced this was the best match and it would be a great loss to miss the groom.

Following week, the groom along with his family members visited Sheetal’s house. She was dressed in a beautiful blue saree and was made to feel like an orthodox bride who was not allowed to talk to the groom. Her parents made extensive preparations inviting their family members and the event almost sounded like a mini wedding. Sheetal was still lost in her dreams of studying further and getting a better job. She saw her emotions getting submerged in the family’s decision for her marriage.

The guy okayed the girl and all the family members started showering their blessings for the to-be couple. Sheetal’s eyes welled with tears, people mistook it for happiness. Her ears turned deaf, and people likened it to arise out of excitement. The next day, preparations commenced for her engagement. Relatives were invited, venue was shortlisted.

Suddenly, Sheetal’s father received a call from the groom’s father and in a very subtle and melancholic voice, he quoted that the family was not too happy about the bride and they cannot proceed further. Sheetal’s parents were perturbed and inconsolable.

Sheetal over heard the news and she jumped in the air like a little school kid who won the running competition. Her dream world swiftly took a shape. She saw herself as one of the top executives in a reputed institute. Gathering her conscience, she walked to her parents and confronted about her dreams of higher education, better job and her wish to settle down in life before she gets married. Her parents were proud of their daughter and allowed her to fly to heights she aimed to.

P.S:  Unfortunately in India,  in the context of wedding, a girl’s choice is still considered taboo. The family decides the good for her and in return she is expected to nod in approval. With this growing technological culture, wish girls especially from the rural areas get a chance to speak their mind  and given freedom to make their own choices.

God in disguise???

Parents in despair, she was born impaired

Friends mock, people joke, but she grew strong as an oak

Unknown soul bestows eyes, may be God in disguise??

Life filled with colors, heart filled with thanks….

…as darkness perish, happiness cherish

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P.S : This post is a part of 5-sentence fiction for the prompt Darkness

Organ donation is a social responsibility. Let us contribute our share by creating awareness!!

 

 

Supply, Demands and Equilibrium???

Economics always puzzled me. It had so many laws to explain, so many theories to state, and so many examples to analyze. I once read the law of Supply, Demand and Equilibrium and today I try to relate it to my life. I am not going to write a self help post, that’s too much of a thought for me!! It’s all about my son’s demands and my supply of patience, tolerance and intelligence ( Yes, some times, I need to be intelligent enough to come up with some freaking thoughts too!! )

My little guy is scandalously demanding and it had been an unending attempt to complement his demands and to attain  the so called equilibrium. Perhaps, I so much wish I had a time machine which will help me spy into the future and glimpse if ever I would reach this state or not??

I must awfully admit that I am working to increase my patience levels, stoop down to his demands, finding alternatives (Only writing about it). Some excerpts he believes:

  1. Strong are the boys who have milk ahead of brushing the teeth. Milk that is offered after brushing teeth may enjoy its stay in the sink.
  2.  Living room is best meant to be transformed to a play gym in the evenings. Once Momma is back from work and relaxed for a minute or so, she can start her evening workout session of cleaning the mess.
  3. The only way to commute in between the rooms is by bicycle which is parked at the center of the living room when not in use. If Mommy questions this, she may take the pleasure of tidying up the toys that are shattered all over.
  4. Food should not have any unsavoury condiments like coriander, cumin.The dinner will be cancelled should I detect any.
  5. Mommy needs to have an adequate supply of liquid hand wash because she truly understands the cleanliness freak in me.
  6. Only monkeys eat bananas without chocolate syrup. Mom is
    happy to add it to bananas anytime she serves.
  7. Bed time stories are to be read till the sun rises or atleast till Mommy falls giddy with absolutely no drop in the emotions and special effects.
  8. Kids always wear pants and daddies wear shorts. If you wish to offer one, you may give it to daddy.
  9. Sleeping is waste of time and so I don’t. Perhaps, the better way to spend time is to play, jump, and mess.
  10. The TV should only play Little Krishna till the channel decides to move it off-air. The ones that have entertainment, music,comedy are too insane to watch.

 How many of these do you relate to?

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