Sunday, January 27, 2008

Makar Sankranti

Yeah!.... it’s too late to wish Makar Sankranti for this year, but the reason I am mentioning it is not to wish you all. I have always know Makar Sankranti as the day of holiday in school and to eat pitha (Bengali dessert made during marakar sankranti) tilgur, pongal for my south Indian friends and a day that everyone tries a hand on flying a kite! I always thought that Makar Sankranti was a harvest festival. This year a day before Sankranti I just did what I love to do most of the time ! google’d- Makar Sankranit; I was so amazed by what I read.

According to Vedas, Makar Sankranti is the time when our planet Earth is farthest from Sun and after day the days start to become longer. Sankranti means to go from one place to another (to change direction). The time when the Sun changes direction from one constellation (of the zodiac) to another is known as Sankranti. During this time Sun moves from zodiac Sagittarius(Dahu rashi) to Capricorn (Makar rashi). Hence it is called Makar Sankranti. From this day onwards the sun starts travelling northwards, the Bhagavad Gita mentions the importance of the northern path of the sun at the time of death. This was the reason why Grandsire Bhishma, who was wounded in battle and in semi conscious state, while lying on the bed of arrows, chose to wait it out, awaiting the northward path of the sun, before choosing to die. It is believed that those who die in this period have no rebirth. The other reasons to celebrate Makar Sankranti are ofcourse what is commonly known harvest festival.

What amazed me was not the belief of getting Moksha for those who die during this time. But by the accurate knowledge of Vedas. How accurately could they calculate the time of earth’s orbit to sun; and their predictions based on the same. During the time when there was no telescopes or any advance equipments. Though Vedas do not mention heavy terms like Perihelion and Aphelion, but the study on it is so exact. That is when I remember what my dad always use to tell me “Everything we study today is already mentioned in Vedas, Mahabharat & Ramayan.” During ramayan-mahabharat days on TV when we use to watch those battle scenes… where one arrow shot becomes multiple arrows, dad use to say “the concept of atom bomb comes from here”. And when I think now it sounds blizzard but relative.

So, there is so much knowledge already with us and we ignore it saying Antha vishwas or say that purani batien hai… But if we take a little effort to find more we can learn so much about our culture and religion, and learn deeper meanings attached to them. I hope, I didn’t chew too much of my readers brains… thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Big Apple / Amchi Mumbai

Last year when I came to US, I reached city that everyone dreams to visit once in a life time.... New York. I was told that you are gonna live an American dream.... it all sounded so fascinating.... WOW!!! i will live in one of the most popular city in the world..... So here i was, living in Manhattan- New York (mind it.... not Brooklyn Queens or The Bronx :D its like staying in South Mumbai and not Brandra, Chembur or Thane) only 14 street down Times Square, it is said that almost 1.6 million people pass through Times Sqaure everyday! Exciting!! So while I was fighting the cold and wind in NY and getting in terms with the New York lifestyle; Robert (VP of PPC.... the company where Pal works) asked me, "So how does it feel like to live an American Dream?" And all I could tell him was it feels like living in Mumbai. He was taken aback by my remark (his expression was… how can you compare any city with New York?) and I told him… yes it is exactly like living in Mumbai.. You have Wall Street, we have Dalal Street over 2.6 million people travel to South Mumbai every day and just like New York it is island city...

Only then I realized how much I miss the hustle bustle of amchi Mumbai… the Bright red coloured BEST buses, the over crowed local train, the stench while going to Bandra, the hot wada pav and cutting chai, and the warm breeze just like the spirit of every Mumbaite… I still remember the days when I use to sulk with my friends and and complain about every thing… kya bakwaas traffic and… kya stupid garmi hai, yahaan itni baarish kyu hoti, yeh rastien mein gaddhe hai ya gaddhe mein rasta hai :D :D But I miss that… really staying away from the country has made my will only stronger to go back. So friends though we hate the life in Mumbai, it is no less than living in New York and in many ways even better than New York.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bindaas Bombayite to Bong Ginni

It has been over a year now, living in the country of opportunities. And I wanted to share my experience with everyone who dreams of coming here and people who are like me one of the many desi’s in US of A. BUT WAIT…….. What’s this to do with Bindaas Bombayite ????

Well, that’s what I could come up with to best describe me. In this past one year I have lead a journey from a Bindaas Bombayite…. Single girl living in Bombay/Mumbai (not alone.. with parents). Bombay which is land of opportunities, no less than the BIG APPLE; but ten times the crowed and competition. Who believed that if you want to achieve something you just have decide and nothing can stop you from achieving it. Had loads of friends… school friends, college friends, colony friends, work friends… did I miss someone?? You want to party….. and there are ‘n’ number of friends that you have to party with. Its Diwali!! Lunch with college friends, dinner with school friends, a trip with office friends…. bla bla bla ….. you must have heard saying this to others too… Yeah…. That’s what I was…. a Bombayite whom nothing could scare… heavy rains, floods, bomb blast, travelling alone late night…. Ek dum Bindaas…

Now I am Bong Ginni… ginni is the metaphor used for most Bengali married woman, busy in there ghar- sansaar, parivaar… My ghar- sansaar here is limited to me and my husband Puspendu aka Pal (phirangio ke data tuth jatein hai first name lene mein….) One year at home I have discovered some very unknown qualities of mine… which makes me a Bong ginni…. my love for cooking …. mostly typical bong food. And yes…… food which is cooked in mustard oil, posto and fish. Once a friend of mine said…. Tu bangali hai??? Tumlog toh daal aur saag mein bhi fish khate ho….. lol…. I didn’t know how to react that time… but yes….. its true and I am proud of it…. Nothing can beat Ilish maach er matha with palan shaag…. that’s called ghonto…. Or charchari…. (that is Ghoti Bangal conflict at our place…. he he…. I am Bangal and my hubby… Ghoti). Though far far away from mother land… my zeal to celebrate each and every Bengali festival…. Durga puja, lakkhi puja….kali puja…. Shankranti… Yeah… these are typical traits of Bong Ginni’s…. devotion toward Maa Kali…. and there zest to keep their traditions alive.

So this who I am Jaya (Biswas) Pal Bindaas Bombayite and a Bong Ginni…… Welcome to my home page!