First time joys for the kid during Janmashtami’22

Last month, we traveled to Berhampore for Janmashtami celebrations at my marital home. Though the kid has traveled by train a couple of times, he was too young to remember. This time, we chucked the car and took the train. Our son enjoyed the onward and return journey as he ate a variety of food, purchased items and toys from the hawkers, and enjoyed the view from the train’s window. Here’s a snap of him at his naughty best on the day we traveled back to Kolkata.

The fun ride on the train

Berhampore sky was at its sunny best for the first two days of our trip. On the third day, the skies yelped and shed tears as I prepared for our return journey. Strangely, by evening, it was back to its gorgeous state. My marital home is located in the busiest part of the town. Surrounded by the local market, the place is forever buzzing. Most of the residential properties are decades old, though some have been demolished to build new age apartment complexes. Our son was amazed by the thriving market area and surrounding landscape that smelt of nostalgia. We spent a lot of time on the terrace.

Berhampore sky and the landscape around my marital home

The boy loves birds. Even in Kolkata, he ensures to leave some food items on our balcony grills for the birds. But in Berhampore, he had the huge terrace to himself to run around and have fun. Every evening, he spread puffed rice, bread crumbs, and biscuit pieces all over the terrace and called out to the pigeons. Almost every day, a few pigeons and some crows came to nibble on the food as we sat at one corner, away from the birds. Though he had done this ritual before, it was his first time acting responsible and feeding the birds by himself. His father and I were mere spectators.

Feeding the birds

There are many other things that the child did for enjoyment. I found him giving signatures on paper to the guests present during Janmashtami puja as a permit granted to them to go upstairs for eating prasad. He spent hours playing the dholak while ensuring that the pen he used to give his autograph was safely tucked into his t-shirt.

The boy with his dholak and pen

Inside the room, he spent hours swaying on his father’s rocking chair that he has already claimed to be his property now. From tasting yummy malpoa and taler bora to eating spicy dum aloo along with polao as part of the bhog offered, the kid experienced it all. These small gestures keep him close to our roots and experience things that were integral to our childhood spent in the small town of Berhampore.

Hijacking his father’s rocking chair.

Happy Janmashtami 2020

Janmashtami is celebrated with elan in my marital home. Ever since we moved back to Kolkata, we ensured to make a trip to Berhampore to attend the festival. Unfortunately, the pandemic made it impossible to travel this year with our soon-to-turn-five-year-old.

The family deity of Lord Krishna
The family deity of Lord Krishna

The celebrations of our family deities, Shyam-Rai, were a low-key affair this year with only family members attending the rituals. Yet, we couldn’t help but feel sad at missing the happiness of the day. To cheer up the kid, I decided to have a small puja at home after dressing him up as little Krishna. The pictures of the deities and rituals from his paternal grandparents in the evening brought a big smile on his face.

Puja room in my marital home
Puja room in my marital home

Puja at our Kolkata home

May Lord Krishna help us overcome this crisis. Stay safe and take care.