If you ask me what gift can make me the happiest, I would always say books. The smell of a book or the feeling evoked from touching it is sanctimonious for me. That is why if someone asks me to choose between a paperback or e-book, I will always choose the former.
Books have been an integral part of my growing up years. My father, now a retired Mathematics Professor has always been fond of Bengali literature. My mother would read out stories from the children’s books and my fascination for the written word began. Once I discovered the love of reading on my own, I sucked into a world of my own.
I must have been in class 5 when I was introduced to Satyajit Ray. During summer vacation that year, one of his Detective novels ‘Sonar Kella’ adapted to a movie kept playing on TV. I was enthralled by it. I remember studying hard for the final term exams that year because Baba had promised a double treat of books by Ray if I ranked in the top three.
Thus began my journey with the razor-sharp and intelligent sleuth Feluda aka Pradosh C Mitter. Assisted by his cousin brother Tapesh Ranjan aka Topshe and friend Lalmohan Ganguly aka Jatayu, they traveled from the banks of the Ganges in Benaras to the Thames in London.
Each year, I would eagerly be waiting for the book fair held during winters. I would pick up all the new Feluda books, Ray’s other books, and some more detective thrillers. These books were then kept in Ma’s custody until my second term exams were over. I can never forget the way I would rush back home to claim my most cherished possession after the last exam.
Throughout my growing years, winter afternoons had occupied a special place in my heart. I remember sitting on a carpet spread over the veranda floor, sipping coffee and reading books. Ma would give me company some days and so those afternoons were spent narrating a story from any of my favorite books to her.
W could have been the iconic Writers’ Building with a historical and political significance, Waldorf – one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Park Street or the Walking Tours that give a glimpse into the heritage and history of the city. But I couldn’t let go of an opportunity to cover an interesting topic that is essentially all about the Bengali culture and rituals – Wedding(biye in colloquial Bengali).
Wedding (Biye) –
A host of deep, meaningful rituals seeped in culture and tradition are performed amidst colorfully elegant and immensely creative decorations. The Bengali weddings are celebrations of colour, camaraderie and beauty . They are elaborate affairs with celebrations spanning for 2-3 days from morning till night. The rituals and their executions are subtly different among the two main subcultures in Bengal, the Bangals (Bengalis with roots in Bangladesh) and the Ghotis (Bengalis with roots in West Bengal).
Pre-Wedding Rituals –
Paka Katha or Pati Potro– Generally applicable in arranged marriages, this is a formal meeting between the family members of the bride and groom to agree upon the various aspects associated with the marriage. Paka Dekha is the term used by the Ghotis while Pati Potro happens among the Bangals.
Ashirvaad – The bride and groom are blessed by the elders of the family along with gifts pertaining to jewellery, saree and other items. This is followed by an elaborate feast. For certain households, ashirvaad happens only on the evening of the wedding.
The A2Z blogging challenge with Blogchatter is all about blogging on every single day through April except on Sundays. So essentially there’s an alphabet associated with every single day. A on the first day, B on the second and so on until it’s Z on the twenty-sixth day. When I took up this challenge, I had already been posting two to four blog posts every week. However it looked like a Herculean task to post every single day and that too on the basis an alphabet. I felt challenged and there’s no best way to overcome the fear than to face it. So, here I go with my theme reveal of my first ever A2Z challenge.
Through a series of twenty-six posts, I am going to help the readers enjoy a journey down my state West Bengal through ‘A dollop of Bengal’. My blog belongs to a multi-niche category and through this theme, I intend to cover cities, places, food, restaurants, personalities, characters, festivals and a lot more that define this state. So that looks like a huge list right?
Wait, there’s a twist! Among the multiple options in various categories starting with any particular alphabet, I am going to choose and write only about the one that has a connection to my life. Stay tuned to know who makes it to the list and what is their significance in my journey.
I am waiting to make this my biggest project till date. Can’t wait for you to come sooner, April to get this started.
Feminist by the day today, abused by her husband night after night,
But she wasn’t ready to succumb her fate to such plight.
People saw her grit to save victims, no one saw the scars running buried within,
To the world she was a messiah, no one knew the story of her fight for surviving.
Truth be told, there never existed a mirror in her house,
Lest she accidentally comes face to face with that turbulence hidden in her mind.
The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is Sweet for the current week. As per the rules, the photo can either be of something or someone sweet. So, I thought of featuring one of the sweetest relationships in my family – the bond shared between a grandfather and his grandson.
This picture was taken in Dec 2017, when we took off for a family vacation in Mandarmoni, India. The toddler loves swings but he was scared of hurting himself due to a fall. His paternal grandpa (on the left) and maternal granddad (on the right) held his hand from both the sides while he enjoyed his ride. Their presence was enough for him to rise up and high.
This week of Cee’s Fun Foto Challengehas the letter Y. This is part of the Alphabet with a twist series and the rules state that it needs to start or end with the letter Y or in the caption for the photo “Why” needs to be present. We have traveled back to my home town for a couple of weeks and the toddler is getting to spend a lot of time with both his paternal grandparents and my Dad. Winter is on a backward retreat mode.
Today morning we were trying to go a little creative with the games while playing on the sun-kissed veranda floor of the house I grew up in. Dad had just laid out freshly cleaned raw vegetables. The toddler insisted on using the potatoes, tomatoes, pea-pods and his crayons to make a pattern. So I made the alphabet ‘Y’ using the vegetables and he tried picking it up using his set of crayons. I remember coaxing my Mum to do the same during my growing up years. Through today’s play session, I realized how small moments in motherhood can indeed be a way of reminiscing my childhood.