L¢j¢Vl fr −b−L ¢LR¥ Lb¡ fË£u p¤¤d£hª¾c J öi¡e¤dÉ¡u£l¡, Na hRl kMe f§−S¡l ¢WL L−uL¢ce B−NC Bj¡−cl S¡e¡e qm −k CV¡¢mu¡e ú¥−m f§S¡ Ll¡ k¡−he¡, c¤¢ÕQ¿¹¡u fË¡u j¡b¡l Q¥m ¢Rys¢R, −L¡b¡u fy¡Q ¢c−el f§S¡ Ll¡ k¡u −i−h, aMe qW¡v f¡Ju¡ −Nm "b¡mECm' Hl HC Ol, M¡¢eLV¡ j¡−ul Bn£hÑ¡−cl jaeC j−e q−u¢Rmz Hh¡−lJ Ol¢V Aøj£l ¢ce ¢lp¡iÑ Ll¡ ¢Rm AeÉ L¡−l¡l SeÉz Bjl¡ k¢cJ M¤h p¤¤¾cl HL¢V q−ml hÉ¡hÙÛ¡ L−l¢Rm¡j, ph¡lC je −Lje Ll¢Rm "b¡mEC−ml' Ol¢Vl SeÉz Ol¢V f¡h¡l Bn¡ fË¡u −R−sC ¢c−u¢Rm¡jz j¡p M¡−eL B−N H−m¡ p¤¤Mhl, Aøj£l ¢ce Ol f¡Ju¡ k¡−hz j−e qm j¡−ul cu¡z Bj¡−cl CµR¡ f§lZ Ll−me j¡z M¤y¢V e¡¢V q¡S¡lV¡ L¡S ¢e−uC −a¡ f§−S¡l B−u¡Sez Na L−uL hRl d−l c¤NÑ¡ f§−S¡l pju LaS−e −k Evp¡¢qa q−u H¢N−u H−p e¡e¡ L¡−S q¡a m¡N¡e a¡l −L¡e ¢qp¡h −eCz A−e−LC A¢gp −b−L R¥¢V ¢e−u f§−S¡l L−uL ¢ce f¤−l¡f¤¢l f§−S¡l Be−¾c J B−u¡S−e −k¡N −ce z Hh¡l j¡−ul J Bj¡−cl je¢h−e¡c−el SeÉ Bj¡−cl påÉ¡l p¡wú«¢aL O−l¡u¡ Ae¤ù¡−e −k¡N ¢c−a H¢N−u H−p−Re hý ¢nÒf£z f§S¡ f¢œL¡u ¢e−S−cl −mM¡ R¡f¡h¡l SeÉ B−N A−eL p¡d¡p¡¢d Ll−a qa ph¡C−Lz Hh¡l f¢œL¡¢V g¥−m −gy−f q−u cy¡¢s−u−R B¢n f¡a¡l Eflz −mM¡ −ch¡l ¢ce f¡l q−u k¡Ju¡ p−šÄJ H−p −fy±R¡−µR e¡e¡ fËhå, NÒf J L¢ha¡z ¢c−e ¢c−e j¡−ul f§S¡l X¡¢m La S−el Efq¡−l i−l E−W−R, d¡−f d¡−f LmL¡a¡ −b−L H−p−R gcÑja n¡¢s, d§¢a, N¡jR¡, Qy¡cj¡m¡ J lLj¡¢l ¢j¢øz Hh¡l ¢e−Sl q¡−a Ll¡ ¢j¢øl Lj¢a q−mJ, O−l O−l Nª¢qe£l¡ e¡l−L−ml e¡s¥l f¡L −cJu¡ Blñ L−l ¢c−u−Rez e¡¢a e¡a¢el q¡a −b−L h¡¢Q−u Lj L−l q¡S¡l M¡−eL e¡s¥ −fy±−R k¡−h o¢ùl ¢c−eCz H R¡s¡ −LE −c−he f§S¡l j¡m¡, −LE h¡ −c−he m¡m fcÈ, −LE −LE Be−he ¢e−Sl h¡N¡−el g¥m, gmz l¡¢n l¡¢n Q¾cÊj¢õL¡, −Nyc¡, X¡¢mu¡, B−fm, e¡pf¡¢a J BP¥lz f’j£l ¢ce f§S¡jä−f S−s¡ q−h, f§S¡l p¡Spl”¡j h¡pefœz Ol p¡S¡−e¡l q¡S¡lV¡ My¥¢Ve¡¢V ¢S¢eo kaÀpqL¡−l O−l O−l −a¡m¡ ¢Rmz H−L H−L hp−h fË¢aj¡, f¤S¡l k¡uN¡ i−l EW−h lLj¡¢l cnLjÑ i¡ä¡−ll ¢S¢eo fœ, −Qu¡l −V¢hm fl−h, °a¢l q−h −øS, m¡N−h j¡C−œ²¡−g¡ez o¢ùl ¢ce −b−L ¢e−u cnj£l ¢ce Ah¢d Qm−h f§−S¡, c−m c−m Bp−he fËh¡p£ h¡‰¡¢ml¡ J i¡la£u, ¢LR¥ öi¡L¡¢´r p¤C¤ p J CE−l¡f£J hå¥z L−uL¢c−el SeÉ ¢h−c−n hC−h h¡wm¡l q¡Ju¡z Bjl¡ j¡−ul L¡−R fË¡bÑe¡ S¡e¡C −k ¢QlL¡m HaV¡C Ewp¡q, EŸj J −fËlZ¡ ¢e−u i¢hoÉ−aJ −ke hwn flÇfl¡u ¢eù¡i−l HC p¡hÑSe£e f§S¡ f¡me Ll−a f¡¢lz deÉh¡c¡−¿¹, p¡hÑSe£e c¤NÑ¡f§S¡ L¢j¢V (2009) p¤¤Cpf§S¡ - 5400 h¡−cez
Message from the Committee Dear Friends and Wellwishers, Welcome! A very warm welcome to you all to the 2009 Sarbajonin Durga Puja in “Schützenhalle” in Thalwil, Switzerland. Last year we were in dire trouble. A few days before the puja was to start we had no place to put up the Durga Protima. A last minute cancellation gave us the “Schützenhalle” which saved our face and has saved the Durga Puja. Someone among us said it was all Ma Durga’s doing. This year also we are really lucky to get the “Schützenhalle”. On the most important Ashtami day, the 26th of September 2009, the “Schützenhalle” was booked and so the 2
whole “Schützenhalle” was not available for us. Two months ago there was a cancellation and so now we can go ahead with our Durga Puja in the same location like last year. We are blessed. Is it really Ma Durga’s doing again? We do not know. The enthusiasm which the people have shown in the past few years during the Durga Puja days, gives us the strength and desire to organise such an authentic Durga Puja for 5 days long so far away from Kolkata. Far away from Kolkata because to organise all the nitty gritty things is mind boggling. We are very proud that enthusiastic helping hands are available in plenty. People are taking leave from their work place to participate in all activiites. People are showing enthusiasm and coming forward to take part in cultural programms. Their shyness is shedding away. Most probably we have enough talent among us to entertain ourselves so that we do not need to resort to “Outsourcing” . Ladies well past their 60s are enthusiastically preparing “Naarkoler Naaru” (home made) more than 1000 pieces for our Ma Durga. Sponsoring is a form of expressing one’s enthusiasm, so several people have come forward sponsoring Garlands for Ma Durga. Many have spent their holidays in Kolkata gladly bringing back sarees, dhotis, gamchaa, as well as sweets from Kolkata and sponsoring them. Our “Puja Patrika” has earned a name outside the country. Articles are sent from Paris, France to be printed in our Patrika. Our “Puja Patrika” then is after all not that bad. The Patrika has become more than 80 pages thick. Once we had to beg for articles then came a stage when we had to remind the authors more than once. Now barrage of articles flow in even after the last date. Is it Ma Durga’s doing, arousing enthusiasm in all of us and telling us to forget and forgive and carry on with the festivities. May be. During the Puja days we take this oppurtunity to invite our family and friends, Swiss and Indian to join us in our festivities. We encourage them to enjoy the celebrations and put in their personal efforts to make it even more beautiful. For a few days young and old come together from all over Switzerland to celebrate and to renew their belief in triumph of good over evil. It looks as if Ma Durga has come to stay in “Schützenhalle” in Thalwil. So let us all make her feel happy in our surroundings. Let us also vow not to commercialise the Durga Puja celebrations in Switzerland and transform it into a weekend one. She will then surely come back, year after year to bestow her blessings on us and the generations to come. So let us pray together and say, Om Shanti! Om Shanti! Om Shanti. Sarbojanin Durgapuja Committee Switzerland Swisspuja 5400 Baden Sarbojonin Durgapuja Committee, Switzerland – 2009 President: Gautam Sengupta
Working committee: Chandra Chakraborty Santanu Misra
Secretary: Jyotiprasad Majumder Treasurer: Baisali Sant-Kundu 3
p¤¤¢Qfœ - Index Message from the Ambassador of India L¢j¢Vl fr −b−L ¢LR¥ Lb¡ / Message from the Committee f§S¡l ¢hhlZ£ / Puja Details ¢eu¢a hp¿¹¢hq¡l£ f¡¢ma HL¢V Lb¡ hm¡l Lb¡ Q’m c¡p p‰j d£j¡e i–¡Q¡kÑÉ Bj¡l −L¡mL¡a¡ J j¤¢š²l cnL c£f¡”e¡ −O¡o S¡Nle e¾cc¤m¡m e¾c£ g¥Vh−ml BaÈLb¡ nl¢c¾c¥ ¢jœ ¢Q¢Wfœ ¢nfË¡ −O¡o fË¡bÑe¡ p¤¤LeÉ¡ QÉ¡V¡SÑ£ n¡l−c¡vph p¤¤n£m −O¡o fbQm¡ d£j¡e i–¡Q¡kÑÉ A Scintilla in the Darkness Dhiman Bhattacharya Nostalgic Visit Mrinal Kanti Ganguly Cultural Programme Itenerary Bhogs and Blogs of Bengal Biplab Das Homecoming with Uma and Family Brindarica Bose Multiplying Risks Procyon Mukherjee Understanding Value Differences Procyon Mukherjee The Need to Die Procyon Mukherjee Ein Hinterhältiger Bauer Ritika Chakraborty Der Klavierwettbewerb Abhigyan Ghosh PenSpinning Abhigyan Ghosh Mahabharata - Indiens Grösstes Epos Arobinda Roy
1 2 6 7 12 13 14 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 30 33 34 43 50 52 58 59 60 61 62
We are also thankful to Mr. Kishaloya Roychowdhury, Mr. Subhendu Das & Mr. Bidesh Banerjee from Jogmaya Printer, Kolkata, India, who have helped us tremendously in making this year’s Puja Patrika a reality.
f§S¡l ¢hhlZ£ jq¡pçj£ - öœ²h¡l, 25 −pf−Vðhl, 2009
f§S¡ öl¦ pL¡m 7:45 O¢VL¡ f¤×f¡”¢m c¤f¤l 12:00 O¢VL¡ påÉ¡l¢a påÉ¡ 6:45 O¢VL¡ f§S¡ öl¦ pL¡m 7:45 O¢VL¡ f¤×f¡”¢m c¤f¤l 12:00 O¢VL¡ påÉ¡l¢a påÉ¡ 6:30 O¢VL¡ påÉ¡ 8-15 −b−L 9-03 O¢VL¡ Ah¢d f§S¡ öl¦ pL¡m 7:45 O¢VL¡ f¤×f¡”¢m c¤f¤l 12:00 O¢VL¡ påÉ¡l¢a påÉ¡ 6:45 O¢VL¡ f§S¡ öl¦ pL¡m 8:30 O¢VL¡ f¤×f¡”¢m −hm¡ 10:30 O¢VL¡ ¢hpSÑe −hm¡ 11:00 O¢VL¡ ¢pyc¤l −Mm¡ ¢hL¡m 3:00 O¢VL¡
jq¡øj£ - n¢eh¡l, 26 −pf−Vðhl, 2009
p¢åf§S¡ - n¢eh¡l, 26 −pf−Vðhl, 2009 jq¡ehj£ - l¢hh¡l, 27 −pf−Vðhl, 2009
¢hSu¡cnj£ - −p¡jh¡l, 28 −pf−Vðhl, 2009
Puja Details Mahasaptami, Friday, 25th September, 2009 Mahashtami, Saturday, 26th September, 2009 Sandhipuja, Saturday, 26th September, 2009 Mahanavami, Sunday, 27th September, 2009 Bijoyadashami, Monday, 28th September, 2009
Puja start Pushpanjali Sandhyarati Puja start Pushpanjali Sandhyarati 8:15 p.m. until
7:45 a.m. 12:00 a.m. 6:45 p.m. 7:45 a.m. 12:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m. 9:03 p.m.
Puja start Pushpanjali Sandhyarati Puja start Pushpanjali Bisorjon Sindur Khela -
7:45 a.m. 12:00 a.m. 6:45 p.m. 8:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 11:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m.
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p‰j qm BS La k¤N f−l, f¤l¡−e¡ ¢c−el −n−o ea¥e ¢c−el öl¦, S¡¢ee¡ LMe qW¡v fËmu T−s n¡¿¹ hr i−u L¡yf−h c¤l¦cl¦ ! −p¡f¡e −hy−u kMe Y¥¢L O−l, L¥yQ−L k¡u −Le −S¡s¡ i¥l¦ ! −c¢M −O¡l påÉ¡u Ol i−l B−R Byd¡−l B−m¡q£e f¢l−hn j−e qu Smq£e jl¦ ! c¤¢V Qlj ¢h¾c¥l j¡−T B−R hÉhd¡e, n§eÉa¡ eu −pM¡−e S¥−s B−R A−Qe¡ j¡dÉj, a¡−lC p¡¢b L−l pju OV¡−h ¢hd¡e, q−h c¤¢V ¢hfl£a pšÄ¡l A¢ieh p‰j ! ph ¢jm−eC qu A−eL ¢LR¥l Bc¡e öï −S¡vpÀ¡−a B−m¡-Byd¡−l N¡ L−l i¡−m¡ m¡−N S£h−el −pË¡−a ph ¢jm−el j−e qu S£he −ke La pqpË −S¡s¡l *****
fËc¡e, RjRj, −k¡Nc¡e, p‰j !
Bj¡l −L¡mL¡a¡ J j¤¢š²l cnL −L¡mL¡a¡ Bj¡l h¤−L ¢hoj f¡bl q−u B−R B¢j Hl phÑe¡n L−l k¡h B¢j H−L gy¥p¢m−u ¢e−u k¡−h¡ qm¢cu¡ h¾c−l
p¤¤e£m N¡‰y¥m£l −mM¡ HC L¢ha¡V¡l fÉ¡ne Bj¡−L Ry¥−mJ −L¡−e¡ nq−ll fË¢a L¢hl HC a£hË i¡mh¡p¡V¡ h¤T−a f¡¢l¢e karZ e¡ ¢e−S −L¡mL¡a¡l h¡C−l H−p¢Rz gy¥p¢m−u ¢e−u Bp−a e¡ f¡l−mJ −L¡mL¡a¡−L ¢LR¥V¡ B¢j p−‰ L−l ¢e−u H−p¢R, h¡L£V¡l SeÉ HMeJ j¡−T j¡−T Lø quz B¢j S−eÈ¢R ü¡d£e i¡lah−oÑz B¢j ¢hË¢Vn n¡pZ −c¢M¢e, −cn ¢hi¡−Nl Lø, Eà¡Ù¹¥l i£s, d−jÑl L¡l−Z −L¡−e¡ hs dl−Zl q¡e¡q¡¢e ¢LR¥C −c¢M¢e B¢jz Bj¡l −L¡mL¡a¡ −j¡V¡j¤¢V ¢el¡fc ¢Rmz B¢j SeÈ −l¡j¡¢¾VL, a¡C BL¡n e£m q−mC Bj¡l SNv i−l −ka Be−¾c, Bh¡l BL¡n L¡−m¡ Ll¡ Oe −jO Bl hª¢ø J M¤h i¡mh¡pa¡jz Bj¡−cl h¡s£−a Q¡lf¡−n öd¤ hC Bl hCz I h¡s£−a h¡p L−l hC e¡ f−s b¡L−a f¡l¡ M¤h L¢Wez pñhax HC L¡l−ZC B¢j −R¡V −hm¡ −b−LC HLV¡ ¢eSü Ns¡ SN−a b¡L−a b¡L−a h¡Ù¹−hl SN−a −h¢s−u Bp−a f¡¢l¢e, BSJz S£h−e k¿»Z¡−a¡ Lj f¡C¢e, ah¤ Bj¡l −l¡j¡¢¾VL cª¢ø i‰£ Bl O¤Qm e¡z −k−qa¥ B¢j A−eL c¡c¡ - ¢c¢c−cl j−dÉ b¡La¡j a¡C J−cl ja q−a f¡l¡V¡C Bj¡l S£h−el HLj¡œ mrÉ ¢Rmz c¡c¡ ¢c¢cl¡ AhnÉ Bj¡−L ¢e−u −hn£ j¡b¡ O¡j¡−ae e¡, j¡−T j¡−T öd¤ hs q−u JW¡l fl£r¡ ¢c−a qa J−cl L¡−Rz −pC fl£r¡ …−m¡l j−dÉ HLV¡ ¢Rm Bj¡−cl h¡s£l −fR−el ¢hn¡m ¢ej N¡−Rl X¡m Ry¥−a f¡l¡z R¡−a JW¡l ¢py¢sV¡ −kM¡−e O¤−l −N−R JM¡−e L¡−Wl HLV¡ Awn −cM¡ −ka, JV¡ Ry¥−a f¡l¡ ¢Rm ¢àa£u fl£r¡z −l¡SC fl£r¡ ¢ca¡j Bl −gm Lla¡j . . BS I fË¡u gy¡L¡ h¡s£−a I N¡−Rl X¡m −Ry¡u¡l ja Bl −L¡−e¡ −R−m −j−u b¡−Le¡z ¢eSÑe HL¡L£ ¢ej N¡RV¡ ah¤ cy¡¢s−uC b¡−L . . . . . p¡c¡ ú¡VÑ f−l ú¥−m −ka¡jz aMe VÊ¡jl¡Ù¹¡ ¢Rm nÉ¡j¡fËp¡c j¤M¡SÑ£ −l¡X d−lz Hm¢Ne Hl −j¡−s −e−j A−eLV¡ qy¡V−a qaz ¢e−S−L −cM−a f¡C, I l¡Ù¹¡ ¢c−u −qy−V k¡¢µR, cm −h−dy h¡ HL¡ HL¡, NË£−×j, hoÑ¡u, n£−az n£aL¡−m f¡s¡l −R−ml¡ ¢œ²−LV −Mm−R, Bjl¡ −c¡am¡l h¡l¡¾c¡u cy¡¢s−u −cM¢R - n£−al Ae¤o−‰yl p¡−b S¢s−u B−R HC cªnÉz a¡lf−lC Q¡l f¡−nl ph¢LR¥ −Lje hc−m −k−a m¡N−m¡z Bj¡−cl ú¥−ml p¡c¡ −cJu¡m −mM¡u i−l −Nm - "h¾c¥−Ll emC rja¡l Evp ", "pš−ll cnL−L j¤¢š²l cnL L−l a¥m¤e ", "¢c−L ¢c−L Lj−lX N−s −a¡−m¡ hÉ¡¢l−LX "- L¡l¡ ¢mM−R Hph? Bp−m eLn¡m B−¾c¡m−el fVi¨¢j öl¦ q−u¢Rm A−eL B−NC? H öd¤ −n−ol ¢c−Ll Lb¡z eLn¡m B−¾c¡me ¢e−u, Hl i¡−m¡j¾c ¢e−u A−eL −mM¡ q−u−R - k¡ −b−L Ah−n−o j¾cV¡C −h¢s−u H−p−Rz Bj¡l −mM¡ −L¡−e¡ ea¥e Lb¡ −n¡e¡−e¡l SeÉ eu, H öd¤ Bj¡l hÉ¢š²Na Aa£a-Q¡¢la¡z −p hs p¤¤−Ml pju eu, HLV¡ N¡ RjR−j Ae¤i¨¢a ¢O−l b¡L−a¡ Bj¡−clz aMe p−h −Q …−ui¡l¡l X¡Cl£ f−s¢R, f−s¢R "c¤¢eu¡ Ly¡f¡−e¡ −pC cn¢ce "j−e j−e Q¡Ca¡j HLV¡ ¢LR¥ −q¡L −kV¡−L Hl¡ hma "¢ce hcm " z 14
HL¢ce M¤sa¥a i¡C H−p hmm "S¡¢ep, BS Bj¡−cl ú¥−m f¤¢mn H−p¢Rm, EyQ¥ LÓ¡−nl −R−m −j−u−cl L¡−R −lX h¤L B−R ¢Le¡ ¢S−‘p Ll¢Rm "z Jl j¤MV¡ L¡−m¡, ¢L¿¹¥ −lX h¤LV¡ ¢L? −L¡b¡u fs−a f¡Ju¡ k¡−h? c¡c¡ hm−m¡, "I hC−ul e¡j J L¢lp e¡ L¡−l¡ L¡−R"z HLV¡ lq−pÉl −j¡s−L Y¥−L −k−a m¡N−m¡ Bj¡l −L¡mL¡a¡z fs¡ö−e¡u je −eC, M¡¢m N−Òfl hC f¢s, hL¥e£ M¡Cz j¡−ul Lb¡u j¡−T j¡−T Af§hÑc¡−L Aˆ ¢c−u B¢pz Af§hÑc¡ c¡c¡l fË¡C−iV ¢VEVlz Aˆ L−l −cu ¢WLC ¢L¿¹¥ h¤¢T−u −cue¡z i£oZ AeÉjeú Nñ£l −m¡L, M¡¢m Mh−ll L¡NS f−sz Hl j−dÉ Nl−jl R¥¢V−a j¡p£l h¡s£ −Nm¡j c¤NÑ¡f¤−lz −j−p¡jn¡C Bl.C. L−mS H −jLÉ¡¢eL¡m C¢¾S¢eu¡¢lw fs¡ez j¡p£l L¡−R öem¡j −j−p¡j¢Zl HL ¢fËu R¡œ−L f¤¢mn d−l ¢e−u −N¢Rm, L¢ce qm R¡s¡ −f−u−Rz −p¢ceC p−åÉ −hm¡u Bj¡−cl La…−m¡ Aá¨a N¡e −nM¡−m¡ −p HC BS¡c£ T¥V¡ qÉ¡u −cnL¡ Sea¡ i¥M¡ qÉ¡u S¡−N¡ −jqea£ Sea¡ EW¡J m¡m T¡ä¡ . . . . h¡L£ N¡e…−m¡ Bl j−e −eCz "−S−m −Lje −m−N¢Rm −a¡j¡l?" Bjl¡ S¡e−a Q¡Cz −p hm−m¡ a¡−L AeÉ A¢i‘ −R−ml¡ ¢n¢M−u ¢c−u¢Rm kMe j¡l−h aMe fËb−j HLV¥ pqÉ Ll¢h, k¢c −QQy¡p a¡q−m B−l¡ fËhm j¡l−h Jl¡z HLV¡ C¢¾S¢eu¡¢lw fs¡ −R−m, −Q¡l, X¡L¡a eu AbQ f¤¢mn a¡−L fËhm −j−l−Rz −Le? −L¡e Af−l¡−d? J Q−m −k−aC −j−p¡j¢Z hm−me, "I N¡e…−m¡ −a¡jl¡ HLcj i¥−m k¡Jz Bl Lr−e¡ −NJe¡ "z j−e B−R 1971 p¡−ml e−iðl j¡p, −p¢ce ¢SJNË¡¢g fl£r¡, pL¡m pL¡m O¤j −b−L E−W fs−a h−p −N¢Rz ¢L¿¹¥ L¡R¡L¡¢R −L¡b¡J j¡e¤−ol a£hË L¡æ¡l BJu¡S f¡¢µRz Ha pL¡−m −L Hje L−l Ly¡c−R? −L¡b¡J ¢LR¥ −cM¡ k¡ue¡ ah¤ jeV¡ RVgV Ll−a m¡N−m¡z HLV¥ f−lC Bj¡−cl T¡s¥c¡l −i¡m¡ H−p hm−m¡ BS −i¡l l¡−œ −m¡L¡m b¡e¡l HL f¤¢mn A¢gp¡l H−p B−m¡c¡l j¡−L S¡¢e−u −N−Re −k E¢e B−m¡c¡−L …¢m L−l −j−l −g−m−Re, Jl¡ −ke b¡e¡u −k¡N¡−k¡N L−lz −c±−s R¡−a Q−m −Nm¡jz −L¡−e¡ ¢LR¥C −cM¡ k¡ue¡, öd¤ L¡æ¡l BJu¡S −n¡e¡ k¡uz B−m¡c¡−L −j−l −g−m−R f¤¢mn? −Le? HC B−m¡c¡ −k Bj¡−L j¡−T j¡−T ¢S−‘p Ll−a¡, −a¡l ¢c¢c −L¡e LÓ¡−n f−s −l? gpÑ¡ lw, JÒV¡−e¡ Q¥m HLj¤M q¡¢p l¡Ù¹¡ ¢c−u −qy−V k¡−µR HC cªnÉC −Q¡−M i¡p−a b¡−Lz AhnÉ A−eL ¢ce J−L −c¢M¢e ¢WLCz fs¡ j¡b¡u EW−m¡, R¡−a cy¡¢s−uC lCm¡j, karZ e¡ Ly¡−Ql N¡s£V¡ f¡s¡u H−p Y¥L−m¡z a¡lf−lJ B−l¡ A−eLrZz fl£r¡ −Lje ¢cm¡j BS j−e −eCz öd¤ j−e B−R qm −b−L −h¢s−u l¡Ù¹¡u H−p A¢e¢¾ca¡l p−‰ −cM¡ qmz HSp−‰y Bjl¡ VÊ¡jl¡Ù¹¡l ¢c−L qy¡V−a m¡Nm¡jz −hn LeL−e W¡ä¡ ¢Rm −p¢cez B¢j S¡¢e Bj¡l j¤M öL−e¡, −W¡yV p¡c¡, −Q¡M Rm R−mz ph¡l L¡−R −a¡ ph ¢LR¥ hm¡ k¡ue¡ ¢L¿¹¥ A¢e¢¾ca¡ Bj¡l ¢fËuh¡åh£, l¡Ù¹¡u q¡yV−a q¡yV−a J−L hmm¡j OVe¡V¡z J hm−m¡ "Bu p¡j−el lLV¡u HLV¥ h¢pz B¢j J −a¡−L HLV¡ Lb¡ hmhz L'¢ce B−N O−V−R ¢L¿¹¥ h¡h¡ j¡ L¡E−L hm−a h¡lZ L−l−Re "z J−cl jÉ¨l H−ie£El h¡s£l p¡j−e N¡−Rl p−‰y −hy−d HLV¡ eLp¡m −R−m−L f¤¢mn …¢m L−l −j−l −g−m−R L'¢ce B−Nz Jl¡ S¡em¡l g¡yL ¢c−u −pC cªnÉ −c−M−Rz A¢e¢¾ca¡ hm¢Rm −Lje L−l I −R−mV¡l j¡ Bl −h¡e −no j¤q¨−aÑ H−p f¤¢m−nl f¡ −Q−f dl¢R−m¡ h¡l h¡lz Bjl¡ A−eLrZ Ù¹ì q−u h−p lCm¡j c¤' S−ez a¡lfl E−W VÊ¡j l¡Ù¹¡l ¢c−L H−N¡−a m¡Nm¡jz aMe h¤¢T¢e, ¢L¿¹¥ f−l 15
h¤−T¢Rm¡j, HC cª−nÉl j−dÉ B¢j LMe −ke Y¥−L f−s¢R, HLh¡l j¡ q−u HLh¡l −h¡e q−u h¡lh¡l f¤¢m−nl f¡ −Q−f dl¢Rz HC cªnÉ −b−L B¢j HM−e¡ ¢e−S−L ¢h¢µRæ Ll−a f¡¢l¢e pÇf¨ZÑ i¡−hz B¢j −k hÉ¡−ˆ L¡S L−l¢Rm¡j −hn L−uL hRl, ¢hsm¡l, −pC hÉ¡ˆ (f−l l¡¢øÊuaÆ qu) Hl R¡−a m¡m fa¡L¡ E¢s−u Q¡Ll£ fË¡u q¡l¡−a h−p¢Rm fËn¡¿¹c¡z B¢j kMe Q¡Ll£−a Y¥¢L HC NÒf aMe C¢aq¡p AbQ fËn¡¿¹c¡l R¡−f¡o¡ −R−m−j−u −Ol¡ S£he −b−L B¢j −pC E‹Æm ü−fÀ ¢h−i¡l k¤hL−L M¤y−S f¡C¢ez "HLSe j¡e¤o h−m¢Rm j¤¢š²gm Be−a k¡¢µR A−fr¡u −b−L¡ " Bjl¡ A−fr¡u ¢Rm¡jz H−L H−L pš−ll cnL, B¢nl cnL, eîC−ul cnL Q−m −Nmz −L¡mL¡a¡ HMe c¡l¦Z Tmj−m l¦fp£z p¡l¡nql S¥−s ¢h‘¡fe - "−L¡mL¡a¡l ¢f−W S¥−s ¢c−u¢R X¡e¡, H−e¢R N¢a "z AbQ Ù¹ì q−u hå N¡¢s−a h−p b¡¢L A−eLrZz Ah−n−o Af§hcÑ ¡−cl i¡‰y¡−Q¡l¡ h¡s£l p¡j−e ¢c−u N¡s£ Q−mz Af§hÑc¡ Bp¡e−p¡−m Q¡Ll£ −f−u Q−m −N¢Rm, JM¡−eC f¤¢m−nl p−‰y pwO−oÑ J j¡l¡ k¡uz f¤¢mn e¡¢L iÉ¡e −b−L e¡¢j−u J−cl L'Se−L …¢m L−l −j−l −g−m¢Rmz N¡s£ Q−m, N¿¹hÉ Hm¢N−el ea¥e n¢fw jmz BÕQkÑ q−u −c¢M −k −pC m¡m lLV¡ HM−e¡ −ajeC B−Rz n£o−Ñ¾c¥ j¤M¡SÑ£l nÉ¡Jm¡ EfeÉ¡p j−e f−sz p¡l¡ nq−l La−m¡Lz n¢fw j−m −Qe¡, A−Qe¡ La j¡e¤−ol i£sz La ea¥e fËS−eÈl −R−m−j−u−cl p¡−b Bm¡f quz E‹Æm q¡¢p j¤−M −k −R−mV¡ hm−m¡, "S¡−ee, Bjl¡ apolitical " z a¡l j¤M j−e bL−h hý¢cez −k −j−u¢Vl S£h−el E−ŸnÉ j−X¢mw L−l e¡j Ll¡ a¡−L −c−M Bj¡l pj−ln jS¥jc¡−ll j¡d¢hma¡−L j−e fs−m¡, −Le −L S¡−ez ¢L E‹Æm ph −R−m −j−uz HL¢V −Qe¡ j¤p¢mj f¢lh¡−l −ej¿¹æ ¢Rm L'¢ce f−lz BL¡n il¡ −SÉ¡vpÀ¡ −p¢cez −M¡m¡ fË¡‰y−e N¡e N¡C−R HL¢V h¡wm¡ −c¢n −j−u . . . . "ph LV¡ S¡e¡m¡ M¤−m c¡J e¡, B¢j N¡C−h¡ ¢hS−ul N¡e Jl¡ Bp−h Q¥¢f Q¥¢f k¡l¡ HC −cnV¡−L i¡m−h−p ¢c−u −N−R fË¡Z "
h— −cl£ q−u k¡−µRz N¡e −no q−mC h¡s£ k¡h, eC−m l¡a q−u k¡−h −gl¡l VÉ¡¢„ f¡he¡z N¡e −no q−aC E−W Hm¡j, −h¢s−u l¡Ù¹¡uz qW¡v Qj−Ll ja j−e fsm h¡wm¡−c−nl j¤¢š² −k¡Ü¡−cl E−Ÿ−nÉ N¡Ju¡ HC N¡ez ¢WL I HLC pju Bj¡−cl h¡wm¡l h¤−L J ¢LR¥ −R−m−j−u f¡−ÒV −ch¡l üfÀ −c−M¢Rmz a¡−cl −pC üfÀ pgm qu¢ez i¥m f−b Q−m k¡Ju¡ −pC ph k¤hLl¡ ¢he¡ ü¡−bÑ ¢e−S−cl S£he ¢c−u¢Rmz a¡l SeÉ −L¡−e¡ N¡e −eCz qW¡v ¢WLW¡L VÉ¡¢„ −f−u k¡Cz Hh¡l −gl¡l f¡m¡z −L¡mL¡a¡, p¤¤−M b¡−L¡ a¥¢jz k¡l¡ q¡¢l−u −N−R a¡l¡ −hy−Q B−R öd¤ a¡−cl ¢fËuSe−cl j−el j¡−Tz R¥¢V −no qm, Hh¡l fËh¡−p ¢g−l k¡h¡l f¡m¡z VÉ¡¢„l S¡em¡l L¡yQ e¡¢j−u ¢c−aC °Qa¡m£ h¡a¡−pl q¡mL¡ SmL j¤−M H−p m¡−Nz j−e qu HC h¡a¡−pl p¡−b ¢j−n B−R −L¡mL¡a¡l −pC ph −Qe¡ A−Qe¡ ¢LR¥ j¤−Ml c£OÑnÄ¡pz ¢j−n B−R a¡−cl q¡q¡L¡l, a¡−cl üfÀ −cM¡ J üfÀ i−‰yl −hce¡z ***** 16
S¡NlZ l¡Sf−b −e−j−R ¢j¢Rm, n¡p−Ll AeÉ¡−ul A¢i−k¡−N; Bd¤¢eL fËS−eÈl L−ã pwq¢al BqÄ¡e Bnˆ¡l ? paLÑa¡l ? e¡, ¢qwp¡l ? O¤j O¤j jgpm nq−l f¡o¡−Zl −h¢c −i−‰ Eff¿Û£ iy¥C−gy¡s Q¡l¡l EÜa fËL¡n ! n¢eh¡−ll q¡−Vl f−b L«nL¡u¡ −jR¥¢el pm‹ pñ¡oZz L¡¢m¾c£l L¨−m L¨−m −YE-i¡‰¡ Rm Rm Sm; −i¡l qu quz
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L¡−R ¢QlL¡−ml p¤¤M il¡i−ul Ù¹¥¢a J ü¡¿¹e¡z p¤¤al¡w f§S¡−L ¢hpSÑe ¢c−u, −Lhm Evp−h jš qh¡l fË−u¡Se −eCz p¤¤CvS¡lmÉ¡−äl f¡q¡¢s f¢l−h−n, kMe nlvHl e£m BL¡−n f¤” f¤” öï −j−Ol B¢hiÑ¡h qu, h¡‰¡¢m j−e, j−e f−s k¡u n¡−l¡−cl BqÄ¡ez −ch£l öi BNjez j¡e¤o aMe AS¡−¿¹C a¡l Evp, a¡l f¢lQu Hhw a¡l p¡wú«¢aL ¢nr¡ ¢cr¡ My¥−S ¢e−a −Qø¡ L−lz f§S¡l Be¾cju f¢l−h−nl p¡j−e cy¡¢s−u −p a¡l ¢e−Sl i¡hj§¢aÑV¡−L ¢LR¥r−Zl SeÉ −ke My¥−S f¡uz h¡Ù¹h S£he SN−al c¤xM SÆ¡m¡−L qu−a¡ AÒf pj−ul SeÉ i¥−m k¡Ju¡ pñhfl quz ü−c−nJ Bjl¡ HC f§S¡l pju HC HLC L¡S L¢l, qu−a¡ AS¡−¿¹ ¢e−Sl Evp, ¢e−Sl f¢lQu Hhw ¢e−Sl e¡s£l p−‰ Hje −k¡N¡−k¡N B−R h−mC, c¤NÑ¡ f§S¡ −L¡e ¢ceC h¤Sl¦¢L h¡ fË¡Zq£Z q−h e¡z Be¾cju£l BNj−e −S−N J−W j−e Be−¾cl ØfnÑ, E−à¢ma q−u J−W j−el −Qae¡z
phÑj‰m j‰−mÉ ¢n−h phÑ¡bÑ p¡¢d−L ØjlZ −eœw œj h−L −N±l£ e¡l¡ue£ ejÙ¹¥−a z *****
fbQm¡ B¢j ea¥e f−b Q¢m, LMe H N¢m LMe −p N¢m Qm−a Qm−a fb k¡C i¥¢m ! −p¡e¡m£ −l¡cc§l q¡Ju¡ ilf¤l L¡−e h¡−S L¡l f¡−ul e¤f¤l, pL¡m N¢s−u B−p c¤f¤l ! Bfe j−e Lb¡ h¢m La p¡d k¡C −k c¢m, j−el f−V −M−m lw−ul a¥¢m ! h¡−S L¡−e N¡−el p¤¤l S£he −ke La jd¤l Qm−a Qm−a ¢eLV qu p¤¤c¤l !
--- d£j¡e i–¡Q¡kÑÉ
A Scintilla in the Darkness -- Dhiman Bhattacharya The origin of the stream is known to everyone. It is also known that it descends and traverses through uneven surfaces of the mountain, colourful terrain and the flat land till it mingles with the ocean. The path of various steams is unlikely to be the same. So is the course of human life. Each one is unique in respect of its origin, its flow and its achievement. The pleasure or the sorrow is inevitable to be felt in some sorts of eventualities. The birth or the death in human life can not be controlled. It is also not prerogative for anyone to choose the clan which he will be belonged to. Whether one repents or enjoys, after being born as a human being, one is to fit oneself with the flowing stream of life. In the line of what is prevalent on this earth, so far the only living planet in this universe, the story of one exclusive young character evolves. Without earmarking the exact time period, it may be noted that a little boy is born to a middle class family at Rewadi of the state of Haryana in India. He is not the first child to the parents. Rather he is the eighth and the last one of this particular family. As it is common for any individual family, whenever a child is born there is a lot of expectations from the parents to see that the child is brought up nicely and become a leading personality in future. But things donâ€™t happen as they are expected to be in life. The little child was still in his innocence and without having any knowledge of what was in store in his life. The harsh reality came in the form of sudden demise of his mother at the time when he was just two months old. The cause of death,as enumerated by his brothers later on, was nothing but probable cancer of the intestine. So he was taken care off by the elderly members of his family. Till the period, his father was alive, somewhat the little child was being looked after by other brothers and sisters who were living together. Unfortunately, the fate for him was written in a different way. Still in his tender mind, unable to think of the cruelty of time, he lost his father only at the age of two years. After the demise of their parents, the members of the family residing at Rewadi could not decide about who will take care of the little child. Subsequently, it was decided unanimously to move the child to Ber Sarai Village in Delhi where two of the six brothers had been stationed to earn their livelihood with their employment withs Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited. Thus, the journey of his life started in a unique manner â€“ without the parents and under the shadow of merciful attitudes of his brothers and sister-in-laws. When the eldest brother proposed to take charge of the little boy in turn for six months each between himself and the second brother, the later told him to forget everything and took his responsibility alone.
Above facts are told as the background events which ultimately lead to one of the amazing narratives of one unparallel story of one of the many chapters of this little boy’s life. Now the base of the story is clearly founded The name of the boy is Raju and his bother , likely to be his sole guidance in the rest of his life, is Ramu, his wife being Sunita Devi. At the age of six, Raju was sent to nearby NDMC School. He was moderate at studies. By the time he turned to ten and was in Grade four, the family had three new members as siblings of his brother. One day Sunita told her husband – “ There is not enough space in the house. Can’t Raju sleep over in the Cycle Store”. Her husband had a Cycle Store at IIT Hostel, Hauz Khas. Ramu was not keen on sending his brother there for the whole night. However, due to paucity of space , finance and other constraints, he had to accept the proposal of his wife. Thus, unknowingly but eventually the door of a completely different world was about to be opened for Raju. Everyday at dusk, Raju used to pack his share of dinner and proceed to the den at Hauz Khas. There was only that much of space in the shop with which he could just manage his bed. However, after some days, his willingness to go for bed on one hand and the happenings in the surroundings on the other started to affect his routine life at night. There was a taxi stand adjacent to the shop. At the stroke of night, when the streets were almost deserted and the darkness gripped the place with dim street lights glaring through the pall of darkness, the drivers’ community at the taxi stand flocked together to enjoy their happiest moment of the day. After day long tedious experience of driving, they used to have their pegs to be submerged in the ocean of dream to think only of better things. Of course, the ultimate outcome always used to be painful and mingled with a lot of bitter feelings. Raju always tried to keep himself away from the feuds and the ripples of the uproars . He rather eyed for one of the taxis to have test drive. The call of destiny beckoned him in the nick of time. A book on driving once reached his hand. At that age it was impossible for him to go through the whole book and understand it properly. He just concentrated his attention on that part where instructions were written for changing the gears. Once the greatest opportunity bestowed upon him and he had the access of reaching the driver’s seat of one taxi. Since the key of the taxi was already in the slot, it was not difficult for him to get the engine started. With his little knowledge of the gear box, he could manage to start at the neutral and then pressing the clutch put the first gear and moved the car forward for about 25 ft. The other world in his surroundings including thetaxi drivers was by that time in deep sleep. After moving forward, he was in real panic to bring back the taxi at its original position. He had to consult his book for changing into reverse gear. With a lot of efforts and passing a terrified period he could manage to change the gear for reverse direction and bring the taxi back to its original position. The rest of the whole world could not notice this significant experiment of a small boy. Though not on all the days, for about a couple of months, he got himself practised with that taxi whenever the same was available and the rest of his
neighbours were not able to notice the movement. One early morning at around 0100 clock, there was a passenger at the taxi stand. The man could find none but Raju to talk with at that moment. -“ Is there any possibility to have a taxi ?”- asked the man. -“Where do you want to go”- questioned Raju. -“ To the domestic airport”- he replied. -“ OK. I will drive you to the airport. The cost will be Rs.25.” They set for the airport in the same taxi, Raju assuming the charge of a professional taxi driver for the first time in his life. He drove the car in first gear for most of the time. Whenever, he changed the gear for the second, the car picked up more speed and he got scared. Between first and second gear, he managed to reach the airport safely and got his pre-fixed fare of Rs. 25. On the same morning, he had another passenger later on and did the same thing to earn more Rs.25. Thus, he had fifty rupees as his first earning in the life on one day. Next day after sun rise, when Sardarji, owner of that taxi, was having morning tea along with other drivers, Raju dared to approach him before going back to his brother’s house. -“ Shastriyakal Sardarji” – he wished the Sardar. -“ Yes son, what is the news?”, he asked. Without saying too much, Raju handed over him Rs.100/-. The Sardar was surprised to receive this money from a 10 years old boy and enquired of him – “ What is this meant for?”. Then Raju had to explain to him the truth. After listening to him, the eyes of the Sardar glistened in greed and embracing him, he asked him to sit by his side. -“ I am really very happy to know that you have become an expert driver by using my taxi. Can I now rely upon you and give you the charge of driving taxi during 12 o’clock midnight to 6 o’clock morning?”- Sardarji asked him. Raju was waiting for this moment and nodded his head in consent. From thereon, he drove Sardarji’s taxi more or less regularly. Neither he was true royal nor a staunch betrayer. He used to hand over less amount to the Sardarji as and when opportunity came on his way. Since he was still a boy and without a driving licence, for each of his trip he had to pay the traffic police Rs.5. To be on the safer side of having confidence of Sardarji, he used to plug out the wire of the kilometre and fill petrol before returning to the stand. This, of course, enabled him to retain more share of money earned by him. Like this, days, weeks, months and years could not pass. However, at the of 14 years, an unparallel incident took place at that spot. That incident was the beginning of the most remarkable chapter in his life which ultimately took a definite turn to a somewhat definite direction.It was nothing but a scintilla in the
darkness. On a cool January night the air was chilly and a gloomy layer of fog washanging from all the corners of the sky. To evade the severe cold, the group of drivers could have drunken to their throats. Suddenly, Raju heard very harsh and hot exchanges of words between two of Sardars. From the exchange of words they became agitated and engaged in reciprocal physical assaults. The outcome of the event was stabbing of one of the Sardars by the other one. That was a fatal wound for him and ultimately he collapsed due to that. Raju was the sole witness of that murder. Later on, he had to face a lot of problems with the Police authority pressing hard for witness and also with the relatives of the convict insisting to enforce dire consequences including even loss of jobs of his two brothers in the event of failing to comply with their plead. Raju was ultimately saved by the prudence of his brother Ramu who desisted him from becoming a witness to this horrified incident. When everything was pacified and the life almost became normal once again, Raju had a good opportunity to enter into the taxi of the deceased sardar. To his astonishment, his valid driving licence was intact in the dash board. He promptly picked up the licence and left the taxi without being noticed by anyone. This was possibly the best pick in his life as this was going to transform the same into a new one which could find establishment and proper livelihood. The driving licence which in one way was stolen by Raju stood in good stead for him. He carefully removed the photograph of the original holder and then affixed his photograph in the space. With a superficial checking, the licence in all respects appeared to belong to him. The efficient traffic police in Delhi could never identify the fake ness of the licence and Raju continued to be a taxi driver, but with more authenticity than earlier. That was the story of only one unique chapter of the life of one little boy. The complete story will be told in the form of a novel, as the same contains a lot of incidents which can not be narrated in the form of a short story. For the readers, it is worthy to mention that Raju is still a living individual who has found a good job in the same profession which he has adapted in his childhood. He is having his wife and two grown up daughters and living presently in a foreign country. He is still an Indian and has spent 16 years out of his service career of 25 years abroad. The boy ,who was despair one day to earn Rs.100 per day, can to-day spend Rs.1000 at one time for enjoyment. Everything in his life has been possible due to the above narrated incident and another one which awaits for narration. Till that time good bye to everyone.
Nostalgic Visit --- Mrinal Ganguly The cycle-rickshaw is the best way of getting around Hyderabad. Its smooth gliding motion and leisurely rate of progress are in keeping with the pace of life in the old world city. To Hyderabad, my childhood place, a nostalgic visit after 40 years was a memorable event. The rickshaw driver juggled his way through the crowded bazaars, exchanging insults with auto-rickshaw, pedestrians and other cyclists; After so many years I wanted to see my school and other places how they looked. I was in convent school named Methodist convent school in King Koti Road and Abid crossing. But once we entered the broad Mall or Abid Road, the rickshaw fellow cursed changes to carefree Bollywood songs and he freewheeled along the shops and bylanes. Old colonial style bungalows still stand in large compounds shaded by banyan, neem amd jamun trees. Looking up, I noticed a number of colourful paper kites that fluttered, dipped and soared high in the cloudless sky. I can not recall seeing so many kites before. “Is it a festival today?” I asked. “No, Sahib”, said the rickshaw fellow, “not even a holiday.” “Then why so many kites?” He did not bother to look up. “You can see kites every day in this time of the year, Sahib.” “I don’t see them in Kolkata.” “Ah, Kolkata is a busy place. In Hyderabad people still fly kites. There are kiteflying competitions every Sunday and heavy bets are sometimes placed on the outcome.” As we neared the city, I noticed kites stuck in trees or dangling from electric wires. I asked the rickshaw fellow to tell me something about today’s Hyderabad and old Hyderabad. “Sahib, Hyderabad has changed a lot, I will take you around Neckless Road, Abid, Amir pet building, Laad Bazaar and Charminar via narrow lanes because on broad roads I am not allowed.” While we were passing through King Koti, I stopped near my school and went inside the compounds. Immediately, my memories revived; the buildings are still the same and few new blocks have emerged. I took some snapshots and walked around. “Sahib, did you study here?” I replied, “Yes, 50 years ago.” “Oh, that time I was not even born; in those days, during Nizam Raj, Hyderabad must have been a great city.” I replied, “Yes, rulers of Asaf Jahi (Nizam) and Quli Qutb Shahi dynasties were some of the richest kings in the world. Their Palace Falaknuma, Chowmahalla and Golconda Fort are all very famous palaces and buildings of the world.”
It is difficult to see Salar Jung in one day. I stood in front with averted eyes, looking at everything, the formal gardens, the surrounding walls, everything has changed. I went inside the big halls, but so many precious things are no more there. I was told that many precious objects of Nizam and Salar Jung were stolen or taken away by the present Andhra Government. I did not have enough time to witness all the gallaries due to short of time, but I felt happy to visit Salar Jung after decades. I went out to the front gate, I saw a small boy who was sitting in the shade of a tree, feasting on a handful of small green fruits. I have never seen the fruits before and asked the boy to tell me what they were. He offered me what looked like a hand green plum. “It is the fruit from the Ashok tree,” said the boy. I did not bother to taste it and walked towards my rickshaw driver who must be waiting impatiently. When I arrived near the rickshaw, the driver was not there. I waited for few minutes then he came running and told me, “Sahib, I just have gone for a cup of tea. How was your visit to the museum?” I told him, “It was quite good, but now take me back to my hotel.” After a few minutes pedalling he asked me, whether he should come tomorrow. “No, thank you, I will get back to Kolkata tomorrow.”
Cultural Programme Itinerary Saptami, Friday, 25th September, 2009 7:30 p.m. 1. Songs by Joy Mazumdar & Esha Mazumdar. 2. Recitations by - Ranak Acharya & - Sukrit Rakshit. 3. Song by Dela Ganguly, accompanied on Tabla by Dipan Kundu. 4. Recitations by - Indira Acharya, - Debaditya Chakraborty, - Paromita Ghosh, - Arushi Bhattacharya & - Sasmit Bhattacharya. 5. Dance by Sumana Roy Chowdhury. 6. Dance by Saloni Mittal, Bindya Chowfla & Soumya Chowfla. 7. Dance by Ritika Chakraborty & Shrishti Rakshit. 8. Songs by Anjana Rakshit & Chandra Chakraborty, accompanied by Shubhra Kanti Acharya on guitar & Dipan Kundu on tabla. 9. Songs by Madhusri Banerjee & Kirti Malini Bhattacharya, accompanied by Dipan Kundu on Tabla. CompĂ¨re: Mithun Goswami. Navami, Sunday, 27th September, 2009 7:30 p.m. 1. Songs by Ritika Chakraborty, Shrishti Rakshit, Anjana Rakshit & Chandra Chakraborty & Amrita Ray accompanied by Abhigyan Ghosh on keyboard & Dipan Kundu on tabla. 2. Dance by Arushi Bhattacharya. 3. Dance by Oishika Mukherjee. 4. Song by Nilakshi Mukherjee. 5. Recitation by Mithun Goswami. 6. Songs by Sanjukta Chatterjee, Debashree Bhattacharya, Amit Chakraborty, Arindam Mukherjee & Kasturi Mukherjee, accompanied by Dipan Kundu on tabla. 7. Dance by Amrita Chakraborty. 8. Dance by Kirti Malini Bhattacharya. 9. Recitation by Anil Datta. 10. Drama played by Pradip Chakraborty & Anirban Dutta Choudhury. CompĂ¨re: Srijani Bhattacharya. 33
Bhogs and Blogs of Bengal –Biplab Das The Bhog is but a small facet of the culinary heritage of Bengal – the idea here is to present a bigger picture, as a sort of supplement to the Bhogs you are to enjoy during the five days of our Durga Puja. The Blogs of a Kolkata-based engineer-turned-consultant provided the inspiration. Much of the text is the result of copious scrounging of his Blogs, which, intriguingly, were posted in a Pakistani daily (yes, West Pakistan!). The setting is Bengal – both Bangladesh, which used to be known, at different times, as East Pakistan and East Bengal, and the state of West Bengal in India.
Der Marktplatz Besides rice – the “only” staple – the main agricultural products of this vast Gangetic Delta are fish and vegetables. Thus, even to this day, the Bengali culinary system consists largely of fish and vegetables. To begin to appreciate the complex gastronomic culture of Bengal, the very first steps you need to take are those that lead you to the Bengali Bazaars (markets). These, especially in large cities, tend to congregate in two distinct, yet adjacent, areas – the open air Kancha-bazaar (vegetable market), and the Macher-bazaar (fish market), which is usually covered and enclosed. The vegetable market scene is repeated pretty much anywhere in India, and even in the rest of South-East Asia: hosts of gourds – sweet, bitter, mildly sour, or ridged – with names like Lau, Uchche, Chalkumro, Jhingga, Dhundul, Chichingga and Telakuch; roots and tubers – some a bit itchy (e.g., Mankochu, Olkochu), some not (Muloo, Dudkochu, Mukhikochu); leafy greens (Palang, Noteshak, Kolmi, Pui, Thankuni, Dhekishak, etc.) or not-exactly green, like the Lalshak (or red leaves, literally, and physically); succulent stalks (Danta, Sajna, Kochu-lati, Shapla) – woody, slimy, or airy; Begun (eggplants) – green and purple; Bhendi (okra); Kanchkala (green bananas); varieties of Sheem (broad beans); Pepay (green papaya); Kumro, or pumpkins – large and small; banana stems and flowers (Mocha); Echor or Kanthal (green jack-fruit, often referred to as ‘tree-grown mutton’) are but a few of the vegetables on display. Not to forget the Jhal- or Kancha-lanka, chili peppers – in all shapes, sizes, hues and in the extent of their potency. Seasonal vegetables include Potol, Kankrol, Barbati (spaghetti beans) and so on, during the dog days of summer – which, at the onset of the short spell of late
autumn or winter – cede their place of honor to Gajor (Carrot), Phulkopi (Cauliflower), Bandhakopi (Cabbage) and Olkopi or Shalgom. The Macher-bazaars in Bengal, though, are unique – the seemingly chaotic scene, with so many varieties on offer, and the sheer volume of the sum total – is not replicated anywhere else in India (possible exceptions are mega-cities with a large number of probashi Bengalis, like Delhi – but then again, there are natural limits to how much of “back home” can be replicated in a faraway location). People from outside Kolkata are known to visit the Fish Markets as a tourist spot (not unlike New York City’s Fulton Fish Market). In Kolkata, the fascination is with the live Koi (climbing perch) and the Chara-Pona, splattering all over the flat Dekchi; the wriggling catfish family of Tangra, Magur, Shingi; the minnow barbs link Chela and Punti; or Poa (Jew fish), Bata (mullet), Bancha, the thread-finned Tapse, and Pabda – the pink-bellied Indian butter fish. Among the larger fish – the all important carp family of Rui (carp) and Mrigal and Katla, their larger, darker, cousin; the pale, innocent, look of the Bhetki; the mighty, flat-bellied Chitol and the shark-like Aar, with its aggressive gaze – weigh up to ten kilograms each. Baskets of pink and silvery Ilish (hilsa) match the shine on the glistening blade of the fishmonger’s Boti. Some of the largest and busiest of these places are the Sealdah Market or the Gariahat Market of Kolkata, and Dhaka’s Polton Bazaar. A Bengali Babu – on his way back from the Bazaar, holding a pair of Ilish with immense pride – is still a common scene outside these bazaars. The quintessential Babu ends his duties – at least until meal time – by handing over all the shopping items to his Ginni (wife). The Ginni Maa, then, moves to the Ranna-Ghar (the kitchen) and gets busy with the preparation.
Das Kuchikästili In days of yore, cooking, storage and dining areas were separate – and in many families, tradition precluded the male species from entering the Ranna-Ghar. Inside the Ranna-Ghar, you are bound to find many Bason-Kosun (utensils) and Masala-Pati (spices) that are unique to Bengal. The hallmarks include Karais (woks) – in which most of the cooking and frying is done; a Tawa (griddle) – used for making Rotis and Parathas; the Handi – a large round pot for cooking rice; and the handle-less modification of the sauce pan – a rimmed, deep, flat-bottomed Dekchi. Other utensils you absolutely cannot do without are a set of Hathas (ladles); the Khunti (metal spatula); the Jhanjri (perforated spoon); the Sharashi (pincers for removing the vessels from fire), the Ghuntni (wooden hand blender); and the wooden Chaki-Belon (round pastry board and rolling pin).
Here, in this all important corner of a Bengali household, women use separate utensils to cook rice, vegetables, and fish, and often, with separate coal, charcoal and wood. Now, though, gas or electric devices have become more common. The action begins with the cutting of the fish and the vegetables, and the grinding of the spices. This is when the two star attractions of the Bengali kitchen – the SilNora (a grinding stone) and the Boti (a cutting tool) appear. The items to be ground are put on the heavy Sil – a pentagonal slab of reddish stone, and are crushed over and over by its moving partner, the Nora – a smooth black stone you hold at the edges with two hands. This inseparable pair lasts longer than a lifetime and is usually handed down from generation to generation – from the Sashuri (mother-inlaw) to the Bou-ma (daughter-in-law) – from one generation to the next. The Boti – a curved blade used for cutting fish and vegetables – loosely resembles a large sickle, fixed (dangerously) upright on a strip of wooden platform. By design, its application is somewhat uncanny – unlike the motion used in cutting with a knife (where you move the knife and not the item to be sliced), the Boti is held firm on the ground with one foot, and the fish or the vegetable is moved along the sharp edge of the upright sickle, and with each motion, your entire torso edge closer to the blade. As with the gas oven, most of these doohickeys, too, are being consigned to where only the cockroaches dare, making room for Prestige – the popular brand of pressure cooker, food processor, knife, cutting board, etc.
Die Fische The cooking usually starts with the fish – subsequent to the cutting and cleaning, the Ginni has already marinated those pieces with Noon and Halud (salt and turmeric). These are then fried, steamed, or braised, or prepared with vegetables, together with carefully measured doses of a combination of freshly pasted Jeera, Dhone, Lanka, Sorshe (mustard paste) or Posto (poppy seeds) – to perfection. And, by the way, all parts of the fish – from Matha to Layja (head to tail) – are eaten: not much of organic molecules to discard as trash. “Mache Bhate Khanti Bangali” – fish has always played an important role in Bengali culture. In both parts of Bengal, fish form the main course of any wholesome Bengali meal – whole, cut or sliced into pieces, or dried. Shutki is a very special style of preparing fish that originated around Chattagram – Bengalis from these sea-facing areas dry up the fish, and cook the dried fish with Aloo and Begun, and is a prized delicacy in East Bengal. The people of Dhaka, though, are more fond of Ilish and other fishes. Arguably, the most famous fish recipes come from Dhaka, and include Ilish Macher Sorshe Paturi (hilsa in mustard paste baked in banana leaves), Ilish Maach Bhappa (steamed), Ilish Mach Kancha Kumror Jhol (with pumpkin), Ilish Mach Kaachkola Jhol, Daab Chingri (prawns cooked inside
a green Coconut), Chitol Macher Muitha, Mourala Bati-Chochori, Rui Macher Golap Soru (fish and rice cooked together), Koi Macher Har-Gouri, Koi Macher Ganga-Jamuna, Tangra Mulo (tangra with raddish), and lots of more. Apart from being consumed as food, fish is also considered to be pious and a good omen (not unlike the Chinese, who consider the sight of a fish to be a sign of good luck and good fortune, or the Czechs, for whom, consume freshly cut and prepared Carp – a variation of Rui – on the eve of Christmas, is a must). According to Hindu tradition, fish is considered to be Goddess Lakshmi and is offered to Devi Kali in temples like Kolkata’s Kalighat or the Dhakeshwari in Dhaka. And during Saraswati Puja, Bengali Hindus celebrate with Jora Ilisher Bhog. In traditional marriage rituals, one of the first items of welcoming the newly-wed wife into the groom’s house is a fresh, whole, Rui. Without fish dishes, a Bengali marriage or other feasts are incomplete – special dishes for those occasions include Rui Macher Kalia (curry), Macher Matha diye Dal (Dal with fish head), Bhetki Paturi (with mustard sauce in banana leaf), Chingri Macher Malaikari (prawns in coconut), Rui Posto and Ilish Paturi to name a few. These, though, seem to be ceding ground to new dishes like Butter-fish fry, Fish-orley, et al. It is estimated that fish constitute nearly 80% of the animal-protein intake in Bengal. And, even though the consumption of meat (especially Mutton, or goat meat) has become increasingly wide-spread, references to Mangso (meat preparation) have intentionally been left out of this article.
Das Gemüseboquet Vegetarian food plays a very significant role in Bengali cuisine. In orthodox Hindu Bengali families, vegetarian food formed the most important diet for a widow – and by extension – for the rest of the household. Some of the notable traditional dishes include Potoler Dolma; Dhoka Dalna (made with cakes of ground Dal); Labra (spicy mixed vegetables); Jhinge Posto; Aloo Kophi; Shukto (mixed vegetables, with only a hint of spices); Ghoogni; Aloor Dum (potato curry); Aloo Kumro; Kumro Dantar Jhol; Begun Pora (Eggplants, roasted); Doi Begun (with Yogurt); Niramish Chorchori (akin to stir-fry); Danta Chorchori; Lau Borir Ghonto; Mulo Ghonto; Mulo Chorchori; Cholar Dal; Sona Muger Dal; Kancha Muger Dal; Mochar Ghonto; Konchur Saag; Dumurer Jhol (preparation with Indian figs); and Kancha Kanthaler Tarkari, to name a few. As with fish, Bengalis tend to consume all parts of the vegetables – ambrosial dishes are prepared from the ejected peels, stalks, leaves and seeds – their taste often surpassing the base vegetable, thanks to recipes and techniques that are unique to each clan. Traditional cuisine is also very demanding in the kind of cuts used in each vegetable used in each dish – vegetable cut the wrong way just does not taste the
same – perhaps one of the reasons the Boti came into being. And, going back to the Sil-Nora, a dollop of Posto Bata, or a paste of poppy seeds – sourced from the same infamous crop – is a highly prized delicacy, especially in West Bengal, and are used in various preparations of vegetables and potato, or consumed just as Posto-Bata, with liberal portions of rice and hot chilies. It is said that the equivalent of Posto in East Bengal is Sorshe Bata – although this concoction is never consumed as is. And, when strict adherence to the concept of vegetarian food is not called for, portions of lightly fried Chingri (Prawns), Macher Matha (fish head), or Piyaj (onion) are added for flavor, taste, or substance, or just to add to the number of varieties to relish. We are not sure how many of them have taken their Boti and Sil-Nora with them when they migrated, but the Bengalis are reputed to have imported and implanted the mastery of their preparation of traditional Ganges-Delta vegetables, on to the produce grown or available in the countries they migrated to – examples include asparagus with mustard paste, soya sprouts as a substitute for Mocha.
Die Würzmischung The usage of some of the spices both for fish and vegetable are unique – example are Kalo Jeere (Onion seeds) and Pach Phoron – a mixture of five spices: Jeere (Cumin), Mouri (Fennel), Methi (Fenugreek), Kalo Jeere and Sorshe (Black Mustard). The Phoron, perhaps, is the trump card of Bengali cooking – a combination of whole spices, fried and added at the start, or at the end of cooking, as a flavoring unique to each dish. The origins of some of the more common Bengali style cooking are: o Ilish Paturi Dhaka-Bikrampur o Chitol Mitha and Kalia Faridpur o Shutki Chittagong, Lakhipur, Barishal, Patuakhali o Chingri Bhate Murshidabad o Chingri Malaikari West Bengal o Ilish Bhate Mymensingh, Sylhet o Dhoka West Bengal o Posto West Bengal o Kopi Chorchori Tangail
The traditional way to serve Bengali foods is something like this: a) arrange separate Asans, or small Carpets on the freshly wiped floor – one for each individual b) in front of each Asan, place a large platter made of bell-metal/steel, or a large piece of Kala-Pata (fresh cut banana leaf) c) neatly place around the platter an array of Batis (bowls) containing each of the items prepared for the meal d) put a heap of steamed rice at the centre of the platter, along with a slice of lime, some salt and a few green chilies e) place all the dry, fried items on one side of the platter f) pour fresh pure Ghee on the center of the rice-mound only as soon as the eaters sit on the Asans In Bengal, as also with the most of the rest of India, people use their fingers (actually a good part of the entire palm of their right hand) to transport the delicacy from the platter to that flexible opening between our jaws – else, how could it be possible to savor the likes of Ilish or Koi with piercing bones sewn hectically into the flesh of the fish. Perhaps more to the point, there apparently are scientific studies claiming that eating with your fingers adds enormously to the taste of the food and the satisfaction, or the joy of eating. Whether you have only one dish, or twenty, in Bengal, the eating style is to have each item separately with Bhat (rice) in order to savor the individual bouquet of each preparation. Tarkari (vegetables), especially the bitter ones, are the first item, followed by Dal – often accompanied by fries or fritters of fish and vegetables. After this, it's the turn of any of the complex vegetable dishes like ghonto or chachchari, followed by the all important Macher Jhol and other fish preparations. Meat will always follow fish, and chutneys and ambals will provide the refreshing touch of tartness to make the tongue anticipate the sweet dishes. Another quirk about the Bengali eating scene is the unashamed accumulation of remnants – as succulent vegetable stalks, fish bones and fish heads are all meticulously chewed until not a drop of juice is left within, heaps of chewed remnants beside each plate become an inevitable part of the meal. A wide variety of Chutneys and Ambals are prepared in Bengal with sour fruits, often when they are not ripe, and vegetables – these include Chalta, Kancha-aam (green mango), Amra, Jalpai (Indian olive), Tetul (Tamarind) and Kancha-tetul, Alubokhra, Amlaki, Kamranga, Khejur (date), Biliti Begun (Tomato), and many more. The preparation usually involves slow boiling in thick syrup, combined with a dash of salt and other seasonings. Bengali sweet is famous all over the world. There is no other place in whole of the Indian subcontinent, or elsewhere in the world, that is able to match the variety and the quality of the sweets on offer. The traditional flagship Rossogolla, first
invented in 1765AD in Dhaka, became very much a part of Kolkata when, in 1782, its inventor, Mr. Nabin Chandra Das, shifted his base to the present capital of West Bengal. In 1852, Mr. Bishnu Charan Guin invented a sweet and named it after the wife of the then Governor General of British India, Lord Canning. With the passage of time, the Lady Canning came to be known as Ladicanne, and continues as one of the most popular sweets in Bengal. Other sweets include Doi (origin: Molla-Chowk near Konnagar), Monohara (Janai, on the Howrah-Burdwan Chord line), Nikhudi Ladoo (Dhaka), Lengcha (Shaktigarh), Sitabhog (Bardhaman), Rosmalai (Commila), Pantua (Ranaghat), Chomchom (Kolkata), Jora Mundi (Krishnanagar), Chana Bora (Midnapore), Sandesh (Dhaka, Kolkata), Patishapta (Faridpur), Shar Bhaja (Murshidabad), Rabri, Kheer Kadamba, Chanar Jilipi, Darbesh, Golap Papri, Suji Halua, Payesh, Malpoa, Pithe, and innumerable variations of Rossogolla and other popular sweets (Kamalabhog, Rajbhog, Kalojam, and so on). At the end of all the food and the sweets, Pan is an important ending of a Bengali feast. Chewed as a palate cleanser and a breath freshener, Pan, or the pungent leaf of the betel vine, is usually wrapped around a combination of Chun, Khair, Supuri, Mitha Masala, Chaman Bahar, Elaichi, Gulkand, Chutney and other edible seeds.
Eating out, if you must .. Traditional Bengali cuisine is best enjoyed at home, and to my knowledge, there are no restaurants in Kolkata specializing in Bengali vegetarian cooking. Yet, some of the good destination for Bengali food could be the Taj Bengal at Belvedere Road; Aheli inside the Peerless Inn; Bhojohari Manna at Gariahat Road; Kasturi at Marquis Street; Oh! Calcutta at Forum-Elgin Road; ITC Sonar Bangla at Haladane Road; and the Hyatt Regency, where you can try Ilish, Bhetki, Chitol, Tangra, Pabda, Parse, Kankra (Crabs), Chingri, and Rui Mach Doi Diye. There are a number of small eateries like Aileen, famous for its Prawn Cutlet; and Anadi for Muglai Porota. Some of the nice vegetarian restaurants include Rajasthani food delicacy at Teej and Gangaur in Park Street, Haveli at Salt Lake, Haldirams in Rabindra Saranani, the ISKON sponsored Gokul, Gupta Brothers, and South Indian foods at Raj, or Chennai Kitchen. Also, in Esplanade, you find lots of chat shops. Bengali food is best matched with Saada Bhat (plain white rice). A typical Bengali meal will contain Bhat with Moong Dal, Allo or Begun Bhaja, one Tarkari (vegetable preparation), one Maach or Chingri (fish or prawn) preparation, Chutney, Papads, Misti (Bengali Sweets as dessert), and in the end, a Pan. If you need to avoid rice, then Loochi (a flour preparation), Paratha, or Rotis and Nunns are also available.
Sweets are the most valuable item in a Bengali platter. However, for authentic taste, you would have to buy them fresh from a traditional Moira outfit like Bheem Nag, Ganguram, Nabin Chandra, Bancharam, Gobindo, Satyanarayan, K.C. Das, Balaram, and Girish Nakur, to name a few. Many of these have remained under the control of the descendants of their original founders some two or three centuries ago. Pan â€“ the endnote to Bengali meal â€“ is available at almost any corner of even the broadest avenues of Kolkata. But if you wish to make material contribution to Kolkataâ€™s economy, at Dutta Babu in the College Street area, a single Pan could cost more than 100 Swiss francs.
Homecoming with Uma and Family --Brindarica Bose
Bholenath The passage was entirely blocked by a huge red VIP suitcase. I had my own side bag and a rucksack to place. And there was already a queue behind, trying to get past me at any cost. As a result, I took a giant leap and touched seat quite noisily. Settled into my seat, in an empty cabin, I lazily looked around after checking my train ticket for the nth time. In the narrow train corridor, few passengers were still running behind their coolies. For a moment it looked quite funny, in a sad way though. There was this XL sized man trying to keep up with a coolie who was around his age, but 1/10th his size, walking in the air, straight like a giraffe. He had bags hanging from every visible muscle in his body and a bulky suitcase perched on his head. The guy behind him was squeezing and wriggling to keep up with him. A bit disgusted with another suppressed guilt on ‘can’t change a dime’, I turned my head towards the window. A man in a loose white tee with ‘KAILASH’ printed on it in big letters was standing outside. I have seen ‘London’, ‘New York’, etc. printed on tee-shirts, but ‘Kailash’?! He intrigued me, so I looked back at him. He was smoking intently and passionately. “Ganja khacche naki”? Couldn’t help wondering, why he looked so content. Maybe because he had come to the station to drop his wife? N-O-W that could be a reason for such a beatific look. (I smiled to myself). Suddenly he cupped his hands and plastered his face on my dark glass window trying to look inside. He saw an abrupt movement – someone jumping out of her seat with a start. That was me. Maybe the VIP suitcase belonged to him. But a RED one? Nah, can’t be. Maybe he knew the owner of that suitcase? Possible. I kept waiting for my co-passengers. I checked my wrist watch. 15.45 hrs. Hmm, few more minutes to go. After fifteen minutes the train whistled and started moving. Hauling herself for another longdistance marathon: Mumbai to Ranchi. Few people kept waving, as the train slowly left the platform. The man in the KAILASH-tee didn’t board the train, he rather waved at me. Strange! I thought. I saw the train's tail leave the last tip of Lokmanyatilak station. I kept looking out as the train rumbled past Mumbai. Buildings. Roads. Railway tracks. Slums. Slumdog millionaires. A crimson sun, split by orange clouds playing peek-a-boo with the chawls. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I was going home, FINALLY. For Durga Puja and to be a bridal display object for some NRI guy coming from the Switz.
Sri Ganesh Ranchi Express is a comfortable long-distance train. It covers almost 2028 kms in 40 hrs. For a fresher like me, travelling in AC is luxury. Flights are only for emergency. I had berth number 9 close to the entrance. My door was still open. I looked around at my co-passengers. There was a young boy ten or twelve years old sitting alone on top. He was happily munching a Cadbury bar and playing a video game. I noticed him for the first time. Surely he was not travelling alone? I asked him “Ei chele, tere mummy papa kahan gaye?” (where are your parents?) He registered my existence (too) for the first time. And as he bent down to reply back, a pack of potato-chips fell towards me in slow motion. C-R-U-N-C-H. Needless to say, his answer got drowned in my attempt to dodge. Instead, I managed to step over it and crush every single chip into nano particles. We both looked at each other, “Kaun kise sorry bole?” Disgusted and a bit irritated I turned around, only to find a lady standing behind. She was actually trying to brush off chips from my hair.
Uma W-O-W! My face took just two seconds to turn from an abrupt :-( to a :-). How STUNNING she looked! Wearing a simple white churidaar, long Sunsilk straight hair till her waist, Fair and Lovely skin, my mouth was wide open absorbing her beauty. After few seconds, my neurons started firing information in my head. “Hey, I have seen you somewhere!” Scratch. Scratch. “Gotcha! I know who you are!” I said, in an eureka-like tone. “Uma Thurmann, right?” “Oops, Uma RAY, right??” She smiled at me and whipped off few more crumbs from my hair and said, “Yes, 100% right” and she gave me a 200% Colgate smile. I melted on-the-spot. Drop. Drop. For those who don’t know Uma Ray: She is a popular face on television and print ads, for the products I just mentioned. She is present in all Puja-Barshiki issues. Before my brain could trickle in further information on her, she said rather apologetically, “I am s-o-o sorry for this, you see I had to leave my son alone with all our luggage...infact, I couldn’t even speak to my husband ... The ticket checker took my whole time!”. (Aha! That Kailash guy was her husband then?) And she clucked her tongue. I said quite concerned, “Why, what happened?” She looked a bit flustered now as her voice took a pitch higher and continued, “Actually, I am still in the waiting list and we HAVE to travel before the “Pranpratishtha” day, so I did some settlement with the ticket checker. I even offered him some extra bucks.” LONG sigh. “Can you imagine, he refused to take any money? Well, he finally agreed that I could stay here and if someone came, I would have to shift n all...” And she slumped on the opposite berth. The very next minute, she got 44
up and moved the huge red VIP suitcase inside. Needless to say, every passenger till now had either jumped over it or moved it centimeters, to make way for their luggage. And the coolies had simply leaped over it. No one had thought of moving it out of their way (including me). The suitcase moved easily, it had four rolling limbs. Uma shut the door and put the latch on.
And THE Family Someone knocked immediately. Uma unlocked the door a bit hesitantly. A young man and two teenaged girls instantly stepped in. “Ei je, berth no. 5, 6 and 7. These are our seats”, he proclaimed like recently captured territory and perched his bags like flags on his newly acquired turf. The girls (they were TWINS!) dutifully went and captured both window seats – one of which I had intended to capture, but had not yet. Procrastination is a bad habit, I tell you. This young man, 20 something, came and sat next to me. After giving me few quick and furtive glances, he started conversing; “Hi, I am Kartik Nair and they are my sisters Laxmi and Saraswati. Apni Bangali?” It took me few seconds to register (first) how a Malayali could speak Bengali so well (second) how and why my round face always gave away my mother tongue. I merely said “Hi, I am Brindarica, hain Bengali” (Smiled) and opened Readers Digest and flipped open the Vocabulary page and started reading: “tintinnabulation \tin-tih-nab-yuh-LAY-shuhn\, noun: A tinkling sound, as of a bell or bells”. He followed my gaze, read the word and didn’t follow further. He started playing around with his silver coloured MP3. What a show off, I thought. And jumped to the next word.
Homecoming The train kept moving and shaking every now and then. Whistling through the dark night, like a young lad riding a bicycle in a moonlit night. The blue grey sky had shifted to a new colour scheme. Black. A pitch dark black night with a moody moon popping in and out. The small bulbs inside our cabin grew brighter. It was too dark to read and too bright to sleep. So, after a while, we all started conversing freely and got engaged in some idle tittle-tattle. Me being a (semi) young girl travelling alone, always raises a lot of curiosity amongst my co-passengers. Generally I say, “I am working for the ‘Times of India’ and live alone in Mumbai. Mumbai, being my birthplace and childhood city, I simply love staying there...” Every time I say this, I see admiration in people’s eyes. I quite enjoy these looks;-) So, I tell them (Kartik, 45
Uma) the same, and“… ..I am on my way to Ranchi, to my parents, for Durga Puja”. Kartik said he was in his fourth year BE and his sisters were still in school. His, Mom being a Bong from Ranchi, visits her parents every year during Durga Puja. His mom would fly to Ranchi tomorrow; she had some heart congestion problem and preferred travelling by air. And his dad (like 60% Mallus) lived in the Emirates, since Laxmi and Saraswati were born. Uma also chipped in, how getting cosmetics assignments was getting tougher for her thesedays. She had recently auditioned for a Hawkins campaign for the Dussehra season – wearing a cotton sari and a big red bindi with two smiling kids on both sides. But she is happy, she says, she will get offers in every age groups. In her 60's she said she wouldn’t mind posing with a spoon full of black, greasy Chavanprash. Our conversation trailed on and off for the next two-three hours. Our train had reached Nasik Road station. It was almost 20.40 hrs. Railway staff were rushing in a hurry, balancing 5-6 trays at a time. Our dinner was served. I had ordered a veg menu. Rolled rotis, hot masoor daal, rice, lemmon pickle, mixed bhaji and curd. WHOPUSH-HAPOOSH. No one spoke for the next half an hour. Even little Ganesh (Uma's son) who was avoiding my eyes for a long time now, came down for his dinner. Our train started moving again. Then it stopped at Manmad Junction for few minutes. Someone came and picked up our empty plates and left, before the train whistled. It is funny how men always have this urgency to get down at every station. For example, even if the train halted for five minutes, Kartik would say, “Okay I will go and get a mineral water” . Never quite understood this urgency and “fresh-airrequirement”. I too travel a lot. But, when I board a train I never think of leaving the train even if it is halting for one straight hour! Anyway MEN are from Mars. And I am not from Venus. I drifted and yawned. Uma yawned too. It was almost 22.30 hrs, so we adjusted our berths and got ready to sleep. Uma took out a fresh white chaddar and spread it on her lower berth, while I climbed into my middle berth above her and tucked my handbag instead of a pillow. The ticket checker had come by and said something about closing our doors after midnight. Uma looked more relieved after he left. Kartik came, and we latched our door and switched off our lights, attempting to sleep. I kept counting stations. Bhusawal Jn., Khandwa station. 2 am...I fell asleep.
There was a sound, a muffled WHISPER. An ineffable FEAR, which I couldn’t define.
An uncanny feeling made me clutch my bag instinctively and quickly check my gold earrings. Our cabin was silent but the door was UNLOCKED. A faint light was streaming in. I peeped down. Uma was also awake and she stared back at me with her huge white eyes. The effect was quite stunning (the other way round). I felt terror and not terrific. Both twins were sleeping covered from head to toe. They looked quite ghostly. But the opposite lower berth was EMPTY. Kartik must have gone to the loo. I glanced at my watch. It was 5.30 am. The train had stopped a while ago and was moving again. Kartik had not returned for quite some time now. “Not your problem”, my mind screen scrolled a message. Half an hour later, neither of us had slept. We were all sort of worried. What the hell was Kartik doing? There was some shuffling sound outside and we heard a dull THUD and a latch click. Both girls woke up and said simultaneously; “Chettan?” (“brother?”). We just nodded towards the door. 60 seconds of complete silence. Suddenly Laxmi jumped out of her lower berth and rushed out before we could stop her. What do we do now? Saraswati was also about to follow, but Uma grabbed her hand and motioned her to stay still. She was now sitting upright on her berth. We had not yet turned on our lights. The latch was hanging loose. 1, 2, 3...The door started swinging in rhythm. The train was now picking up speed. I waited with baited breath. Not knowing what to do! Lock the door again or go and look outside? “You are a girl, stay put, don't move!” my mind screen scrolled a message. Sometimes I wonder is it my mind, or my mom. Before I could decide, the faint light from the door got completely ECLIPSED BY A DARK FIGURE. I smelt sweat and tobacco. I blinked twice. A drop of sweat emerged from my forehead too. And I saw a glistening dagger, pointed quite carelessly at us. Instead of turning into a stone, I did the opposite. I tried to switch on the lights but someone swiftly covered my hands with HIS. They were COARSE and sweaty palms. I shrieked out loud, not out of pain but out of TERROR. Instantly, there was another loud scream from below. That sounded like Saraswati. This huge man with these sweaty palms pulled me down from my berth and pushed me in the lower berth next to Uma. I noticed that Saraswati was already struggling with another figure who eventually managed to silence her. He rebuked her, “Arey ladki, chup chap baithi reh, chillah mat, hum kuch nahin karenge” (don’t move, we won’t hurt you). We were shivering in fear or was it the AC? 47
The scenario was quite clear to me now. There was a DACOIT GANG who had boarded the train! Exactly what the ticket checker was trying to warn us. Someone had left the main door open. And then the unthinkable had happened. We were in Madhya Pradesh now. Few headlines, scrolled into my mind screen and a face next to it. My face. Still smiling next to the headlines. Couldn’t picture myself otherwise. A faint smile nudged my pursed lips. I didn’t smile ofcourse. I was tensed. REALLY REALLY TENSED. My brain was nudging my adrenals – who like my internal RAF, started manufacturing more adrenaline and pushed me towards FIGHT or FLIGHT. But I did neither. Usha, Saraswati and I were pinned to our seats. Uma looked above once (trying to tell Ganesh not to move and stay hidden). If only telepathy would work. Counted 60 seconds. Ganesh leaned, switched on the lights daringly and jumped from his upper berth. The dacoits had missed seeing him earlier, because of his smaller size and thought that he was just an oversized kidbag stacked on the upper berth. It all happened in two second. Uma rushed and scooped his son from the floor and at the same time HURLED her huge red VIP SUITCASE at one of the dacoit standing near the door. It hit him hard, BANG, where else, and he reeled back and fell. The other dacoit who was standing in front of me looked perplexed. He was so thin and starving that before punching him on his face I actually had second thoughts of pity! Without waiting longer, Uma next picked up Kartik's big mineral water bottle and smashed it on the other dacoit's head who was now trying to get up. But, his lungi got stuck in its wheel and he was tugging at it hard. Laxmi came rushing in from outside and someone had already pulled the chain. The train was slowly coming to a screeching halt. The dacoit whom I had punched was not hurt at all. But he was unsure if he should punch me back. Absolutely not professionals! Kartik emerged from nowhere limping and few more men came into our cabin shouting “Kya hua, aap thik to hain?” Uma had another hand bag ready this time to fling at anyone who entered, so it missed Kartik's head by inches. Uma had emerged with ten hands – one holding a mineral water bottle, another a handbag, then a mobile, and a TRISHUL. Wait, Wait, Wait. Was I imagining? I think I was seeing multiple images. I think I was punched back by someone. X&*”@X@##@! I reeled and fell forward. I started having a phantasmagoria of grim Voldermots with daggers and sweaty palms, dancing cushions, flying mineral water bottles and magical spears. I remembered nothing thereafter. When I woke up, I was lying in Ganesh's upper berth. The ceiling was almost touching my nose. I strained my neck to look down. Uma, Laxmi, Saraswati and Kartik were talking to a man in uniform. I realised it was daybreak and as soon as 48
they saw me awake someone brought me tea. I clutched the earthen pot and sipped the syrupy tea quite noisily. I could hear the chaiwalah's “chai, chai, chai” outside. The policeman was saying, “Yes, yes this is common. With floods every year the number of dacoit gangs are increasing in this region. But you are lucky that this was just a group of three, that too amateurs”. Three impoverished men with peppery beard were sitting huddled outside on the platform, handcuffed. One man's cheek was so sunk that I wondered if that was the impact of my punch or was it the eternal punch of destiny. THEY were my “Chambal-dacoits”? Couldn’t believe! ASURAs could be so besura and look so vulnerable? No wonder, Ma Durga…aka Ma UMA used a mineral bottle instead of a spear – JAI HO! Later I heard how it had all happened. Apparantly Kartik had opened the door for some fresh air when the train stopped at Itnah Junction for 2 mins. These so called “dacoits” swept him off his feet and locked him in the toilet. Laxmi had rushed out only to be locked in the other toilet. Both kept banging after they recovered from their fit and someone later unlocked them. Some other passenger had pulled the chain on hearing us screaming. Rest was tackled by MY ALMIGHTY – Mrs. Uma aka Devi Durga. Our cabin being the epicenter for this so-called dacoity. The third dacoit was in the next cabin where he was overpowered by another copassenger. This was apparantly their first attempt in their new profession. Along with mixed feeling of heroism I could also see pity in Uma's eyes when she looked at those hungry men huddled outside with fearful expressions. And she blurted out, “Why didn’t they come as beggars with harmoniums? Maybe we would give them 1-2 rupees atleast!” The police officer got down in that remote station and our train started rumbling again. Rest of the day and night passed quite peacefully, with extra guards on our doors and a SEATED Kartik (at all stations). We reached Ranchi, the next morning. Baba and sis were standing there, waiting for me. “Shob thik ache to?” “Hain, no problem, cholo bari jai”. This event was too miniscule even to be reported in the local newspaper. I told no one anything. Except TODAY.
Multiplying Risks in an uncertain world: Moving away from the fundamentals --- Procyon Mukherjee I chanced upon a brilliant article by R.Rajan, while I was going through the FY2008-09 Annual Report of BIS (Bank of International Settlement), which referenced this article written in 2005. Unfortunately the whole world ignored the analysis he did about chances of increased risk with the risk mitigation efforts launched by the financial instruments, CDS, Derivatives, et al. I have summarized his findings and those from the BIS paper as follows: 1. The incentives to take “tail risks”: The investment managers were actually selling in this case disaster insurance to produce positive return most of the time as compensation for a very rare negative return, since true performance could only be ascertained over a long period; they never got evaluated as the horizon fell outside the average fund managers’ incentive time period. Chan et al had proved in 1999 that a hedged position can turn completely un-hedged when catastrophe strikes taking the Russian debt example. BIS paper proves that most distributions were not normal distributions as envisaged by the experts and such fat tail distributions had higher propensity of carrying tail risks. 2. Herding: Originally Herding was meant to insulate against under-performing but that increased the ability to move asset prices away from the fundamentals (this has happened in stocks and commodities and whole exchanges or indexes); the fund managers (who did not want to be part of the herd) who wanted to move the prices back to the fundamental were challenged with the up heal task of fighting against the enormous mass of ‘herd managers’ who were pursuing the trend, with no rationale what so ever. 3. Incentives and Low Interest Rates: Excessive tolerance for risk in a low interest rate regime. With markets completely integrated this is a prescription for risk multiplication. With liquidity freely flowing in the markets, the chances of risk explosion is almost positively confirmed by studies. The financial market explosion triggered by macro-economic imbalances (like current account imbalances, low interest rates and credit boom) and micro-economic factors like de-regulation, incentives and risk measurement got the trigger from much higher risk taking that was originally meant for mitigating risk taking efforts. Why did the discerning public, the corporate houses and their risk management cells fail to decipher that within the confines of this strategy of risk mitigation was 50
embedded a much higher propensity of risk as with crowding and bundling of products that made risk trading to be possible and sometimes profitable as well, there was this high probability that when crisis would strike, like a pack of cards there would be no end in sight before bankruptcies would loom ? This apparent ignorance of the situation is well in evidence by the herding community who were irrational par excellence when they drew money from the bank at high interest rates to invest in stocks when the stocks were already overvalued (some of them are my friends in India, where interest rates are relatively high) or in mortgage products where the high prices already broke all bounds of rationality. In the root of this ignorance is the fundamental principle on which all stock markets thrive, if every man strikes the same belief as the collective, then every man either believes that the stocks should move up or move down. In the former case it helps to move it up and in the latter it brings it down. If every man thinks differently to the collective wisdom, he counteracts to the cause. The environment created more positive connections to the collective wisdom and helped to make the market buoyant. It was just the opposite of what supply and demand curves would do in Classical Economics, the market moved away from the fundamentals. The banks created clones of intelligentsia that pervaded into corporate cells that preached the same gospel, take more risk by methods that were never applied before. I heard about the word hedging only in the year 2004, just fiveyears before, and now it seems to be the catchword without which almost nothing can be done. But if one would plot the volatility of assets subject to hedging by various constituents, one would see the relationship only far too well. The increased activity in hedging risks in assets actually made them more volatile and therefore subjected them to tail risks disproportionately. ************ This environment has now turned and the current fund managers are trying to get on terms with the changed scenario, risk aversion on tail risks, being more cautious on herding against herding is still being played out and the incentives are slowly changing forced by the regulatory environment. But public memory is short and the same mistakes could be made again guided by faith in instruments that may or may not be capable enough to be resilient in all situations. It is most likely that the markets would move back to â€œfundamentals drivenâ€? approach rather than be a reflection of irrational herding mentality, as neither liquidity would support it nor would the incentives be same as before. But this remains to be seen what happens to volatility. Dated 3rd July 2009, Zurich, Switzerland ****** 51
Understanding Value differences of the developed world ---Procyon Mukherjee Recently my sixteen year old had a tryst with the values in an Indian setting while she was doing a project on Community Development in Kolkata. Some of the value differences that she observed when she compared the same values with the developed world where she now lives stunned me and therefore this account. Her story starts with the incident of a security guard who had been deputed by one of my friends to escort my daughter to one of the villages (clearly an act of overdoing things that I could not quite comprehend) and this particular security guard reported for duty at my house in Kolkata (with a large gun at his shoulder and bullets on his side) with a huge salute to my mother and said, ‘Maiji, jo hokum ap kijiye meye ap ke liye hajir’, which means, ‘Dear Mother, whatever you demand that I do for you, you may ask me to do that’, which is almost the same words that great Hanuman, in the epic Ramayana used to say to Sita. My mother however retorted back, ‘Baba, amar Kajer lok to aj neyi, tumi baba du jora dab ektu kete debe’ which means, ‘Son, my domestic help is not available today, could you break two pairs of coconuts for me’?’ The huge guard knelt down to break coconuts and then joined in the drinking of that (including the eating of the shell inside); it must have been quite a sight for my daughter ! A security guard reporting for duty for escorting any daughter would never utter such words in any part of the developed world and nor would the grandmothers ask for such favors as mentioned above. The world is really different in many corners. Her second example is even more thought provoking. Durng her stay my daughter’s hair drier stopped working and there was a need for an electrician to come to the house to repair it. This electrician who happens to live close by took care of the problem and at the end asked what else he could do to my mother, to which my mother asked him, ‘Baba, could you buy some medicines for me from the nearest store, my domestic help is missing today?’ The electrician happily complied, and he did everything Just for free. I remembered my experience with the Swiss Electrician in Zurich (or should I say inexperience?) when the first electric bulb stopped functioning when I tried to turn the bulb too much to one side and the wire snapped inside. Not knowing how to fix this without any wire or soldering iron or tape, I sought the help of the ‘Relocation Agency’ in Zurich and phoned them up. The agency came back after a few minutes ‘fixing’ the appointment with an Electrician in Zurich who would come over to the house. I chanced to ask her what the ‘expected’ fees would look like and she
chirped it could be in the region of Swiss Francs 150, since the person had to drive all the way from Oerlikon and was anyway quite busy and was not quite used to such errands. I took the opportunity to cancel the appointment. My second encounter with the plumber was a bit more memorable, the wash-room cistern stopped functioning and we had to call the plumber through the Relocation Agency again and this time he did come at the appointed hour and fixed the problem in a minute. I later on got the invoice for Swiss Francs 130 for the services rendered. I was glad that he did not ask me whether he could do anything more. It is just not about cost of living and the price one has to pay in the developed world, it is more about values and how they differ. There is nothing as good or bad, in these examples, it is just that the examples talk about two different value systems in place. Not everything is about money where poverty is more rampant and earnings are moderate, services could be given for free, as relationships are valued more than the return to be sought from services rendered; where development had taken men to different levels of cost of living, there is little chance that services could be rendered beyond the principles of economics. In fact many things in the developed world are constrained by the principles of economics, like supply and demand or the theories of surplus value; human relationships are confined by their boundaries and stretching beyond these boundaries, no matter how much one would desire, would be difficult. But I was particularly interested in the examples of behavior of people under identical conditions and how these behaviors differed as the values did. My mother in law has an endemic problem with her bone structure and continues to suffer. She has a perennial problem when she tries to walk and would be able to do that with a lot of difficulty. My wife was almost always at her side escorting her throughout her walks in the various cities that she visited. She held her hand and walked at her pace and this was perhaps the only reason why my mother-in-law could walk such long distances in all the cities, which she would never be able to dream of doing in Kolkata. I frequently see old women in trains and trams with walkers and sticks in Europe and I have almost never seen any one including their spouses helping them when they struggle to walk. I think the difference lies in values. In these parts of the developed world, people value independence and being proud to be able to stand on oneâ€™s own feet without any help. In our part of the world we value dependence and we value getting care and help from others, and specially our own children.
But why would such behaviors be so different? There is nothing wrong in any of these behaviors, but the impact of these behaviors on the character of a nation is deeper. Imagine what happens when a child turns sixteen in these parts of the world. She becomes independent to do things and considers herself a grown up. The world around her celebrates this growing up; in fact there are two other celebrations that had already taken place in the past, the graduation ceremonies at the school when she moved into the middle school and the next one when she moved into the high school. I think in the Indian context, there is nothing ceremonious about this event, because no father would be happy thinking that the daughter is now independent at the age of sixteen and would leave her to pursue things on her own and stop supporting her. In some of the extreme examples in the developed world I have seen children doing menial work to be able to pursue studies or even do things that they love. They value independence and they lovingly start supporting themselves instead of â€˜dependingâ€™ on their parents (I saw the richest kid in our locality serving in the departmental store throughout the summer). I think this value has got to do with economics as well. Where demand is constrained, and we have excess supply of labor, there is a need to constrain supply of labor. That is not the case in the developed world, where labor is in short supply as hordes of people move from lower income levels to higher income levels and this value addition attracts new labor needs at the bottom of the pile. If this progression continues, there would be the constant need to supply labor at the bottom of the pile. This menial labor force if I may call it, is temporary, as more skill, knowledge and expertise is garnered the upward movement is propelled. The rest of the system actually supports this activity for its own good. The values of independence are actually created by this economic necessity, not the other way round. But the developed world had gone far and may be a bit too far on this, not caring for parents is something that goes beyond needs of economics. The Western world had gone far on marital values as well, but that is itself a complex subject matter, which cannot be so easily explained. But I would like to touch upon the concept of family in the developed world and how it differs in the other part. In the past I have had the privilege of mixing with families of colleagues in my earlier jobs in India. The transparent environment made it possible for people to know about families, just not through parties but even more as the families informally met as well. But I found it queer that such free mixing with families is not in the culture of the West, in fact knowing about what happens to kids or parents of colleagues is not a common thing. I came to know later that family is more a private thing and openness that one would expect as in the Indian world, is something not so desirable here.
Taking this forward one would find the preponderance of individual boundaries that the Western world puts to island itself and the relative importance that an individual space carries more than the collective space. The difference between the individual and collective space is what differentiates the two cultures, no wonder it creates a difference in creativity as well. Let me now move to another set of values that differ and this is more meaningful in the context of business. In the developed world leisure is valued, while hard work is in the developing world. Here again I see that when productivity rises there is always the less need for men for any work and more the need for people who normally do hard work reduces. This helps to create more leisure hours for all categories of men and this had been turned into a positive business, proposition in Europe as more people enjoy leisure and holidays the service economy is helped to prosper through this. The striking difference that we attach to various hierarchies of work and its complete absence stunned me. Our domestic help in Switzerland, who works for us for three hours every fortnight, started explaining to my wife how she knew about the books that I kept in my study. Later my wife learnt to her utter bewilderment that she was actually a primary school teacher who quit her job to pursue more leisurely work styles like providing domestic help (which could be having very flexible hours, while teaching would be very stressful and time consuming). This example is odd for an Indian setting where every work is associated with a social hierarchy and actually distinguishes people. In fact the caste system created this work hierarchy and for centuries that segmented the society on these terms, with almost no possibility for breaking some of the rules. Adam Smithâ€™s division of labor assumes a different connotation given this example. When choices can be made between freedom and basic needs, when hierarchy of needs could be fulfilled. I do see such examples surfacing in our part of the world. I would like to end with two examples, the first one on Indian values, one that happened with my Indian colleague when he suddenly discovered that he was given two hundred Euros more than what was due from the bank where he was exchanging dollars. When he came back from his trip from Germany he went back to the bank to return the money. The guys at the bank were quite taken aback by this gesture and asked him from which country he was coming from. Later they gave him a beautiful set of Swiss knives as a good gesture, since they had no hope of recovering the money that they had written off as bad debt. I assume that they did not expect anyone to return a sum of 200 Euros which had been transferred wrongly but with no strings of a legal entitlement that could be progressed if the money was not returned. Another example I would take is on the Swiss values of caring for nature. Once when I was passing by the trees around the lake in the peak of winter, I found that
an old lady was putting some food for the birds at the base of the tree, for the birds to eat; it would have been quite difficult for these birds who had not migrated to be able to gather food, with snows all around. It was not possible for me to know whether this was a government sponsored program, but whether or not it was, it was a sparkling gesture to do with nature what many would not do for their own. Examples are galore how the nature is preserved here in Switzerland through deeply seated values that talk about frugality and doing things for others without any direct economic link. I explored this example to my younger daughterâ€™s spring field trip where she went to South of Switzerland and lived in camps. She had to do all the daily chores like a villager; milking cows, sweeping floors, cleaning toilets were part of this routine. The responsibilities included caring for nature, preserving what needs to be preserved, just not for self, but for the community and also being timeless in content. At her impressionable age, I believe it will stay for a long time, as it does with all the people of Switzerland. The school curriculum extends the social responsibility example in more ways than one. So while on one hand there are extremities seen in terms of individual freedom, there is equal focus on social responsibility, no wonder no one would ever dare think of making a place unclean by throwing unwanted things. The 5 S Example at the country level, there is perhaps Switzerland alone, which can think of achieving. But the crux of the puzzle lies in the understanding of the fact that people attach far less importance to titles and status, every individual can take pride in what he is, regardless of what he had achieved relative to others and there is no need to attach special strings to these titles by way of privileges that a common man cannot enjoy. There are only six ministers in Switzerland and none of them travel in pomp and glory like in any other place, in fact most of them avail public transport like buses and trains; the ex-CEO of UBS who lives close to my place always used to take the same tram that I take for going to office every day. I would like to complete this essay taking a more mundane domestic example to demonstrate further how values differ. Cooking oneâ€™s own food and cooking a lavish meal for guests is an act of great satisfaction that we value in our part of the world. In this part, cooking is an act that does not exist beyond the bare necessities (baking, heating, etc), in fact most people spend not more than three hours on this act per week on weekdays and eat out on weekends. Now compare that with what an Indian household would do, it would be at least 14 man hours per week, this difference of 11 man hours translates to 572 man hours per year or almost a full month of employment in a year. It is the wife in India or the domestic help who takes up this job, but not in the developed world. In absence of domestic help, the job has to be shared equally between the spouses. The eating habit thus changes to
more semi-cooked food and thus the cooking time further comes down. Actually this stimulates the economy in terms of moving towards more value added food for weekdays and using the hospitality services for the weekends. By staying in the low value add content of food, our developing world values have stayed where they were in the past. But that is perhaps changing, but changing slowly. As we start to outsource services we would be gaining very precious hours that could be gainfully employed by an individual for the pursuits he or she enjoys. This would be the start of the individual space to widen and the collective space to shrink. It must start from our kitchens! Zurich, 23rd July 2009
The need to Die -- Procyon Mukherjee Need to die? Quench what? Fire, passion, greed? Vengeance? Humility, may not last With bullets, real, Trading with ones not for use, Not in Coffee shops where charred clots Are stepped by panting feet, Blood is washed on the platform, Where trains ran a little late To pave way Anchor shoots, momentary wrath? ‘Action’ is announced at last Black deathly uniform Stooped on smoking lobbies Of asphyxiation, not trembling fear, Searching for a beat, or moving death, life or lifeless Water ran out on burning assets, Cover ran out, hope, shelter, not friends. Shelter all around but only a hole that Defined it Who can choose this? Youth-lost men In dire need to die for a living No survivors, no hostage No victors Actors Candles, no expression at the end No answers are needed Only cry, cry sisters, brothers, Cry mother Just cry Tears or tearless Embrace, don’t stoop, feel the life beating, don’t shoot, Kill the need to die, kill it, kill it, till you die. ****** 58
Ein hinterhältiger Bauer -- Ritika Chakraborty Es wohnte einmal in einem kleinen Dorf ein Bauer namens Gangaram. Gangaram war ein Geizhals. Er gab sein Geld nie aus, nicht einmal für seinen Esel, der ihm immer half seine Bündel zu tragen. Tag für Tag arbeitete der Esel sehr hart, aber genug zu essen bekam er trotzdem nicht, deshalb wurde der Esel mager und krank. Eines Tages besuchte Gangaram seinen Freund im Nachbardorf. Um ins Dorf zu gelangen musste er den Wald durchqueren. Im Wald fand Gangaram den Fell eines Tigers. Er hatte eine Idee. Gangaram nahm das Fell und ging nach Hause. In der Nacht zog er seinem Esel dieses Tigerfell an und liess ihn auf fremden Feldern grasen. Die anderen Bauern dachten, es sei ein Tiger und rannten vor Angst weg. Vor Tagesanbruch kam der Esel wieder nach Hause. Jetzt täuschte er jede Nacht die Bauern mit dem Tigerfell und frass all ihre Ernte auf. Nach einigen Tagen wurde der Esel dick und kräftig. Eines Tages, als der Esel wieder auf den Feldern graste, hörte er einen anderen Esel rufen” Ba…..Ba….Ba…”. Vor Freude fing Gangarams Esel auch an zu rufen ”Ba….Ba….Ba…”. Als die Bauern es hörten verstanden sie sofort, dass es ein Esel war, der die ganze Ernte zerstörte. Die Bauern waren so wütend auf den Esel, dass sie den Esel mit Stöcken und Steinen bewarfen. Der arme Esel starb und Gangaram verlor seinen Esel für immer.
Der Klavierwettbewerb -- Abhigyan Ghosh Jetzt kommt mein Auftritt. Alle Leute warten darauf. Ich gehe langsam auf die Bühne. Sitze ich richtig? Ist der Stuhl richtig eingestellt? Mein Herz pocht. Jetzt geht’s los! Ich blicke zum Publikum und dann..... Der Grund, warum ich hier bin, liegt schon drei Wochen zurück. Es war ein Samstagnachmittag, sonnig und leicht bewölkt. Ich wartete auf einem Stuhl zuhinterst in einem Saal. Mein Klavierlehrer kam zu mir und sagte: „Konzentrier dich! Du wirst’s schon schaffen.“ Das erleichterte mich kein bisschen, trotzdem täuschte ich ein Lächeln vor.... In dem Saal waren höchstens zehn Personen, drei davon die Jury. Auf der Bühne sass ein Junge am Flügel. Er spielte ein Werk von Mozart, das ich nicht kannte. Ich hörte zu und dachte, als Nächster bin ich dran, als Nächster bin ich dran.... Ich wurde aus meinen Gedanken gerissen durch das Klatschen der Leute im Saal. Der Junge war aufgestanden, hatte sich verbeugt und schnell die Bühne verlassen. Zwei Personen gratulierten ihm. Jetzt war ich dran. Ich ging auf die Bühne, setzte mich und fing an zu spielen. Ich spürte, wie die Jury mich beobachtete. Bei jedem Fehler blieb mein Herz stehen, doch meine Finger spielten weiter und weiter und weiter...Endlich war das Stück zu Ende gespielt. Ich stand erleichtert auf, ging von der Bühne zu meinem Klavierlehrer, und ass die Schokolade, die er mir gab. Ein Mitglied der Jury kam zu mir und sagte:“ Du hast sehr musikalisch gespielt.“ Bevor sie mich bedanken konnte, war sie verschwunden. Eine Woche später sagte mein Klavierlehrer, ich müsse das Stück nochmal am Preisträgerkonzert spielen. Ich hätte wahrscheinlich einen Preis gewonnen in dem diesjährigen Klavierwettbewerb. In zwei Wochen sei das Konzert Heute ist der Saal von Leuten überfüllt und dann, endlich kommt mein Auftritt. Alle Leute warten darauf. Ich gehe langsam auf die Bühne. Sitze ich richtig? Ist der Stuhl richtig eingestellt? Mein Herz pocht. Jetzt geht’s los. Ich blicke ein letztes Mal zum Publikum und fange an zu spielen. Die Leute verstummen. Das Einzige, was zu hören ist, ist der Klang des Flügels. Heute fällt es mir nicht schwer, diese Sonate zu spielen. Fast zu früh ist es schon vorbei. Ich stehe auf. Jeder im Saal applaudiert. Ich gehe von der Bühne zu meinem Platz in der vordersten Reihe und höre das Konzert zu Ende. Jetzt kommt die Preisverleihung. Nach drei Wochen warten wird jetzt endlich bekannt gegeben, wer den ersten Platz erreicht hat. Der Musikschulleiter geht auf die Bühne, hält eine kurze Rede und fängt an, die Gewinner herunterzulesen. 1. Kategorie 3. Platz, 1. Kategorie 2 Platz 1. Kategorie 1. Platz, 2.
Kategorie spezielle Anerkennungen. „Warum gibt’s denn so viele Preise? Und seit wann gibt es die Anerkennungen?“, denke ich mir. Er liest weiter; 2. Kategorie 2. Platz und 2. Kategorie erster Platz. Ich glaube es nicht. Tatsächlich ist mein Name gefallen. Ich gehe zum Leiter, der mir die Hand entgegenstreckt... „Gratuliere zum ersten Platz!“
PenSpinning – eine Kunst und eine Sportart -- Abhigyan Ghosh Manche von euch haben mich vielleicht gesehen, wie ich irgendwo sitze und gelangweilt einen Stift in den Fingern drehe. Das, was ich mache, sieht nicht nur schön aus, ich trainiere damit auch meine Finger. Jetzt ist es schon offiziell als Sportart anerkannt worden. PenSpinning kommt aus dem Englischen und bedeutet übersetzt „Stift drehen“. Es ist erstmals populär geworden in 1998. Leute sagen, dass PenSpinning aus dem Asiatischen Raum kommen, aber niemand weiss das genau. Fernando Kuo (auch bekannt unter „Kam“) hat damals das erste PenSpinning Board geöffnet. Heute gibt es schon viele Online-Boards. Fast jedes Land hat ein eigenes Board, in dem PenSpinning gelehrt und besprochen wird. Es gibt auch ein internationales Board, das Universal Pen Spinning Board, kurz USPB, das von Fernando Kuo eröffnet worden ist. Jährlich wird vom USPB ein World Tournament veranstaltet. Dort spinnen die besten Spinner von der ganzen Welt gegeneinander, um auszumachen, wer der Beste unter ihnen sei. Letztes Jahr belegte ein deutscher Spinner den 2. Platz. Nicht jeder Stift ist gleich gut zum spinnen, darum modifiziert man einen Stift mit Teilen von anderen Stiften, bis er sich optimal spinnt. Die Profis verwenden extrem schwere Stifte, da es mit schweren Stiften leichter geht. Gute Spinner können den Stift auf 250 verschiedene Weisen in den Fingern drehen. Um PenSpinning zu lernen, braucht man nicht viel: nur ein wenig Geduld und Fingerfertigkeiten. Falls ich das Interesse von jemandem erweckt habe, stehe ich gerne für Fragen bereit. Man findet auch weitere Infos unter www.penspinning.de.
Mohabharata- Indiens grösstes Epos -- Arobinda Roy Eine kurze Beschreibung Der Sohn von Sankt Parashara, Vyasadev, plante alles über den Gott Krishna und die Kuru- und Pandava- Dynastie aufzuschreiben. Dies ist mit 60000 Sätzen und über 1000 Seiten das grösste Epos der Hindus, das Mahabharata (wörtlich übersetzt grosses Indien / Bharata). So ein Riesenprojekt zu verfassen und zu schreiben war für ihn nicht einfach, deshalb bat er den Gott Ganesha, dass er für ihn schreiben solle. Ganesha war sofort bereit, sagte aber: „Mein Heiliger, ich muss mit ihnen vereinbaren, dass wenn ich mit schreiben fertig bin, sie sofort weiter erzählen müssen, dass meine Schreibfeder nicht trocknet. Wenn ich zu schreiben aufhöre, trocknet sofort meine Schreibfeder und ich kann nicht mehr weiterschreiben.“ Vyasadev hat das akzeptiert und gesagt: „Ich muss ihnen auch sagen, dass sie nichts aufschreiben dürfen, ohne dass sie die Bedeutung der Verse verstehen.“ Dies war der Anfang der Dichtung und des Schreibens der Mahabharata. Manchmal erzählte Vyasadev so schwere Gedichte, dass Ganesha einige Zeit brauchte, um die Begriffe richtig zu verstehen. Inzwischen konnte Vyasadev seine neuen Verse im Kopf vorbereiten. So ist die Geschichte des Anfangs von Mahabharata. In 18 Kapiteln ist das Buch vollständig. 1. Kapitel „Aadiparba“ d.h. Ursprung der Geschichte 2. Kapitel „Savaparba“ d.h. Versammlungen 3. Kapitel „Banaparba“ d.h. Waldleben 4. Kapitel „Biratparba“ d.h. zurück von dem Waldleben 5. Kapitel „Udzogparba“ d.h. Kriegsvorbereitung 6. Kapitel „Bhimaparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom starken Mann Bhima 7. Kapitel „Drunaparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Lehrer Druna 8. Kapitel „Karnaparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom General Karna 9. Kapitel „Salyaparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom General Salya 10. Kapitel „Godaparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Kampf mit dem Schlagstock 11. Kapitel „Souptikparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Spionieren 12. Kapitel „Striparba“ d.h. Geschichte von den Frauen 13. Kapitel „Santiparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Frieden 14. Kapitel „Anushasonparba“ d.h. Geschichte von Regelungen 15. Kapitel „Ashwamedhparba“ d.h. Geschichte von Opfergabe 16. Kapitel „Ashramikparba“ d.h. Geschichte von Einsiedelei 17. Kapitel „Mushalparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Krieg/ Kämpfen 18. Kapitel „Swargarohanparba“ d.h. Geschichte vom Himmelgang 1. Kapitel „Aadiparba“ d.h. Ursprung der Geschichte
1) König Shantanu von Hastinapur hat während der Jagd die Göttin Ganga getroffen. Er heiratete sie und nahm sie in seinen Palast. 2) Sohn Devabrata wurde geboren. Nach der Geburt wollte die Göttin Ganga den Sohn in den Fluss werfen. König Shantanu konnte das nicht dulden und verbot ihr, so etwas zu tun. Dies beleidigte die Göttin Ganga und sie verliess unsere Welt. 3) Devabrata war als Kind sehr geschickt mit Religionsbüchern und Kämpfen geworden. 4) König Shantanu hat während der Jagd ein hübsches Mädchen namens Satyavati beim Rudern gesehen. 5) Er wollte Prinzessin Satyavati heiraten. 6) Aber ihr Vater König Dasraj wollte, dass der Sohn von Satyavati Shantanus Königreich bekommen sollte. König Shantanu konnte diese Bedingung nicht akzeptieren, weil Devabrata, der erste Sohn, das Königreich bekommen sollte. 7) Devabrata ging zu Dasraj und sagte, er wolle nie König werden und auch nie heiraten. Er hat so ein grosses Versprechen gegeben, dass sein Name neu „Bhishma“ wurde. 8) Somit ist Satyavati Königin geworden und hat 2 Söhne, Chitranggod und Vichitravirjya, geboren. 9) Nach Shantanu ist Chitranggod König geworden. Und nach Chitranggods frühem Tod wurde Vichitravirjya zum König gekrönt. 10) Vichitravirjyas 2 Söhne hiessen Dhritarashtra und Pandu. Dhritarashtra wurde blind geboren, somit ist Pandu König geworden. 11) Dhritarashtras Frau Gandhari gebar: Duryodhana, Dushasana etc. 100 Söhne und 1 Tochter, Dushala. Diesen Kindern sagt man „Kaurava“. 12) König Pandu hatte 2 Frauen, Kunti und Madri. Kuntis 3 Söhne: Yudhisthira, Bhima und Arjuna. Madris 2 Söhne: Nakula und Sahadeva. Diesen Kindern sagt man „Pandava“. Nach dem Tod von Pandu ist der junge Bhima König geworden. 13) Die Kinder von Dhritarashtra und Pandu sind alle bei Dronacharjya in die Rekrutenschule gegangen und haben gemeinsam trainiert. 14) Einmal wollte Dronacharjya die Fähigkeiten der Rekruten testen und hat einen Holzvogel im Baum zum Ziel geboten. 15) Nur Arjuna konnte es erreichen. Somit trainierte Dronacharjya Arjuna weiter in der Kriegskunst. 16) Bei Kaurava und Pandava war Yudhisthira der älteste Sohn. Er war sehr ehrenvoll, die Leute sagten ihm Gottessohn. Deshalb war Duryodhana eifersüchtig auf die Pandavas und wollte sie schlecht machen. 17) Nach dem Lehrgang bei Dronacharjya haben alle einmal ihre Fähigkeiten vorgeführt. 18) Arjuna zeigte mit seinem Pfeilbogen die beste Darbietung. Alle haben ihn gelobt. 19) Aber der Sohn von Adhirath, Karna, wollte mit Arjuna kämpfen. 20) Da nur Königssöhne mit Königssöhnen kämpfen durften, gab Duryodhana Karna die Hälfte seines Königreichs, dass er kämpfen konnte. Und er sagte, er sei sein Freund.
21) Duryodhanas Onkel Shakuni spielte Schach und machte schlechte Politik. Zusammen mit den Kaurava wollte er taktisch alle Pandavas verbrennen. 22) Duryodhana hat planmässig ein speziell brennbares Haus erstellt. Und dorthin wollte er die Pandavas mit Kunti locken . 23) Das haben die Pandavas sofort erkannt und einmal in der Nacht selber das Haus angezündet und sind in den Wald geflohen. 24) Verkleidet als Brahmanen wanderten sie im Königreich Panchal umher. 25) Die Tochter von König Panchal, Draupadi wollte denjenigen heiraten, der mit dem Pfeilbogen den Fisch hinter dem Diskus oben im Baum trifft, so dass dieser zu Boden fällt. 26) Hunderte von Kriegern konnten den Fisch nicht treffen. 27) Nur Arjuna konnte es tun und gewann die Prinzessin Draupadi. 28) Dann holten die Gebrüder Pandava sie zu sich nach Hause und sagten zu der Mutter: “Mutter sieh, was wir mitgebracht haben“. Die Mutter antwortete ohne nachzuschauen: „Was ihr mitgebracht habt, teilt es alle in 5 gleiche Teile“. Damit heirateten die 5 Brüder der Mutter zuliebe gemeinsam Draupodi. 29) Als König Drupada dies hörte, arrangierte er in seiner Freude im Palast eine prachtvolle Hochzeitsfeier. 30) Als Dhritharashtra erfuhr, dass die Pandavas noch leben und mit dem starken König Drupada befreundet sind, ist er ängstlich geworden und hat die Hälfte seines Königreichs mit den Pandavas geteilt. Damit ist Khandabsprostha neu Hauptstadt der Pandavas geworden. 31) Dann wanderte Arjuna 12 Jahre lang zu heiligen Orten. In Manipura traf er Prinzessin Chitrangada und heiratete sie. 32) Dann reiste er in die heilige Stadt Pravashtirtha. Shreekrishna wohnte in der Hauptstadt Dwaraka. Er liebte Arjuna sehr, deshalb holte er ihn nach Dwaraka. 33) Dort heiratete Arjuna Subhadra, die Schwester von Shreekrishna. Mit dem Pferdewagen kamen Subhadra und Arjuna nach Khandabprastha. 34) Nach einiger Zeit kam Shreekrishna seine Schwester in Khandabprastha besuchen. Einmal sass er mit Arjuna am Ufer des Flusses Jamuna, da kam ein Mönch des Feuergottes Brahma und sagte, er habe Verdauungsstörungen, er sei krank und er müsse alle Vögel und Tiere dieses Waldes braten und essen, damit er gesund werde. 35) Danach jagte Shreekrishna alle Vögel und Tiere und bereitete sie ihm zum essen zu. Nach dem Essen war der Feuergott zufrieden und segnete ihn mit Unsterblichkeit. 36) Der Dämon Moy war der beste Handwerker im Wald. Er bat Krishna und Arjuna um sein Leben. Somit konnte er aus einziger überleben, sonst verbrannte alles im Wald. Somit ist das erste Kapitel beendet. Ich hoffe, dass die Leser/ Leserinnen damit etwas über dieses Epos erfahren haben. Jetzt möchte ich heute hier abschliessen. Die Kurzversion der restlichen Kapitel möchte ich später bringen. ***** 64
Durga Puja 2009 Have a wonderful celebration!
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