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Childrens‘ Painting

05 Message from Ambassador of India M. K. Lokesh 06 Sarodiyo Durgotsav / The Autumn Festival Atish Roychoudhury 07 Swisspuja Patrika enters 11th Edition Brindarica Bose 08 Swiss Puja 2014 – Behind the ‘screens’! Sourav Ray 09 Bengal Folk Art Upayan Bardhan 15 Bharat Sevashram's Service to the Nation Swami Biswatmananda

56 57 58 59


10 Interview with 12 Interview with 13 Interview with 14 Interview with

Ashutosh Nag Saradindu Mitra Arabinda Roy Sikha Dhar

16 Sourav Ray Aniruddha Ghosh



70 Red velvet cupcakes 71 Light Spong Cake 72 Jai Hind 74 Chicken Tikka Masala 75 The Kolkata Food-o-Meter

Rejina Sadhu Bella Asar Amrita Ray Parul Shah-Schnitzler Srijani Bhattacharya

কিবতা Rajat Bhattacharya Anuradha Sen Mookerjee Shyama Pada Coomar Kamalika Chakraborty Chandana Mittra Sen Ursula Palit Basantabihari Palit


78 বৃি' (ভজা এই শহর / (রাজকার মেতা 79 খাপছাড়া 80 একিট শরেতর সকাল

রাজেশখর পাল sাতী ভূঞ;া দাস তnয় পাল


Photography 81 Photos taken by 82 Photos taken by

Gold coast vs. Silver coast 34 From Mouchak to Mövenpick to Mc Donald’s... Riti Mukherjee 38 Switzerland and United Kingdom Madhubrata Banerjee Chatterjee 41 From Switzerland, UK, US to Belgium Agomoni Ganguli Mitra

Kaushik Sarkar Indranil Banerjee

84 pবn


84 (শষ নবাব ও একিট িpয় ছিব 85 গl হেলও সিত;!!!


91 পরশ পাথর

44 To the End of the World

Kaustav Ghose


92 ভুত-পবO 95 অnবাদক 96 রবীndকােব; “নারী”

How I celebrate Durgapuja


Saradindu Mitra Brindarica Bose Arushi Bhattacharya



52 Essay from 53 Essay from 54 Essay from 55 Essay from

60 75 Minutes with Clia 62 A Round Trip in Zurich Lake 67 Rupanjali



19 A Bookworm’s Tirade 21 'The in-between times' 24 We the Bengali people 26 Schoggi Rosogolla 29 The Parsi Principle 30 Altersheim auf Indisch 32 In Erinnerung an Dhrubalal Bose



Heimat - Can we Define ’home’

16 War, Glory and a Soldier’s Story 17 Pujo, A Journey Through Time

Aarna Debnath, Arushi Bhattacharya, Prakriti Sadhu Abhiraj Roy Choudhury, Nayanika Debnath, Parthiv Kangsabanik Adhrit Bose, Shivam Banerjee, Shukrit Rakshit Sasmit Bhattacharya, Indira Acharya

Parthiv Kangsabanik Arushi Bhattacharya Indira Acharya Bodhaditya Deb

দীপাJনা (ঘাষ তndা চkবতOী সাnাল RীপণOা ব;ানাjOী তুিহন (বাস মJুRী রায় নndলাল নnী


েছাটগl 86 আবার িক (দখা হেব?

বসnিবহারী পািলত

SWISSPUJA COMMITTEE 2014: President: Atish Roy Choudhury; Secretary: Dibyendu Debnath; Treasurer: Suman Ray; Organizing Committee: Aakash Bhattacharya; Akshata Rao; Aniruddha Ghosh; Arindam Bajpayee; Brindarica Bose; Shyma Pada Coomar; Sourav Ray; Tanmoy Pal. Advertisement Coordinators: Swisspuja Committee and Chinmoy Chakraborty; Pradip Nandi; Mahua Mukherjee; Tanoy Roy. Volunteers: Swati Bhunia, Riya Sengupta, Seemon Coomar. Designing and Layouting: Tanmoy Pal. Cover and Coordination: Brindarica Bose. Copyrights (c): Swisspuja 2014.

Table of Contents 05 56


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Message 5


Sarodiyo Durgotsav / The Autumn Festival Dear Friends, Gruezi, Greetings, The ushering of autumn signals the onset of “Durga Puja”. The image of a swaying golden paddy field in the backdrop of a blue sky lined with white feather clouds, stirs an eternal longing for the magical lands left behind. In this Alpine land, the change of nature`s attire to brilliant hues of red, yellow, purple and brown, brings good tidings to the members and friends of the diaspora, who come together to recreate and celebrate the same magic, every year. Durga Puja also referred to as Durgotsav is the most prominent festival of Eastern India. It is the worship of the feminine deity symbolizing—triumph of good over evil. Durgotsav transcends religious confines to extend to a larger interactive space for expression and exchange of tradition, art and culture. Featuring of Durgotsav in the contemporary socio-cultural milieu provides a wonderful opportunity to all—young and old, Indian and Swiss, to intermingle. This year Swisspuja completes its 11th year of Durga Puja celebrations. We have been able to reach this milestone only because of unwavering belief and tireless effort of several volunteers and encouragement received from members and visitors, right since inception. On behalf of Swisspuja Organizing Committee 2014, I would like to extend our most

sincere gratitude to members, volunteers, guests, sponsors and friends who have supported us and cheered us throughout this journey. The highlights of this year`s celebrations include: • venue decoration with traditional motifs and themes exclusively created by practicing artisans from Bengal; • the repackaged Swisspuja Patrika presenting a kaleidoscopic view of life and times in Switzerland, India, and beyond; • the “connect initiative”, with local Swiss communities, (especially the host Geminde of Langnau am Albis), publication of an article in the local Geminde Magazine, etc. and; • creation of a lively & dynamic website (www.swisspuja.org) keeping enthusiasts abreast with the preparations. It gives us immense pleasure to welcome you all to this celebration at Langanu Am Albis from 29th September to 3rd of October. Please come with your family and friends and be a part of Durgotsav 2014.

Atish Dipankar Roy Choudhury President On behalf of Organization Committee, Swisspuja 2014 contact: atishrc@yahoo.com




estivals are like extended weekends, with

an instant flow of endorphin, lifting our spirits. And the pleasure of celebrating ‘Durga Puja’ in the land of Lindt is like finding a packet of ‘Phuchka’ (golgappa) next to waifers at a Migros outlet! Swisspuja, a non-profit association, founded 11 years ago has strived to make the nearly impossible, possible. ‘Durga Puja’ conducted based on times and rituals from the almanac, 108 lotuses, Protima and Purohit from Kolkata and yes Phuchka stalls in the entrance—has all become a reality. Swisspuja emanates that Barir-pujo feeling, where you are not just visiting pandals—but are creating one. But reminiscing just 4 days of Durga Puja for the next 361 days would be unfair, isn’t it? What if you had a Swisspuja Patrika—a ’token’ which is a collection of stories from your own friends and neighbours? Wouldn’t it be like having a bunch of shiuli phul which never dried up and reminded you of Durga Puja and our growing expat family in Switzerland, throughout four seasons? Like every year, this year too we have put together the 11th edition of the Swisspuja Patrika. Our aim, as emphasised by our President in every internal meeting, has been to add value, not only in the content but also in its design and overall feeling. You will also find an online version of the Patrika in our new website (www.swisspuja.org). Many authors are debutantes—identified from their interesting posts in Facebook, or the way they narrate stories at dinner invitations or the way they keep quiet and yet when prodded switch on their cameras and show the photos they took while travelling to the tip of the world. Intention was to give you a platform to write, to unleash that secret desire to be a writer, and the outcome has surprised us all. Our youngest fiction writer is 12 years old and oldest is 83 years young. Their span of experience and selection of topics reflect each age group’s muse. We have articles from mothers who held their babies in one hand and typed with their other hand and an article from a veteran writer who broke her right hand but still managed to type after therapy. We have a former diplomat from Geneva who raises a vital question which concerns not only women, but also our society in


general. Another, visited restaurants in Kolkata and came up with her recommendation for our readers. One writer spent hours searching for a suitable photo in his attic for the ‘Heimat interview’ while another shared her experience as a translator working with migrants in their new heimat. Overall, it has been a long and interesting journey. Like an Indian Thali, our Patrika too, offers you an assortment of articles in different flavours and languages. Authors will like it if you drop them a line after reading their articles (email ids are given in the beginning of each article). In this edition, we have introduced four new series: ‘Silver vs. Gold Coast’ for our frequent country hoppers sharing their piquant and vivid memories; ‘Define Heimat’ in an interview format, with deft and witty narrations; ‘Essays’ from kids; and a ‘Photo feature‘ by two hobbyphotographers, whose photos pronounce yet once again, that being passionate about your hobby, is the most relaxing therapy you can have to counter today’s super busy and stressful life. Having worked in publication industry for the last 12 years, I am aware that planning content is just 50% of the effort for producing a magazine, the other vital half is production and getting the finances for printing it. Due to economic crunch, it was a hard run. Led by our President and Secretary, Committee Members and few treasured Volunteers—who relentlessly pursued advertisers to get the required revenue. We again strived for value addition in every respect, trading in our expertise and free time (and most often also office and family time) to publish this Patrika. Typesetting itself costs thousands of Francs, but again a Member volunteered to sit with his Mac and do the job, without uttering a single word of complaint. This is the spirit, which, if I may say, defines Swisspuja. We are all wired to connect, to give in our best to the festival, and in return get a joyful ripple in our day to day life which lasts one full year. I won’t keep you long on this page, as you must be eagerly waiting to turn the pages. Enjoy the reading experience. Happy Durga Puja to you all! Brindarica Bose On behalf of Swisspuja Team 2014



Swisspuja Patrika enters 11th Edition

Swiss Puja 2014 – Behind the ‘screens’! Sourav Ray Swisspuja Committee Member. Contact: souravray82@gmail.com


n the year 2014, Swisspuja is already a well-

oiled machinery. There is the Committee, the Mentors, their respective friends and an army of enthusiastic well-wishers! These are the ‘pillars of strength’ that Swisspuja firmly stands on. Right. So, there’s experience and energy and initiative in the basket in relatively good measure. But what would happen if we put all of this into a mixer, along with a generous dollop of Technology? Well, we found out this year… Imagine a regular work day – the usual commute, followed by the typical meetings and events that follow, dragging yourself out of the building and heading back home etc. – a familiar portfolio of the mundane and typical, until you call it a day and drift into a dream. But let’s rewind just a little. Somewhere between ‘getting back home’ and ‘heading to bed’, ‘Google’ has been waiting for us quietly! Move over ‘conference-calls’, DropBox and any other potential contenders! Hangout, Google Drive, Google Docs and an arsenal of “apps” have taken over! Yes indeed! Governed by the meticulous planning of the President, a carefully selected panel would do battle online every evening. Now, let’s see - if it was ‘Decorations’ on Monday, it would be ‘Cultural Events’ the day after – or perhaps another burning topic? Take your pick.

Not all of us have Technology for breakfast. Therefore, it was a bit of struggle at first. But surely enough – a click here and a click there and soon all was well with the world! This new-age video-conferencing meant that we could now not only see our participants’ smiling-faces but also (see and hear) those of their (sometimes disgruntled) other halves and kids! Days rolled into months, and in spite of the odd technical glitch now and then, we proudly marched on, relatively unperturbed, from one meeting to the next! Although incredibly effective and efficient, this new ‘modus operandi’ had its down-side. Clearly, to the ‘Bong-at heart’, a ‘meeting without eating is cheating’! We were violating one of the key doctrines of “Bengali-ness”! “Where have all the pakoras gone?”, I thought to myself. Was this the end of an era of elaborate buffet dinners? With a heavy sigh, a deep breath and a tall glass of still water, we swallowed this reality in the interests of the Puja and ‘getting things done’. Personally, I accepted this approach bravely – but mostly due to my ‘strictly horizontal’ growth in recent times. But it wasn’t all gloom and doom for us. Every once in a while, we did have a ‘gala’ dinner of sorts – and this kept us going for months! “Was it all worth it?”, you ask? Well, we shall find out as soon as the Puja begins. After all, “the proof of



the pudding is in the eating.” (The author will return to this article after a quick snack.) There is, of course, a lot more to this story than just meetings. This year, after a brief yo-yo phase, we were able to take a big decision surrounding Swisspuja’s ‘online’ presence. Finally - lo and behold ladies and gents, we have a newlook Puja website (www.swisspuja.org)! So, after sufficiently harassing and annoying the dear friend and Committee member who designed the site one fine day we decided to go ‘live’ with it. This was in June this year and there has been no looking back since then - it was an instant hit! And although I had very little to do with this, I will certainly not object if you want to thank me (or buy me a samosa). Whilst all of this was going on, on the backburner, the Puja magazine (where hopefully this article has been published) was undergoing a serious Bollywood make-over! Bit by bit, page by page, this magazine was turning into the jazzy version that is in your hands today. The Editor,

accompanied by an ace-photographer cum designguru, have successfully turned things around! And just in case, you want to say ‘thanks’ – don’t worry, they also accept cash! B u t s e r i o u s l y, wh at h a s b e e n re a l l y encouraging is that there has been a treasure-trove of ideas doing the rounds this year. It is true that last year’s Swisspuja was the grandest so far. However, year number 11 is doing its best to shine boldly and brightly. It even seems to have its very own USP – Innovation! Nevertheless, even as we head towards a ‘hightech’ and increasingly unpredictable future - the ethics, values and core DNA of Swisspuja continue to remain completely unchanged. Most importantly, no matter how much ‘masala’ we add to the mix, the Puja will always be incomplete without one key, ‘secret’ ingredient – ‘you’! So, thank you very much and see you there! Let’s make this another Puja to remember!

Bengal Folk Art – Motif of this year’s Swisspuja Decoration

engal has a very rich tradition of art and culture. Often we think that our folk art is limited to the ‘Kalighat patas’ but the truth is that various regions of Bengal, like ‘Burdwan’, ‘Howrah’, ‘Hoogly’ and ‘Midnapur’ have their own forms of art, which are older than the Kalighat patas. In the fi r s t f ew d ec ad es o f 1 9 th c en tu r y, th e ‘Raychoudhury family’ of ‘Sabarna’ renovated and restored the temple of Kalighat and setup a market there. Traditional patuas from many places came over and settled there and became known as the ‘Kalighat patuas’. These paintings touch upon Bengal’s culture and lifestyle. An important characteristic of Pata-art, is the usage of bold lines. Jamini Roy, a famous artist from Bengal nurtured this form of art. In ‘Bengal folk style’ anatomical calculations are not given much importance. Instead, it focuses on flat colours and lines to express its motifs.


‘Chitrakar’ is a modern school of art, which has a strong base in Bengal’s culture and heritage. We practice and teach different types of art forms. When we were presented the opportunity to contribute, for the most significant festival of Bengal, we chose the Pata paintings. As artists practicing this form of art, along with my colleagues, Mrinmoy Sharma and Rabishanka Dey; we have tried to enrich your ‘Matri Vandana’ with this form of folk art. This particular pictorial surface (Kulo) was used because of its symbolic significance in a Bengali’s household. The background painting shows the weather of Bengal, during autumn. Good wishes for Swisspuja, thank you for giving us this opportunity, and a special word of thanks to Atish-da and Sumana-di.




Upayan Bardhan and his team, following the creative concept given by Sumana Roy Choudhury for Puja decoration 2014, prepared these exotic art items for this year’s Puja venue. Contact: sumanaroyc@yahoo.com; upayanbardhan@gmail.com

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We asked the following questions to our candidates ... When did you arrive in Switzerland and how? Would you call India or Switzerland your home? When you go to India, what do you feel has changed? Pick 5 best features of Swiss culture and 5 best of Indian culture, which our young Indo-Swiss generations can learn from.

Ashutosh Nag Swiss-Indian, living in Switzerland since last 50 years. Contact: nagashutosh@yahoo.com


Based on a written interview, Mr. Ashutosh Nag was asked to define ‘Heimat’ and recall his days when he first arrived in Switzerland, share some funny anecdotes and his impression of modern India. Following is his life, in his own words. Mr. Nag, 75 years old, is in Switzerland for the last 50 years; and a Swiss citizen since last ten years.

ou asked me when I came to Switzerland?


Oh, that was many years ago! I arrived in Berne in the winter of 1964. My “Bidesh Jatra" (foreign voyage) started in Kolkata and took me first to Dibrugarh to say goodbye to my mother. After an overnight stay, I travelled via Kolkata to Mumbai where I embarked the ship MS Roma. There were 115 Indians among the 1,100 passengers aboard. For the next eleven days, an agricultural engineer the same age as I, was my roommate. The cabin was small and located just above the surface of the sea. Through a small, round window, we could see the waves. On the ship, there were three cinemas, a library, pingpong tables and playing cards as well as a swimming pool on deck. The voyage began as expected and the Arabian Sea was calm and quiet. There was nothing to see except water which remembered me of a stanza from the Ancient Mariner: “Water, water is everywhere, but there is not a drop to drink”. After a few days, the silhouette of Eden came in sight from a far distance. We then came to


the Suez Canal—which the ship passed at a very slow speed. After a week of journey, the cold Western wind started to blow very strong. A heavy storm came up and the waves grew higher and higher. We had just enjoyed Christmas Eve with delicious food and drinks, variety shows and dancing, but the next day, the storm grew even stronger and the waves were higher than ever. Many passengers and even some members of the crew got sea-sick. Many of them needed treatment. Luckily, I was not among them as I had some sedative tablets with me which helped a lot. On 26 December in the afternoon, the bridge put out an SOS. A kid of five years was missing and might have fallen overboard. The parents were both sick and lying in their cabin. We searched for the kid in all cabins and chambers, in every corner of the ship, but it was all in vain. Everybody was in deep sorrow. On the next day, the Vice-Captain was jailed because he had an affair with a lady. After landing in Genoa, I took a train to Berne where I arrived on 29 December at midnight. My brother and a group of Indian friends welcomed



Kolkata, but living and working in Switzerland - I truly feel being both, Swiss and Indian, at the same time. My last visit to India was from December 2010 to March 2011. It was most enjoyable! I first attended the marriage of my youngest niece and then traveled to the North-West of India, from Mumbai via New Delhi to Ladakh in a small bus. India has made a huge development compared to my previous visits. The houses, streets and factories are growing and have become modern. The cars are new and have AC and the epic traffic jams have disappeared from the highways. There are no mass-demonstrations or strikes anymore. Education is free throughout the country and the highly educated middle-class is ascending into the upper middle-class. They get a good salary, a car, a house and are able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. However, the rich also became richer while the street scenes remained more or less the same. Still, many people live on the street and the poor have become even poorer. Even though food is subsidized by the Government, their dwellings, clothes and toilets, not to speak about drinking water or electricity, remain in God's hands. Nevertheless, the young people seem to have become more generous to the elderly. Today, I enjoy my life as a retiree and wish you all good fortune!



me very heartily. On New Year's Eve, my brother and his friends took me to a party in the Kursaal Berne. Dinner was followed by dancing and many shows. It was my first experience of the European culture. We talked and joked together with the other guests at our table. I can still remember that I had been asked by a nice looking girl to dance with her during a dance called "Damenwahl" (ladies' choice). I ag reed courteously, of course, but I was very tired and wearing my winter boots. The dancing was slow and we talked together about Indian people and culture. When we came back to the table, her brother joked whether I came from India by foot! After a short while, I replied with a smile: “No, sorry! But it took the ship a little longer due to storm with high waves”. The whole table laughed out loud. At the end of the event, this brother invited me for morning tea and introduced me to their parents. At first, I could not tell whether someone was Swiss or Italian or from any other European countries. I was very surprised that white people were working on the streets. Back in those days, the Swiss were very friendly to foreigners and particularly to Indians. In Berne, I was with a group of friends of more than 30 young Swiss, most of them students. Once gossiping about language, one of them asked me how I appreciate the Bernese dialect. Very prompt and without thinking I answered: “It's a sing-song, but in my ear, it sounds like a farmer's language". At that moment, I realized that I may have annoyed him, as his face froze. But others supported me without any hesitation. During my first years in Switzerland, I was very active in the Indian community. I worked for the Indian Student Association in 1969 and 1970 and therefore was responsible for organizing the "Inder Ball" (Indians' prom). In 1974 and 1975, I was general secretary of the Indian Association. I organized concerts of Pandit Ravi Shankar in the Kongresshaus Zurich, the Bonstetten picnic, the annual meeting of the Association and I initiated a ping-pong tradition. Through my Swiss wife, I also came to like Western music, theater, movies and opera. Since many years, I attend the concerts of the Zürcher K ammerorchester and the Wädenswiler Chor regularly. Being born in

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We asked the following questions to our candidates ... When did you arrive in Switzerland and how? Would you call India or Switzerland your home? When you go to India, what do you feel has changed? Pick 5 best features of Swiss culture and 5 best of Indian culture, which our young Indo-Swiss generations can learn from.

An Interview with Saradindu Mitra, in continuation to the Series. He arrived in Switzerland in 1961, as a IIT Kharagpur Engineer, read his interview to discover his story and his definition of ‘Heimat’ (home). Contact: saradindu.mitra@gmx.ch


fter completing my studies in IIT


Kharagpur, I came to Switzerland taking a job in MFO, Zurich. My aim was to visit Europe and gain some professional engineering experiences. I promised my parents that I would be returning to India after three years and I kept that promise. I left India by ship on 22nd April 1961 from Cochin and I landed in Genua on 6th May. From there I took a train and reached Zurich on 7th May. I never thought at that time that I would get married exactly ten years later on the same day. Indians are fond of Indian dishes. In 1961, many things were not available here. One could get Uncle Benz rice, mild curry powders, etc. The varieties of vegetables like now were missing. I remember once a colleague of mine found green chilli in a shop. He echoed the news to all his friends. In a couple of hours, the chilli stock of that shop was empty! Most of us didn't cook in India. But after coming here, all became good cooks. Necessity made them good cooks. Once I told the mother of an Indian friend who was visiting Switzerland at that time, that most Engineers became good cooks in Switzerland. I returned to India in 1964. After working there happily in BHEL Haridwar for three years, I came back to CH in 1967. In 1971 I got married. I feel very much at home here. Being here for many years, I came to know various typical Swiss cultures like Swiss Wrestling (“Schwingen”), Yodelling Festival, Sechselaeuten, Cantonal Assembly and many others. The Swiss are proud


of their direct democracy. The Landsgemeinde or "cantonal assembly" is one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. For practical reasons, it has been abolished in all but two cantons, where it is still the highest political institution of the canton, in Appenzell Innerrhoden and in Glarus. Eligible citizens of the canton meet once a year in the open air to decide on laws and expenditures by the council. Everyone can debate a question. Voting is accomplished by those in favour of a motion by raising their hands. Naturally I feel for India where I spent my childhood days, student life, etc. I enjoyed the festivals like Durgapuja, Diwali, Holi and many others. Every time I visit India, I see and feel the changes. The big difference between rich and poor, corruptions, etc. bother me. But I enjoy there the hospitalities, friendly behaviours (mostly), simplicity in living, etc. I close here with an anecdote. While talking in English with a German colleague of mine during the first month of my stay (1961) in Zurich, the following conversation took place. Colleague: “Tomorrow I become a dog.” I: “That’s strange. Are you a magician?” Colleague: “No. But I become a dog.” I was stunned. Later, another colleague of mine explained that the German meant that he would get a dog next day ("Morgen bekomme ich ein Hund”)!



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We asked the following questions to our candidates ... When did you arrive in Switzerland and how? Would you call India or Switzerland your home? When you go to India, what do you feel has changed? Pick 5 best features of Swiss culture and 5 best of Indian culture, which our young Indo-Swiss generations can learn from.

Arabinda Roy 2007 hat Pfarrerin Claudia Rüegg von Rüti 3 Personen eingeladen, in einer Versammlung über das Thema „Heimat“ zu sprechen. Erster war ein Ureinwohner aus Rüti, der hier geboren wurde und in seinem hohen Alter immer noch hier lebt. Zweiter war ein Schweizer, der vom Nachbardorf mit seiner Familie zugezogen ist und das Rütner Bürgerrecht erworben hat. Dritter war ich, als Einwanderer vom anderen Kontinent, eingebürgert und mit meiner Familie hier wohnhaft.

Was heisst für mich Heimat? Heimat ist für mich, wo ich mich in meinem täglichen Leben mit der Kultur, den Institutionen, der Wirtschaft und den sozialen Bereichen identifizieren kann. Man sollte sich als Mensch mit dem Nachbarn und der Gesellschaft in der Landessprache verständigen können und auch die Landschaft kennen. Wo ist für mich Heimat? Wo ich mich niedergelassen habe und nicht nur mehr als 5 Jahrzehnte verbracht habe, sondern wo ich keine Bedrohung befürchte, mich von allen Seiten wohl fühle und die gute Sicherheit geniesse. Was mich trotz allem noch mit meiner ursprünglichen Heimat, mit Indien, verbindet? Mit Indien verbindet mich meine Muttersprache, die ich nie vergessen kann und auch meine Blutsverwandten. Bengalische Volksfeste und die alten Kulturgüter von Indien


faszinieren mich. Auch wenn es nicht immer in meinem Bewusstsein ist, wird meine Seele stets mit Indien verbunden sein. Was ich vielleicht auch von dort vermisse? Ich kann nicht sagen, dass ich hier nichts vermisse. Meine Schulkameraden und meine Verwandten kann ich nicht wegdenken. Ich vermisse auch die Gastfreundlichkeit meiner indischen Bekannten. Rüti- meine Heimat? Völkerwanderungen hat es immer wieder gegeben. Meine direkten Ahnen wohnten in Indien. 1961 kam ich in die Schweiz und lebe nun über 40 Jahre in Rüti, wo ich mich und meine Familie auch einbürgern liess. In Rüti sind unsere 3 Kinder aufgewachsen und haben ihre schulische Ausbildung absolviert. Alles rund um meine Lebensaktivitäten findet in Rüti statt. Darum ist Rüti nicht nur auf dem Papier meine Heimat, sondern Rüti bleibt für mich liebevoll und unbeschränkt meine zweite Heimat.



Contact: arabmnju@hispeed.ch

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We asked the following questions to our candidates ... When did you arrive in Switzerland and how? Would you call India or Switzerland your home? When you go to India, what do you feel has changed? Pick 5 best features of Swiss culture and 5 best of Indian culture, which our young Indo-Swiss generations can learn from.

িশখা ধর, কলকাতা িবnিবদ;ালয় (থেক সািহত; ও সাংবািদকতায় Masters কের “যুগাnর“ পিtকায় সাংবািদকতা কেরেছন, কাযOসূেt যুk িছলাম কলকাতা দূরদশOেনর সােথও। িববাহসূেt নbইএর দশক (থেক sইৎজারল;ােNর অিধবাসী ও এখানকার একিট জনিpয় (রঁেsারা “Taj Palace“-এর Manager পেদ কমOরতা। dই (দেশ তার এই দীঘO কমOজীবেনর অিভjতার দৃ'াngিল ফুেট উেঠেছ এই সাkাৎকােরর মাধ;েম। ই-পtঃ info@indianrestaurants.ch


sইৎজারল;ােN আিম pথম আিস ১৯৯০-এ এিpল মােস।

িববাহসূেtই এখােন আসা। বলেত পারা যায় িববািহত জীবেনর crই এখান (থেক। ১৯৮৯-এ আমার িবেয় হয় (শখর ধেরর সােথ। (শখর ১৯৮২-েত এখােন আেস। তারপর কমOজীবন এখান (থেকই cr। আমারও (সইসূেtই সংসারজীবন cr হয় sইৎজারল;াN (থেকই। ২। piটা একটু কিঠন। (কননা (দশ বলেত, ভারতবষOেকই জািন। আর ঘর হয়েতা বলেত পাির sইৎজারল;াNেক। কথায় pবাদ আেছ েযখােন চাষ, (সখােনই বাস। (সই িহসােব sইৎজারল;াNই আমার ঘর। চাষ আর বাস dেটাই এখােন। ৩। বছের এক (থেক dইবার (দেশ যাই। গতবছর ২০১৩ নেভmের িগেয়িছলাম। পিরবতOন অবmই িকছু (দখা যায়, তেব এই পিরবতOন অবm িবেnর অnাn অnnত (দেশও (দখা যায়, (কননা িবnায়েনর যুেগ কমেবশী সব (দেশই উnিত িকছু (চােখ পেড়। আমােদর (দেশও েসইরকম িকছু উnিত (দখা যায়। কেয়কটা qাইওভার, (ছাটবড় Shopping mall, রাsাঘােট িtফলা আেলার উjjলতা, জনসাধারেনর জীবনযাtার মােনর উnিতও নজর কাের। তেব আমার মেন হয় পিরবতOন বলেত cধুমাt মুিuেময় (লােকর উnিত বা িকছু রাsাঘােটর উnিতই নয়, pেত;কটা মাnেষর সমান অিধকােরর উপেরই পিরবতOন িনভOরশীল। িবেদেশ (থেক আমরা উপলিb করেত পাির, মুিuেময় (লােকর জীবনযাtার পিরবতOনই cধু (দেশর পিরবতOন নয়। আমােদর (দেশর আমূল পিরবতOন pেয়াজন। তারজn হয়েতা আমােদর কেয়কটা যুগ অেপkা করেত হেব।


৪। সভ;তা সংsৃিতর িদক িদেয় আমােদর (দেশর সেŋ আিম অn েকান (দেশর তুলনা করেত চাই না। আমােদর (দেশর সংsৃিত হাজার বছেরর পুরােনা সংsৃিত। আমােদর (দশ ধমOিনরেপk (দশ। িবিভn ধমOাধেমOর, িবিভn ভাষাভািষর (লাক আমরা একসােথ বাস কির। এেদর েপাশাক-পির{দ খাওয়া-দাওয়া সবই আলাদা। আমােদর (দেশ ৮০% িহnd, ১৩% মুসলমান, এছাড়া (বৗd, িশখ, •জন, পারিসক ধেমOর েলােকর বাস (দখা যায়। আমােদর জীবনযাtার উপর ধেমOর pভাব অেনক (বশী। িহndরা ধমOেকিndক। িদেনর cr হয় ধমO িদেয়, (শষও হয় ধেমOর মেধ;। আমরা িহndরা িবিভn (দব-েদবীর পূজাপাঠ কির। (দেশ তীথOsােনর অভাব (নই, মঠ-মিnেররও অভাব (নই। আমােদর কথায় বেল - বােরা মােস (তেরা পাবOন (লেগ আেছ। কথাটা খুবই সত;। আমােদর (দেশ (রাজই (কান না (কান পাবOন (লেগই থােক।


ধমO ছাড়াও আমােদর সংsৃিতর একটা বড় অংশ দখল কের আেছ সমাজ। সমাজেক উেপkা কের আমরা চলেত পাির না। সমােজর িকছু িনয়ম-কাnন আমােদর (মেন চলেত হয়। আমরা পুrষতািntক সমােজ বাস কির, এখােন পুrেষর pভাব অেনক (বশী। “িববাহ” আমােদর েদেশ সমােজরই অŋ। ভারতীয় সংসাের িবেয় হল সারাজীবেনর অŋ। সmn কের বা িনেজ (দখাcনা কের িবেয় dেটাই হেয় থােক। তেব িববাহ-িবে{েদর হার িবেদেশর তুলনায় কম বলা (যেত পাের। আমােদর পিরবারও সমােজর বড় অŋ। আমরা সকেলই িমেলিমেশ থাকেত ভালবািস। মা-বাবা, ভাই-েবান, কাকা-জ;াঠা এেদর িনেয়ই পিরবার •তরী হয়। তেব এই একাnবtOী পিরবার এখন িবলুppায় বলা যায়। ভারতীয় নৃত;কলা ও বাদ;যntও িবnিবখ;াত, ভারতনাট;ম, কtক, মিনপুরী, কথাকিল, ওিড়িশর কথা সকেলই জােন। (সতার, সেরাদ, সানাই িবিভn বাদ;যntও িবেnর দরবাের তােদর আসন •তরী কের িনেয়েছ। তাছাড়া আজেকর িদেন Bollywoodও িবnিবখ;াত। ভারতীয় সংsােরর মেধ; খােদ;র কথা বলা খুবই pেয়াজন। আমরা খাদ;রিসক, (সই কারেণ ভারতীয় খােদ;র চািহদা সমs িবেn পিরব;p। sইস সংsৃিত বলেত pথেমই মেন হয় এেদর লmা Music Instrument-এর কথা, যার নাম Alp horn। এটা অেনকটা আমােদর বাঁেশর মতন বলা (যেত পাের। এটা একটা wood wind instrument (যটা মুখ িদেয় বাজােত হয়। এটা একটা অdুত snর instrument, (যটা িকনা পযOটকেদর বড় আকষOেনর িবষয়বst। Folk music, folk dance sইস সংsৃিতর একটা বড় অŋ। আমরা সবাই Heidi land-এর গl জািন। যার জn sইৎজারল;াN িবখ;াত। Johanna Spyri-র এই গl সারা িবেn ৫০িট ভাষায় অnবাদ হেয়েছ। দূরদূরাn (থেক পযOটেকরা এখােন আেস Heidiland (দখার জেn। sইস ঘিড়র কথা আমরা সকেলই জািন। sইস ঘিড়র মেতা চেকােলটও আমােদর সবার িpয়। cধু তাই নয় sইস িচজ, ওয়াইনও িবnিবখ;াত। তেব sইস (লােকরা পাহাড়, বরফ, ওয়াইন, িচজ, চকেলট, ঘিড়, গr - এসবই (বশী পছn কের। আমার মেত এটাই ওেদর সংsৃিত। ৫। জুিরেখ যখন এেস উপিsত হলাম, লােগজ িনেত িগেয় (দিখ আমার লােগজ আেসিন, আসার একসpাহ বােদ লােগজ (পলাম। নতুন জায়গায়, নতুন িবেয়র পর িজিনসপt ছাড়া এক-সpাহ থাকা, (সটা (য কতটা হাsকর আমার কােছ িছল - (সটা এখনও আিম ভুলেত পাির না।


Bharat Sevashram's Service to the Nation Bharat Sevashram Sangha is a registered charitable organization in India, serving the country for the last 97 years. We serve the society during natural calamities and run in parallel several charitable organizations like hospitals, mobile medical units, leprosy and cancer treatment centres, tribal welfare, orphanage schools, etc. for the downtrodden section of the society. In recognition of the Sangha’s services to the nation, Govt. of India has exempted the Sangha U/S(23)(c)(iv) and its donors U/S 80G of Income Tax Act and the United Nations has accredited the Sangha with ECOSOC Status. After the Uttarakhand disaster, which took place in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand (Himalayas) in 2013, thousands of people were washed away, and as many were left homeless. Two of our oldest Ashrams in Kedarnath and Gourikund, each having 70 rooms for pilgrims accommodation were completely washed away. Three monks and several volunteers also lost their lives while saving other pilgrims. Despite these odds the Sangha started ‘Relief & Rescue Camps’ at Gupta Kashi, Ukhimath, Joshimath, Haridwar, Hrishikesh etc. and provided food, blankets, clothings, medicine and baby food to masses. Relief packages containing rice, flour, potato, oil, soap etc. were also distributed for around 6 months along with 10,000 thick blankets, sleeping bags and 15,000 solar lamps with mobile chargers. Temporary tin sheds, cows, goats, chickens were also distributed under a rehabilitation programme.

Bharat Sevashram Sangha has recently built a Hospital in Joka, to serve the weaker section of the society. This Hospital in Kolkata is running smoothly and has an indoor capacity of 150 beds and an outdoor capacity of approx. 1200 patients per day. This centre has been provided with up-to-date diagnostic facilities. An additional capacity of 500 beds is planned to be ready within next two years. Swami Biswatmananda General Secretary Bharat Sevashram Sangha (contact: bharatsevashram@gmail.com) Information for readers: You can donate online to support the cause of Bharat Sevashram Sangha by clicking online at: http://www.bharatsevashramsangha.net Swisspuja contributed CHF 2800 in 2013 for Uttarakhand Relief Fund.




Roads could not be repaired due to continuous rain and landslides. Bharat Sevashram took the initiative to start a Medical Camp at Soneprayag below Gourikund, which was more accessible for conducting relief work. Helicopter service also resumed for Holy Kedarnathji Darshan. There are plans to run Schools and Medical Centres in these areas but it will take some more time to actualize these projects. Meanwhile, the Haridwar Ashram is providing Relief to natural calamity sufferers in all possible ways.

War, Glory and a Soldier’s Story Sourav Ray Sourav lives in Zurich and ends up working in an office from dawn to dusk, even though he is really just a dreamer at heart. Contact: souravray82@gmail.com



Pujo, A Journey Through Time Aniruddha Ghosh Aniruddha is an IT Consultant who is passionate about movies, theatrics, public speaking and music. He loves event anchoring and has rekindled his interest in writing and fine arts. Contact: ronyzurich@gmail.com

he first time I saw her, I was cuddled in my mom's arm, It was sight awe inspiring And I felt a different charm For there stood the deity, with her magnificent ten hands, to ignite a festive spirit, unchanged across lands. The pujo venue as a toddler, meant many more hugs and kisses, Interrupting festivities of parents with mischievous hits and misses, Play, eat sleep... oblivious to the occasion those four days, were full of delight Moments in between while staring at her I was transfixed by the grandeur of the sight There were many firsts with pujo pocket money was one Pandal hopping with friends, just on our own the independence itself was fun As I grew a little taller, I was proud to be chosen when Kartik or Ganesh was installed Then a few years later, with "kakus" and "dadas" I was in fray when her idol was hauled Then came a time when "devi darshan".. ahem was not just about devotion The curfew hours stretched till midnight (and beyond)


Durga Puja 17

As time passed by, with complexities in life pujo seemed to be just another forum To showcase your talent, to show off your "status" and adda to throw off your boredom With fashion and shopping, with restaurant hopping Was pujo becoming an annual vacation? Were we keeping a fast, just to feast thereafter? Was "tradition" becoming a clichĂŠd expression? But then comes the phase when you see the new generation with whom you can travel back in time You discover a method, in the midst of this madness as this cycle of life is sublime The meaning of pujo can change with time but the spirit is unchanged at heart It may be distracted with sundries of life but it is destined to never fall apart For in our hearts lives the deity, with her magnificent ten hands, igniting a festive spirit, unchanged across lands.

Durga's Three Eyes Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).




and who drops whom home, came into equation During the college years, pujo was the time to catch up with old friends of school Some became trendy, some suddenly became bore and some had new "relations" to drool




A Bookworm’s Tirade against E-books & Audio Books


entle reader, at the onset I applaud you

for picking up this ‘hard copy’ as anything written or printed on real paper is called nowadays. Thank You for looking away from your laptop or smartphone even if momentarily and picking this souvenir up. I am writing this tirade on my own behalf as well as on behalf of real and assorted bookworms and book-louses that feed on paper and glue, and may well be on their way to extinction due to their food sources being slowly but surely endangered. Of late some of my good friends have been trying to impress upon me the absolute necessity and advantages of embracing ebooks and audio books. Ebooks they say are cheaper and easier to obtain than real books. Getting a real book demands the movement of one’s lazy body to the nearest bookshop or library unless a friendly soul brings it to one’s doorstep. Yes, one could also order a real book on Amazon (not the one known to Humboldt after his extensive explorations) but then the delivery would still take days if not hours, unacceptable in this day and age of instant gratification. An ebook on the other hand needs only a laptop or smartphone with ‘wifi’ or ‘3-4G’ to search and select and a credit card or paypal account to order (all of which are basic necessities nowadays like air, food and water i.e. available to everyone) and is delivered in ‘real time’. In other words with the right ‘connections’ one can obtain an ebook without having to move one’s lazy body from one’s comfort zone of a bed, armchair or toilet commode. And then the reading or devouring of the ebook itself is so much easier they argue. One has this minor issue of obtaining an ebook reader and another minor problem of compatible file formats, but once sorted the


reading experience is heavenly. No need to waste energy turning pages, no chances of finding torn or damaged pages and one can read even when it is dark, an ebook reader has made the reading light an item destined to museums. Audio books on the other hand my friends claim are a further improvement on ebooks, a gift from the Gods themselves for mere mortals like us. Audio books can match all advantages of ebooks and over and above that makes one’s eyes (for the minor purpose of reading) fully redundant and one’s imagination partially redundant. The skilled reader’s voice, tone and intonation recorded for eter nity guides and steers the listener’s imagination in the right direction. Gentle reader with audio books you will no longer be what you are but become a gentle listener. And an audio book will empower you to multitask, imagine listening to a book while you drive, run, eat and perform myriad other activities. Audio books urge you to optimize the utilization of your precious and scarce time, a trait that your manager in your corporate avatar would appreciate and reward. Audio books have turned the concept of the three R’s on its head, educators are now struggling with the new concept of ‘listening, speaking and is arithmetic still necessary?’ The brilliance of audio books is hitherto lost upon lay folk, like the Java Virtual Machine from erstwhile Sun Microsystems enabled ‘Write Once Run Anywhere’ hitting the compiler mafia where it hurt, the audio books have similarly hurt the reader mafia by enabling ‘Read Once Listen Anywhere’. Yet o’ gentle reader ebooks failed to ‘kindle’ the interest of the old fashioned paper book reader that I am, and audio books, no Sir, I do not intend to give up reading unless forced to by



Rajat Bhattacharya An itinerant IT professional working for ABB and a wannabe writer. Living in Zürich since 2007 with wife Kamalika, his strength and support. Daughter Ihita aged three and a half is his motivation to pursue his aspirations. Contact: bhattacharya.rajat@gmail.com


reasons like cataracts. Moreover storytelling I believe is for children. Allow me to articulate why a real paper book still provides the epitome of pre-reading, reading and post-reading experience. A book Sir you may agree is more than the text it contains. Imagine for a moment that you just want to read a book, without knowing for certain which one exactly. I have such cravings once in a while and then I go to a library or a bookshop. There if I am lucky then I see a plethora of books of different genre, thick and thin, tall and short, some gilt edged, some leather bound, others simple paperback, some printed on paper that couldn’t get whiter, others on crème colored paper, not to mention typefaces and font sizes but then the last two are also attributes of ebooks. Thus each book with its unique physical character calls out to me as if saying ‘pick me up’. Thus enticed I proceed to pick up what I fancy, and then go through various stages of deepening interest represented (not in that order) by reading a teaser or select critic comments on the back cover, reading the foreword, or gaining sufficient interest to sit down to read a few pages or even chapters. And this process I iterate over multiple books before taking a final purchasing or borrowing decision. Gentle reader, yes this is time consuming and I daresay relaxing, and sometimes enlightening, a pleasure that an ebook search can never provide. Having thus obtained a book I proceed to ‘personalize’ it if I have bought it. At the


minimum I add the date and place of purchase and a couple of sentences that might remind me of my then state of mind, or of a specific incident or experience, sometimes in simple words and sometimes in cryptic ones. In this way I think I add to the content of the book which I myself or another reader, at a different place or time, may find interesting or intriguing. Such notes Sir you can also write on ebooks but not in your own handwriting (usually) and in ink or pencil. A book so personalized I may or may not start reading instantly, but I would surely add to one of my collections, one of which is at Kolkata and consists of books that I collected in the decade before last, while another is at Zürich which are from the last decade. Each collection has its own character representing (hopefully) my development as a reader. Both collections have books that I have read multiple times and ones that I have yet to read. I could also build two different ebook collections and name them ‘Kolkata collection’ and ‘Zürich collection’ but gentle reader I suppose you would agree that they would not have the same appeal as the real collections. When I pick up a book from my collection to read, I try to find a secluded place, preferably warm and cosy, and bereft of noise and disturbance. Such a place gentle reader is best found amidst books, shelves of them, standing tall between the floor and the roof, blocking out sound and distraction, paper after all is a very good insulator. In such a place my mind is placid, my imagination ready to soar. In such a place, intoxicated by lignin induced smell I am ready for the gratification from reading. And when I am done, I would place a real bookmark (that could be a work of art in itself). And it may be years before I pick up the same book again, and with the menace of the years it might have become yellow, moth-eaten, dog-eared, but hopefully I will still have the sharpness of memory to start exactly where I had left off before. You may call me a sentimentalist Sir but a ruthless robotic ebook reader I cannot become. I remember books as something I could cover with brown paper and label during my school days, or worship on ‘Saraswati Pujo’. I can never give that memorable and revered place to an ebook or an audio book.


'The in-between times': Managing Professional Curves


s an ardent advocate of women's inclusion

issues, I am passionate about women’s work. Having since arrived in Geneva last year, I have met through my networks in the non-profit and UN organizations, other than the American International Women's Club in Geneva, many well educated women, both Indian and other nationalities (non-Swiss, non-French), who are living for a long time in Switzerland but have remained confined to their household without entering the job market. Some of these women, now mostly in their fifties, have held professional positions in their home countries and some of them were rather successful professionals. In general, studies show once women hit their mid-20s, female work participation rates slow down for the next two decades. As many women move from full-time to part-time employment to accommodate the needs of their families, their careers are interrupted. I had taken a career break in 2010 when after a decade and more of full time work in India, I resigned from my UN job based in New Delhi to pursue a second Masters in Singapore. However, I was prompted by my own needs to reflect on my career path and my time in Singapore was useful and well spent. It had given me the time and environment necessary to reflect on my career goals and priorities. Careers, by and large, are not a smooth ride for many women. It has not been one for me. In the current times which are hit by the global financial crisis and shrinking job markets, the trajectory of moving in and out of jobs is less smooth. There are increased chances of gaps in one’s career; there can be slowdowns, making the planned and unplanned breaks in the professional curve that much harder to navigate. Those without relevant professional training or in sectors where jobs tend to be less easily available than others, find connecting to a new job market or the


same one after a gap in work, to be a major disadvantage. So what is the way to open the doors? To get oneself back to work? I think it's important to flag an issue here: the word 'career' needs to be unpacked. The Oxford Dictionary defines the latter, as, "An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress"; the Merriam Webster defines it as, "a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life". Clearly, it indicates that a career includes a job with meaning, one which leads to the next stage, that which provides personal and professional satisfaction and one which possibly reflects personal and professional growth. So a career is definitely larger than a job, which is an activity more limiting to its terms of reference and ends in itself. The merit of a career perspective to professional engagement lies in it being more inclusive of the job breaks, changes, shifts in the focus of things that interests us professionally and the 'not so upbeat times when one is without a job'. It hugely helps us to look at life as a landscape of actions, our expectations and the goals we are able to set for ourselves without being limited to ‘a job'. It is most definitely an empowering perspective that challenges us, to question ourselves as to what we are doing and why so and at the same time is more accepting of the state of things that happen at an individual level, which in many cases, even if not for most, is less than perfect. First and foremost, the perspective of career as opposed to a job redeems us of a definite level of stress. From job or ‘no job’, it focuses our attention to what we consider is the right job for us. In that sense it is a less demand driven perspective. It opens to what I consider the single most important question that provides the fulcrum of professional achievement: how do we want to



Anuradha Sen Mookerjee lives in Geneva with her family and is a former UN professional staff from South Asia. She currently works on migration and labour markets, with a special focus on inclusion and women’s rights. She is a PhD candidate with Graduate Institute, Geneva and also supports Kolkata based non-profit ABHA which works on women’s empowerment. Contact: anuradha.senmookerjee@gmail.com


contribute? Peter Drucker, the management guru, was known to gently chide ambitious acolytes to replace their pursuit of success with the pursuit of contribution. Contribution is closely associated with work that we enjoy doing professionally. As a result, it is expected that in contributing, one enjoys higher satisfaction levels. A Monster Jobs survey conducted in January 2014, across 7 countries and 8000 people, led Joanie Courtney, employment industry advisor and senior vice president at Monster to conclude, “Whether someone sees themselves as having a career or ‘just a job,’ their work life can have a big impact on overall happiness." This perspective acts as a significant enabler in those 'in between job' moments, where one has the challenge of re-opening the professional doors. After all a situation of joblessness does cause a certain amount of vulnerability, understood as insecurity, and exposure to risk, shocks and stress. Being part of professional networks, (both online and face-to-face) is an accepted practice for connection with peers. It can keep one linked to the updates happening in the industry and thematic area of practice. Barriers to integrate with professional associations in a new set up or country, even if one is familiar with the industry may not be seamless at times. The online networks and discussion forums are in such cases particularly helpful as it helps bridge people over work and expertise related discussions. I personally find the KM4dev discussion e-group for example most useful catering to my interests in Knowledge Management and the face-to-face Swiss KM Think Table organized by the HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation as part of this e-forum in Zurich last November for example brought together an interesting group of international development enthusiasts. It helped me meet many like-minded professionals based in Zurich and other parts of Switzerland. Increasingly acceptable practices include informational interviews, which are those informal coffee sessions over which one can engage in a profession related dialogue and gather information on job prospects, opportunities and trends. However, in this case, the single most critical factor which emerges as a door opener in many cases is that one introductory email. I have found that it is extremely important to introduce oneself succinctly


with a statement of purpose and offer clarity on what one is exactly seeking from the recipient. Ultimately, this too boils down to one’s clarity with one’s own professional and personal goals and targets. While thorough background research of the industry in the local context is important, it is equally critical to have a fair sense of the local news and developments. A fair level of knowledge about the local language, community issues, challenges, concerns and practices works as a connector to build people-to-people bridges over conversations and is a major step towards integration with the local community. Attending public events, organized in industry set ups and other public forums, including think tanks, universities and local government entities are opportunities to expand on one’s knowledge of local issues. I personally found the public dialogues on the Swiss Immigration Vote earlier this year hugely popular in terms of what the vote will mean for international organisations and business in Switzerland and how it will affect Swiss research, education and the economy. So many people I met thereafter were following the debate and had an opinion to discuss. Women on maternal leave or on sabbatical typically miss out on crucial on-the-job learning. Additional certifications and qualifications may be necessary as per requirements of the local hiring. In addition to this, the readiness to engage with a broad spectrum of work areas, being flexible and adaptable, to consistently work on one’s competitiveness, mostly works to one’s professional advantage. Such an approach offers high chances of incremental integration to job markets. Managing professional curves can be challenging, unsettling and to some extent also demoralizing. Yet, it is a serious waste of our individual talents and capacities not to apply ourselves productively to a career. Finally, we open our own professional doors and they open for us when we meet the demands of the job market and our own professional interests more evenly. While there is no thumb rule for the less lucky, the chances of reintegrating with job markets are greater when one has clarity about career goals and the will to address the professional uncertainties and gaps with time bound solutions.


Since 1898, the Chalet restaurant is in the upper village and has hosted many guests from near and far. Now Chalet India is serving fine Indian food including curries and Tandoori (clay oven) dishes. A la carte menu includes the variety of Vegetarian and Meat dishes ,Tandoori sizzlers ,Fresh Breads from clay oven etc . Daily Lunch menus at special price .Enjoy aperitif at BOLLYWOOD BAR and fine meal in the Dining Room``JHAROKHA`` overlooking the lake or in WAPPEN ROOM. Large parking space, Public transport connection available nearby.

Opening Times: Monday - Friday: 11.00 - 14.00 and 17.00 - 00.00 Saturday: 17.00 - 00.00 Sunday: 17.00 - 23.00 Ordering Times: Monday - Friday: 11.30 - 13.30 and 18.00 - 22.30 Saturday - Sunday: 18.00 - 22.30



We the Bengali people

An interesting compilation of few ‘Bong-factors’

Dr. Shyama Pada Coomar, electrical engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Dr. from Manchester, living with wife, son and daughter in Switzerland since 1985. He loves taking pictures, cooking and reading newspapers and avoids fondue. Contact: spcoomar@yahoo.com


very third Bengali has a name with


the "Debo" prefix, irrespective of gender. Debopriya, Deboprotim, Debashish, Debojit, Debopriyo, Debnath Every child in the house has two names - one his proper and official name that we call the "good name" (first thing Bengali uncles/aunts ask you when you meet them for the first time - "Shona, your good name??" ) and his pet name which is usually something not even remotely close to his real name and serves the purpose of embarrassing the person in public. Most common of them being shona, mona, babu, pocha, buri. No meal is complete without a sweet rosogolla, mishti doi, shondesh , cham cham or any other variant is a compulsory for every meal. Sourav Ganguly and Mamata Banerjee are the universal "dada" and "didi" respectively. Every male you meet on the road is your "dada" and your maid is your "mashi" ..irrespective of their age. Evenings are not complete without "parar adda" (the closest would be rendezvous, but then it wouldn't carry the essence of the evening "addas") and "telebhaja" (fries and fritters) plus vegetable chop and "chaa" (tea). Every street has a "chaa er dokan" (tea stall) and a "mishtir dokan" (sweet stall) and of course a phuchka wala (Golgappa stall. Sorry, no English


word for this extremely unhealthy but heavenly yummy street food). No dish is Bengali enough unless cooked in high-cholesterol Mustard Oil. And no meal is complete without fish. Every Bengali is a born artiste - painter, poet, chef, singer, musician, dancer, football player, swimmer - either or all of these!! (Sadly, yours truly is the most unskilled Bengali that was ever born on this planet). Funny Superstitions Bengalis Won’t Part Away With Anytime Soon We have our own fears and belief in superstitions, which help us stay hopeful. But, sometimes superstitions get too funny to follow;



crossing the road is bound to disturb you for a while. People here believe it to indicate an unsuccessful journey. You will sometimes find men standing on one side of the road looking anxious. Well, some minutes ago a cat has crossed the road and he is waiting for something to pass by to nullify the effect. ‣You will never find a Bengali who will give you three things out of choice. Take a cue from this example: Suppose you have come to a Bengali friend’s house – you will never find the lady of the house offering you food that adds up to three. Either she gives you two spoonful or four. Never is it three. Ghosts (Bhoot) are an important part of folklore in Bengal Pretni are basically female ghosts who have some unsatisfied desires such as dying unmarried. It is a ghost of usually those who committed crimes in life and are cursed to walk the Earth as ghosts. The feet of Pretni are backwards. Shankhchunni usually haunts the rich married women so that they can enjoy a married life and can satisfy all their desires just like a married woman. They live in mango trees. Penchapechi take the form of owls and hunt in the forests of Bengal. It strikes. and consumes its victims, feeding on their body. Nishi is one of the cruellest of ghosts, who lures its victim only at night, to a secluded area by calling to the person with the voice of a loved one. Their victims are never seen again. Nishi cannot call out more than twice, and so no one should answer a voice at night until he has called three times. Kondhokata is a headless ghost. Usually the spirit of those persons who died by cutting their heads in train accident or else. It searches their missing heads and pleads others to help them to search it. Bramhadaitya are one of the most popular and less harmful categories of ghosts in Bengal. It is the ghost of holy Brahmin. Usually they appear wearing a traditional Dhoti and the holy thread on their body. They are very kind and helpful to human being .



like in the case of certain Bengali superstitions. These are things a Bengali will follow till death, be it serious or ridiculously funny. ‣If a lizard happens to fall on a person’s, the person is deemed to become a king or a queen one day. ‣While a person is talking and if by chance a lizard happens to make some sound, whatever the person is speaking is bound to come true. ‣When a family member or a friend or anyone who has visited the home of a Bengali and is about to leave and someone happens to just blow off a sneeze – then, that man who was about to leave is called inside and made to sit on some furniture for a while. After sometime he is allowed to leave. The sneeze is known to bring bad luck to the man about to embark on a journey. Only someone who has caught a cold is given some allowance. ‣This is common among girls. While one of them is talking if her hair touches the face of another in a hard manner then it starts a quarrel between the two very soon. To avoid that one of them says: ‘Chul na Ful?’ (Hair or flower?) to which another replies: ‘Ful’. End of story. ‣Yes, the egg for a Bengali is equal to a monster right before an examination or an interview or maybe on a result declaration day. It’s clear: the egg on auspicious occasions is equal to zero. ‣Seeing a person’s one eye is supposed to be the initiation of a fight between them. They usually avoid such sights but if it happens then they forcibly make that person blink both eyes in front of them. This cancels the negative effect of the one eye. ‣Indian Mynas are not just birds in Bengal. They are the indicators of a man’s luck. It’s a big confusing story – the sight of one ‘shalik’ will bring you bad luck, but if two more people are witness to that bird then the effect is nullified; two will bring you good luck, a Bengali usually jumps with joy at the sight of it; three means you will have guests at home that day and four indicates the arrival of a letter very soon. ‣Probably this is the most strongly believed superstition among the rest. In Bengal, while you walk down the street or are driving a car or traveling in any form of public transport, a cat

Schoggi Rosogolla Kamalika Chakraborty: Living in Zurich since 2007 with husband Rajat and 3.5 year old daughter, Ihita. An IT professional working at Cognizant, finds answering questions from a super talkative Ihita more difficult than answering questions at work. Contact: kamalika.ch@gmail.com


s recently as a decade ago I had not even


in my wildest dreams thought that I would live for a significant amount of time in the German speaking part of Switzerland, let alone bring up a child here. Both Rajat and I in spite of having undoubtable Bengali surnames and pure Bengali blood cannot claim to be true Bengalis. Our Bengali sensibilities diluted by the significant parts of our childhood spent outside West Bengal we are what you would call ‘probashis’. Both of us are equally comfortable communicating in three languages, English, Hindi and Bangla, sometimes using words from more than one of them in a single sentence. A child of such parents growing up in Zürich and going to a Swiss German ‘kinderkrippe’ risks thinking from an early age that a mixture of any of four languages (add Swiss German to the other three) is a proper language in itself. But this is not only about languages. It all started when we had to decide where our child would be born. The Bengali grandparents surely preferred Kolkata with help available from assorted relations and paid manpower, trusted doctors, proper food and everything under their eyes in a known environment. For us it was a question of the 3 Cs: Convenience (avoiding crosscontinental trips and long distance relationship during pregnancy), Confidence (in Swiss medicare) and Control (being an independent working couple we are used to planning and organizing things our way). It took deep, exhausting discussions and some convincing but ultimately Zürich pipped Kolkata. The grandparents, in turns, came over to help us tide through the first six months after Ihita’s


birth. Coming from a hot and humid part of the world and having strong notions on how to bring up a newborn (after all they brought us up, and our siblings) it was difficult for them to understand how we could take a less than a month old child out while it was still snowing. It was further beyond their belief that we made Ihita wear only cotton body wraps at home when it was below freezing point outside and regularly exposed her to the fresh chilly breeze to help her sleep better. Our cruel nature, only a lurking apprehension in the beginning to them, became brutal reality when Ihita started going to the ‘kinderkrippe’ at the age of five months. This feeling was further cemented when Ihita started to fall sick at frequent intervals, common for ‘kinderkrippe’ going children. The Swiss pediatrician refused to prescribe antibiotics as per local practice aimed towards developing immunity and encouraging ‘natural healing’. But to the grandparents used to the method of destroying disease with the devastating firepower of a mix of allopathic, homeopathic and all kinds of ‘totka’ cures known to mankind this kind of treatment meted to their beloved first grandchild was unthinkable and inexcusable. Even the numerous medical degrees and research attributed to the pediatrician could not convince the emotional grandparents of his capabilities. One grandfather even went to the extent of describing the pediatrician as ‘gorur daaktar’. Wi t h t i m e, a f t e r h av i n g v i s i t e d t h e ‘kinderkrippe’ (and seen the setup) and having met the highly trained people there and then also having met the pediatrician and confirming he was not a quack they grudgingly accepted the way of life in Switzerland for Ihita and we heaved a sigh of relief.



early age she would be always interested in going out of the house onto the streets to absorb the unfamiliar sights and sounds. With a limited vocabulary she would just point towards the main door after high tea and say ‘finish tea, go outside’ and one grandfather would pick her up and take her for a walk around the locality. Not satisfied with this she once prevailed upon him to take her on a cycle rickshaw and her happiness knew no bounds after the joyride. She reveled in all the attention during her ‘annoprashon’ and ‘haatekhori’, posing for the camera in her traditional attire (don’t most kids hate cumbersome attire), and showing off the gold jewelry adorning her during the former. The grandparents were happy but still not sure about two main things that really matter to Bengalis, language and food. Ihita's limited vocabulary was shorn of Bangla words and it was too early to experiment with her diet to discover her preferences. Between that first visit and now aged three and a half, Ihita has visited Kolkata two more times and done her bit to address the remaining concerns (or shall I say apprehensions) of her grandparents. She fully understood and responded when spoken to in Bangla and also spoke in the language when coaxed. And she absolutely gorged on ‘luchi’, ‘khashir maangsho’ (as long as it was not spicy), ‘maach bhaja’ and ‘shondesh’. Yet it would be wrong to think she compromised on all of her Swiss ways. I still remember the incident when after having ‘luchi’ and ‘maangsho’ for two consecutive days, she



Alas we didn’t realize that neither would Ihita unquestioningly accept the Bengali (Indian) way of life, especially when we would visit India with her in tow. Before describing the experiences of Ihita in India, I must state that even in Switzerland Ihita was markedly different from her normal Swiss peers e.g. she never accepted a ‘nuggi’ as a given like most other kids her age i.e. a shut up and keep quiet device to be accepted whenever given by ‘mamma’. She would take it out and hold it in front of her eyes, turn and observe how it looked from different sides and when bored of this put it back into her mouth at odd angles to see if she could twist it into normal position. And in public transport she would not be the one to lie or sit down quietly observing the outside world roll by. She would be up and about, and vocal, and once even repeatedly poked an old lady on the back of her neck and shoulders with her little fingers. Though in this instance the kind lady played along, we have had our share of embarrassing experiences and many a time almost felt a disparaging thought of ‘these Indians!’ Ihita first visited Kolkata with us when she was fourteen months old. To our amazement she took to the hustle & bustle, noise, smells and the crowd of Kolkata like a fish takes to water. Even to Rajat and me, who spent our entire childhood, teenage and early working lives in India, stray dogs barking late at night or crows cawing during the day would be an irritation (at least for the first couple of days) after our Zürich experience. But for Ihita this would be a curiosity, something new and exciting, a reason to keep awake and enjoy. Even at that

came up to me and requested if she could have ‘pasta ohne sauce’ for dinner. She disapproves of her grandfather when he uses the horn frequently while driving, and is exasperated especially when he honks while the signal is red. And eating with the hands is a strict no-no with her, while toilet paper is an absolute necessity. She retains her curiosity e.g. why does the commode have an attached shower? And the cycle rickshaw joyride episode repeated itself in a different way. In her last visit she asked about the many ‘yellow autos’ and when told they were taxis pestered us for a ride on one. So in spite of both our parents having cars we once took a taxi ride just to humor Ihita who instantly came up with her next question that why were the seats like sofas and why she did not have her own exclusive seat.

At the end of all this we learnt two lessons. The first one is that as long as loving grandparents and their grandchild get together, even a die-hard Kolkata bred Bengali can tolerate the peculiarities of Zürich even as Zürich born and bred kid can put up with (and even enjoy) the eccentricities of Kolkata. And the second is that you can neither take the Bengali, nor the Swiss out of a Zürich born and bred baby, she combines (hopefully) the best of both worlds. I hope that in the coming years, Ihita not only imbibes core Swiss traits like precision and punctuality but also retains core Bengali qualities like creativity, love for art and an intellectual bent of mind.

With best compliments from

BARKAT CASH & CARRY LEBENSMITTEL Badenstrasse 530 8048 Zurich (neben Lotzigrund)


Birmensdorferstrasse 141-143 8003 Zurich (Schmiede Wiedikon)


The Parsi Principle

Langnau - The Venue of Swiss Durga Puja


mader chhoto nodi chole bnāke bnāke”

– this opening line of Gurudev’s poem is a staple for all Bengali children, to be dutifully recited for visiting mashimas and jethamashais. This line, after all these years, has come back to live my daily life with me, for once again, I am privileged to live my life in a little village on the banks of a river, the river now being the Sihl. Yes, the Sihl of Sihlwald, Sihlbrugg, SZU Bahn (SihlZurichUetliberg Bahn) and Sihlcity. Our village, Langnau am Albis, is in the valley of the river Sihl, on the slopes of the Albis mountain range. With history dating back to 1000 AD, 10kms from one of the most well-known cities in the world yet with a population of only 7000 people and 50% forest cover, it is unique, even for Switzerland. For me it is the quintessential Dorf – most of my neighbours have lived here for 20 to 40 years, many of them walk to the shops and stop to have a chat en-route, the village Bibliothek serves the school kids and parents and the cashiers at Migros often know the names and the family history of the old timers. Like in India, I find that traditions in Langnau are celebrated as a community. August 1, National Day, we all troop up to the top of the Albis after dark to enjoy the bonfire hosted by the village Feuerwehr. The village kids bring their own fireworks, there is a special arrangement for transporting the occupants of the Altersheim up to the venue, and there is the ubiquitous ‘appelsaft und bratwurst’ for a few francs. We spread out our mats on the grass to enjoy the spectacle of lights exploding over Kanton Zurich. Then comes the Räbeliechtliumzug in the first week of November. Kids and parents walk from the Dorfplatz to the Schwerzisaal (where we have our Durga Pujo) in the freezing cold and darkness, with the turnip lanterns glowing in the dark, to have a celebration of food and music with the


Jugendspiele Brass Band playing in the auditorium. The big day for the village kids is December 6 when Samiclaus and Smutzli come with their donkey bearing traditional gifts for children who have been good through the year. The children from the Dorf collect excitedly in front of the Gemeindehaus, and have a great time petting the patient donkey. And then there are the usual chilbi, flohmarkt, theatre, oldies dance parties, buecher and planzenmarkt, theatre, activities in the Wildnispark - similar to our “Baro mashay tyaro porbon”. Like any Auslander trying to integrate into such a close knit society and living in the older part of the village, I found people to be curious, interested and tolerant of my Schweizerdeutsch. Having a small child helped, for he is always greeting any passersby with a Gruezi. The language of a smile and a wave works too. And above all, I think I made friends with my neighbours when they found me shoveling away mounds of snow the first winter we were here, snorting loud and clear for all to hear. One stopped by with a big smile said ‘Schwierig eh!’ The ice was broken. As an immigrant, I am firm believer in the Parsi Principle: When the Parsis wanted to emigrate to Gujarat in the 8th Century, the local King, presented them with a vessel brimful of milk to signify that the surrounding lands could not possibly accommodate any more people. The Parsi head priest responded by slipping some sugar into the milk to signify how the strangers would enrich the local community without displacing them. I think, us Indians, and specifically Bengalis, with our affinity for Rossogolla and mishti, can and do practice the Parsi Principle wherever we are, especially in this bountiful land of milk and cheese.



Chandana Mittra Sen: A mother, a dreamer, a traveller. In a previous avatar, a 24x7 stressed out Manager. Who jumped off the wheel to live a different life. After many twists and turns landed in Switzerland in 2008. And in Langnau am Albis since 2011. Contact: chandana_msen@yahoo.co.uk

Altersheim auf Indisch Ursula Palit, Sie ist Malerin und Lehrerin und war mit ihren Kursteilnehmern 14 Jahre auf Malreisen, ein Jahr in den Bergen, das nächste Jahr am Meer. Weitere 14 Jahre machte sie ehrenamtliche Altenbetreuerin, davon 7 Jahre mit „order of justice“. Seit fünf Jahren lebt und arbeitet sie in der Schweiz und kommt noch selten ans Meer. Als Garten- und Natur-Fan organisiert sie heute lieber Gartenreisen im In- und Ausland, sie interessiert sich besonders für die Gärten der Zukunft, für die Wassergewinnung im Kleingarten und für das Gärtnern, ohne sich bücken zu müssen. Kontakt: b.palit@bluewin.ch


Ein Senioren-Ashram (Briddhasram) in Mahadevpur Usha, willst du einmal in deinem Leben an einem See unter Palmen wohnen, ist das ein Traum in deinem Leben? Jetzt im Alter hast du Zeit, es einmal auszuprobieren. Gesagt, getan. Mein Mann gibt die Initiative und wir leben 6 Tage zur Probe in einem Senioren-Ashram. Meine Mitbewohner sitzen jeden Morgen nach dem Frühstück draussen vor der Haustüre bei dem kleinen Tulsi-Pflänzchen auf dem blau-gelbweissen Keramikmosaik. Die Sonne wärmt ihnen den Rücken, sie dösen oder unterhalten sich je nach Laune, den kleinen See zu Füssen, grosse, dicke Dahlien- und Rosenblüten zwischen sich und dem Seeufer. Ja, wir leben in einem grossen Park unter alten, gigantischen Mangobäumen, daneben stehen zierliche Papayas und grosse Bananenstauden. Der Zimtbaum trägt weissrote lilienähnliche Blüten, die teilweise ohne Übergang direkt aus dem hellgrauen, runden Stamm h e r a u s w a ch s e n . D i e Fä ch e r d e r h o h e n Kokospalmen rauschen sanft im Wind. Ein schönes Lebensgefühl überkommt mich. Die Luft ist frisch und ohne Autoabgase, kein Strassen- und Maschinenlärm dröhnt in den Ohren. Es ist eine Oase nach dem hektischen Kolkata. Im ganzen Dorf, auch ausserhalb des Ashrams, ist es so ruhig und sauber wie in einem grossen Garten. Du fällst nicht in die Pflastersteinlöcher und Baugruben. Es hat dort keine. Es gibt auch keine Drainagen an den Wegen und keine Moskitos. Das Moskitonetz habe ich schnell wieder in die hinterste Schrankecke gelegt. Was habe ich damit den Besitzer der Oase genervt, weil ich ausdrücklich nur unter einem Moskitonetz schlafen wollte. In Mahadevpur hat es kleine Geschäfte, oft wie Kioske in der Landschaft. Der Apotheker ist auch gleich der Arzt, Dr. med. steht da über der Ladentür, die nur ein Rolladen ist, der nachts


irgendwann heruntergelassen wird. Das Vertrauen in den jungen Arzt/Apotheker wird bestätigt, mein Mann hat nach der Einnahme von ein paar Tropfen keine weiteren Symptome einer Pollenallergie. Im Dorf arbeiten ein paar Handwerker, auch Künstler, die Skulpturen bearbeiten, draussen vor dem Atelier und die sich freuen über die Aufmerksamkeit, die sie und ihre Arbeiten bei den Neuankömmlingen erregen. Das Dorf ist umgeben von Palmenhainen, an deren Rand die Felder anstossen. Schnurgerade und üppig wächst das Gemüse, und selbst die Reispflanzen stehen dicht und in sauberen Reihen. Mein Zimmer im Ashram Nach einem kurzen oder längeren Spaziergang im Dorf am Vormittag komme ich zurück in meinen Garten Eden. Es erwartet mich mein Zimmer, luftig und gross, gerade frisch aufgeräumt und gereinigt. Die Pflegerin bringt gerade frische Früchte und Wasser und hat die Zeit und den Humor für einen Schwatz. Sie sagt, ich darf auch eine eigene Pflegerin mitbringen. Sie kann dann bei mir im Zimmer schlafen oder in einem Zimmer im Dorf wohnen. Das Zimmer ist gross genug, hat einen schönen Balkon und ein eigenes Badezimmer und weil es ein Eckzimmer ist, hat es zwei lange Fensterreihen. Ganz nach meinem Geschmack, Freiheit und Blick nach draussen. Gerade klingelt das Glöcklein aus der Küche und alle machen sich auf den Weg zum Speisesaal. Vegetarisch oder Nichtvegetarisch Das ist in Indien immer die Frage, generell vor jeder Mahlzeit. Beides ist in Indien so schmackhaft, wie nur indisches Essen schmecken kann. Auch immer phantasievoll variiert, dass die Gemüsekost nie überdrüssig wird. Hier im Ashram kocht die Köchin Meena mehr bengalisch, immer zwei warme Mahlzeiten, Lunch


Ein Tänzchen am Morgen Warum nicht am Morgen? Es bringt Freude und Beweglichkeit. Draussen, unter den Palmen, vor mir der See. Anushila tanzt. Ihre Freundin, die stille und respektvolle Professorin, jetzt lacht auch sie. Welche Erinnerungen werden wohl in ihr wach? Sie leben beide schon seit 6 Jahren hier. Einige wenige machen Yoga im Zimmer oder Pranayama auf dem Balkon, andere wandern durch den Park oder wenn die Kräfte noch ausreichen durch die Ortschaft, dann möglichst zu zweit oder mit Betreuung. Zu einigen Gästen kommt der Physiotherapeut zu Therapien oder zu Massagen.


Durga Puja


Der Eigentümer Bidhan Roy hat sich dort einen Lebenstraum erfüllt. Nach jahrzehntelangen Aufenthalten im Ausland träumte er von einem eigenen Stück Land, von einem schönen Haus, von Wasser vor der Haustüre, er wohnte mal am Ufer des Ozeans, und das alles wollte er mit Leuten teilen. Welch ein glücklicher Mensch! Das alles fand er im Einzugsbereich von Kolkata. Er fand auch Helfer, die mit ihm den See anlegten, die mit ihm den riesigen Park gestalteten und vor allen Dingen schöne Unterkünfte bauten. Heute hat er zwei zweistöckige Gebäude, einen Küchenanbau, der glatt den europäischen Normen entspricht, mit Stahlgeräten und Wandplatten. Viele Gäste kommen gerne hierher, bleiben auf Dauer oder gehen auch für einige Monate nach Hause oder zu den Kindern, sogar zu denen, die auf Dauer im Ausland wohnen. Das Fest im Park Heute erlebe ich nun nicht gerade die grenzenlose Stille. Heute Nacht geht es laut her. Das ist ein Rufen und Schwatzen, ein Pfeifen und Trommeln. Da klopft doch wirklich jemand um Mitternacht auf ein dickes Bambusrohr und wer schleicht da über den Waldboden? Das Temperament des Urwaldes dringt bis in den Park hinein. Es ist das Fest der Tiere des Waldes mit Festbeleuchtung. Heute ist Vollmondnacht, in Mensch und Tier ist die gleiche Unruhe. PS: Mein Mann, der Stadtmensch, sagt, „ mir ist es hier zu ruhig“. Ich, der Natur-Fan, freue mich, dort zu wohnen. Und letztendlich ist Kolkata ja auch nicht so weit, nur 30 km und da kann ich mal für 3 Tage ins Hotel und Stadtluft schnuppern, bis ich mich wieder nach der Oase sehne.

Durga's Vehicle - the Lion

The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.



und Dinner, ab und zu auch ein warmes Frühstück mit gegrilltem Gemüse, es gibt einen 6-Uhr-Tee am Nachmittag, aber auch einen 6-Uhr-Tee auf das Zimmer am frühen Morgen, das eigentliche Frühstück gibt es um 9 Uhr, das Dinner um 9 Uhr am Abend. Auf den 6-Uhr-Tee in der Früh habe ich lieber verzichtet aber garantiert nicht auf das Dessert! Im Speisesaal wird gegessen je nach Temperament oder Persönlichkeit, alleine oder in Gruppen, familiär oder privat, also unterhaltend oder schweigend. Nach zwei Tagen sagt der ehemalige Schiffsingenieur, „Usha, du musst bengalisch lernen, mindestens ‚Ami tomake bhalobasi‘ für deinen Mann“. Darauf konterte ich, „das muss ich nicht sagen, das weiss er schon“. Jetzt habe ich die Lacher auf meiner Seite und von da an habe ich Gesprächspartner auch unter den reservierteren Mitbewohnern. Sie alle leben hier, weil sie nicht mehr alleine in ihrem Haus leben wollen, auch weil ihnen die Organisation des eigenen Haushaltes zu schwerfällt, besonders auch, wenn die Kinder im In- und Ausland weit weg arbeiten. Die indische Grossfamilie mit lebenslanger Betreuung und Unterhaltung ist ausgeträumt.

In Erinnerung an Dhrubalal Bose (27.07.1929 – 21.10.2010) Basantabihari Palit Dr.Ing.: Technical University Dresden Habilitation and Privatdozent: ETH Zurich Professor: Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz Muttenz German Novel: Der Sternenwunsch Bengali Novel: !ভাকািŋkণী তারা Living in Switzerland since 1962; Contact: b.palit@bluewin.ch


er Tod is über mächtig und ihm


gegenüber sind die Menschen ohnmächtig. Ich habe kein Wissen über das Mysterium von Leben und Tod. Als normaler Mensch denke ich manchmal, der Tod sei ungerecht, brutal und rücksichtlos. Oft nimmt er einen Menschen mitten aus seinem erfolgreichen Leben und einen Menschen aus dem Kreis seiner Liebenden und Freunde. Aber manchmal denke ich, der Tod ist oft auch ein Segen. Er erlöst den Menschen von unerträglichen Schmerzen und von sinnlosem und menschenunwürdigem Dahinsiechen. Die spirituellen Meister Indiens betrachten den Tod jedoch anders. Sie sehen den Tod und die Wiedergeburt zusammenhängend an. Sri Chinmoy, der grosse spirituelle Lehrer, sagt: "Der Tod ist nicht das Ende. Der Tod kann niemals das Ende sein. Das Leben ist eine Reise. Der Mensch ist der Reisende. Die Seele ist der Führer. Wenn der Reisende müde und erschöpft ist, leitet der Führer den Reisenden zu einer kurzen oder längeren Rast, und dann beginnt die Fahrt des Reisenden von neuem. Der Tod ist kein Untergang. Er ist nur eine kurze oder längere Pause." In diesem Sinne wünsche ich der Seele Dhrubas eine wundervolle Rastzeit mit viel Freude und himmlichem Frieden. Nun wende ich mich vom Thema Tod ab und komme auf das irdische Leben unseres lieben Freundes zurück. Ich erinnere mich genau den Tag, an dem ich Dhruba kennengelernt habe. Vor 48 Jahren war ich von Kolkata kommend am kalten Frühmorgen des 16. Oktobers 1962 das erste Mal in der Schweiz gelandet. Die Firma


Dhrubalal Bose Brown Boveri & Co. hatte mir eine Stelle angeboten. Ich war von der Flugreise, dem Temperaturunterschied zwischen Indien und der S ch w e i z , vo m Vo r s t e l l u n g s g e s p r ä ch i m Personalbüro und von der mühsamen Suche nach einem Zimmer in einer unbekannten Stadt, das alles in einem Tag, sehr müde und erschöpft. Hinzu in meinem Alleinsein weit weg von meiner Heimat hatte ich Heimweh und Sehnsucht nach Verwandten und Freunden. Plötzlich hörte ich Klopfen an der Tür. Die Hausbesitzerin sagte, ich hätte einen Anruf. Ich hörte eine freundliche Stimme am anderen Ende des Telefons. Das war



Durga Puja 33

ausgezeichneten Leistungsnachweis verdient er grosse Anerkennung. Ethnologie wurde in den letzten Jahren der Mittelpunkt seines Lebens. Bei vielen Diskussionen und Auseinandersetzungen mit uns suchte er Lösungen und Antworten mit den Theorien der Ethnologie. Dieser Wissenschaftszweig wurde sogar seine Leidenschaft. Auf diesem Gebiet hat er sehr viel geforscht. Er wäre bald auch mit seiner Dissertation fertig, wenn sich nicht der Tod beeilt hätte. Dhruba liebte seine ursprüngliche Heimat Indien und besonders Bengalen, dessen Kultur, Religion, Tradition, Literatur, Gesang, Musik, Küche und vor allem seine Landsleute. Er hatte viele Male gesellschaftliche, religiöse und kulturelle Veranstaltungen organisiert, Vereinsarbeit geleistet und pflegte gute Kontakte mit seinen Landsleuten. Dabei hatte er die Beziehung mit der westlichen Welt nicht vernachlässigt. Ein erwähnenswerter Punkt war seine Liebe zum 11-er Club, dessen Gründungsmitglied er war. In diesem Club wird normalerweise nur Bengalisch gesprochen, bengalische Gerichte gegessen und bengalische Lieder gesungen. An den Clubtagen war er immer mit Herz und Seele dabei. Er hinterliess zwei Töchter Maya Mita (Ärztin), Jaya Rita (Anwältin) und einen Sohn Abhijit Frank (Managing Director). Wir trauern um unseren lieben Freund, für gleichaltrige war er Dhruba und für die Junioren Dhrubada. Wir werden Dhruba nie vergessen. Ich ver neige mich mit Liebe, Respekt und Dankbarkeit vor seiner Seele und bete für ihn und für uns alle um Frieden. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Durga The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini," which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Thus, Hindus believe that goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries.



die freundliche Stimme von Dhrubalal Bose. Das Personalbüro der Firma Brown Boveri, wo auch Dhruba arbeitete, informierte ihn über meine Ankunft und Unterkunft. Dhruba lud mich gleich zum Abendessen am nächsten Tag in seine Wohnung ein. In den letzten 48 Jahren war ich oft Gast bei ihm und seiner Frau Elisabeth. Die BoseFamilie war überaus gastfreundlich. Eine besondere Stärke Dhrubas war seine Kochkunst. Er war ein hervorragender Koch und liebte immer Neues zu probieren. Ich bin dankbar für unsere Freundschaft, die fast ein halbes Jahrhundert überdauert hat. Über Dhruba kann man viel erzählen. Aber ich beschränke mich auf nur einige Punkte. Dhruba wurde 1929 in Sirajganj (heute: Bangladesh) geboren und wuchs in Ranchi (Bihar) auf. Nach Studium in St. Xaviers College in Ranchi ging er nach Kolkata und studierte Electrical Engineering in College of Engineering (heute: Jadavpur Universität) Jadavpur. Sein Berufsleben fing in der Schweiz an bei Georg Fischer in Schaffhausen. Später wechselte er zu Brown Boveri in Baden, Indian Steel & Wire Products in Jamshedpur (Indien) und wieder zu Brown Boveri Baden und zuletzt zu Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke (NOK) in Baden. Er blieb bei NOK bis zu seiner Pensionierung. Als Rentner begann er, zur Überraschung der Freunde, das reguläre und volle Studium der Ethnologie an der Universität Zürich. Hoch zu würdigen war seine Energie und Ausdauer. Ohne diese hätte er das volle Ethnologie-Studium an der Universität Zürich nicht absolvieren können. Jahrelang anstrengendes Studentenleben, wohlgemerkt, im Ruhestandsalter hatte er bewundernd hinter sich gebracht. Für diesen

From Mouchak to Mövenpick to Mc Donald’s...

Riti Mukherjee Studied and grew up in Kolkata, lived in Switzerland for 12 years and in Connecticut, USA for 2 years. Professional teacher, dancer, choreographer and an occasional writer. Contact: 828isu@gmail.com


Gold coast vs. Silver coast Compare your stay in Switzerland with your current foreign country. In this new series, our 3 authors have touched upon differences, comparison of work culture, social life, schooling, weather, lifestyle, cost, and other factors which they felt were relevant to this discussion. What according to their opinion is Gold Coast? Read the new series!

plunged into the adventure along with 226


boxes as the 40 foot container marked Basel to Boston drove off with my home–‘Fragile -handle with care’. The same words were invisibly visible in me too. I was leaving my job, joys, friends and familiarities to honor the word ‘family’ that I blindly believed in. Never before had I realized the calm comfort of knowing my environment and being known. I walked up to the US immigration officer with my children. Questions? None at all. All they look for are authenticated, valid documents and the non- staggering look in your eyes. I looked forward to letting my Indian iron bangled, Swiss watched


clad hand to rest upon my heart and take the pledge of allegiance along with my students in schools here. I had felt a tingling feeling of peeping wings when I left my 6 year settlement in Delhi and landed into the land of beauty and Bollywood song scenes. I realized I was leaving much more. It had taken labored integration to embrace ‘Gruezi’ and be comfortable with melted cheese next to my turmeric powder! I had left a life in the exotic East to embrace the magnificent West! And now from the Alps to the Rockies it was déjà vu although I realized the flying grounds in USA were boundless and within them were countless turns and mazes where it was easy to get lost.


I often lost my automatic sedan amidst trucks and 4x4’s in huge parking lots, got lost out on 16 lane highways unable to arrow out of the innumerable bow exits left and right. Lost the charm of sidewalks, a quick walk to the bus stop, 15 minutes non-pondering grocery shopping, hearing a human voice on the other side of the phone ....... along with some precious black hair! I’ve gained too..., unforgettable notes from my students from 3 to 18 year olds, new vocabulary to add to my English teaching, a new greeting that doesn’t wait for an answer even though it’s a question ’how are you’! The roaring, ravishing garbage disposer in my kitchen sink, a few more vaccinations and ....... few more kilos- Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Chipotle, KFC, Friendly’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, mouthwatering cuisines from all over the world and high fructose corn syrup didn’t make it hard at all ! Most of all weightless experiences, positive colleagues, friendsold and new and some confident doctors- who can take weight off without a treadmill. Amidst my losings and findings, I’ve searched too. Why houses were bigger than hearts. Why signatures were trusted more than words. Why individual reasoning outweighed rules and rights outweighed responsibilities. Rush ran faster than respect. Big houses, big choices, big roads, big festivals and within this ‘big’ my small world formed unknowingly. My son found his way from a 22 peered kindergarten to a 350 seated cafeteria in one of the largest elementary schools in Connecticut. My black-haired daughter emitted mystery when she spoke fluent German. Unfolding themselves and all the mysteries around them they learnt to sweat it out and enter a sports team, an honor roll and remain in it as they prided themselves in wearing the school/ team sweatshirt with their printed name. Sense of humor, competitiveness, healthy opportunity and entrepreneurship. I held on tightly to my birthday present given by my 8 year old who earned the price by putting the garbage out and vacuuming our house. America had touched him, but Switzerland hadn’t left him either. Along with my present was a wild flowered bouquet and a handmade card! It was a pleasure to walk through the high school hallways and hear ‘she’s Ambika’s mother’...a cherished title rather


than Mrs. M. Measured scoops of ethics, discipline and entrepreneurship sprinkled with family bonding – the magic. Variety of minds and malls, ethics and emotions, choices and charms, condos and comforts. You could walk into dollar shops or to Louis Vuitton in little or big crowded plazas. From California to Massachusetts, from Texas to North Dakota the options are countless. You could dive into your chosen life or spend your time couponing, shopping, watching American soaps, Netflix, and Indian or Regional channels on TV with occasional visits to the Chinese pedicurists. Driving though is the common side with any combo you choose in America! Burning hot summers to freezing long winters where the autumn colors of New England are the painting ground for God with his palette consisting of red, orange, brown, gold, green, bronze and a mix of all six- I spread my wings and flew with change, sometimes cruising, sometimes bumping. It is easy to mix into large crowds of people here. Our division creeps in with us because we allow it to! Whether it’s the Alps or the Rockies you’ll see Christmas and blue berry muffins, Onam and coconut oil, Durga puja and mustard oil, Eid and full moon nights. Few groups enjoyed biryani, celebrated Christmas, cooked with

Colours of New England mustard oil and attended Onam, while others broke all barriers and dived into the difference. Even if we have reached the moon, do we realize that the color pumping our hearts on Earth is only red?



I was different too. My difference stung me when I held my toddler, standing amidst two long aisles of milk in a supermarket in Switzerland. Alone and speechless! My language, color, confidences, everything was different. I stood there statued with helpless yet angry tears rolling down my cold face. This difference gnawed me. I wanted to integrate by being myself and yet spreading among them. Perhaps this was integration in its true sense and it was the little town of Baden that pushed my seventh sense. One loses the true meaning of integration in the vastness of America if one wishes to. It isn’t necessary. It’s easy to find places of your own worship, own language, festivals and food and be completely content. Fun and friendliness have created a new kind of freedom here. The protectors of this freedom hide around unexpected corners to swoop down at their preys. If rules don’t make you give them the right of way during a chase their ear piercing sirens and their eye blinding flashy lights will. The police -they protect the 3000 miles spread over inhabited coastal areas along with the deserted midst from various storms to uphold their national bird. Not only from Katrina, Sandy and Nemo that mothers the 5 feet icicles hanging from my windows and ruthlessly tears out houses and the homeless, but also from those storms that weather machines don’t read. “Guns and Goons”- They come unwarned every now and then at nooks and corners, aiming at young and old. When I see a uniformed trooper walking around my school or just munching Chinese at the table next to mine in their Hollywood style my heart cries out for the Tollywood Home guards I left back home! I haven’t had many encounters with the Swiss police though. One doesn’t hear or see them as often as in America. They are the quiet cruising kinds compared to the fast fiery ones here but you wouldn’t want to meet either! However it’s impossible to pen down my story of a country which can be covered by my little finger on the world map to a country that even my hand cannot hide. There are striking differences because of the size but while soaring high if you occasionally stop to dive deep down, you’ll see the difference in energies.


Snow from window The unambiguous Alps portray the strict limits that Switzerland has with its precision, punctuality and uncompromising chocolates. From the disciplined lines children learn to make at kindergarten to the most expensive fines, wines and dines -the country stands unblemished to the common eye. America breathes the birth of Earth through the Grand Canyon and Old Faithful. The country is protected by its freedom, incomparable National parks, innumerable flying flags, extraordinary customer care, competitive markets, complicated immigration laws, paper work and signatures. Whether I would fly out of the towering, amplified America with moist eyes and a heavier heart than when I flew out of pricey, precious Switzerland or my inborn incredible India isn’t important anymore. I am humbled to be tutored to enjoy a plate of steak and cheese with violet onion rings dipped in chat masala and lemon juice!

New York trip




Bestnote: Kundenzufriedenheit 03/2013



Bestnote: Kundenzufriedenheit 03/2014

Sicherheit mit Zukunft.





Switzerland . and . United Kingdom

Madhubrata Banerjee Chatterjee PhD researcher in Astronautics and Space Engineering in an eminent UK University, mother of a toddler, from Kolkata, presently resident of Switzerland. Contact: mctech.24@gmail.com


Gold coast vs. Silver coast Compare your stay in Switzerland with your current foreign country. In this new series, our 3 authors have touched upon differences, comparison of work culture, social life, schooling, weather, lifestyle, cost, and other factors which they felt were relevant to this discussion. What according to their opinion is Gold Coast? Read the new series!


lthough destiny has chosen India and Switzerland as my home countries, I sometimes wonder perhaps destination of my life has been predestined by Hergé at the same time when he wrote ‘Destination Moon’ in 1953, almost three decades before I was born. Evidently I could not resist coming to the UK when I got the offer to be a part of an international project to build a constellation of small satellites. I enjoy my life both in the Swiss and in the UK as they offer disparate flavour of living. Be it weather, lifestyle, social life or be it work culture, childcare, food; each adds more colour to my life. London, a vibrant cosmopolitan city in true sense, has been my mailing address in the UK. It is amazing to see people from all around the world coalescing in a city. The hustle bustle of the city,


crowded tube stations, buses which can terminate its journey at any time in the middle of its way, makes the city quite interesting. Childcare, which is an important issue for dynamic and busy parents, is also excellent in all respect. At the same time, I would like to mention that I was simply amused, when one fine day I received a letter from my then-two-year-old son’s day-care stating he had subjects like mathematics, science, construction etc. Talking about lifestyle, people in London are quite dynamic. Sometimes they are so frisky that many foreigners can even feel that the city gets engulfed by a bunch of exuberant youngsters in Friday night’s. Food is one of life's greatest joys and when it comes to food, London is definitely the paradise. Name the cuisine and London has it. One can even find Kolkata’s street food ‘Rolls’ in Oxford Street in a shop which is decorated with


ceiling fans and charcoal painted old Bollywood movie posters. In another nearby place to London called South-hall, one can even notice that in roadside small restaurants sweet makers are making jalebi (an Indian sweet) in the evening. London has alluring shops for shopaholics and offers quite good price compared to Switzerland as well. I find it easier to find colourful clothing for my son in London, whereas in Switzerland I feel colour of even kid’s clothing follows a particular pattern. Now, the first thing which came to my mind when I thought of writing about Switzerland is its nature. Switzerland is abundantly blessed both by nature and weather and has four clearly distinguishable seasons. Changing colour of deciduous trees in autumn makes one feel that winter is about to come and the country will again become as captivating as a fairy tale picture. I simply savour delectable raclette dinner in my snow covered white blanket like balcony. Cherry blossom and green meadows of spring tells summer is coming; in summer picturesque lakes with different shades of blue surrounded by amazing green colours of plants makes me feel like I am in heaven. Although all the seasons are present in the UK with its own nature, the drizzling acts as a burden and doesn’t allow one to enjoy the season to the fullest. People of Switzerland are imperturbable and gleeful at the same time. One thing I particularly like about them is that they know how to maintain the beauty of their country. They believe in standardisation, a fact which has evidences in history as well. A simple example is Swiss clock.

London Eye


By manufacturing standardised interchangeable parts of clock first time in the world Geneva craftsmen produced around 6,000 clocks in 1687 which increased to 50,000 by 1828 offering average person to afford a watch at that time. Another unique thing is politics. I find it really interesting that Switzerland does not have a fulltime president. Every year one member of the elected seven member government body from different parties becomes federal president in turn. The standard of living is also quite high. In my opinion just the Big Mac Index is enough to tell a person with no knowledge of economics about the purchasing power of people in Switzerland. It is 62% overvalued compared to its American counterpart and shows that Swiss Franc is the most overvalued currency. Big Mac is not my favourite food. I like it only when I am very hungry. In regards to food I enjoy Cordon Bleu, Bratwurst with onion sauce, Züri Geschnetzeltes and many more from Swiss cuisine. Finally, I would say that though it is a great experience to live in both countries, Switzerland is my favourite because of many personal reasons: I have my family and many loving friends here; I have given birth to my child here; I have become a part of a wonderful team and can raise some support for underprivileged children in India for their education by taking part in a marathon team run. I enjoy Durga Puja and can dance with the beats of Dhaak; I enjoy skiing in Swiss Alps and many more. Obviously I find it amazing to live in the Switzerland; ergo in my opinion Switzerland is the Gold coast when it comes to choosing Gold coast Vs. Silver coast.

Swiss Chalet


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From Switzerland, UK, US to Belgium

Compare your stay in Switzerland with your current foreign country. In this new series, our 3 authors have touched upon differences, comparison of work culture, social life, schooling, weather, lifestyle, cost, and other factors which they felt were relevant to this discussion. What according to their opinion is Gold Coast? Read the new series!


arlier this year, I moved again. This was

the eighth time I had packed my bag and presented myself to a new city hall. People ask me: Where would you like to settle down? Ah! ‘Settling Down’. For a large part of my life, ‘settling down’ was a term deployed by my parents’ generation to suggest that I stop living out of a suitcase, tie the knot, produce another generation of consumers, and start investing in bonds (whatever those things are). These days however, it has started to hover dangerously across my visual field, like a glaucoma-induced halo around everything I see. Growing up a child of Indian immigrants in Geneva, I have witnessed both extreme privilege


Agomoni Ganguli Mitra Agomoni is Bong at Durga Puja, Genevoise at Fondue season, World Citizen at heart, too old for all-nighters and too young for a mid-life crisis. Contact: agoganguli@yahoo.co.uk

and extreme inequality. I have also felt the ties of cultural belonging as strongly as the barriers of prejudice. These little challenges have taught me to be adaptable to new surroundings, and as equally picky when choosing a place to call home. Add to that idealism and cynicism in equal measures, and you will find living inside my mind quite exhausting, let alone living permanently within specific geographical and political boundaries. What has it been like, playing, studying and working in Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva), Germany (Muenster, Berlin), Belgium (Leuven), the UK (London) and the US (Washington D.C.)? Well, I suppose such an evaluation is difficult, since we ask for different things at different phases,



Gold coast vs. Silver coast



and various cities and countries please and disappoint us accordingly. Moreover, embarking upon a comparison of a small city and a large metropolis does neither justice. But since I never shy away from giving my opinion, I will nevertheless give it a go. Do bear in mind that the following is mostly based on my personal experience and perception. I am currently going through a maternity induced (aka severely sleepdeprived) procrastination phase, where even the thought of looking up Gini coefficients and Human Development Indexes threatens to send me into a coma. Here are some thoughts: On being a student and eventually bringing up one. Continental Europe, I believe still offers good basic education. For a start, it’s mostly free, as it should be. Also, I rarely find parents scraping their last penny in order to live near decent schools, as they might do in London or Washington D.C. Higher education, especially at a post-graduate level, is a real treat in the US, and to a certain extent the UK, provided one can afford it. On healthcare and childcare. Most readers, I believe will hardly be surprised to hear that Europe offers better, more accessible, and less expensive basic health care than the US, where healthcare and its quality are heavily dependent on your job and economic status. Belgium (Leuven) in particular sticks to my mind, having had a surprisingly pleasant experience during my recent pregnancy and delivery. When it comes to parental leave, however, Germany and the UK win hands down. Beyond the standard maternity leave, both I believe offer fairly generous parental


leaves. Childcare in Belgium, at least in Leuven appears more accessible than in the US or the UK, gentler on working mums and cheaper than in Switzerland. Comparing social benefits in Belgium with those of other European countries is a little difficult however, since taxes are high and therefore the immediate costs of healthcare and childcare appear to be much lower. Having said that, parental leave (especially paternity leave) and childcare could do with much improvement in all countries that I have so far lived in. On the quality of life. When it comes to income equality, Europe fares better than the US again, as it does when it comes to the protective net of social welfare. Living in Switzerland is, as I mentioned earlier, quite cushy. And that comfort is not entirely based on one’s income. I have yet to see a public transport system beat the Swiss one. Belgian trains and their punctuality are particularly deplorable and the London transport system has a severe penchant for delays, strikes and breakdowns. I do not know what it is like to drive and park in these countries. Just like those obscure bonds, I have never looked into owning a car. On food and culture. Few places can truly beat the cultural vibrancy, fashion, and restaurant scene that London has to offer. Food in the US is best not mentioned, especially when one has grown up on a staple of Baguettes, Gruyere, Lindt and Mum’s Daal-bhaat. Unless perhaps you live in large, cosmopolitan cities, or shop at expensive organic stores, the American culinary experience is a little disappointing, as is the one in small-town



Germany and Belgium for that matter. When it comes to bread, pastries and fresh daily produce, there just isn’t a replacement for a Migros or a Coop. And here is a fact: Swiss chocolate is far, far superior to its Belgian counterpart. There, I said it. Someone had to. On being a foreigner. I have never been subject to violent racism, and for that I am thankful. While my parents’ generation—young people arriving in the UK in the 70s and 80s—had to navigate blatant prejudice, those days were mostly gone by the time I moved to London. As a newcomer, few cities have embraced us, the way London and Washington D.C. have. I admit this is in part due to language. However, diversity plays just as important a role. It teaches tolerance, which in turn attracts more diversity, a positively reinforced cycle. In the wake of the recent Swiss votes, mirrored by the wave of conservatism in the European elections this year, the onus seems to have increased on foreigners to show that they belong, whether or not their host country welcomes them. On being a woman. While I remain eternally grateful to those who have fought for the rights I enjoy today, the battle is far from won. I will mention in passing how disappointingly late Swiss women earned the right to vote, and how recently abortion was legalised in Belgium. I will also mention the alarming regularity with which I read about (unpunished) violence against women in India. There perhaps is no better time to reiterate this than at Durga puja: women are not goddesses. Nor are they sluts. Their identities are not bound

to labels such as daughter, sister, wife, or mother. They are human beings and free to choose their lives, regardless of society’s expectation. The path ahead is steep, but we want Tiny T to grow as fearless as a boy, and live as freely as a man. And so the fight must continue, in every country, community and family. Be it forced marriages, date rapes or wage gaps. Things must get better. For. Every. Woman. So, what was I saying again? Oh yes, settling down. Well, I guess one day our backs and knees will refuse to bear the brunt of packing. One day, I suppose Tiny T will have made friends and will refuse to leave her home. We will choose a country, a decent quality of life, and good bread. We will settle down. As far as social and gender equality are concerned, I guess we will always refuse to settle, no matter where we are.


HEIDI is a Swiss work of fiction, originally published in two parts as ‘Heidi's years of learning and travel’ and ‘Heidi makes use of what she has learned’. It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book "for children and those who love children" (as quoted from its subtitle) in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.




SWITZERLAND: Interesting Facts

To the End of the World

Kaustav Ghose, after completing his doctorate in microtechnology from EPFL, he is currently working at the University of Bern in the department of Space Research and Planetary Science. Originally from Pune, India, he loves to travel to places off the beaten track, camera always in hand. Contact: kaustavghose@gmail.com


t is one and a half times the size of

Australia. It holds 70 percent of the Earth`s fresh water and is 98 percent covered in ice. First glimpsed by humans only in 1820, it remains largely unexplored. The wildlife is tame, diverse and unique. It is almost like being on another planet while still standing on Earth. Antarctica is the largest remaining wilderness on the planet. The Cruise


I boarded the ship Akademik Sergey Vavilov, or the “Vav� as it is called by its crew, in Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship is owned by the Russian Academy of Sciences, designed for safety in seaice and stability in rough seas, but the cruise was operated by a Canadian company OneOcean. The tourist voyages help keep the ship running and provide funding to carry out scientific exploration throughout the year as well. The ship carried about 95 passengers, and a vessel with passenger complement smaller than a hundred passengers is perhaps the best choice for an Antarctic cruise. The IAATO, the body that regulates Antarctic tourism sets limits on how many people can go onshore at one place at one


time, as part of safeguards for the wildlife. On a larger vessel, passengers have to take their turns going ashore. Some cruises on really large ships do not even offer shore landings, so some research is absolutely needed before booking. Cruises to Antarctica start at around 5000 USD for a length of ten days. If one is flexible with time, then it is possible to wait in Ushuaia for last minute options to become available, which can go as low as 3500. The sailing time up and down is three days each, with the remaining days on and around the Antarctic Peninsula, and the islands nearby. I picked a cruise that was to sail further south until it crossed the Antarctic Circle, and then make its way north along the peninsula for seven days. Food and accommodation, of a level between three and four stars, is on board the ship. During these voyages, the expedition crew organizes shore landings and local cruising as per weather and sea-ice conditions. Though the price was high, over the next two weeks it became evident to me, that in terms of value, it was my cheapest vacation ever. We head South by South The ship headed south through the Beagle channel, and we soon had our first glimpses of


On the Antarctic Ocean The ship crossed the Antarctic Circle in the area of Crystal Sound, surrounded by icebergs and sea ice; there was a small celebration with champagne, followed by the first trips from the ship on zodiacs, smaller motor-boats that can ferry up to 15 people to shore. The voyage also offered the option to go kayaking, and I had taken this option. Being a complete novice to kayaking, I was a bit nervous in the beginning. Thanks to the excellent kayak guides, and their coaching, I was soon climbing out of the zodiac into a sea kayak, ready to go paddling surrounded by sea ice. If you wish to do additional activities such as kayaking on such a cruise, it is advisable to book well in advance, since seats are limited. On the first day we stayed within 2-3 km of the ship, while the other passengers of the ship went cruising around in zodiacs. The aim had been to land on Detaille Island, but the sea ice kept getting thicker closer to shore, which made it impossible to get the zodiacs through. No one paid any attention to it, since it was our first day close to the Antarctic coastline, and the scenery was overwhelming. The coast is very mountainous, and it is almost continuously covered with ice down to the water’s edge. It was like being alongside a glacier that is hundreds of kilometres wide. People kept running from one side to the other of the ship, shouting in excitement as the first seals or penguins of different species were spotted. That night the ship started north, heading for areas with less sea ice. The expedition leader along with the ship`s captain kept a continuous eye on the weather and ice charts, and were also in touch with other cruise ships in that area, so that two ships did not land up in the same place at the same time. I woke up on the second day to see


Kayaks in tow large icebergs around the ship in all directions. And we were soon into the kayaks, paddling in and around these floating mountains, out of sight of the ship. We stopped frequently to take photos of the wildlife or scenery, while keeping the minimum safe distance from the bergs. In case an iceberg calves, which can happen at any time, a few tons of ice will fall into the water and being too close in a kayak is certainly not a good idea. To be ensconced in complete silence, all one had to do was to simply turn the kayak a bit, with only the sky, ice, ocean and maybe some penguins or seals in view. Happy Feet On the third day we made the first landing at Pleneau Island, in the middle of a large Gentoo penguin colony. The penguins essentially ignore tourists, and one can freely wander around amongst the penguins, but there is a rule not to get closer than five meters to them. However, if you are stationary in one spot and a penguin comes close, then there is no need to back away to maintain the distance. This loophole is quite useful to get up real close with the penguins. After half an hour among the penguins, we took to the water in our kayaks. The sea ice was quite different from the previous day, with smaller icebergs and large ice floes, on which groups of seals were (mostly) sleeping. This was also where I spotted my first whale, a Minke, about fifteen meters ahead of my boat. On the way back, we had a demonstration of how quickly conditions can change in the Antarctic, when a katabatic wind picked up out of nowhere and made the sea choppy within minutes.



seals, Magellanic penguins and various sea birds such as different species of albatross (with their wingspan exceeding twelve feet). The ship then entered the Drake Passage, the stretch of ocean between South America and Antarctica. This is notorious for rough seas, but we were fortunate with the weather. The ship’s doctor nevertheless had to hand out some seasickness pills. A full stomach because of the superb meals offered onboard can be somewhat detrimental during this crossing.

It took some effort to paddle back to a place from where we could get back into the zodiac. On the afternoon of the third day we stopped at Petermann Island, where we saw a colony of Adelie penguins, and I chose to walk on land instead of going out in a kayak. The naturalists on board described the effects of climate change on the different penguin species, and how this colony had been growing smaller year by year. Adelie`s are acclimatized to having their chicks at a certain time of the year, depending on the temperature. The Antarctic Peninsula is more susceptible to climate change than other parts of the continent, and as it has grown warmer, this species has been moving further south. Night near the Antarctic Circle The third day had a rather interesting end. By the end of our dinner, our ship had reached the Forge Islands. The cruise offered a night of camping on land, and I, along with about two thirds of the passengers, opted to spend the night ashore. All the necessary equipment, such as bivy bags,

Paddling with humpback whales in Wilhemina


sleeping bags and mats were provided by the crew. The final piece of essential equipment was a shovel, to dig a trench in the snow to get out of the wind, and then tamp it down to provide a firm base to sleep on. After I finished preparing my “bed”, sleep was out of question, with the most spectacular sunset I had ever seen unfolding all around me. The sun was slowly sliding down, with the colours ranging between pastel shades of red, pink, green and blue. With the backdrop of the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula stretching from horizon to horizon on the east, and the ocean on the west,


Happy Feet with icebergs dotting the water, part of me was sad, knowing that I might never see a more stunning sunset back in planet civilization. This far south, and it being summer in the southern hemisphere the sunset ‘happened’ over hours, with the sun finally going below the horizon close to midnight. Since the sun didn’t go too far below the horizon, it never got dark, and I got about four hours of sleep that “night”, waking up in time to see a spectacular sunrise. Experiments in Antarctica The excursion on Day four started with a visit to Vernadsky station, a scientific base originally setup by the British Antarctic Survey, but now manned by Ukraine. It was a good opportunity to see the working of one of the numerous scientific stations dotted along the Antarctic coast. Alas, where tourists go, kitsch follows, and the enterprising personnel at Vernadsky had on sale a range of souvenirs and perhaps the only locally made vodka in Antarctica. I used the opportunity to send some postcards to India, which did arrive about three months later. The area around Vernadsky was a patchwork of small islands, and the network of channels, along with an almost cloudless sky, made it a perfect day for paddling, while watching seals swimming and sunning themselves. Werdy hut, an old British station in the vicinity of Vernadsky, is maintained as a museum, and many passengers took the opportunity to visit that as well. After our afternoon kayaking session on this day, with time to spare and the sun shining, our kayaking guides suggested that we could find out how good our drysuits and flotation vests were, by means of a simple experiment of jumping into the Antarctic Ocean


A breathtaking sunset, will I ever see one better?

Creatures great and small On Day five we landed on the Antarctic continent proper, with all our previous shore excursions having been to islands. The landing point was at the site of an Argentine scientific station named Almirante Brown. Most of the passengers went hiking up to the edge of a nearby cliff, which offered sweeping views of the surrounding bay, named Paradise harbour. In the kayaks, it did feel like being in paradise, with only the wakes of the kayaks disturbing the mirror like waters reflecting the glaciers and snow-capped


peaks all around. Ice kept calving off the glaciers, interrupting the perfect silence with occasional booms and crashes. The kayak guides said it was their favourite spot to paddle in Antarctica, and I could see why. Wilhelmina Bay was the kayaking high point of the trip, with its waters being particularly rich in krill. Krill are small crustaceans almost invisible to the naked eye, and not visible or that exciting to your average kayaker, but they are the main food source for the great whales, which were indeed of great interest to one and all. From the ship itself, we could see multiple pods of humpback whales feeding in the bay. After hurrying into the zodiacs and then jumping into the kayaks as fast as safely possible, we set off in pursuit of a pod of four humpbacks. Totally oblivious to the kayaks and zodiacs, the whales were busy bubblenet feeding. Their tails rising into the air, they were diving deep, and then while rising to the surface, blowing bubbles which were bringing the krill up from the depths. The sight of their massive heads rising above the ocean surface, with the soothing sound of their breathing, will stay with me forever. We followed the whales around the bay for almost two hours, after which, being unable to eat krill ourselves, we had to come back to the ship for lunch. Fire and Ice On the last day, Deception Island was our morning stop. From both its name and the actual geography of the island it could have come straight out of a James Bond novel. The island is circular, a remnant of a huge volcanic caldera, with a gap



from the zodiac. Naturally, nobody stopped to think about it, since thinking about it would only lead to not doing it. We all jumped in. After the initial shock, my face went completely numb, then my flotation vest popped me right back up to the surface, and I swam and scrambled back onto the boat. As the guides promised, my drysuit lived upto its name, and in the sunlight my head was soon dry and warm again. That afternoon we sailed through the Lemaire channel, a stretch of water about a hundred meters wide, surrounded by mountains reaching heights close to 3000m. Imagine something like a fjord in Antarctica, about fifty kilometres long, with glaciers and icebergs almost continuously lining both sides. With the sun out and clear blue skies, it was easily the most visually exciting sail of the entire cruise. The Lemaire can be often blocked by ice, and the expedition staff kept telling us how lucky this cruise was with the sea ice and weather, and even for many of them it was the first time sailing this stretch in such conditions.

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov, the cruise ship, with one of its zodiacs between cliffs through which the ship sailed into Whaler`s Bay, the name of the now flooded centre of this ancient volcano. As the name indicates, this was a staging point for the great whale hunts of the 19th and early 20th century. The island has the well preserved remains of old whaling stations, and wrecks of whaling ships and boats, along with the graves of whalers who never returned home. There have been attempts to maintain scientific stations on Deception Island, but since eruptions happen once every few decades even today, there is no permanent settlement. The slopes of volcanic ash and the sulphurous smells on the wind are a constant reminder of the geologic origins. Deception Island is also home to a huge colony of Chinstrap penguins. These birds are the mountain climbers amongst penguins, and we saw many perched high up on cliffs for which humans would need mountaineering gear. It was pretty impressive for birds which are adapted mainly to water. An added attraction in Whaler`s Bay was the Polar Plunge organised by the staff. Depending upon your point of view, some very foolhardy or brave passengers took Sleeping in the ice under the opportunity to the Antarctic sky, with a rush into the Antarctic penguin watching us Ocean, and then rush out again, dressed only in underwear. Having already jumped into the ocean once, I enjoyed their screaming and swearing from the confines of my kayak. The final stop before sailing back to civilization was near Hannah point on Livingston Island, part of the South Shetland Islands chain. Named


after a whaling ship that got caught on the rocks nearby, this island had a large colony of elephant seals, and colonies of about two hundred and fifty thousand Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. The adult elephant seals can reach three or four tons in weight, but in the water they can be as graceful as birds. Hannah point had a very diverse coastline, starting from sandy beaches at one end, to a large glacier calving into the sea at the other. Going home, going back After seven incredibly diverse, fulfilling, wonderful days, during the sail back to South America I could not escape the impression that I was gradually returning to Earth from a secret land removed from time and space. After landing back in Geneva, looking at the familiar sight of Lac Leman and the Alps from the train window, I kept wondering where the ice and snow had gone. The words of the expedition leader from day one of the voyage rang very true in my ears. He said, “Going to Antarctica is dangerous�. Not because of any physical risk, but because the rest of the world will not be the same for you anymore, and then you will want to come back again and again and again. Am already plotting my next trip.

Watching the penguins watching me


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By Parthiv Kangsabanik


go every year to Durga Puja, since I was

Kid‘s Corner

one year old. It is celebrated close to Zurich. The Puja is celebrated five days in autumn. It is the biggest festival of Bengalis. My father told me, when I was small, I would continuously go up and down the stairs there. I like Durga Puja because I meet my friends, many live near Baden and one in Basel whom I meet every two weeks. I play football and cricket if possible. My family does not go every day because I have school, but we enjoy it. In the evening I look at the programmes (if they are on this day). Once I did a ‘natak’ with one of my best friends and another time I did magic tricks and diabolo. Once there was a drawing contest. I also participated in the drawing contest. We had to draw either something about Durga Puja or a landscape. I drew a landscape with children playing football and I got the second prize with a Manor gift card. I was surprised because I do not like to draw and many are better than me. During the puja days, when the priest says some ‘mantras’, my mother calls me and I need to repeat what the priest says. I do not understand a word but I repeat it like all the others in the big room. There are also ‘dhak dholaks’ (a kind of drums I think) which I like to play. There are always only three ‘dhak dholaks’, so sometimes I need to wait


because every child wants to play the ‘dhak dholaks’. I am not an expert playing the ‘dhak dholaks’ but I try it. Every day they also give nice meals, snacks and drinks. First you get a ‘prasad’ with some fruits. After that a lunch with rice, ‘dal’ etc. Then you can buy a nice snack in the afternoon, you can buy ‘fuchkas’, ‘dahi vadas’, ‘samosas’ etc. And at last you get a tasty dinner sometimes with ‘chapatis’, vegetables, ‘rasagolla’, ‘gulab jamun’, ‘payesh’ and other tasty items. Soon after Durga Puja, there is another event called ‘Bijoya Shomelon’. It is held in a church with a big hall. There the committee decides the new president for the following year. Some Indian artists come from India and show an enjoyable programme. In this event only members come, that’s why there are not so many people. In this place there is no big playing area, so we cannot play cricket or football, but we play inside with a small ball. I also like the picnic event which is organised from the Durga Puja committee. There you can play more. Last time I took a suitcase full of playing things ­ cricket bat, football etc. and everyone was stunned. Overall I really enjoy to attend all the events and I wish my family can go every day of the Durga Puja days.



urga Puja bedeutet für jeden etwas

A n d e r e s . Wa s b e d e u t e t e s f ü r m i c h ? Kaffekränzchen? Wenn nicht, was denn sonst? Durga Puja ist eine Feier. Man feiert Göttin Durga’s Sieg über den Dämon Mahishasura. Er hatte von Brahma den Segen bekommen, dass kein Mann ihn töten konnte. Mahishasura nutzte seine Kraft aus und niemand konnte ihn aufhalten. Die Trilogie, also die Götter Brahma, Vishnu und Maheshwar schafften Göttin Durga. Da sie kein Mann war, war es möglich, dass sie Mahishasura töten konnte. Bald darauf forderte Durga Mahishasura zu einem Zweikampf auf. Dieser akzeptierte es und die beiden trafen sich am besprochenem Schlachtfeld. Sie kämpften ziemlich lange, aber keiner gewann. Durga ist die Kreation der Trilogie und vertretet die Macht der Welt. Darum hatte Durga mehr Energie als Mahishasura. Mit einem Hieb von ihrem Dreizack tötete sie Mahishasura. Dieser Sieg vertretet den Sieg von Guten über den Bösen, welches wir heute noch feiern und sind ihr dankbar. Jedes Jahr wird Durga Puja gefeiert. Hier in der Schweiz treffen sich fast alle indischen Familien in Zürich wo der Durga Puja stattfindet. Fünf Tage lang kommt man nach Zürich und feiert Durga Puja, was mir Spass macht. Hier kann man die Zeit verschieden verbringen. Mit Kollegen, alleine oder man setzt sich vor Durga’s Statue und betet. An manchen dieser fünf Tage


werden Tänze, Lieder oder Gedichte vorgetragen. So kann man die Tage mit Spass verbringen und muss sich nicht langweilen. Wenn Durga Puja in den Herbstferien ist, reisen wir manchmal nach Indien. Apropos Indien: Dort trifft man sich nicht nur in den Zelten, in denen die Figur von Durga aufgestellt wird, sondern fast überall! Das ist ein Vorteil, da Durga Puja in ganz Indien gefeiert wird und man hingehen darf wo man will. In der Schweiz geht das nicht, weil die Schweiz als Land keine Durga Puja feiert. Irgendwie ist das noch ziemlich schade. Aber ich finde es gerecht. Denn sonst würde fast niemand von hier nach Indien gehen um Durga Puja zu verbringen, denn wenn die Schweiz Durga Puja feiern würde, würde es hier doppelt so viel Spass machen und in Indien würde es einem normalem Urlaub gleichen. So sehe ich das. So wird Durga Puja in den Orten gefeiert, wo ich sie besuche. Doch welches bedeutet mir was und welches finde ich besser? Eigentlich habe ich beide gleich viel gern. Jeder auf seine eigene Art. Durga Puja ist überall dasselbe Fest, aber wird doch anders gefeiert. Das Fest bedeutet mir schon etwas. Denn das Fest ist nur einmal im Jahr und es macht mir auch Spass. Dieser Spass ist auf einer speziellen Art. Nicht den Spass, den man auf einem Spielplatz hat, auch nicht den Spass den man am Geburtstag hat.Sondern es ist der Spass,der wirklich einzigartig ist, den man nur bei Durga Puja haben kann.


Kid‘s Corner

By Arushi Bhattacharya

By Indira Acharya


urga Puja bedeutet für mich, sehr

Kid‘s Corner

glücklich zu sein. Nur an das Fest zu denken, verursacht in mir eine kindliche Vorfreude. Die vielen Menschen, das Gelächter, die Stimmungman kann einfach nicht betrübt sein. Durga Puja ist wie ein Stück Indien in der Schweiz. Ein Stück Heimat. Und dass so viele andere Menschen kommen, nicht nur Inder/Innen, da fühlt man sich stolz. Sehr, sehr stolz. Durga Puja bedeutet für mich, dass ich meine Freunde treffe und viel Spass habe mit ihnen. Wir reden und lachen und tauschen uns über etliche Sachen aus- die Schule gehört aber meistens nicht dazu. Es gibt zwar auch ein paar nervige Seiten, wie zB. früh aufstehen, aber wenn man die vielen guten Seiten im Gegensatz sieht, lässt sich drüber hinwegschauen. Die graziösen Tänze-, der wunderschöne Gesang-, das gefühlvolle Vortragen von Gedichten sind die Früchte monatelanger Arbeit. Ich nehme an dem zwar nicht teil, aber ich erfreue mich jedes Mal daran. Am meisten liebe ich jedoch die Imbissstände. Ich kaufe mir dort jeden Tag, mehrere Male „Puchkas“. Man kann sie mit „Doi“, also Joghurt essen oder auch mit „Jol“, Wasser, das speziell dafür zubereitet wird. Das Wasser wird mit Tamarindenpaste und Gewürz vermischt und ist ziemlich scharf. Man taucht dann die Puchkas in das Wasser und isst es dann. Einfach göttlich! Auch wenn ich dann meistens kein Geld mehr besitze, um andere Sachen zu kaufen, es lohnt sich. Aber wenn man


nicht weiss, wie man es essen soll, kann man eine heftige Sauerei veranstalten. Ich brachte letztes Jahr eine Freundin mit und ihr erging es so. Aber sie fand es dann auch lustig. Ich habe mich so stolz und fröhlich gefühlt, weil sie sich so sehr für dieses Fest interessiert hat. Durga Puja ist für mich ein Fest der reinen Freude. Natürlich beten wir und danken der Göttin Durga. Ohne sie, gäbe es das Fest überhaupt nicht. Wegen ihr rücken wir ein kleines bisschen enger zusammen, wir feiernde Menschen. Sogar meine Mutter, die das ganze Jahr über nicht tanzt, macht für dieses Fest eine Ausnahme. Ma Durga besucht ihr Elternhaus jedes Jahr, denn ihre Eltern lebten auf der Erde. Jeder liebt Durga Puja, es ist ein Fest, dass uns geschenkt worden ist von der Göttin selbst und auch sie nimmt daran teil, auch wenn wir sie körperlich nicht sehen können. In Form von der Statue ist sie bei uns. Und sie nimmt ihre ganze Familie mit auf diese Reise. Sie symbolisiert, dass die Familie immer zusammenhält. Sie wird dargestellt wie sie Mohishashur, einen Dämonen, tötet und zeigt uns damit, dass das Gute immer und immer wieder das Böse besiegt. Und obwohl jeder einen Verlust verspürt, wenn das Fest vorbei ist, sagen wir unserer Göttin auf Wiedersehen und treffen schon Vorbereitungen für das nächste Mal, wenn sie zu uns wiederkehrt. Wir fangen an uns nach passenden Kleidern umzusehen, reden über das Essen, die Beleuchtung etc. etc. Denn jedes Schöne muss auch einmal enden. Aber die Vorfreude auf das nächste Mal bleibt.


By Bodhaditya Deb

urgapuja ist unser Religionsfest. Es ist

auch ein indisches Fest. Maa Durga hilft die ganze Welt, wie eine Mutter ihr Kind hilft. Maa Durga kommt zu ihrem Mutterhaus in Himalaya. Sie kommt auch mit ihren zwei Töchtern und zwei Söhnen mit. Sie heissen Saraswati, Loschmi, Ganesch, Kartik. Sie nimmt auch ihren Löwe und einen Dämon mit. Wenn Maa Durga zu uns kommt, gehen alle schlechte Dinge weg und es herrscht Friedlichkeit. Wir beten alle vor ihr und sie bleibt vier Tage bei ihrer Mutter. Aber am fünften Tag muss sie wieder zu ihrem Mann (Shiba) in Keulaschporbart gehen. Wir sind alle dann ganz traurig. In diesen Tagen nehmen Kinder und Erwachsene am Theater, Tanzen, Trommeln und Singen teil. Wann der Priester vor dem Denkmal betet, sitzen wir und beten alle zusammen; die Erwachsenen trommeln und ein Erwachsener blast in einer Muschel. In dieser


Durga Puja 55

The First Durga Puja in Bengal

The first grand worship of Goddess Durga in recorded history is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s. Folklores say the landlords or zamindar of Dinajpur and Malda initiated the first Durga Puja in Bengal. According to another source, Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya organized the first Sharadiya or Autumn Durga Puja in Bengal in c 1606.


Kid‘s Corner


Zeit, wo wir beten, ist es für mich unheimlich. Wegen dem gehe ich mit meinen indischen freunden raus. Das Essen ist immer lecker, manchmal für mich nicht. Am letzten Tag zünden wir Holze, manchmal habe ich Angst. Dann spielen wir mit roter Farbe und Schokolade. Das macht immer spass. Aber für mich nicht. Es ist immer traurig, dass Maa Durga weg geht. Aber im Esssaal ist es immer toll. Es gibt Sprite, Cola, Fuchka und solche Sachen. Jedes Jahr kommen fremde Leute. Durgapuja ist für bengalische Leute ein sehr grosses Fest. Aber zu dieser Zeit gibt es im ganzen Indien ein anderes Fest - heisst Novoratroy. Hier sind alle Leute gleich - Gujrati, Panjabi, südindische Leute - alle beten vor Maa Durga. Wir warten das ganze Jahr auf dieses Fest. Wir ziehen neue Kleider an. Frauen ziehen schöne Kleider und Schmücke an. Dann sehen sie sehr schön aus. Am letzten Tag spielen alle Frauen mit roter Farbe. Das ist auch ein indisches Ritual. Alle bleiben gesund und fröhlich.

Aarna Debnath 5 years

Arushi Bhattacharya 12 years

Kid‘s Corner

Prakriti Sadhu 6 years SWISSPUJA PATRIKA 2014


Abhiraj Roy Choudhury, 9 years Nayanika Debnath, 13 years

Kid‘s Corner

Parthiv Kangsabanik, 11 years



Adhrit Bose, 6 years

Shivam Banerjee, 9 years

Shukrit Rakshit, 8 years



Kid‘s Corner

Sasmit Bhattacharya, 9 years Indira Acharya



75 Minutes with Clia („Berner Sennenhund“) Saradindu Mitra, Engineer, now retired, has four grandchildren, lives with his wife in Switzerland since 1961. Contact: saradindu.mitra@gmx.ch

It was a wonderful autumn afternoon. The driver of the Bus No. 80 dropped me at the “Lerchenhalde” stoppage. What a poetic name! “Lerchenhalde” the lark slope. Of course I did not see any lark. But while walking along the roadside way to the animal home, I could listen to the nice crunching sound of the fallen dry leaves pressed by my own footsteps. The fallen dry leaves of the maple and poplar trees were still colourful and the remaining leaves on the tree branches deliciously beautiful with their autumn earthen colours offering a peaceful scene to my eyes. The sun although not strong, was shining gloriously at its best. After a while when I heard the barking of various dogs, I realized that I was inside the animal home.


The lady of the animal home checked my name on her book and brought Clia. Edi was on holidays. He had requested me to take his pet out of the animal home for a change once in a while. As per my expectation, Clia jumped at me; a typical sign of an animal full of emotion, towards someone known to them. I had to keep my balance. The greeting was over and I put Clia on leash. I was supposed to pull Clia. But on the contrary, she was pulling me. She was chewing and eating grass and was releasing water every now and then; in total twelve times. The whole area was ideal for walking. Most of the people were elderly couples and some were with their dogs. Clia was on leash; sometime she was holding the leash with her teeth and shaking her head madly left and right. She wanted me to release her from the leash. But I did not dare to do that. Sudden freedom could make her wild. After about forty minutes of walking, I wanted to return. But Clia did not like my idea. She kept on sitting firmly on the meadow. I pulled her, but there was no response from her side. She sat firmly and


looked at me with her tongue hanging from one side of her mouth and breathing very deeply and frequently.. I had to wait for about three minutes and then I showed her the “Cervelat” (sausage) which I was carrying in my pocket all the time. My trick was successful. A bit later I gave her the “Cervelat”. She was very happy. I was a bit tired. Later I sat on a bench and Clia lied down on the meadow. When I got up and pulled Clia, she suddenly came very close to me, stood on her hind legs and held me closely with her two front legs hugging! She did not want to leave me. What an affectionate situation indeed! It was slowly becoming dark. We returned to the animal home. The lady caretaker took charge of Clia and went inside. Keeping Clia in my remembrance, I walked back to the bus stop “Lerchenhalde” listening to the crunching sound of the dry fallen autumn leaves under my feet.


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A Round Trip in Zurich Lake Brindarica Bose, loves to sketch with words and colours; working part-time, mum of two boys, she dreams of publishing her short stories hopefully before she turns 90. Contact: brindarica@gmail.com This story was conceived and written during a 90 minutes ‘Zurich Lake’ ship cruise.


could not feel any movement but could see it, and hear it. I heard the ferryman whistle and then the ship started moving away from Bürkliplatz, and the swans were left behind at its fringes. My cruise across Zurich Lake had just begun. I followed the passengers inside the ship and took a seat, infact the first empty seat I could find. My fear of commuting in packed local trains back in Howrah, guiding my instincts even in Switzerland. The ship’s hull was lined with several windows. I leaned forward, to watch Zurich Lake outlined by the Alps in the horizon and grey blue water breaking into white foam and ripples around our ship. A sigh escaped from me, not quite sure of its origin—my new world’s fascination or old world’s frustration. A tiny cobalt-blue boat with a white mast sailed past one window to the other. I kept following it with my eyes, till a woman came and sat in front of the window, blocking my view entirely!


I tried to dodge my head left and right and look past her, but the tiny blue boat had already vanished. Slightly disappointed, I turned my attention inside the ship and started observing the passengers instead. The lady who sat in front of me had a nondescript face but had striking emerald green eyes. She was wearing a long olive green skirt reaching till her ankles. Her shoes were flat and looked rather manly; unlike the sandals I have seen women wear on streets in India. Lying next to her black shoes, on the floor, was a piece of brown paper, which resembled a SBB ticket. I had a similar ticket in my breast pocket. We were both sitting in the passenger’s cabin, second class, and


the ticket checker was standing just two seats behind her. I tried to ignore what I had just seen and dropped my eyes to inspect my hands instead. I let few moments pass. When I lifted my eyes and looked her way again, I could see that the woman was in complete panic. Her purse was open, and she was looking right through me without even noticing me, and she kept twisting her pink fingers nonstop. She appeared younger than I had thought earlier. Maybe she was in her early 20’s. Something stirred in me. I felt an urge to do ‘something’ in that situation. An urge which I feel is genetically programmed in some people, no matter how much they are conditioned otherwise. Even though I didn’t understand German, and was asked to strictly avoid white women (by my


I walked up to her seat, picked up the ticket (yes, it was a SBB ticket), and handed it to her, interrupting what she was explaining to the ticket checker in German. The ticket checker passed on to the next row. The woman thanked me profusely and maybe because I lingered there for a few seconds much too longer, she asked if she could offer me a coffee. I nodded my head. Not because I really wanted a coffee, but because I wanted someone to celebrate my birthday with. Yes, it was my 27th birthday and it was just three months that I had arrived in Switzerland from India, in the year 1964. So, she picked up her purse and we went upstairs to the first class bistro. Our ship was sailing from Zurich Bürkliplatz to Rapperswil, a ‘Round Trip for 90 minutes’ and this ship cruise was the only thing I could think of, instead of a trip to Dakhineshwar by steamer, like last 26 years. The upstairs bistro had a better view of the lake. Patches of yellow, blue and white farbe outlined the lake like the border of an Indian sari. I imagined this woman, with whom I was standing in the bistro, in a sari one day. She was Judith Müller, a native, who knew only about Taj Mahal and Gandhi, when I told her that I was from India. She spoke English with a heavy accent and picked her words after long gaps. And when I told her that my name was Tapas Dutta, she said, “Isn’t it a Spanish name?” It took me several years to understand that she was thinking of the Spanish apero ‘tapas’… I ordered tea and she a coffee, in the bistro. While pouring cream in my black tea (there was no milk), I explained that my tea was also brown, just like me. She laughed at my joke, and then thought perhaps it was rude and apologized. Then out of politeness, she changed the topic and said that she was working at Sprüngli in Zurich and was now visiting her aunt, in Meilen. I told her that I was working as an Engineer in an Engineering firm, and after faltering for a few seconds added, “Actually, today is my 27th birthday”. When I said that, she promptly wished me ‘Zum Geburtstag’ and gave me her hand for a


handshake. I think I blushed alta-red and felt a current, which ran right through my fingers into all four chambers of my heart, illuminating each chamber with a warm saffron light. Although she had not expressed any interest in staying in touch, I said I would. Judith got down at Meilen and I took her seat next to the window for an uninterrupted view. But then, if only one could learn the tricks of mind and stay happy with what one has. With the window seat and lake next to me, I suddenly started thinking about this Swiss woman I met, in a Sari. I was 27 then, young, and a diehard romantic. I still am. FIFTY YEARS have passed since that cruise in Zurich Lake ….. Today is also January 19th, my birthday, and call it an impromptu decision or madness, yesterday evening after an early dinner, I decided to take the Zurich Lake ‘Round Trip’ cruise once again to commemorate by golden jubilee in Switzerland. My son called me just before I left, from Brussels, where he is currently posted and wished me happy birthday, saying he would call again later, he also wished me good luck for the day. Did he already know about my plans? I am sitting in the First Class cabin, next to the bistro with a bottle of red wine. The upper deck is humming with silent banter, and two crispcollared waiters are shuffling elegantly between tables, balancing white porcelain cups with golden rims and matching plates. The ship is slowing down, vibrating, grumbling and pulling its brakes for the next stop in Wädenswil. Nothing much has changed around the coastline, except the season. Seasons come and go—just like my children. My younger son, who lives in Venezuela, came to visit me last autumn and since then I have received only one SMS from him, wishing me Happy New Year. I generally get his information from my elder son who is in Brussels. He keeps in touch with his younger brother as well as his mother, who if you are still guessing, is indeed my ex-wife Judith. Yes,



mother), I got up from my seat and advanced towards her.

the same Judith Müller who knew only about Taj Mahal and Gandhi, 50 years back. The ship has left Rapperswil, and after five stops it will reach Meilen. Judith, left me almost 25 years back…. Perhaps it was the stressful time we had when our children were young, or, perhaps it was the decision we took, or as she put it later, ‘the decision which I took’ that ended it all. I did, what I thought was best for my family at that time. Now, after 50 years I wonder, if all my decisions were correct. If I expected my Swiss wife, to sacrifice and comply like Ma, Pishima and Boudi, then I had perhaps not been realistic. Judith had sacrificed enough already by marrying a person like me—dependable and simple, but deeply conservative and insensitive; who never took the pains to truly integrate in her country. Let me take a sip. Hmm, the wine tastes good. The ship is hauling for another stop. Männedorf. Ah, how beautiful it still is. I see a big linden tree with a dense network of branches, crisscrossing the sky with a thousand wrinkles. And boats covered in blue and green tarpaulin sheets, swaying left and right, like infants sleeping in a cradle. Long after our two sons were born, when Judith was in her forties, one morning she complained of feeling sick. We thought it would pass and didn’t give much attention to it. Her illness continued for a fortnight or more and I remember asking her to visit her doctor in the end, as she threw up once again after breakfast. What Judith told me in the evening, after visiting her doctor shocked me.


How could this be? Pregnancy at 43? My grandmother already had two grandchildren at that age. My head also swayed left and right like the boats, and I accompanied her when she visited her gynaecologist next day. The lady doctor, wiped her hands on her white apron, smiled, and then congratulated us.


From denial to acceptance took few days and then a decision had to be taken in less than a week’s time—if we wanted to keep the baby or not. The gynaecologist had quite plainly said that chances of having a ‘challenged’ baby were high. In those days, there were no amniotic tests. Financially, emotionally, I was also not ready to have another child. I felt limited and acted out of insecurity. I could not express my fear of being a father in a foreign land, to my wife. That one week was very tough on our boys too, as they heard both Judith and me raising our voices, their mother crying and me banging the door and walking out in the night. After a week, Judith aborted the child. It was a four months old foetus. I saw her, yes it was a girl—wrapped in a towel, tiny, fitting into a palm, with a pink face; eyes, still not fully formed —deeply shut—forever. Despite the doctor’s request, Judith refused to see her, and then the hospital staff took her away. I cried that night. I could not bear to look at my wife, or even stay close to her. I told her the boys were unwell and left for home early. Judith’s emerald green eyes permanently turned cold grey after that day, just like Zurich Lake’s colour today. Her grief, guilt, and at some point blaming me for the circumstances, eroded our relationship by and by. Our boys grew up, went away for studies and then one day Judith left me too. She left behind a note and took with her only her old wedding sari—a heavy, red Benarasi silk. Judith didn’t return. There was no mobile or email in those days and her family refused to give me any information. After two years when the divorce papers got finalized, our family truly broke. There was no funeral for the little unborn girl but my entire life thereafter, became a long funeral. Last year, my elder son opened an account for me in Facebook (in my days we used to open accounts only in banks) and taught me how to operate it. Once while checking, I stumbled upon few photos on my son’s wall. And I found a picture of Judith!


She had short, grey hair and deep wrinkles around her eyes. Her grey eyes seemed to have recovered few flecks of emerald green. I kept looking at her the entire morning. A strange emotion, buried somewhere deep inside, mummified and fossilized, was surfacing after a very long time. Before my brain could control my fingers; I clicked on the ‘like’ button on that photo and made myself visible. I felt as if I had touched her again. Ah, so many thoughts, so many years, I shouldn’t forget that I need to check my mobile, now! I promised to send her a SMS just before the ship docked at Meilen and tell her where I am sitting. Let me do that before I start talking to myself again. Switch on mobile. Write. Send. Gone? Good. Judith, lives in her aunt’s old house by the lake, which she inherited. From Meilen, we shall sail back to Zurich Bürkliplatz and then go to Hiltel for dinner.


Yesterday, when I invited her for the ‘Round Trip’ ship cruise and dinner, she agreed (despite the short notice). Didn’t I say I was a die-hard romantic? Judith and I met each other last autumn after several years, when both our sons were visiting home. My sons had never seen Durga Puja before, neither in Switzerland nor in India, so when my younger son, who is a photojournalist insisted on going there, we all kept his request, just like old days. Looking at Durga’s protima and her family, I too kept my shoulders straight and whispered to her, ‘Look, my family is here as well’. My ship is now docking at Meilen. Glad that I have two seats next to the window. A cobalt blue tiny boat is leaving the coast and I can see Judith coming in with the passengers on board. She is wearing a long olive green skirt.






t was autumn. Mandy and Sarah walked to

school. “How do you think our new student will be like?” Mandy asked curiously. Sarah said: “I really have no idea. Come on, let’s hurry! Maybe she’s already there!” They hurried to school. There was no sign of the new student when they arrived. “Oh! what a waste.” Mandy said exhausted. She didn’t like to run. Sarah looked around and said,” “Maybe she’s in Miss Forster’s room”. Miss Forster was the principal of Swiss International School in Basel. Mandy and Sarah were excited about the new student. “Mandy, Sarah wait for us”, somebody suddenly shouted. It was Nora and Ruth. Together they walked in their classroom. Soon the bell rang and the classes were about to start. But still the new student wasn’t there! Even Miss Allen, their fourth class teacher wasn’t there. After a few minutes Miss Allen came with the new student. She had long, black hair and brown eyes. “She isn’t English for sure”, Ruth whispered to Sarah. Sarah nodded. “Good mor ning, everybody,” said Miss Allen. “This is our new student Rupanjali. Rupanjali, do you want do introduce yourself ?” Rupanjali nodded and said: “I am Rupanjali Roy. I come from India. I can speak Bengali, Hindi and of course, English. I hope this will do for now, Miss Allen?” “Of course,” said Miss Allen “You may sit down next to Lucy or Katy.” “Who is Lucy and who is Katy?” Rupanjali asked eagerly, waiting to know her classmates. Miss Allen said: “Well that girl with short, brown hair is Lucy. Katy is the one sitting at the back. She has got blond hair.” “Thank you, Miss Allen”, Rupanjali said politely. She went and sat down next to Lucy. Lucy said: “Hi Rupanjali! Welcome to our class. Do you also live here?” Rupanjali nodded. “Quiet please! I would like to start the class.” Miss Allen said.


Rupanjali nodded. She liked Miss Allen. She was shy. She had just introduced herself because her parents had instructed her to say a few words about herself in the class. Or else she wouldn’t have done that! After the lessons with Miss Allen, they had Music with Mr. Johnson. “Good Morning, students. I see a new face. And even if the face has a mouth it isn’t making a sound! May I ask who you are?” Everybody laughed. It was so embarrassing. Rupanjali reddened and said shyly: “I’m Rupanjali.” “So the new face can talk. Interesting”. Mr. Johnson said. Everybody liked him. He was always funny and jolly. “So boys and girls, let’s start the first music class with the new face”, he said. They practiced singing the scale. Rupanjali could do this well. As the teacher asked her to sing it she did it perfectly. Mr. Johnson said: “Very well, Rupanjali. Take this as an example, everybody.” Rupanjali blushed as usual. After the music class they had break time. Rupanjali took her snack and went outside. Nora, Ruth, Sarah, Mandy and Lucy went to her. “Hi, Rupanjali. Do you have a nickname?” Lucy asked. Rupanjali nodded and said: “Yes. My friends call me Rupa.” “That’s nice”, Nora said. “Do you have Whatsapp?” Mandy asked. “Mandy!” Nora, Sarah, Ruth and Lucy said. “What?”, Mandy replied. Mandy always did such silly things. “Did you like the classes?” Ruth asked. Rupanjali shrugged her shoulders and said: “Well it was ok. Where do you guys live?” She liked the girls and was settling in her new class. Nora said: “Well we all live in Erlenstrasse 70. And where do you live?” Lucy asked. “I live nearby in Feldbergstrasse 37.” “That’s a pity”, Ruth said, “It’s on the other side. So we can’t walk together.” Rupanjali looked a bit upset. “Does anyone from our class live in Feldbergstrasse 37?” She wanted to find someone so that she didn’t have to walk home alone. Lucy



Arushi Bhattacharya, born on 31.05.2002, is an ardent bookworm and spends her time writing stories and poems while she takes time off from her studies and piano practice sessions. Contact: arushi3105@gmail.com


thought and said: “Well I think Thomas, Ken, Alina, Vanessa, Tamara live there.” “But Alina, Vanessa and Tamara are very prissy. Michelle is also one of them. So if I were you, I wouldn’t stay with them. They would only ruin you”, Mandy said. Nora and Sarah sighed. Lucy rolled her eyes. Ruth shook her head. Mandy was just impossible! Sarah desperately wanted to break the silence. She suddenly came up with: “Which religion do you belong to, Rupa?” Before Rupanjali could answer, the bell rang. So she quickly said: “I’ll tell you later.” After the break they had two consecutive art lessons. Their art teacher was Miss Allen. “Boys and girls, today we are going outside”, she declared. The room filled with happy screams. “Shush, please! You would work in pairs outside. There you have to find out an interesting natural scene and draw it. Is everything clear?” “Yes Miss Allen”, the whole class shouted. “Well then let’s go out”, she said. Soon all the students ran out. There were seventeen of them. Soon everybody made pairs and Rupanjali remained alone. So she went to Miss Allen and said: “May I draw something alone?” Miss Allen said: “Well it will be quite difficult to draw a natural scene alone. So you may draw anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a natural scene.” “Thank you, Miss Allen”, Rupanjali said. She took a paper and a pencil and began to draw. She was so absorbed in her picture that she forgot all around her. Suddenly Nora patted on Rupanjali’s shoulder and asked: “What are you drawing?” Rupanjali startled. “My, you did frighten me! This is Durga, our Goddess. Hindu people are going to celebrate Durga Puja very soon. That’s why I drew her.” “That means you are Hindu?” Nora asked. Rupanjali nodded. Soon the art lesson was over. All the children went home. It was autumn holidays soon and also the time for Durga Puja. In between Rupanjali had taught her friends a lot about the Hindu religion. As always, Rupanjali and her family went to attend the Swisspuja near Zürich. Nora, Sarah, Ruth, Lucy and Mandy were also keen to attend the Puja as it was holidays for them and knew so much. Rupanjali would dance there. Her friends were excited at the thought of seeing her perform on stage for the first time. Rupanjali, her family and her friends lived in a hotel near the Puja


venue. Her friends’ families were about to visit the puja on Nabami, the day when Rupanjali would appear on stage. On Panchami, Rupanjali and her friends went to the venue to help the organisers with the decorations. The girls enjoyed it a lot. They had lunch there and Rupanjali introduced them to her Indian friends. They got back to the hotel late evening and agreed to meet at the breakfast table next morning to discuss the plans for the rest of the puja days. It would be the only morning, where they would have breakfast as no “Anjali” or offering flowers to the God would take place on that day. Next morning, as Rupanjali was on her way to the breakfast room on the ground floor, she suddenly fell down the stairs. “Auu!” she screamed. Nora and Lucy came running. “What’s the matter, Rupa?” Lucy asked worried. Rupanjali nearly cried and said: “I...I...fell down...my ankle...it hurts.” “Can you stand up?” Nora asked. Rupanjali tried but couldn't. “I can’t”, she muttered in pain. “I’ll get your parents. Nora, you stay with her”, said Ruth and ran back to Rupanjali’s room. Soon her parents came and took her to a doctor. The doctor said: “Her ankle is broken. She needs to take complete rest for three weeks.” “Three weeks??? But... but... but that’s impossible! I have to dance on Wednesday”, Rupanjali broke into tears as she said those words. Her mother tried to soothe her but it was impossible. She had practiced it for weeks with and without audience and now it was cancelled. What a pity! After the doctor finished bandaging her ankle Rupanjali and her parents returned to the hotel. Rupanjali was utterly disappointed because she couldn’t dance her first selfchoreographed dance. Seeing her dismay, her friends came up with an idea. Mandy went to her and said: “Rupa, we have got an idea. If you wish, we can dance your choreography! If you change it a bit, it will be ok for all five of us!” This cheered up Rupanjali. How lucky she was to have such good friends. She was desperate to make the choreography a success and now Ma Durga has found out a way for her. She worked hard for the next couple of days to teach her friends all that she wanted to present. The audience loved the dance- just the way it was meant to be! How happy Rupanjali was! The girls enjoyed Durga Puja a lot. Joy Ma!




Ingredients for cupcakes (For 12 normal cupcakes or 24 mini cupcakes): ‣ 3/4 cup white sugar ‣ 1 egg (room temperature) ‣ 1/2 cup buttermilk (If you do not have buttermilk, take ½ cup milk and add two teaspoons of vinegar to it and keep it aside for 5 mins before using) ‣ 1 tbsp coloring food red (preferably gel color available in Manor or across the border) ‣ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ‣ 3/4 tsp baking soda ‣ 11/2 tsps distilled white vinegar ‣ 1 cup all-purpose flour (Coop Backmehl) ‣ 2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder (Cailler or the cocoa powder in Migros baking section) ‣ 1/2 tsp salt

Rejina Sadhu, born in Mumbai, did her PhD in Neurobiology, living in Basel since 2001, pursues her love for baking and music parallel to her full time career. Contact: rejina.ramachandran@gmail.com

RED VELVET CUPCAKES with cream cheese frosting By Rejina Sadhu


Preparation • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease 12 cups in a muffin pan or line with 12 paper baking cups or alternatively 24 mini baking cups • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly (preferable to fill it to just 3/4th of the full capacity) • Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes (reduce the time when you bake 24 mini cupcakes) . Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting. • Tip: I use the multi ingredient cup measure from Manor/ Germany or the food section in English bookshops in Switzerland.


Ingredients for cream cheese frosting: ‣ 100g Half tub of Philadelphia natural cream cheese ‣ 250g powdered sugar (Preferably from COOP) ‣ 50 g unsalted butter (Kochbutter softened at room temperature) Preparation • Beat the softened butter with half of the powdered sugar on a low setting on your electric beater (You could also use a hand mixer or wooden spoon). Once the sugar is incorporated with the butter, add the cream cheese and mix well. Add the remaining powdered sugar slowly. If the mixture is not of the desired consistency, you could add more powdered sugar. Kindly refrain from overbeating. • Your frosting can be easily piped on to your cupcakes once they are cool.


Ingredients ‣ 225g butter ‣ 400g caster sugar ‣ 4 eggs ‣ 310g self-raising flour * ‣ 250ml milk ‣ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*available at Turkish or Chinese shops or alternatively add 15g of baking powder to 500g of plain flour.

LIGHT SPONGE CAKE By Bella Asar Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. 2. Grease and flour three 20cm tins. 3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. 5. Combine the milk and vanilla, add alternately to the creamed mixture with the flour, ending with the flour. 6. Mix only as much as necessary and avoid lumping. Pour into the buttered and flour dusted tin. (I prefer lining base of tin with grease proof paper.) 7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cake will pull away from the sides of the tins slightly when done. Alternatively insert a skewer into the middle of the cake until it comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.


The above is the most basic recipes, ideal for first time bakers. I use a lot of recipes by Nigella Lawson and Mary Berry so do Google them for more complex recipes. Baking for the first time tips If your recipe says beat butter and sugar until light fluffy. Take the time to do this extra step. Beating further for 3 more minutes makes a huge difference to the texture of the cake. The creaming of the butter and sugar produces air bubbles in the fat created. DO NOT START BEATING AT A HIGH SPEED AS THIS WILL CAUSE THE FINISHED CAKE TO BE DENSE. …Until Next time , HAPPY BAKING … BELLA ASAR



20cm cake

Bella Asar, Kenyan, British and Gujarati. Completed an Msc in Web Design. Currently, a full time mum. Hobbies, include collecting cook books from around the globe leading to an avid food experimentation. Contact: bellabhatia@hotmail.com.

Ingredients for Tomato Gravy:

Ingredients for Koftas: ‣ 2 medium bunches Spinach ‣ 2 Green chillies,finely chopped ‣ 3 tablespoons Cornflour/ corn starch ‣ Salt ‣ 125 grams Paneer (cottage cheese) ‣ 500 grams Keema (Mutton/Chicken)

Cooking Time

1 hour


8 persons

Preparation Time

1 hour



Amrita Ray, A childeducation specialist, lives with family in Wettingen, Aargau since 2009, shares cooking hobby with husband. For more recipes, contact at: amrita_ray82@yahoo.co.in

‣ 3 tbsp Butter ‣ 6 Cloves ‣ 4 Green cardamoms ‣ 1 Bay leaf ‣ 1tbsp Garlic paste ‣ 1tbsp Ginger paste ‣ 2 Green chillies, finely chopped ‣ 1 cup Tomato puree ‣ 1 tbsp Red chilli powder ‣ 1/2 tsp Garam masala powder ‣ Salt ‣ 3 tbspn Sugar ‣ 1/2 tspn Dry fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) ‣ 1 cup Fresh cream


koftas in different currys By Amrita Ray


Preparation of Koftas 1. Clean, trim and wash spinach in plenty of running water. Blanch in boiling hot water for two to three minutes and refresh in cold water. Squeeze out water and chop finely. 2. Mix the spinach, green chillies, garlic, cornflour and salt to taste well. Divide into twelve equal balls. 3. Add salt to taste to grated cottage cheese and mash well. Divide into twelve equal portions. 4. Boil Keema, drain the water. Add coriander leaves, green chillies, cumin seeds, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Divide into twelve equal portions. 5. Take Keema portions, flatten it on your palm, flatten cottage cheese in it and stuff spinach ball in between. Shape into a ball. 6. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep-fry balls in moderately hot oil for five minutes. Drain and place on absorbent paper and set aside.


Preparation of Tomato Gravy 1. For gravy, heat butter in a pan, add cloves, green cardamoms and bay leaf. When they crackle, add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Cook for two minutes. 2. Add tomato puree, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt and one cup of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. 3. Add sugar or honey. Crush kasoori methi and add it to the gravy. Stir in fresh cream.

Abbreviations tbspn -> Table spoon tspn -> Tea spoon


‣ 2 tblsp Butter ‣ 2 tblsp All Purpose Flour ‣ 1 cup Milk ‣ Salt ‣ 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder

Preparation white sauce 1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. 2. Add the flour and keep mixing till the raw smell of the flour is gone and a nice nutty aroma comes. 3. Add warm milk little by little and keep mixing the mixture. 4. Add salt, pepper and other optional ingredients (if you are adding) and bring it to a boil. 5. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and switch off. Preparation spinach sauce 1. Remove stems, wash spinach thoroughly in running water. Blanch in salted boiling water for two minutes. 2. Refresh in chilled water. Squeeze out excess water. Remove stems, wash and roughly chop green chillies. 3. Grind spinach into a fine paste along with green chillies.


Ingredients for Spinach Sauce: ‣ 4-5 cloves Garlic ‣ 2-3 Green chillies ‣ 3 tbspn Oil ‣ 1/2 tspn Cumin seeds ‣ Salt ‣ 1 tbspn Lemon juice ‣ 4 tbspn Fresh cream

4. Peel, wash and chop garlic. 5. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. When they begin to change colour, add chopped garlic and sauté for half a minute. 6. Add the spinach puree and stir. Check seasoning. Add water if required. Give the gravy a boil. Finally add fresh cream. 7. Add salt, pepper and other optional ingredients (if you are adding) and bring it to a boil. 8. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and switch off. Decoration Take a flat glass serving plate. With the help of aluminium foil make three partitions. At the top row put Tomato Gravy. At the middle one put White Sauce and at the bottom row put Spinach Sauce. Now carefully divide the Koftas into two halves and keep them on the sauces.



Ingredients for White Sauce:

MARINADE ZUTATEN ‣ 2 Knoblauchzehen, fein gehackt ‣ 5 cm Ingwer, fein gehackt ‣ 15 g Korianderblätter, gehackt ‣ 1 TL Mughlai Garam Masala ‣ 0.5 EL Tandoori Spice Rub ‣ 1 TL gem. Chili oder Paprika ‣ 1.5 EL Zitronensaft ‣ 100 ml dicker Naturjoghurt ‣ 2 TL Öl ‣ 2 TL Salz WEITERE ZUTATEN

Rezept für 4 Personen Parul Shah-Schnitzler, born in Mumbai, lived and worked in Chennai and Bangalore as a Photography assistant and then came to Switzerland in 2000. She teaches cooking professionally at home. Contact: info@cookindian.ch

‣ 1 EL Öl ‣ 1 Zwiebel,fein gehackt ‣ 2 Knoblauchzehen, zerdrückt ‣ 400 g gehackte Tomaten aus der Dose ‣ 1 EL Mughlai Garam Masala ‣ 0.5 TL gem. Chili ‣ 1 TL Jaggery oder brauner Zucker ‣ 250 ml Sahne ‣ 1 EL gem. Mandeln ‣ 1 TL Salz

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA Tandoori Poulet in Sauce By Parul Shah-Schnitzler



• Poulet (Schenkel ohne Haut) in grosse Würfel schneiden. • Knoblauch und Ingwer schälen und fein hacken. • Korianderblätter mit Stiel waschen und hacken. • Alle Marinade Zutaten zusammen verrühren. Mit Salz abschmecken. Die Pouletwürfel mit der Marinade in einer Schüssel vermischen. Abgedeckt über Nacht in Kühlschrank marinieren. • Den Grillofen auf 250°C vorheizen.


• Die Poulet Stücke auf Metall oder Holzspiesse fädeln und auf einen Rost über eine Grillpfanne legen. Ohne Abdeckung 15-20 Minuten braten, bis das Fleisch gar und an den Kanten angebräunt ist. • Zwiebel und Knoblauch schälen und fein hacken. • Öl erhitzen und die Zwiebel und Knoblauch darin anbraten, bis die Zwiebel glasig wird. • Die Tomate hinzufügen, köcheln lassen, bis eine dicke Paste entsteht, etwa 20-30 Minuten. • Die restliche Zutaten einrühren und die fertig gebratenen Poulet hinzufügen. Alles 5 Minuten bei kleiner Hitze köcheln lassen, bis das Poulet gewärmt ist.


The Kolkata Food-o-Meter Introducing Specialities of few restaurants By Srijani Bhattacharya


y frequent visits to Kolkata have

prompted me to pen down some of the key dining out destinations which I think should not be missed by travellers to Kolkata, be it a native bong or a casual visitor. I am presenting five such restaurants whose sumptuous culinary delights have always made me feel ecstatic. Now it is up to you if you find them worth a visit and wish to discover their food palettes, while in Kolkata. 1. The first restaurant on my list is Oh! Calcutta – it is an ideal place for a Bengali wholesome lunch. Eating out here is really an ‘Oh’ experience. Our last visit to Oh! Calcutta was as usual a wonderful experience. We started off with a delicious dhakai fish tikka, gondhhoraj bhetki and aam porar shorbot followed by aam kasundi knakra and kosha mangsho with phulko luchi. It was absolutely delicious and the knakra was boneless, which made eating by fork much easier. For desserts, the nolen gurer icecream and the malpua is a must try—they are heavenly. The ambience is, as expected from an Anjan Chatterjee restaurant - posh and private and tastefully done. Service is great as well. You are neither rushed nor made to wait - it is almost a choreographed experience right from entering the restaurant till you pay the bill. The prices are steep but it's okay for occasional visits. 2. Like Kolkata's Victoria Memorial, Park Street, Nandan, etc., Arsalan in Park Circus area is one of the must-visits. The signature dish out there is Biryani and they have maintained their reputation for this dish since decades. It is infact the best that we have ever had in Kolkata. I have been there couple of times and each visit has been a pleasurable experience. This is a must try place


for all foodies ever visiting Kolkata. They have some of the most delectable kebabs in their menu as well. And quite interestingly, they put in much effort also while packing the dishes in good containers for home delivery. Actually, almost all the items they serve will make you go Kosha Mangsho crazy. For me, Arsalan is "the" place when you want to have quality biryani. Some people quite rightly call Arsalan the Biryani - Paradise in Kolkata. The biryani is never too oily, and among the starters, Chicken Malai kabab is another best pick. The chicken is very tender and not over spiced, as a Malai kabab should be. In other restaurants, I prefer to have chicken biryani, but in Arsalan, I am always game for mutton. The mutton served in Arsalan, is large and boneless, the rice is nicely cooked, and the flavour is just heavenly. In simple words, it is too good to resist. The Darsan that they serve for dessert is also special. The pocket pinch here is limited to around Rs. 800 for two people. 3. My Kolkata visit always comprises of several dine outs and take away meals from Chowman in Golf Green area. This place provides good Chinese food at fairly reasonable price. The service here is satisfactory and the decor is quite appreciable. From the choices I made during my last visit, the Tai Chin chicken was the best starter because of the various flavours it had. The wok-tossed Hakka noodles were equally good. Will I go back again? Of course I will. The food is good and also the quantity that



Srijani Bhattacharya, a foodie by nature is abundantly accompanied by her husband and two kids in indulging in all sorts of culinary delights that keep the taste buds actively cheerful. Email: srijani.b@gmail.com


they serve makes me a frequent visitor to Chowman. I am honestly impressed by their soups, starters and main courses. A favourite pick out here is also the Chicken Lemon Pepper soup which is neither too lemony nor too hot and is about just the right taste. Equally worth mentioning is the Thai style mixed Fried rice and Fish in Black Bean Sauce. They make an awesome combo and are also rather different from the typical Chinese fair. Their Pan Fried Chicken Noodles is a whole meal in itself with lots of veggies, noodles and chunks of chicken in thick gravy. This is not a very spicy dish and yet has a distinct flavour. You will definitely get value for your money. 4. I have been to this restaurant only once and that too about six months back, but I am yet to get over the experience. The location of Kasturi, near New Market will not catch your eye for the most exquisite interiors or for that matter hygiene standard, but the food served in this restaurant is extraordinary; there is no doubt about that!!! I can comprehend why people here have gone gaga over the Kochu Pata Bhapa Chingri, because I myself have tasted it and it seriously is something out of the world! Tender pieces of shrimps in a tangy mustard paste tastes heavenly- there are no two ways about it. They do not have a menu card here, but a unique style of bringing every available item on a large plate and then asking their customer to pick, choose and start chomping right away! You do not have to go through the Wok tossed hakka noodles chores of selecting from a menu, ordering & waiting - you can get down to 'business' in no time! I visited Kasturi this noboborsho (Bengali New Year) with my whole family including my 85 yr old granny who is a “bangal” and hence very fussy about fish dishes like “muithha” and “kochu pata bhapa chingri”. But this time even she was floored. We kept ordering the Basanti pulao, Ilish paturi, the Kochu bhapa chingri and the Chingri bata. If I could bring back one dish from the menu for my daily delight, it would be the highly rated kochu bhapa


chingri. The mustard zing, the gravy consistency and the quantity, as well as the price almost made me cry with happiness! An important aspect is that they need to shore up th e c lean li n es s an d there's ample room for improvement on hygiene standards. You anyway wouldn’t care about all these factors when you transcend this world and enter a surreal world filled with the aroma Kochu pata bhapa chingri a n d fl avo u r s o f a n awesome dish called ‘Kochu Bhapa Chingri! If you have anything here with just warm, longgrained rice, you will have ample reasons to feel satiated in life. I simply love this place and I am happy to see that this restaurant is surpassing the overpriced and overrated places serving Bengali cuisine in Kolkata. 5. Tucked inside the Komala Vilas hotel, almost opposite Lake Market, Banana Leaf is another ‘favourite pick’, that has delighted loyal customers over the years. Once you enter, there is a main hall with at least two smaller rooms, which is generally used when the main hall is full. The rooms are clean and well lit. Clean tables welcome you. Pick a table, sit down and be mesmerized by the wide range of Southern dishes they have to offer. Service is fast and efficient, although there is a hint of the typical hurried sloppiness at times. There is a constant feeling of a very busy Kitchen and the cooks trying hard to satisfy our hungry taste buds by their magical food. I have tasted Rasam, Idli, Plain vada, Masala vada, Masala rava dosa, Uthhapam, Paper masala dosa, and all of them were tasty. The food is served pretty quickly. My kids love the ghee roast dosas which are very crispy and are served as a pyramid on the plate along with sambhar and white chutney. The sambhar has a different yet good taste. The vadas are always hot and crisp and have never tasted refried or reheated to me. The aroma of vadas is absolutely captivating. Everyone in my family loves Banana Leaf ’s South Indian Coffee. It has a very nice flavour and is invigorating. Prices are reasonable. If you have not been there already, this is a must try.




রাজেশখর পাল রাজেশখর পাল গত সাত বছর ধের বােসেল বসবাসরত এবং একিট sইস ফামOািসউিটকাল (কাmািন ক;াnার িরসাচO সােয়ন্িটs িহেসেব কাজ করেছন l রাজ জামOািন (থেক বােয়ািফিজk-এ ডkেরট কেরেছন l তার •দনিnন ব;s অিফেসর কােজর সময়সূিচ sেtও িনয়িমত কিবতা চচOা কেরন l ই-পt:- paulrajsekharmail.com

!ি# $ভজা এই শহর অ

েরাজকার মেতা

শরীরী আtার মেতা শhের মেনর লািলত

কাম, (মাহ বা বstবাদী িচnন নয় ; নয়েকা ফুটপােথ িবেছেয় সািরসাির লবনাk িচতা, িবষাদী িবেdষী িনভৃত l বৃি'র িঠক পেরই --ল;াm (পােsর পােশ একতলা আধেখালা দরজা সেn তখনও িটপিটপ পািন ... ফ;াকােস সবুজ জং ধরা খড়খিড় জানলার িভতর অnকার ঘর l েলাড (শিডং, অব;k sনশান শহর; এই মাt বৃি'টা থামেলা ।

জ, আর একটা িদন (কেট (গেলা ,

বাদামী সময় (যন িবপাশা নদীর মত (sাতা l িনিবOকার বেস আিছ আহত, অথচ l তরল িদনরািt; এেকর পর এক-আেলা-অnকার (দশ, ঘর, পাড়া l গেল পরা হলুদ (মােমর মেতা আবহমান সািরসাির বািত l একটার পর একটা l আজ, আর একটা িদন (কেট (গেলা ,


নবাগতা িবপাশা , আগামী বাছিবচার spীল (ধায়ােট সাদা েযন kয়াশার (থেক pসািরত িচকিচক হাতছািন dধ সাদা রং ময়ুরী রামধn হেত চায় েসই রামধnেত হািস আর কাnার (মাম gেলা িমেল িমেশ আেছ গেল যাওয়া অতীেত, জলn বতOমােন আর (মামসাদা আগামী l



খা প ছা ড়া .াতী 0ঞ2া দাস িবjােনর ছাtী, অথOনীিতেত(সাmািনক) sাতক, কm;ুিটং িডেpামা, এম. িব. এ.। রবীndসŋীত, নজrলগীিত ও িচtকলায় ‘চä£গড়’ ঘরানার িকছু িডgী রেয়েছ। sদূর কলকাতা (থেক ইং:-২০০৮ সােল sামীর চাkরী সূেt sুইৎজারল;াä পািড়। অধূনা ‘বােদন‘ শহের sামী আর ২১ মােসর পুt িনেয় বসবাস। অবসর সমেয় গিণত, ছিব, গান, বইপড়া আর িকছু (লখােলিখর অভ;াস রেয়েছ …।। ই-পt:- swati.bhunia@gmail.com

সীর সরণী (বেয় ভাবনারা ঝের –

dgেফননীভ পেt কলŋময় আঁচেড়, কlেলােকর অৈথ সমােহর kুd (বদনার আকাের ….। রিkম পথপােnO, সেরাবর পাের – অিতবৃd বটবৃk তেল; ঐ (য পাগিলনী – মাধুকরী কের বিস রয়, ব;থা িক তােরও বােজ sৃিতপট হেত উঁিক (দয় ….? (সই (য বhকাল হল – (কান এক অশিন মুহূেতO অিgভােব বশবতOী নারী, িনয়িতর kহকজাল বেল – িনেkিপল জননী ওেগা

কংসাবতীর নীের ….?! (s{ামৃত;ু চািহ (স ও – মােগ (kাড়খািন; হায় েকাথা হেত আিস মািঝ িফরায় পরান টািন ….! কােট (ঘার, ‘কই বাছা (মার’; (দবিশcdয় .... শk বড়ই জীবন মােগা হেয় িনঃs হায় – pিতkেণ (খাঁজ তুিম kেণ kেণ মেরা …. হায় িক (য কিরেল তেব িবnাস নািহ আেজা …! উnািদনী হাঁেক, ‘ও পিথক, বাছােদর (মার (দেখেছা িক? kুধায় তারা বড় ক' পায় – বল মা-র কােছ আেস যিদ’….?।


উিdNা (যৗবনবতী

আপন সnান-সnিতের,



একিট শরেতর সকাল

ত5য় পাল অিফেসর পের সৃজনমূলক কাজ করেত পছn কের, তারমেধ; ছিব ও িভিডও (তালা, ছিব আঁকা, কিবতা (লখা ও িডজাইন করা উেlখেযাগ;। িবিভn শেখর মেধ; ছুিটর িদেন পাহাড় ও জŋেল (হঁেট ঘুের (বড়ােনা অnতম। েভৗত ও (জ;ািতিবOjােনর বই পড়েত ভােলাবােস। ই-পtঃ tanmoy.pal@gmail.com

রৎকােলর একিট সকাল - ইিnবেরর ªাণ,

সূযO ওঠার একটু আেগ নদীর ঘােট sান; আরk (সই শীতল ধারা আকN কের পান আমরাই (সিদন উঠব (গেয় pভাত পাখীর গান।

শরৎকােলর একিট সকাল - হঠাৎ ছুিট পাওয়া, ছাদ 4থেক একা অলস 4মেঘ কখন হািরেয় যাওয়া; েভার 4যন চায় আমার 4ঠাঁেটর একটুখািন 4ছাঁয়া রাঙা আকােশর ডােক ছুেট আেস মুk দিখন হাওয়া।

শরৎকােলর একিট সকাল - িশিশর 4ভজা ঘাস, ঝের পড়া সব িশউিল গেn ভের আেছ আশপাশ; দূর 4থেক ডােক পূেজার সানাই একবার 4দেখ যাস -


দীঘীর ধােরর মাঠটা 4কমন 4ছেয় 4গেছ সাদা কাশ। শরৎকােলর একিট সকাল - শারদীয়ার sব sগQীয় এক মিহমাভরা আশার কলরব আজও অলেk বহন ক'ের pশাn অnভব, মুেছ 4দয় pিত আঁিখেকাণ 4থেক আঁধার-কািলমা সব।।








Pictures from top-left

Kaushik Sarkar is a management professional working for Cognizant Technology Solutions and has been working and living in Zurich since 2008. Photography, travelling and music are his hobbies and spends his spare time on these with his wife Chandrima. Contact: ks2812@gmail.com




1. White Turf, St. Moritz, Switzerland, 2014 2. Global Warming-Jungfraujoch, Switzerland 3. Fall-Thunsee, Switzerland, 2013 4. Star Wars Zurif채scht, Switzerland, 2013 5. Promenade Ascona, Switzerland, 2013










Left page from top-left 1. Vatican, Italy 2. Milan, Italy 3. Barcelona, Spain 4. Basel, Switzerland

This page from top-left 5. Grindelwald, Switzerland 6. Berlin, Germany 7. Kolkata, India 8. Kolkata, India

Indranil Banerjee, a neuroscientist working in Novartis, studied in ETH Zurich, IIT Kanpur, BHU, and Scottish Church College, Kolkata; lives with wife and daughter in Basel; passionate in discovering wonders through lens, he is a photographer by choice, and not by chance. Contact: indranil_iitk@yahoo.com





েশষ নবাব ও একিট ি7য় ছিব Deepanjana Ghosh, living in Switzerland with husband and son since last 20 years, from Kolkata, loves reading books and writing, would rather call herself an ordinary housewife. Contact: deepanjana14@gmail.com

িম কখনও লখনউ যাইিন। সত;িজৎ রােয়র “বাদশািহ আংিট”

writer, music director (থেক সবই। িকnt সত;িজৎ রায় (য

পেড় আমার লখনউ শহেরর সেŋ পিরচয় হয়। বড়া ইমামবাড়া বা ভুল

িবরল pিতভার অিধকারী িছেলন তা (বশীর ভােগরই (নই। “সাতারাJ

ভুলায়া, বাদশাই খানা খাজানা, গােনর জগত সবই আমার বই পেড় জানা। পরবতী কােল লখনউ এর (শষ নবাব ওয়ািজদ আিল শাহ আমার মেনােযাগ আকষOণ কেরন। তার pধান কারন সত;িজৎ রােয়র “সাতারাJ (ক িখলািড়” ছিবিট। অেনেকর মত সত;িজৎ রােয়র সব ছিবই আমার বhবার (দখা। তেব সময় িবেশেষ ও মানিসক অবsা (ভেদ এেকক সময় এেককটা ছিব আমােক দখল কের (নয়। (শেষর িতনিট ছিব আমার ততটা ভাল লােগনা। এক সময় “চাrলতা” িছল আমার সবেচেয় িpয়, তারপর “অপরািজত”, “অরেnর িদনরািt”, “pিতdndী”, “সীমাবd”ও নানাসময় আমার িpয়র তািলকায় িছল। িকnt pথম েথেকই “সাতারাJ (ক িখলািড়” আমার িpয় (থেক যায়। ইিতহােস

েক িখলািড়” ছিবিট আিম pায়ই (দিখ। মােঝ মােঝ


control এ pause িটেপ এেককটা দৃmেক িsর কের িদ। খুঁিটেয় েদিখ ঘেরর pিতিট আসবাব, পানপাt, গড়গড়া, গােয়র দামী শাল,

1977 সােল এই ছিবিট মুিk পায়। ছিব •তির cr হওয়ার আেগ (থেকই mediaর নজর pবল ভােব (কেড় িছল এই ছিব। যিদও media মােন তখন পt পিtকা বা খবেরর েদয়ােল (ঝালা লmা তলওয়ার।

কাগজই (বাঝাত। হয়ত এত িবপুল pচার এর জnই এই ছিবটা সকেলর (তমন আশা পূরণ করেত পােরিন। 1976 সােল মুিk পায় “(শােল”। (শােলর গbর িসং (কমন ভােব ওয়ািজদ আিল শাহ হেয় উঠেবন এই িনেয় দশOকেদর সেŋ সত;িজৎ রােয়রও (বাধহয় িকছুটা

েযকিট কrণ চিরt আেছ তার মেধ; ওয়ািজদ আিল শাহ একজন।

সংশয় িছল। এই অিভেনতােক pায় িনবOাক (রেখ দাrন ভােব উতের

“জব (ছাড় চিল লখনউ নগরী তব হাল আিল পর ক;া gজির”

এর কথা মেন পেরিন আমােদর। গেl ওয়ািজদ আিল শাহ একটা

সিত; ধারনা করা সmব িছল না (কমন িছল (সই মুহূতOটা। এ cধু •বভব বা রাজt নয় , আৈশশব পিরিচত জগত (ছেড় চেল যাওয়া। উdাst যারা তারাই জােন িনেজর ঘর বািড় জিম জমা পিরিচত জগত হঠাৎ যখন িবজন িবভুই হেয় ওেঠ তার (বদনা (কমন। মেন হয় এখােনই আকবর বাদশার সেŋ হিরপদ (করানীর (কানও তফাত থােকনা। (কালকাতার েমিতয়াবুrজ অ±েল kেম সাধারণ (থেক সাধারণতর হেয় যায় নবাব ও তার বংশধরেদর জীবন। কলকাতার িকছু নােমর উ²ারেন ছাড়া তােদর মেন কিরনা আমরা।

িদেয়িছেলন সত;িজৎ রায়। আমজাদ খানেক (দেখ কখনই গbর িসং

symbol মাt। পাশাপািশ dেটা

চিরt আেস যারা নবােবর িপতৃপুrেষর বদাnতােয় িবশাল িবেtর অিধকাির, অলস ও অকমOণ; । dই বnুর দাবার (নশা এক ধরেনর escapism। নবােবর রাজt যাবার মুেখ, তবু তারা জীবেনর সব সমsা (থেক দূের আরও দূের চেল

cherry িট (পেত (কান অsিবধা হয়না ইংেরজ সরকােরর। িক অসmব noninvolvemence pজােদর। (কউ মুরগীর লড়াই (দখেছ, (কউ অn

যায়। sdর ইংল;াN (থেক এেসও তাই (শষ

pেমােদ (মেত আেছ। আমােদর গেlর dই চিরt মীর ও মীজOা সারািদন দাবা (খেল। একজেনর stী পরকীয়ােয় মt, অnজেনর

এমন আর এক নবাব হেলন বাহাdর শাহ জফর। িযিন িলেখিছেলন…

pতীkায় িদন কােট। (খলােয় (যমন আনn, (তমন

“না িকিসেক আঁখ কা নূর h, না িকিসেক িদল কা কড়ার h”

মুহূতOও আেস। তখনই (বিড়েয় পের বndক। মজা হল এই সেবর পেরও

sদূর বামOােয় (কমন (কেটিছল তার (শষ িদনgেলা cধু অnমান করেত পাির। কাকতালীয় ভােব sদূর বামOা (থেক ভারেতর রামিগিরেত িঠক উলেটা পেথ িনবOািসত হেয়িছেলন এক রাজা যার কথা আমরা আিমতাভ েঘােষর

The Glass Palace পেড় জানেত পাির।


“সাতারাJ (ক িখলািড়” মুnী (pমচাঁদ এর (লখা গl । ঐিতহািসক

period film বানােনা খুব কিঠন কাজ। একটু ভুল হেলই anachronism (দােষ d' হেয় যায়। (anachronism হল Shakespeare এর Romeoর (চােখ sunglass এর মত ভুল। ) চিরt ও

তাই pিতিট খুঁিটনািট িনেয় pচুর পড়ােশানা করেত হয়, তার সেŋ লােগ েদখার (চাখ। আজকাল অেনক পিরচালক (দিখ একাধাের



tension এর

েজেগ থােক cধুই িবেনাদন ও পলায়ন pবৃিt। একেফাঁটা রk না ঝিরেয়ও হsাnর হেয় যায় রাজ;। রাজা িনঃশেb চেল যান িনবOাসেন। এই ছিবর গl বলার ভŋীিট ভাির চমৎকার লােগ আমার। (যেহতু িবষয় সাধারণ দশOেকর জn কিঠন তাই (বাধহয় একটু হালকা চােল অেনকটা comics পড়ার মজায় বানােনা। অিমতাভ ব²ন-এর ভারী গলা cনেতও দাrন লােগ। ছিবটা (শষ হেয় (গেলও (রশ (থেক যায় আমার মেন। এ যুেগ রাজা (নই। িকnt িবেনাদন আেছ। সবাই (যন (সই িবেনাদেন মt। আেছ বুিdজীবীেদর non-involvement. ধীের ধীের রাজ; েছেড় চেল যাে{ সংsৃিত, িশl, আমরা (দেখও (দখিছনা। এই কাল েছাঁয়া ছিব (যন ভিবµৎেকও আলেতা কের sশO করেছ।


গ- হেলও সিত0!!! Tandra Chakraborty Sanyal, lives in Zurich since 2007, Post Graduate in Mass Communication from Jadavpur University, Kolkata; Masters in Kathak dance, has her own dance school 'Taal-O-Nritya'. Husband and daughter are pillars of strength, happy to renew interest in writing. Contact: tandra_a2002@yahoo.co.in

িফস (থেক (ফরার পেথ আজ একবার বাবার কােছ (যেতই হেব

িতয়ােক, গত dিদন ধের cনেছ বাবার শরীরটা ভাল (নই িকnt িকছুেতই িগেয় উথেত পারেছ না। িতয়া snির, িশিkতা, উ²পেদ কমOরতা, যােক বেল ২১ শতেকর আদশO নারী। sামী, সnান িনেয় তার সংসারও কম sেখর নয়, Dr

Aniket িতয়ার Husband, city hospital-এর নামকরা surgeon. (মেয় িতিতর নািম-দািম school-এ class ·ীর student . িতয়া কলকাতার এক িবখ;াত add-agency -র creative head. মাস (গেল তার (রাজগারটা রীিতমত ইরসিনও। school এ drop কের office-এ (ঢাকার মুেখই (ফানটা েপল। বাবা hospitalised, severe heart-attack. আেশপােশর


েলাকজেনরাই বাবােক হাসপাতােল ভিতO কেরেছ। মা চেল যাবার পর েথেক বাবা একাই থােকন। িতয়া একমাt (মেয় sতরাং বাবার (কাথাও যাবার জায়গাও (নই। বাবােক িনেজর কােছ এেস থাকার কথা িতয়া কখনও বেলিন, (স জােন তার বাবা রািজ হেবন না। বাবার সব অপােরশান সামলােত দশ িদন (কাথা িদয়া (কেট (গল িতয়া িকছু বুঝেত পারল না। আজ finally বাবােক িনেজর কােছ িনেয় এল। এরপর pায় d মাস (কেট (গেছ বাবা এখন অেনকটা ss। িতিতর খুব খুিশ school (থেক িফের দাদাই এর সােথ আজকাল দাrন সময় কােট। িতয়া ভাবিছল ওর বাবােক িফরেত (দেবনা। অss বাবােক আর একা থাকেত (দেবনা। (সিদন রােতই খাবার (টিবল এ আিনেকত বলল,


িতয়া বলল after

operation বাবার পেk একা থাকা সmব নয,তাই ভাবিছ বাবােক এখােনই permanently থাকেত বলব। িতিতর তাও খুব ভাল একটা সŋী পােব। আিনেকত বলল in that case আমরা েকান বৃdাRেমর কথা ভাবেত পাির। (সখােন উিন company পােবন, (দখােসানা করার (লাক ও থাকেব। িতয়া িনেজেক সামেল িকছু বলার আেগই আিনেকত খাওয়া (শষ কের উেঠ পড়ল। ধীের ধীের উেঠ বাবার ঘের (গল িতয়া। িতিতর আজকাল দাদাই এর কােছ গl cনেত cনেত ঘুমায়। িতিতরেক (দেখ িনেজর (ছাটেবলার কথা মেন পের (গল িতয়ার। খুব যেt, ভালবাসায়, গেবOর সােথ িতয়ােক বড় কেরেছ তার বাবা। আজ সমােজ pিতিuত, সাবলmী িতয়া িনেজর বাবােক so called িনেজর বািড়েত থাকার জায়গা িদেত পারেছ না। আজ িতয়ার জায়গায় আিনেকেতর বাবা হেল (তা এরকম কথা হত না। এই জnই িক আজও সমােজ সবাই পুt সnান চায়?এই জnই িক কnা rণ হত;া বারেছ? িতয়া ভাবেতই পােরিন তােকও (কানিদন অিsেtর সŋেত ভুগেত হেব। তার বাবা, মা তােক (মেয় িহেসেব নয়, মাnষ িহেসেব বড় কেরিছল, তাহেল (সgেলা িক সব িমেথ;? আমােদর সমােজ বৃdাRম িনেয় অেনক গl, গান আেছ, িকnt তার মেধ;ও একটাও (বাধহয় (মেয়র বাবা, মােক উেdm কের (লখা নয়। আমরা তাহেল (যখােন িছলাম (সখােনই আিছ। rণ হত;া, পণ, ধষOণ


বাবা (তা এখন অেনকটাই ss, বািড় কেব িফরেবন িকছু বেলেছন?

েমেয়রা cধু newspaper-এর hot topic হেয়ই আেছ। ভাবেত ভাবেত হঠাৎ হািস (পল িতয়ার। িতিতরেক (দখেত (দখেত মেন মেন বলল history



আবার িক $দখা হেব?

Basantabihari Palit Dr.Ing.: Technical University Dresden Habilitation and Privatdozent: ETH Zurich Professor: Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz Muttenz German Novel: Der Sternenwunsch Bengali Novel: !ভাকািŋkণী তারা

পি¼মবেŋর (ছাট এক শহেরর - •কেশার জীবেন পা (দওয়া - শাnn ও rমা, যারা অজােn একসময় িনেজেদর hদেয় ভালবাসার অŋuর ফুিটেয় তুেলিছল। এইসময় হঠাৎ rমার বাবার চাকির বদিলর জn পি¼মবেŋর বাইের চেল (যেত হয়। তার অেনকবছর পের pাpবয়েস ওেদর আবার (দখা হয় িবেদেশ, ওরা িক েসই ভালবাসার অŋuরিটেক ফুল-ফল পূণO গােছ পিরণত করেত (পেরিছল? এই িনেয় বস#িবহারী

পািলেতর (লখা একিট (pেমর গl।

Living in Switzerland since 1962 Contact: b.palit@bluewin.ch

আলাদা ঘর িছল। িকছুটা জানাcনা হওয়ার পর rমা (সাজা আমার ঘের িম শাnn (সন। পি¼মবেŋর এক (ছাট শহের আমার

েছেলেবলাটা (কেটেছ। মা, বাবা, (ছাট (বান িবিনতা ও আিম – এই িছল আমােদর পিরবার, বলেত পাির sখী পিরবার। মা ও বাবা dজেনই িছেলন উদারপnী। শাসন না কের ভালেবেসই আমােদর pিতপালন করেতন। (লখাপড়া ও (খলাধুলা সহ আমার (ছেলেবলার জীবন


আনেnই অিতবািহত হেয়েছ। আমার পুrষ বnুেদর সেŋ বািড়র বাইের িমিলত হেয় মােঠ (খলেত (যতাম। িবিনতার বাnবীরা িকnt আমােদর বািড়েত (খলেত ও গlgজব করেত আসত। আিমও pথম pথম ওেদর সেŋ (খেলিছ। (বােনর বাnবীেদর মেধ; একজনেক আমার খুব ভাল

চেল আসত। (মেয়িল (খলাধুলার (চেয় ওর পৃিথবীর অেনক িকছু িবষয় জানবার ইে{ (বিশ িছল। আমােক অেনক pi করত। আিম ওর বুিdর pশংসা করতাম। মােঝ মােঝ rমা, আিম, িবিনতা আর িবিনতার আেরক বাnবী িমেল লুেডা অথবা তাস (খলতাম। বাগােন অথবা ছােত ব;াডিম¾Vন (খেলিছ। অŋ না বুঝেত পারেল rমা আমার কােছই আসত। ঠাTা কের আমােক মােঝ মােঝ ‘মা'ারমশাই’ বলত। নতুবা আিম িছলাম ওর ‘শাnদা’। এই রকমভােব dবছর (কেট (গল। rমার সেŋ আমার বnুt আরও িনিবড় হেয়িছল। ও এেল আিম আনnেবাধ করতাম আর না এেল অsখী হতাম।

লাগত। তার নাম rমা। আমােদরই পাড়ার (মেয়। sRী। ওর হিরেণর

একিদন rমােক (দেখ এত ভাল লাগিছল, ওর pিত এত আকিষOত

েচােখর মত টানা snর (চাখdিট, ওর মেনাহর ভিŋমা আর ওর

হেয়িছলাম এবং আমার মেধ; ওর pিত এমন pবল কামনা (জেগ

sতঃsূতOতা আমােক মুg করত। rমা kেম kেম আমার কােছই (বিশ

উেঠিছল (য আিম ওর কােছ িগেয় sতঃsূতOভােব ওর dই গােল চুমু

আসেত আরm করল। আমােদর বািড়েত িবিনতার আর আমার আলাদা

িদেয়িছলাম। (বাধ হয় আমার ব;বহাের িকছুটা হতভm হেয় rমা



িকছুkণ ধের আমার িদেক তািকেয় রেয়িছল। তারপর আমার কােছ

সেŋ আেলাচনা, রাজনীিত ও িথিসস (লখা, তারপর এল িবেদশযাtা,

এেস গলা জিড়েয় ধের িকছুkণ ধের আমার বুেক মাথা (রেখিছল।

িবেদেশ পড়াcনা, গেবষনা, পরীkা ও পের কাজ (খাঁজা ইত;ািদ (শষ

তারপেরই আর িকছু না বেল (দৗেড় বািড় চেল (গল। মেন হল ও হয়ত

করেত করেত জীবেনর (বশ িকছু অংশ (কেট (গল। জীবেনর এই

লjা (পেয়িছল। চুমু (দওয়া উিচত হয় িন (ভেব আমার আেkপ

অধ;ােয় rমার (খাঁজ করা সmব হয় িন। িকnt rমােক ভুলেত পাির িন,

হি{ল। rমা িক তাহেল আমার কােছ আর আসেব না? ভাবেতই ক'

ওর pিত আমার ভালবাসা অটুট িছল। আমার hদেয় ওর pিতমূিতO

হি{ল। িকnt আমার সব উেdগ দূর কের িদেয় পেরর িদন rমা আমার

সবOদা জাgত িছল।

কােছ এেস আমার গােয় গা িদেয় (ঘঁেষ দাঁিড়েয় রইল। আিম আদর কের ওেক (টেন িনেয় িজjাসা কেরিছলাম, “rমা তুই িক আমার ওপর রাগ কেরিছস?”

েগল। একবছর ধের একনাগাের (কান ছুিট না িনেয় আিম একটা জrরী েpােজk সাফেল;র সেŋ (শষ করােত আমার (কাm;ািন খুব খুশী হেয়

“ওমা, রাগ করব (কন শাnদা?”

“ওই (য কালেক (তার গােল চুমু িদেয়িছলাম বেল।“

“তুিম (তা আমােক ভালবাস বেলই চুমু িদেয়ছ, তাই না?”

“িঠক বেলিছস। আিম (তােক ভীষণ ভালবািস।‘’

“শাnদা, (তামােক একটা pi করেত পাির?’’

“বল্ িক জানেত চাস।“

“তুিম যখন আরও বড় হেব, তখনও িক তুিম আমােক ভালবাসেব?”

“(তােক আিম িচরকাল ভালবাসেবা।“


আমােক (বানাস িদেত (চেয়িছল, িবকlrেপ হয় আিম dমােসর মাইেন িনেত পাির নয়ত dমােসর ছুিট িনেত পাির। আিম (শেষরটাই (বেছ িনেয়িছলাম। অেনক িদন (থেকই িবেদেশ যাওয়ার ইে{ হি{ল। তাই sেযাগ আসােত আর (দির না কের (বিড়েয় পড়লাম। অিভpায় িছল একটা (ছাটখাট পৃিথবী Äমণ। আিম ইউেরােপর িকছু দশOনীয় জায়গা েদেখ ক;ানাডােত (পৗঁছালাম। পূবO ক;ানাডার িকছু অংশ (দেখ পি¼ম ক;ানাডায় একটু িবRাম (নবার জn িbিটশ কলািmয়ার nাশনাল পােকO এেস একটা (gহাউN বােস চেড় পাকOদশOন করার িসdাn িনেয়িছলাম। rটটা িছল বানফ - (লক লুইজ – জাসপার – ভালমাউ¾V - কামলুপস -

“আ{া, তুিম (তা আমােক িকছু িজেjস করছ না?”

“করিছ করিছ, আমার pi হে{, তুইও িক আমােক ভালবািসস?”

“শাnদা, তুিম িক আমার মেনর কথা বুঝেত পার না?”

“বুঝেত (পেরিছ। িকnt আিম যখন বুেড়া হব তখনও িক তুই আমােক ভালবাসিব?”

“তুিম ও আিম কখনই বুেড়া হব না, তুিম (দেখ িনও।“ এই রকম সরল (pম করেত করেত আরও এক বছর (কেট (গল। িকnt তারপর যা ঘটল তা িছল আমার কােছ মমOািnক। rমার বাবা িছেলন উ²পদs সরকারী কমOচারী। ওনার বদিলর সময় এেস (গল। rমােক হািরেয় (ফলা মােন আমার চরম dভOাগ;। ওর সেŋ (য আর (দখা হেব না েভেব কাতর হেয় পেড় িছলাম। নতুন জায়গায় চেল যাবার আেগর িদন আমার ঘের এেস খুব কাঁদল। বািড়েত (ফরৎ যাবার আেগ

িজjাসা করেলা, “শাnদা, আবার িক (দখা হেব?” rমার কাnা (দেখ ও তার কথা cেন আমারও (চােখ জল এেস িগেয়িছল। িকnt িনেজেক সামেল িনেয় rমােক sাnনা (দবার জn কােছ (টেন এেন আমার বাhবnেন (রেখ শাnভােব বললাম “িন¼য়ই (দখা হেব? তুই পৃিথবীেত েযখােনই থািকস না (কন, আিম (তােক িঠক খুঁেজ বার করেবা। (দিখস, আমােদর ভালবাসা আবার আমােদর িমলন ঘটােব। তুই মন খারাপ

েমিরট হেয় ভ;াŋuভার। ভ;াŋuভােরই পাকOÄমণ (শষ হেব।


একটা (হােটেল d রািt কািটেয় তারপেরর িদন সকােল জলখাবােরর পর (হােটেলর সামেন টুরবােসর জn অেপkা করিছলাম। একটু বােদ অnাn (হােটল (থেক টুির'েদর উিঠেয় িনেয় (gহাউN বাস আমােক িনেত এল। বােসর pায় শতকরা আিশভাগ জায়গা আেগই ভের িগেয়িছল। আিম Dাইভােরর পাশ কািটেয় বােসর িভতেরর িদেক এেগােত লাগলাম। সব (বে± জানলার পােশর আসনgিল অিধকৃত হেয় িগেয়িছল। আিম এক মিহলার পােশর আসেন ওনােক অিভবাদন কের বেস পড়লাম। িকছুkণ বােদ লk; করলাম, আমার পােশর যুবতী মিহলা পি¼মেদেশর (পাষাক পের আেছন এবং (চােখ কােলা বড় সানgাস। আিম ওনার (চাখ (দখেত পাি{লাম না। উিনও মােঝ মােঝ আমার িদেক তাকািছেলন বেল আিম একটু সাহস কের ইংেরজী ভাষায় িজjাসা করলাম, “আপিনও িক পুেরা টুরটা করেবন?

“ hাঁ”, মিহলা উtর িদেলন।

“তাহেল আপিন ভ;াŋuভার পযOn একসেŋই আেছন?”

“আিছ। কথা cেন আমার মেন হে{ আপিন বাঙালী? িঠক না?”

“আপনার অnমান িঠক। ভালই হেলা, আমরা এখন (থেক বাংলা ভাষায় কথা বলেত পারেবা।“

কিরস না। লkীিট, আর কাঁিদস না।“ আমার জামা িদেয় rমার

এই কেরই বাংলাভাষায় আমােদর আলাপ আেলাচনা cr হেয় (গল।

েচাখdেটা মুেছ িদেয় ওর মাথাটা আমার বুেকর ওপর (টেন িনেয়িছলাম।

বােস আর (কান বাঙালী না থাকায় আমােদর কথা (কউ বুঝেত পারিছল

rমা চেল যাওয়ার পর আমার ঘেরর দরজা বn কের িদেয় আিমও খুব

না। আমার সহযািtণীর কথা cেন মেন হল এই গলা আেগও (কাথাও

কাঁদলাম। জীবেন এই pথমবার

cেনিছ। িকnt (কাথায় ওনার গলা cেনিছ? িচnা করেত লাগলাম -

িবে{েদর িনদাrণ ব;থা অnভব

করলাম। rমােক (য কথা িদেয়িছলাম তা িকnt dভOাগ;বশতঃ রাখেত পাির িন। sুেলর পড়াcনা ও পরীkার চাপ এবং (sাটOেসর ব;sতার পর এেস েগল কেলেজর পড়াcনা, পরীkা ও সাংsৃিতক অnuােনর আেয়াজন ইত;ািদ, তারপর এল িবnিবদ;ালেয়র পড়াcনা, পরীkা, বnুবাnবেদর


কেলেজ না িবnিবদ;ালেয়, না (কােনা অnuােন, না (কােনা িবেয় বািড়েত, না (কােনা

Äমণকােল? মিহলািট একটা বড় সান gাস পের

থাকায় ওনার (চাখ (দখা যাি{ল না, ফেল রহেsর সমাধান হি{ল না।


“এেকবাের সিত;।“


এরপর (দেশ একটা িবখ;াত (কাm;ািনেত আমার কমOজীবন cr হেয়

সn;ার আেগই আমরা (হােটেল (পৗঁেছ (গলাম (যখােন আমােদর pথম রািt কাটােত হেব। (হােটেলর িরেসপসন (থেক (য যার ঘেরর চািব িনেয় ঘর খুঁজেত চেল (গল। আিমও এেগালাম। আমার সহযািtণী


আমার সামেনর ঘরটাই (পেয়েছন। আিম ওনােক বললাম, “তাহেল

“আিম (দেশ ইেলকTিনk ইJীিনয়ািরং পেড়িছলাম। বাবার ইে{ িছল,

িডনােরর সময় আপনার সেŋ আবার (দখা হেব। তার আেগ একটু

আিম আরও পড়াcনা কির। িবেশষ কের আেমিরকায় িগেয়। আিম

িবRাম কের িনন।“ আমার কথা (শষ হেত না হেতই আমার সহযািtণী

বাবােক বেলিছলাম, ‘বাবা, তুিম (তা বলছ, আেমিরকায় িগেয় উ²িশkা

আমার ডান হাত ধের আমােক টানেত টানেত ওনার ঘের িনেয় এেস

িনেত। (স (তা অেনক খরেচর ব;াপার। তা িক (ভেবছ? আিম চাই না,

েভতর (থেক দরজা বn কের িদেলন। আমার হতভmতা কাটেত না

আমার উ²িশkার জn (তামােদর সংসাের অভাব অনটন (হাক।‘

কাটেতই cনলাম, “আমােক আপিন আপিন বলা ছাড় (তা! আমােক

বাবা বেলিছেলন, ‘তুই মা বাবার জn িচnা কিরস cেন খুব ভাল

িচনেত পারছ না? শাnদা, আিম (য rমা।“ এই বেলই rমা চশমাটা

লাগল। (ছাটেবলা (থেকই (তার দািয়tjান আমােদর খুব আনn

খুেল িনেয় (টিবেল রাখল ও আমােক আিলŋন করল।

িদত। আমরা গিবOত হতাম। িকnt উ²িশkার ব;াপাের (তােক আমােদর

“(তার চশমার জnই (তােক পুেরাপুির িচনেত পাির িন। আমােক kমা কর। িকnt আমার িক পরম (সৗভাগ; (য (তার সেŋ কত বছর বােদ েদখা হল!” এই বেল pবল উÊােস rমােক শk কের ধের মািট (থেক উিঠেয় শূেn কেয়কবার চkর িদেয় আবার িনেচ নািমেয় (রেখ আদর কের একটা চুমু িদলাম। rমা (কােনা pিতবাদ না করােত এবং লিjত না হওয়ােত আমরা (বশ িকছুkণ ধের পরsরেক চুmন করলাম। আমার আিলŋনটা আরও শk কের িজjাসা করলাম, “rমা, মেন পড়েছ, (তােক যখন pথম চুমু িদেয়িছলাম তখন তুই লjা (পেয় পািলেয় িগেয়িছিল। এবার িকnt (তােক পালােত (দব না।“

“পালাব িক কের? তুিম যা শk কের আমােক ধের (রেখছ।“

“rমা, আিম খুব dঃিখত, আমার কথা রাখেত পাির িন। (তােক খুঁেজ বার করেত পাির িন, িকnt আমােদর ভাগ; আমােদর িমলন ঘিটেয়েছ। আিম পরম (সৗভাগ;বান।“

“শাnদা, (তামােক (পেয় আমারও িক (য আনn হে{ তা (তামােক েবাঝােত পারব না।“

“আ{া rমা, আমরা এখন পূণOবয়s। আিম দাদািগির বজOন কের েতােক তুই না বেল তুিম বলব, আর তুিম আমােক শাnদা না বেল শাn বলেব। রাজী?’’

“তুিম যা বলেব তােত রাজী না হেয় িক পাির? অবm pথম pথম িকছুটা সেŋাচেবাধ করব।“

“আ{া rমা, আিম আমার ঘের চললাম। তুিমও •তরী হেয় নাও। খাবারঘের (দখা হেব। আিম (কবল (তামার আর আমার জn একটা েটিবল িরজাভO কের রাখব।“

খাবার ঘের rমা শািড় পের এল। খাবার (টিবেল বেস pশংসা কের বললাম, “এই pথম (তামােক শািড় পড়েত (দখলাম। (তামােক খুব snর (দখাে{। (তামার শািড়টাও খুব snর। (তামার rিচ pশংসনীয়।“

“(তামার pশংসার জn ধnবাদ।“ খাবার (খেত (খেত আিম rমােক িজjাসা করলাম, “আ{া rমা, তুিম হটাৎ (কাথা (থেক িbিটশ কলািmয়ােত এেল এবং (কনই বা এেল?”

“(তামার pেiর উtর িদেত (গেল আমােক এখন (থেক (বশ কেয়ক বছর িপিছেয় িগেয় বkব; sr করেত হেব। আিম (দেশ ইকনিমk


পেড় িছলাম। এম. এ. পাশ কের কেয়ক মাস (দেশ একটা িরসাচO ইনি'িটউেট কাজ কেরিছলাম। তারপর একটা sলারিশপ (পেয় আিম চেল আিস ম ¢¾VËয়ােল। (সখােন আিম ম;াকিগল িবnিবদ;ালেয় ই¾V¡রnাশনাল ইকনিমk িনেয় এম.এ. পেড়িছ। িথিসস জমা িদেয় এখােন এেসিছ িবRাম িনেত। এখন (তামার সেŋ (দখা হওয়ােত ভাগ;kেম আমার dেটাই হল – রথ (দখা ও কলা (বচা। িবRামও হেব আর (তামার সেŋ কথাবাতOাও হেব। শাn, এখন তুিম বল, তুিমই বা েকন হঠাৎ ক;ানাডায় এেল।“


জn ভাবেত হেব না। (তার উ²িশkার জn আিম অেনক বছর আেগ েথেকই ব;ােŋ মােস মােস িকছু টাকা জমােত আরm কেরিছ। (সই অ;াকাউ­¾V মূলধন আর sদ িনেয় (বশ িকছু টাকা জেমেছ। (সখান েথেকই (তার পড়াcনার খরচ পাঠাব। (তার উ²িশkাও আমােদর গেবOর কারণ হেব।‘ বাবার ইে{েতই আিম এম. আই. িট (কমিbেজ pথেম মা'ার কের পের িপ. এইচ. িড. কেরিছ। আিম একটা (ছাT ইেলকTিনk অ;াপ;ােরটাস আিবÍার কেরিছলাম (যটা অেনক রকেমর েমিশেন বসান (যেত পাের। (দেশ িফের িগেয় (য (কাm;ািনেত কাজ েপেয়িছ (সখােন আমার ইেলকTিনk অ;াপ;ােরটাস ব;বহার কের আর একটা নতুন অ;াপ;ােরটাস আিবÍার কেরিছ (যটা উৎপাদেনর (kেt খুব কােজ লাগেব। (কাm;ািন খুব খুশী হেয় আমােক মাইেন সহ dমােসর ছুিট িদেয়েছ। তাই আিম িবnÄমেণ (বিড়েয়িছ।“

“তুিম (কাথায় (কাথায় যা{?”

“আিম ভ;াŋuভার (থেক যাব জাপােন, ওখান (থেক িনউজীল;াN হেয় অেTিলয়া, তারপর ইেnােনিশয়া, মালয়ািশয়া হেয় িসŋাপুর। ওখান েথেক (সাজা (দেশ িফের যাব। rমা, এখন বল, িনকট ভিবµেত েতামার িক (pাgাম?”

“(তামােক আেগই বেলিছ, আমার িথিসস জমা িদেয়িছ। িkসমােসর ছুিটর আেগই আমার পরীkা। জাnয়াির মােস কনেভােকশন। এখন েথেক আড়াই মাস বােদ dগOাপূজা। তখন আিম (দেশ যাব। তুিমও িন¼য়ই তখন (দেশ আছ?”

“তুিম আসছ আর আিম থাকব না, তা িক হয়? আিম অেনকটা সময় েতামার জn রাখব। তুিম যিদ চাও, আমরা (কাথাও (বড়ােত (যেত পাির।“

“তুিম যা িঠক করেব তােতই আিম রাজী। (তামার সেŋ থাকেতই আমার ভাল লাগেব।“

পেরর িদন আমরা (লক লুইেজ (পৗঁেছ (গলাম। সn;ােবলায় (খেয় েদেয় আমরা (লেকর ধাের (বড়ােত (গলাম। চাঁদনী রােত পাহােড় (ঘরা hেদর দৃm িছল অিত মেনারম। আমরা একটা (বে± বসলাম। আিম rমােক বললাম, ‘’িকছু যিদ মেন না কর, তাহেল (তামােক িকছু িজjাসা করব।‘’

‘’যত ইে{ িজjাসা কর। (তামার কােছ আমার লুকাবার িক আেছ?”

“rমা, তুিম িক িবেয় কেরছ?”

“না শাn, আমার িবেয় হয় িন। ক;ানাডার sলারিশপ পাওয়ার আেগ মা বাবা (চেয়িছেলন আমার িবেয় িদেত। আমার তােত (মােটই মত িছল না। (তামার সেŋ আমার (কান না (কান িদন (দখা হেব এই আশাটা আমার মেধ; sp িছল। িকnt মা বাবা আমার কথা না cেন dেটা psাব িনেয় এেসিছল। d পিরবােরর (লােকরা আমােক (দখেতও এেসিছল। িকnt আিম ওেদর পছnসই pািথOনী িছলাম না। িবেয় না হওয়ােত আিম


যার-পর-নাই আনিnত হেয়িছলাম”

কপােল, গলায়, হােত চুমু িদলাম। আমরা িকছুkণ জিড়েয় ধের cেয়

“িবেয় হল না (কন?”

থাকার পর rমা বলেলা, “শাn, আজেক (তামােক (তামার ঘের (ফরৎ

“এক পাt বেলিছল, আমার (থেক আরও (বিশ ফসOা (মেয় তার

েযেত হেব না। আজেক এখােনই (হাক আমােদর pথম মধুযািমনী,


pথম (pমরািt । (দেখা কত চাঁেদর আেলা জানলা িদেয় ঘের ঢুেক

“আ{া rমা, পাt িক খুব ফসOা িছল?”

একটা (রাম;া¢¾Vক আেবেশর সৃি' কেরেছ। আজ আিম (pমpয়ািসনী।

“উলেটা, kচkেচ কাল।“

েতামার কাছ (থেক pণয় লাভ করেত ই{ুক।“

“খুব dঃেখর িবষয়, আমােদর (দেশ চামড়ার রেঙর ওপর এত grt

েসই রােt আমরা পরsেরর (দেহর pেত;ক অŋ sশO কের, pিত

েদওয়া হয়। বলেত (গেল এক ধরেণর অ;াপ;ারথাইড বলা (যেত পাের।

অেŋ হাত বুিলেয়, pিত অŋেক ভালেবেস, pিত অেŋ চুmন িদেয়িছলাম।

েকবল (মেয়রাই ভুkেভাগী। আ{া, িdতীয় পাt িক বলল?”

তারপর হেয়িছল আমােদর pথম (যৗন (pম। (যৗন সntি' পুেরাপুির

“িdতীয় পাt অেনক পণ চাইল। বাবােক অত টাকা িদেত হেল পের মা

পাওয়ার পর সারা রািt আমরা (pমািলŋেন বd হেয় ঘুিমেয় িছলাম।

ও বাবােক গরীেবর মতন জীবনধারণ করেত হেব। আিম বাবােক

েসই রািt িছল অভূতপূবO আনেnর রািt। এক অিবsরণীয় রািt।

বললাম, ‘তুিম যিদ অত টাকা পণ িহেসেব দাও, তাহেল আিম পািলেয় যাব। আিম (তামােদর আিথOক সবOনােশর কারণ হেত চাই না।‘ পের বাবা ভালভােব িচnা কের আর িবেয়র কথা ওঠায় িন।“

“আমােদর (দেশ িকছু (লােকর ভীষণ ব;বসায়ী মেনাভাব আেছ। তারা েমেয়েক চায় আর টাকাও চায়। এইসব (লােকরা ভীষণ sাথOপর। cধু িনেজর sাথOই (দেখ, অn (লােকর কত kিত হে{ (সটা ওরা (দেখ না।

আমােদর পাকOÄমণ pায় (শষ হেয় এেলা। আমরা ভ;াŋuভার শহের েপৗঁছালাম। (সখােন dিদন থাকার পর আমােদর যাtা হেব (শষ। তারপর (য যার বািড় চেল যােব। rমা (ফরৎ যােব ম ¢¾VËয়ােল। আিম েসাজা (টািকও চেল যাব। িবদায় (নবার আেগর িদন িবেকল (থেক rমােক খুব িবষN (দখাি{ল। আিম rমােক িজjাসা করলাম, “rমা,

যাইেহাক আিম িকnt (তামার িবেয় না হওয়ােত খুব খুশী। (তামার িবেয় হেয় (গেল আমার অবsা (দবদােসর মেতা (হাত।“

সারািদন পােকOর pাকৃিতক (সৗnযO (দেখ আর আমােদর dজেনর মেধ; বnুেtর ঘিনuতা বাড়ােত বাড়ােত আমােদর িদনgেলা অত;n আনেnই কাটিছল। ঘুরেত ঘুরেত আমরা কামলুপেস (পৗঁছালাম। সn;ােবলায় খাওয়ার পর (য যার ঘের চেল (গল িবRাম করেত অথবা েটিলিভসন (দখেত। rমা বলল, “শাn, আমার ঘের এস। আমার ঘর েথেক পূিণOমার চাঁদ খুব snরভােব (দখেত পারেব।“ ঘের ঢুেক আিম বললাম, “rমা, আমার আেরা িকছু pi আেছ।“

“(বশ (তা, িজjাসা কর।“

“তুিম িক বাগদtা?” “না।“

“(তামার িক (কান িpয় বnু আেছ?”


“িক রকম িpয়?”

“খুবই িpয়।“

“বলব না। না বলা কথা বুেঝ নাও।“

“বুেঝিছ। তাহেল আিম (তামার কােছ িকছু চাইব।“

“বল িক চাও।“

“(তামােক চাই।“

“তুিম (তা আমােক পা{।“

“rমা, আিম (তামােক িচরিদেনর জn (পেত চাই। তুিম cধু একবার বল, তুিম (য আমার।“

আমার কথা cেন rমা আেবেগর সেŋ আমার গলা জিড়েয় বলল, “এই কথাটা (শানার জn আিম (য বছেরর পর বছর অেপkা কের আিছ, শাn! আজ (তামার pিত আমার (pম সাথOক (হােলা।“ এই বেলই rমা আমােক চুমুর পর চুমু িদেত থাকল। আিম rমােক পাঁজা কের তুেল িনেয় এেকবাের িবছানায় cইেয় িদেয় (ঠাঁেট, গােল, (চােখ, কােন,


েতামােক আজ এত িবষN (দখাে{ (কন?” “আজ আমার মন বড় অশাn।“

“(কন িক হেয়েছ (তামার?”

“তুিম আমার (থেক হাজার হাজার মাইল দূের চেল যা{। আমার ভয় হে{, সিত; সিত; আমােদর আবার িক (দখা হেব? (তামার িকছু হেল আিম আর বাঁচেত চাই না। আমার মরণই ভাল।“

“এ িক অমŋেলর কথা বলছ, rমা! আড়াই মাস বােদ dগOাপূজার সময় েতামার সেŋ কলকাতায় (দখা হেব। আিম (ভেব (রেখিছ, (তামােক িনেয় দািkণাত; Äমেণ যাব, যিদ (তামার আপিt না থােক।“

“ভাবী বর (যখােন যােব (সখােন িন¼য়ই যাব।“


“(স (ক?”

“তাহেলও ভাবী পtীর অnমিত িনেত হেব (তা! (শান, তারপর জাnয়াির মােস যাব (তামার কােছ (তামার কনেভােকশন উপলেk। ম¢¾VËয়ােল (থেক (তামােক িনেয় (দেশ িফরব। একটা cভিদন (দেখ


েতামােক আnuািনকভােব িবেয় করব। তখন (থেক আমােদর একলা

আিম pেত;ক িদন rমােক (ফান কেরিছ, সাহস, উৎসাহ, অnেpরণা

একলা থাকা জীবেনর সমািp হেব। আমােদর জীবেনর এই নতুন

িদেয়িছ, ভালবাসা জািনেয়িছ। (কান (কান িদন িদেন dবার িতনবারও

অধ;ায়েক আিম মহানেn sাগত জানাব।“

েফান কেরিছ। আিম জাপান , িনউজীল;াN, অেTিলয়া হেয়

“শাn, (তামার p;ান খুব snর। (তামার কথা cেন আিম মেন আবার

ইেnােনিশয়ােত (পৗঁছালাম। (রাজ rমার সেŋ কথা হেয়েছ। জাকাতOা

শািn ও আনn পাি{। এ যাtায় আজেকর রািt আমােদর (শষ রািt।

েথেক িকnt আর ওেক (টিলেফােন (পলাম না। আিম অত;n িবচিলত

আজ রােt আমােক িকnt একলা (রেখা না, ডারিলং আমার। আজ

হলাম। নানারকেমর dি¼nা মাথায় আসেত লাগল। বhবার (ফান

েতামােক একটা গান (শানাব। (সই রােt rমা িতনেট (pেমর গান

কেরও ওেক আর কখনই (টিলেফােন (পলাম না। আিম তাড়াতািড়

cিনেয় আমােক pচুর আনn িদেয়িছল।

kলায়লামপুর এবং িসŋাপুর (দেখ (দেশ িফের এেস অিবলেm rমােদর

পেরর িদন সকােল rমা খুব কাঁদল। বার বার িজjাসা করিছল, “আবার িক (দখা হেব, শাn?”

“িন¼য়ই (দখা হেব। (তামার (ফান নাmার (তা তুিম আমােক আেগই িদেয়ছ। এই নাও আমার (ফান নাmার। আিম (তামােক (রাজ (ফান করব। দরকার পড়েল এবং তুিম যিদ চাও আিম চিbশ ঘ ¾V¡র মেধ;ই েpেন কের (তামার কােছ এেস যাব। এর মেধ; তুিম ভাল কের (তামার িরসাচO (pােজkটা (শষ কর। (দখেব সময়টা খুব তাড়াতািড় (কেট যােব।“

rমােক িনেয় এয়ার (পােটO (গলাম। হািসর (চ'া করেলও ওর অnেরর ভীিতপূণO িচnা আমার নজর এড়ােলা না। অেনক আদর কের, অেনক ভালেবেস, অেনকkণ আমােক জিড়েয় ধের (থেক, চুমু িদেয়, (চােখর জল (ফেল rমা আমার কাছ (থেক িবদায় িনল। আরও িতন ঘ¾V¡ বােদ আমার (pন ছাড়েব। আিম এয়ার (পােটO (থেক (গলাম।


বািড়েত (গলাম। ওখােন cনলাম rমা ক;ানাডােত (মাটরগািড়র এক ভয়ানক dঘOটনায় মারা (গেছ। এই সংবাদ cেন যখন উপলিd করলাম আমার (pেমর আেলা

এই পৃিথবী (থেক িচরকােলর জn িবদায়

িনেয়েছ, আর (কান িদন rমার সেŋ (দখা হেব না, আর (কান িদন ওর েpম, ওর ভালবাসা পাব না তখন আিম (চােখ অnকার (দখলাম। মেন হল সারা পৃিথবীর আেলা সহসা িনেভ (গেছ। অসh মানিসক ক' িনেয় েকানরকেম বািড় (পৗঁছালাম। আিম বািড় (পৗঁেছ (সাজা আমার ঘের িগেয় দরজায় িখল িদলাম। পৃিথবী (থেক িনেজেক সিরেয় িনলাম একা িনভৃেত (শাক পালন করার জn। rমার sৃিত sরণ কের কাঁদিছলাম। যখনই শাn হি{লাম তখনই আকােশ বাতােস একটা Ðিন cনেত পাি{লাম, ‘আবার িক (দখা হেব? আবার িক (দখা হেব?’ তার উtের আমার অnরাtা (থেক pিতÐিন (বিরেয় আসিছল, ‘হেব, হেব, িন¼য়ই হেব, ইহেলােক নয়, পরেলােক।‘ আিম যতবার Ðিন আর pিতÐিন cেনিছ ততবার (শাকেবদনায় ও কাnায় (ভেŋ পেড়িছ।


পরশ পাথর AপণCা DানাECী েpিসেডnী কেলজ ও খRপুর আই আই িট (থেক িজওলজী িনেয় পড়াcেনা কের অবেশেষ sইৎজ;ারল;ান্েড এেস েপাsডেkারাল িরসাচO বানO ইউিনভািসOিটেত। জুিরখ, বানO ঘুের এখন sামী, কnা িনেয় বােসেল বসবাস। (ছাটেবলা েথেকই ডােয়রীেত িহিজিবিজ (লখার অেভ;স। ই-পt:


ই (ছাটেবলা (থেক পেড় এলাম, k;াপাই (কবল তার

সারাজীবন ধের পরশপাথর খুঁেজ (বড়ায়। তার (স পরশপাথেরর (খাঁজ েকােনািদন (শষ হেব িকনা জািন না। তেব বাঙালী িকnt আজ-ও `পরশপাথর` বলেত খুঁেজ (বড়ায় সত;িজৎ-এর "পরশপাথর” বা তার েচেয়ও একটু (বশী (বাধহয় তুলসী চkবতOীর “পরশপাথর”। •শlীক মনেন আর অিভনয় দkতায় (সই “পরশপাথর”-এর (ছাঁয়ায় আজও আমােদর মনখারােপর িবেকলgেলা আনেn ভের ওেঠ।

ওেয়ট! আমরা kাসsdু (ছেলেমেয়রা দলেবঁেধ pথম fieldwork-এ েগলাম যখন, একপােশ গভীর খাদ আর snর সাির সাির পাহােড়র দৃm, আেরকপােশ পাথুের পাহাড়- আমােদর পড়াcেনার পাহাড়িজওলজীর ভাষায় যােক বেল “exposure”। (মঘ-আকাশ আর সবুজ পাহােড়র হাতছািনেক সিত; সিত; িপছেন (রেখ দলেবঁেধ আমরা cকেনা পাথরgেলার িদেক মুখ কের sােরর

descriptions cনিছ, খাতায়

েনাট িনি{, এমনিক ছিবও তুেল রাখিছ ক;ােমরায়। (ক জােন কী আেছ এই পাথরgেলার (ভতর! sার বলিছেলন, এমেনা হেত পাের, cধু

পুরীর সমুেd sান কেরিন, এমন বাঙালী হােত gেন একটাও পাওয়া

একটা পাথর-cধু একখানা পরশ-পাথর-ই বদেল িদেত পাের (কােনা

যােব িকনা সেnহ! আমার বাবা বলেতন, বাঙালী অnত িতনবার পুরী

ছাt বা ছাtীর ভিবµেতর িসঁিড়! ধীের ধীের বুঝেত পারলাম, এইসব

যায়।একবার (ছাটেবলায় মা-বাবার হাত ধের, একবার বnুেদর সােথ

পাথরgেলাই (কমন কের পৃিথবীর আিদম ইিতহােসর একমাt সাkী

“অnরকম আনn” করেত, আর তৃতীয়বার, আেগ (থেক িটিকট (কেট,

হেয় রেয়েছ। (কমন কের এরা (কািট (কািট বছর ধের যt কের আগেল

ব;াগ gিছেয় বউ-েছেলেমেয় িনেয় গরেমর ছুিটেত। মা-বাবার হাত ধের

েরেখেছ (সইসব হািরেয় যাওয়া গl। (সই ভিবµৎ বদেল (দওয়া

পুরী িগেয় পুরীর বািলেত অপূবO snর িঝnেকর (খাঁজ কেরিন, এমন

পরশ-পাথেরর সnান আিম এখেনা পাইিন। (কানিদন পােবা িকনা তাও

ৈশশব বা •কেশার আেছ িক কােরার? একটা pািsেকর ব;াগ ভিতO


dধসাদা-হলেদ সাদা-লালেচ সাদা-নীলেচ সাদা, কেতা

রেঙর সব

িঝnক! বাড়ী িফেরই (সই pািsেকর ব;াগটা চট্ কের সিরেয় (ফেলই sুল ব;ােগর সামেনর (ছাT (চইন (দওয়া পেকটটার (ভতর। বnুেদর েদখােত হেব (তা! “এবাের আিম ছ-ছটা (গাটা িঝnক kিড়েয়িছ! ... েদখিব?” একবার (ছাT হােত বািলর বাড়ী বািনেয় তার মাথার ওপর একটা (ছাT িঝnক বিসেয় িদেয়িছলাম। আর তারপর অেপkা, কখন আমার বাড়ী অিb সমুেdর জল (পৗঁছেব! সেn (পিরেয় রাত হেয় এেলা। তবু আমার বাড়ী অিb জল এেস (পৗঁছেলা না। সমুেdর ধােরর ওই কােঠর (চয়ার পাতা (হােটল gেলার একটায় রােতর খাবার (খেয় েহােটেল (ফরার সমেয়ও একবার ছুেT িগেয় (দেখ আিস ... জল এেলা িক? িগেয় (দিখ বাড়ীটা মাঝখান (থেক ভাঙা! (সই িঝnক টাও আর েনই! সমুেdর জল নয়, সমুেdর ধার িদেয় চলার সমেয় কােরার পা-এর দাপেটই (বাধহয় আমার বািলর বাড়ীটা (ভেঙ (গেছ! সারারাত ঘুম হয়িন েসিদন।

এইবছর আমার dই বছেরর কnািটেক িনেয় বািসOেলানা (বড়ােত েগলাম। সমুেdর ধাের চাদর (পেত বেস (স তার নতুন (কনা লাল pািsেকর বালিত কিচ হােত ভের চেলেছ বািল িদেয়। (কােনািদেক hঁশ েনই তার। বািলর (ভতর (থেক (ছাT একটা চকচেক লাল রেঙর পাথর তুেল ছুেট এেস আমার হােত িদেলা, আবার ছুেT চেল (গেলা বািল িনেয় েখলেত। রােত (হােটেল িফের আমাO ব;াগ খুঁজেছ (স অিsর ভােব। তার আেধা আেধা বুিলেত বুঝেত পারলাম (সই লাল পাথরটার কথাই মেন পেড় (গেছ হঠাৎ। িকnt হা ঈnর! (স আিম এখন (কাথায় পােবা? (স (তা আিম (কাথায় (ফেলিছ মেনও (নই! Lollypop, Rhymes েকােনািকছুই পারেছনা তােক শাn করেত! আমােরা (ভতরটায় িক ক'ই না হে{, আহা (র, (মেয়টা আমায় হােত কের িদেলা, আর আিম িকনা হািরেয় (ফললাম! তারপর (কাথাও না (পেয় একসমেয় হাল (ছেড় িদেয় েমেয়ও চুপ কের (গল। তার-ও (বশ অেনকkণ পর আমার-ই টুিপর েভতর (থেক (বেরাল ঐ (ছাT লাল পাথরটা। (সই (দেখ তার (স কী

বেড়া হেয় কেলেজ িজওলজী িনেয় পড়েত এলাম। (গাটা িডপাটOেমন্ট

আনn, মুখ ভিতO হািস! (সই মুhেতO হঠাৎ অnভব করলাম, আমার

জুেড় cধু পাথর। (sারrেম সাির সাির কােঠর আলমারীেত পাথর,

েমেয়র বৃি'েভজা মেন (য (ছাT পাথরটা অমল (রাdুর এেন িদেত পাের,

ল;াবেরটরীেত পাথর, kাসrেমর কাঁেচর আলমারীেত পাথর, এমনিক

েসই টাই (তা আমার পরশ-পাথর!




sার-েদর ঘেরর (টিবেলও একখানা রঙীন snর পাথেরর (পপার-


ভুত-পবQ Tuhin Bose Here is a photo of the author taken by a ghost friend of his. The author studied engineering (of the electrical kind), a part of the physomething and also, like everyone else, a bit of the computer technology. He has also studied a lot of other rubbish. He is reputed as

েছাটেবলা (থেক আমরা অেনেকই ভুেতর গl পড়েত ও cনেত পছn কির। িকnt ভুেতেদর sভাব-চিরt আকার-আচরণ pভৃিত িবষেয় (তমন অবিহত নই। েলখক /িহন

1বাস একিট (ছাটগlর মাধ;েম (সইিদকিটেত আেলাকপাত

কেরেছন। গেlর dই pধান চিরt hতmর ও কােয়িশর (pম বst জগৎ ও তারপের িক পিরণিত (পেয়িছল - তার িবেÕষেণর পাশাপািশ আমরা এই pবnিটেত পাই িবেnর িকছু িবিশ' িবেশষjেদর িচnাধারা।

ভুেতর মতন 4চহারা 4যমন িনরেবাধ অিত 4ঘার যােত হাত 4দয় 4বােল ওেঠ তারা 'িদল 4শষ 4কাের ওর'।।

E-Mail: yachoohh@yahoo.com

সামথO ওনার িছল না। ফেল বট-গাছ অn›-গাছ ইত;ািদ বািড়িটেক

আকার, pকার ও আচরণ সmেকO িকছু জানা দরকার। এখােন একিট

গরবর তাহার পুt hতmর এবং stী চ±ুমুিখেক লাইয়া শহের চিলয়া

গl বিলব - নায়ক, নািয়কা এবং সাŋ-পাŋেদর অnধাবন কিরেল

আিসয়ািছেলন। (সখােন একিট িতন তলা বািড়র এক তলায় ভাড়ােট

িকছুটা আঁচ কিরেত পািরেবন, বািকটা আপনােক িনেজর অিভjতা িদয়া

থািকেতন। hতmর এই বািড়েতই বড় হইেত িছেলা। (গাড়ার িদেক

পুরণ কিরয়া লইেত হইেব। ভুতসমােজ আপিন কতটা সমাদর পাইেবন

গরবর মােঝ সােঝ ছম-ছমািনর বািড়েত যাইেতন, পের বািড়িট বাস

িনভOর কিরেব আপনার আচরেনর উপর।

কিরবার অnপযুk হইয়া যাওযােত তাহাও ছািড়য়া িদয়া িছেলন।

এখােন গেlর নায়ক hতmর (গালপােtা। hতmেরর ঠাkরদা যুেdর

hতmর শহেরর sুেল যাইেতা, িনকটবতOী মােঠ ফুটবল (খিলত এবং

বাজাের (বশ িকছু উপাজOন কিরয়া িছেলন - তাই sেখ, শািnেত জীবন

সময় পাইেল, বারন করা সেtও, (লাহার িসিড় িদয়া (রিলং-িবহীন ছােত

যাপন কিরবার জেn ঝম-ঝমানী শহেরর অনিতdের ছম-ছমািন gােম

উিঠয়া ঘুিড় ওরাইেতা। একিট কথা বিলয়া রাখা আবmক - (স লুকাইয়া

pাসাদতুল; মােবOল পাথেরর বািড় •তয়ার কিরয়া পরবতOী জীবেন বাস

সামেনর বািড়র pায় সমবয়সী যুবতী কােয়িশর সিহত (pম কিরেতা।

পিন ভুেতর সিহত আলাপ কিরেত ই{ুক? কােজই ভুেতর


কিরেতন। তাহার পুt গরবর (বিশ িদন ছম-ছমািন gােম থািকেত পােরন নাই, (পেটর দােয় শহের চিলয়া যাইেত হইয়া িছেলা। •পিtক বািড়িট মূলধন িহসােব রািখয়া িছেলন, িকnt বািড়িটর তদারক কিরবার


kমশঃ হsগত কিরয়া (ফিলেত িছেলা।

hতmেরর যখন বয়স ১৬ তখন এক রিববার ছােত উিঠয়া ঘুিড় উড়াইেত িছল। dওেkা বিলয়া প;াঁচ লাগাইয়া sতা টািনেত টািনেত কখন (য (স


ছােতর এক ধাের আিসয়া পিড়য়ােছ তাহা (খয়াল কের নাই। (ভাkাটা

ইহা জল-ঝেড়র কাজ নেহ - তাই উৎsক হইয়া কােছ যাইয়া (দেখ এক

বিলয়া িনেজেক সামলাইেত না পািরয়া (স ছাত হইেত পিড়য়া যায়।

মিহলা ওই গােছ তাহার আsানা গািড়য়ােছন।

hতmর ঘুিড়র প;াঁেচ িজিতল বেট িকnt অপঘােত pাণিট হারাইল। (স ভুত হইয়া (গল।

ঔৎsক; থিকেলও "পেরর ব;াপাের নাক গলাইেত নাই" এই িনেদOশিট অnসরণ কিরয়া (স চিলয়া আিসেত িছল, িকnt (কােনা কারেণ (স

আপিন যিদ "ভুেতর ভিবµৎ" নামক িসেনমািট (দিখয়া থােকন তাহা

েপতিনিটর িদেক তাকাইবার ইছাও সংবরণ কিরেত পািরেতিছল না।

হইেল শহের বাস করার জেn ভূেতেদর কী সমsা- সংকেটর মধ; িদয়া

হটাত hতmেরর িকরকম জািন সেnহ হইল - (পতিনর িgবাটী (কমন

যাইেত হেয় তাহা জােনন। hতmর িঠক কিরল (য (স •পতৃক িভটােত

েযন (চনা (চনা। এখােন মেন রািখেবন (য ভুত-েপতিনরা ই{া মতন

িগয়া থািকেব। এখােন আিসয়া (স •পতৃক বািড়িট (দিখয়া উৎফুl-ই

rপ ধারণ কিরেত পািরেলও পুবO-জেnর rপ ধারণ করাটই সব (চেয়

হইেলা। ভূেতেদর বst-জগেতর সিহত সmকO িছn হইয়া যায়। তাহারা

সহজ বিলয়া সাধারণতঃ (সই ভােবই থােক। (স (কৗতুহল সামলাইেত

বstর মধ; িদয়া অনায়ােস যাতায়াত কিরেত পাের। অথOাৎ (দয়াল

পািরল না - কােছ িগয়া যাহা (দিখল তাহােত তাহার বুক ধর-ফর (ব;াখ;া

পাঁিচেলর মধ; িদয়া যাতায়াত ভুেতেদর কােছ (কান সমsাই নয়।

নীেচ (দওয়া হইেলা) কিরয়া উিঠেলা। বিলয়া উিঠেলা "কািশ, তুই..."।

তাহােদর কােছ খুবই পিরিচত। ভুেতেদর বstেক কােজ লাগাইবার জn অথবা ব;বহার কিরবার জn হাওয়া, gravity ইত;ািদর সাহায; লইেত হয়। hতmর িনজ বািড়েত আিসয়া pথেমই এই kমতাgিল আয়েt আিনবার (চ'া কিরল। (স dম-দাম কিরয়া দরজা, জানালা (খালা-বn করা অভ;াস কিরেত লািগল। এই সব (দিখয়া বািহেরর (লােকরা এবং

কািশ অথOাৎ কােয়িশ-ও অবাক । বিলল "িhতুদা!"। ভুেতেদর আলাপ আেলাচনার জেn ভাষার বা শেbর pেয়াজন হয়না। তাহারা অনায়ােস েভৗিতক

energy মারফত আলাপ আেলাচনা চালাইেত পাের। "বুক

ধর-ফর" করাটাও (কােনা hৎিপ­äর সংেকাচন -pসারণ নেহ, ইহা েভৗিতক field-এ (ঢউ (তালার মেতা।

d'ু (ছেল-েমেয়রা ওই বািড়র কােছ আসা বn কিরয়া িদেলা।

কািশর ওখােন আসার কারন: িhতুদা চিলয়া িগয়ােছ cিনয়া কািশ

বদমাইসেদর ঘাড় মটকাইবার ই{া থিকেলও (স জািনত (য ভুেতেদর

িনেজেক সামলাইেত পাের নাই। হােতর নাগােলর মেধ; তােকর ওপের

পেk ইহা সmব নয়। যিদও আমােদর ঘাড় মটকােনার কথা িচnা

েয (বাতলিট কােছ িছল (সইিট খুিলয়া খাইয়া (ফিলয়া িছল। dভOাগ;

কিরেল গােয় কাঁটা িদয়া ওেঠ, িকnt এখন পযOn (কােনা হাসপাতােলর

বসতঃ উহােত কািশর ওsধ অথবা (লখার কািলও িছলনা, িছল ইdর

emergency departmentএ ভূেত ঘাড় মটকাইয়া িদয়ােছ এইrপ (কান rগীর সnান বা statistics পাওয়া যায় নাই।

মািরবার িবষ। (পতিন হইয়া যাওয়ার পের বাসsান সংকট। sানীয়

hতmেরর িদন (বশ ভালই কািটেতিছল। hতmেরর িপতামহ বািড়র িনকেটই একিট পুkর কাটাইয়া মাছ ছািড়য়া িছেলন। গরবর ছম-ছমািন ছািড়য়া চিলয়া যাওয়ার িকছু িদেনর মেধ;ই পাড়ার d'ু (ছেলরা মাছgিল

েভৗিতক housing committee কািশেক বিলল (য ছম-ছমািন gােম কেয়কিট নতুন িনম গাছ উিঠয়ােছ। এখেনা খািল পিড়য়া আেছ। কািশ ওইখােন যাইেত ই{ুক থািকেল তাহারা গাছgিল কািশর জেn

reserve কিরয়া িদেব।

চুির কিরয়া িনয়া যায় এবং পুkরিটর চািরধাের আগাছা জnাইেত থােক।

কািশ cিনয়ািছেলা

জল কচুির-পানােত ভিরয়া ওেঠ এবং পিরেবশিট ব;াঙ এবং মশােদর

hতmর (য ওইখােন চিলয়া আিসয়ােছ তাহা জািনতনা। hতmর কািশেক

আDা বসাইবার উপেযাগী হইয়া যায়। আগাছার মধ; িদয়াই কেয়কিট

অnেরাধ জানাইেলা (য ই{া কিরেল কািশ hতmেরর সেŋ ওই বািড়েত

িনমগাছ-ও মাথা তুিলয়া উিঠয়া পের।

িগয়া থািকেত পাের। কািশ বতOমান যুেগর আtসেচতন (পতিন। (স

ইহােত hতmেরর িকছু আেস যায় না কারণ (স এখন এইসব িবরmনার উেÐO। তেব ভুত-েপতিনেদর (দেহর pেয়াজন না থিকেলও িকছু িকছু

(য ছম-ছমািন hতmরেদর আিদ বাসsান, িকnt

বিলয়া উিঠেলা, "না িhতুদা, আমরা (তা কাছা কািছ-ই থাকিছ, আর আমােদর (যাগােযােগর জেn (কােনা mobile এর-ও pেয়াজন (নই"।

ই{া বা অভ;াস থািকয়া যায় - পেরাটা-আলুর দম খাইেত ই{া

আমরা hতmর এবং কািশর পিরচয় পাইলাম - িকnt তাহােদর আকার

Oxford Universityর এক িবেশষj, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake এর

ধারণ এবং জগৎেবাধ সmেকO িকছুই জািননা। ইহাই sাভািবক কারণ

মেত ইহার কারণ (কােনা মাnেষর বা জnt িবেশেষর ই{া বা অভ;াস

বুিdর dারা িবেÕষন কিরেত হইেব এবং অnভূিতর মধ; িদয়া ভুেতেদর

Morphic field নামক একিট জায়গায় সি±ত হইয়া যায়। Data transfer িকভােব হয় তাহা এখেনা সিঠক

সmেকO একিট যথাথO ও সম;ক (বাধ আিনেত হইেব। এই (বাধিট অn

কিরেলও (সই চািহদা পুরেণর (কােনা

উপায় নাই।

pবল হইয়া উিঠেল তাহা

ভােব জানা যায় নাই। cিনয়ািছ উিন জnt , জােনায়ার এবং পািখেদর লইয়া experiment চালাইেতেছন। কেয়কিট বই ও িলিখয়ােছন।

আমরা ভুত নিহ। ভুেতর জীবন বুিঝেত হইেল িনজ িনজ অিভjতােক

িবnাস নেহ, ইহাও িবেÕষণ সােপk। আমরা cিনয়ািছ ভুত-েপতিনেদর pিতিবm নাই এবং আেলা পিড়েল তাহােদর (দখা যায় না। ইহা হইেত (বাঝা যায় (য ভুত-েপতিনর

hতmর মােঝ মােঝ পুkেরর আেশ-পােশ ভািসয়া (বড়ায়। হয়েতা (ছাট

আকার ধারেণ আেলার সিহত (কােনা

েবলায় ওই পুkের মাছ ধিরবার একিট ঘটনা (স ভুিলেত পাের নাই। একিদন hতmর জল-ঝেড়র মােঝ পুkেরর চািরপােশ ভািসয়া (বড়াইেত

pিতিবm, আেলয়া বা hologram ও নেহ। ব;ােঙর ছাতার মেতা ইহােদর আিবভOাব ঘেট ও pেয়াজন ফুরাইেল ইহারা শূেn িমলাইয়া

িছল। হঠাৎ িনকেটর একিট িনম গাছ অsাভািবক ভােব নিড়য়া উিঠেলা।

যায়। আমরা যাহােক শূn বিলেতিছ উহােদর কােছ তাহা শূn নেহ।

সmকO নাই। তাহারা ছায়া,


েবিশর ভাগ ভুেতরা মাnেষর জগেতই বাস কের কারণ এই sানিট

উহােদর জগেত আমােদর pেবশ করা সmব নেহ, যিদও সময় িবেশেষ



ভুত-েপতিনেদর আমােদর জগেত িবচরণ কিরেত (শানা িগয়ােছ।

ভুেতেদর আপন জগৎ পিরত;াগ করা। (যেহতু ভুেতেদর বstেক িভত

অŋিবদেদর ভাষা িদয়া বুিঝবার (চ'া কিরেল বলা যায় (য আমােদর

কিরয়া (কােনা শরীর থােকনা তাই ভুত চিলয়া (গেল (সই জগেত শরীর

জগৎ ও ভূেতেদর জগৎ semi orthogonal। ইহার অথO: একিট জগেতর বst বা বািসnারা অn জগেতর বst বা বািসnােদর

তুল; িকছু রািখয়াও যায়না।

pভাবািnত কিরেত পােরনা। ইহা আমােদর পেk ভাল - কারণ ভুত বা েপতিন আিসয়া আমােদর ঘাড় মটকাইেত পােরনা। খুব হইেল মুখ েভংচাইয়া চিলয়া যায়। ভুত (দখার সেŋ আেলার সিহত (কােনা সmকO নািহ, ভুেতর আিবভOাব cধু অnকার জগেতই সmব।

আপিন যিদ বেলন (য ভুত বিলয়া িকছুই নাই এবং যুিk িদয়া তাহা সরল কিরয়া বুঝাইয়া (দন, তাহা হইেল বিলব, “আপিন িঠক!”। িকnt ভুেতর জগেত আপনার যুিk চিলেবনা । ভুত আপনার যুিk মািনেবনা । কািশ ও hতmেরর (pম (য পযO;ায় (পৗঁিছয়ােছ তাহা •দিহক নেহ - বরং

অতএব আমরা যাহােক ভুত-েদখা বিল তাহা িক? আমরা অnকারেক দূর কিরবার জেn আেলার সাহায; িনয়া থািক। তাহা না কিরয়া আমরা যিদ অnকার নামক sানিট হইেত িকছু অnকারেক অn (কােনা জায়গায় রািখয়া আিসেত পাির তাহা হইেল ওই অnকারিবহীন sােন

platonic (pেমর সিহত িকছুটা সাদৃm আেছ। এখােন dইিট আtার িমলন ঘিটেত চিলয়ােছ। িক ঘিটেব তাহা বলা সmব নেহ । সব িকছুর অnরােল (য মায়ার (খলা চিলেতেছ তাহা এখেনা পযOn আমােদর পেk বুিঝয়া ওঠা সmব হয় নাই ।

যাহা পিড়য়া থািকেব তাহাই ভুেতর rপ। ভুেতর সিহত আলাপ কিরবার জেn telephone অথবা mobile-এরও দরকার নািহ। আপনার গা ছম ছম কিরয়া উিঠেল বুিঝেবন (য ভুত আপনার সিহত (ভৗিতক


energy-র মারফত সংেযাগ sাপন কিরবার (চ'া কিরেতেছ। তখন

"It is tempting to envisage that in human ghosts (and indeed

আপিন িনভOেয় তাহার সিহত আলাপ চালাইেত পােরন, িকnt ছম ছমািনর

not only human) a trace of sexual difference is 'carried


over' [6], and would be represented by the antisymmetric

ভাষা আপনােক িশিখেত হইেব। এখােন হয়েতা িকছুটা

Entanglement-এর সহায়তা লইেত পােরন।

wave functions characteristic of Fermi-Dirac statistics.

এই sেল আেরকিট pi উিঠেত পাের - ভুেতর িলŋেভদ সmেকO। যাহােদর রkও মাংেসর (দহ নাই তাহােদর আবার stী-পুrষ - (ভদ কী? আমরা সবাই জািন (য stী এবং পুrেষর মেধ; িচnার এবং ব;বহােরর অেনক পাথOক; রিহয়ােছ। ইহা sভাবগত। Unisex concept -িট, আমার মেত, (জার কিরয়া dই চিরtেক এক কিরবার pেচ'া। িকmূত উদাহরণ আপিন জগেত (িবেশষ কিরয়া পি¼েমর জগেত) pচুর পাইেবন। এই পাথOক; •দিহক নেহ। ব;াখ;া খুব-ই জিটল। তাই আিম নীেচ এক িবেশষেjর (লখা ভুত সmিকOত একিট

article হইেত

একিট paragraph উdৃত কিরয়া িদলাম। ভুেতর আিবভOাব ও িতরভাব ওেনকটা মাnষেদর মতই – কখন আিবভOাব ঘিটেব এবং কখন চিলয়া যাইেব তাহা সিঠক বলা যায়না । এই চিলয়া যাওয়া আমােদর জগৎ হইেত চিলয়া যাওয়া নেহ –

Particles obeying these statistics would have half integral spin, and the ultimate state would be one in which ghosts of opposite spin had paired up to occupy the energy states available, each pair in one state. This highly satisfactory disposition from the point of view of physicists [7] might well constitute a state of bliss that all ghosts hope to achieve. [6] Here I confess we enter the realm of speculations, not really consistent with a scientific discourse. [7] The mathematics no doubt would refer to it as an 'elegant' solution." [Quoted from "A Theory of Ghosts by D. A. Wright in Random Walks in Science, Vol. I, p. 110"]

Swisspuja anecdote


Swisspuja's purohit (priest) who comes every year from Kolkata, brings along with him some articles which are required for the puja but not available in Switzerland (e.g. Gorachana - an exotic material used for puja). Last year when entering Switzerland the Swiss customs at Zurich Airport asked him to open his suitcase and show what he is importing to Switzerland. They saw the Gorachana and asked our purohit, what it was. He said it was 'God Matter'. The customs officers had some idea about Matter and AntiMatter but not God Matter. They got a bit confused but to keep the spirits high they informed our purohit about the next train to Geneva and from there, how to go to CERN - European Organisation for Nuclear Research where the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments are available to study the basic constituents of matter.



ক দ া অ"ব

মGA রায়

িdতীয় মহাযুd (শষ হবার পেরই ঢাকা শহের আমার জn। ২ বছর বয়েস কলকাতা চেল আিস। sুল- কেলজ িবহার ও কলকাতায়। কল;াণী িবnিবদ;ালেয় (কিমিsT পড়িছলাম , হঠাৎ কের িবেয় হেয় (গেলা। sইৎজারল;ােN এেস ঘরকnা িনেয় (মেত উিঠ। এখনও তাই কের চেলিছ। ই-পt: arabmnju@hispeed.ch

কযুগ (১২ বছর) আেগ আমার অপিরিচত (কান কাগেজ একটা

িবjাপেন খুব (ছাট কের (লখা িছেলা িবিভn ভাষার অnবাদক খুঁজেছ। িচnা করিছলাম দরখাs করেবা িক করেবা না, (শষ পযOn (যাগােযাগ কেরই (ফললাম। সেŋ সেŋ অnদশOেনর িদনkণও িঠক হেয় (গেলা। েবশ িকছুkণ কথাবাতOার পর ওরা মােন কমOদাতারা আমােক িনেয় িনেলা। এেতা সহেজ আর এেতা তাড়াতািড় (য ব;াপারটা হেয় যােব বুঝেত পািরিন। আিম (তা এর জn এেকবােরই pstত িছলাম না। কােজর পাশাপািশ অnবাদেকর জn যথাযথ sুেলর ব;বsা িছল এবং এখনও আেছ। আিম এখন পযOn সবই কের যাি{।

কেব, কখন ও (কাথায় িগেয় অnবাদ করেত হেব (সটা একটা কাগেজ েদওয়া থােক। িকnt িক িবষেয় কথাবাতOা হেব, খুব সামাn উেlখ থােক েস সmেn। নতুন জায়গা, নতুন পিরেবশ, অেচনা মাnষজন ও নতুন িবষয়। pথম pথম খুবই অsিs ও সেŋাচ (বাধ হেতা একজন অপিরিচত (লােকর কািহনী আর এক অপিরিচতেক িবেদশী ভাষায় বলেত। সমেয় (দখা (গেলা সেŋাচ ও অsিsর (কান sান (নই, কারন একটা মাtই উেdm পুেরা ব;াপারটা dপkেক (বাঝােনা ও বুিঝেয় বলা। যখন সকেলর কােছ মােন dপেkর কােছ সব s{ হেয় যায় তখন েবশ হালকা লােগ। ভাষা বলেত বা বুঝেত না পারাটাই একমাt সমsা নয়। dেটা সংsৃিত ও জীবনধারন pণালীও সmূণO আলাদা। বা²ারা রািtের (বশ (দরীেত ঘুেমােত যায়, মােয়রা বা²ােদর িকন্ডারগােটOেন িগেয় জামাকাপড়, জুেতা ছািড়েয় ও পিরেয় িদেয় আেস (যটা এেদেশর িশkকরা একদম পছn কেরনা। (ছাটেবলা (থেক িনেজর কাজ িনেজ কের কের িশখেব এটাই এখানকার (রওয়াজ। আমােদর মােয়রা আমােদর অnভােব (মােন সবিকছু কের িদেয়েছন) মাnষ কেরেছন, এখন আমরা এই দূর (দেশও তাই কের চেলিছ। (সই T;ািডশন সমােন চেলেছ, তার (কান পিরবtOন (নই। হয়েতা এখনকার বা²ারা তােদর বা²ােদর sাবলmী হেত (শখােব। সবই সময়সােপk।

হাসপাতাল, ডাkােরর p;াকিটস, sুল এবং সামািজক সংsার যত রকেম িকছু হেত পাের অnবাদেকর দরকার। তাছাড়া একবার েটিলিভশন (থেকও (ডেক পািঠেয়িছেলা কলকাতার বিsর (তালা ছিবর িবিভn অংশ িঠকিঠক অnবাদ হেয়েছ িকনা পরীkা করার জn।

যােদর জn অnবাদ করা হয় তােদর (বশীর ভােগরই জামOান (শখার গরজ (নই। দায়দািয়t সব সরকােরর। জুিরখ শহের ভাষা (শখার জn


৭০ টা ভাষায় অnবােদর জn (লাক রেয়েছ, তাছাড়া ৩৬৫ িদন ২৪ ঘNা (টিলেফােনর মাধ;েম অnবােদর ব;বsাও রেয়েছ। আমােদর েদেশর ভাষা খুব দরকার হয়না। আলবািনস, আখহািরস, আরািবস, েবাজিনস, (kায়ািটস, (সরিরস, ফারিস, তািমল, িটগিরিনয়া ও টািকOশ ভাষার অnবাদেকর খুব (বশী দরকার। মেন হয়, ঐেদেশর (লােকরা এেদেশ খুব (বশী আেছ। আমােদর (দেশর (লােকরা (বশীর ভাগই ইংেরজীেত কথা বেল চালােত (চ'া কের। িকnt যখন অsিবধা হয়, তখন েদাভাষীর ডাক পেড়। এেদশীয় িশিkত (লােকরা ইংেরজীেত কথা বলেত ভােলাই বােস, তেব সকেল নয়।

আমােদর অিফেসর কমOচারীরা বছের একবার একটা (ভােজর আেয়াজন কের থােক। ১০০ জেনর ওপের িবিভn (দেশর নাগিরক এেত অংশgহণ কের। সকেলই িনেজর িনেজর (দেশর (পাষাক পের আেস। এত রঙেবরঙ-এর (পাষাক (দখেত পাওয়া যায় না সচরাচর। তারা িনেজরাই গানবাজনা ও নাটেকর আেয়াজন কের। •হহlা, গlgজব এবং মেনর আনেn সবাই জামOান ভাষায় কথা বেল। (সিদন cধু sানীয় ভাষাটার ওপের grt (দওয়া হয়। নইেল (তা আমরা একজন আেরকজনেক বুঝেতই পারেবা না।

খাবার দাবার (য এত রকেমর হেত পাের (সটা (চােখ না (দখেল িবnাস করা যায়না। sালাড (িমিহ কের কাটা), কত িমি' ও িবিভn (দেশর ফেলর বাহাের (চাখ ধাঁিধেয় যায়। সব িকছুর নাম মেন রাখা শk ব;াপার। একটা ইটািলয়ান িমি' আেছ, যার নাম ‘বাবা’। (ছাট (ছাট পুতুেলর মেতা (কক িচিনর জেল ভাসেছ, তার নাম (য ‘বাবা’ cেন খুবই মজা লাগিছেলা। এবং আমােদর জn নামটা মেন রাখা খুবই সহজ ব;াপার।


বhরকেমর ব;বsা আেছ। cধু (মেয়েদর জn, মােয়রা বা²াসহ (বা²া েদখােশানার ব;বsা আেছ), যােদর এখনও ২১ বছর বয়স হয়িন, এমনিক িনরkরেদর জnও (শখার িবেশষ ব;বsা আেছ। (কান (কান sুেল বাংলার মাধ;েমও (শখােনা হয়। এখােন cধু কেয়কটার উেlখ করা হেলা। ১৯৬৭ সােল এতিকছু িছেলানা। একাn ই{া ভাষা (শখার তাই ৯ (সিমsােরর একটা (কাসO (মাটমাট ৪ Ú বছেরর িডেpামাটা কের েফললাম। (সই বhিদন আেগ করা িডেpামাটা এখন (বশ কােজ িদে{।

একটা শেbর dেটা ভাষায় dেটা মােন বা dেটা নাম, ভাষার ব;াপারটা মােঝ মেধ; এরকমও হয়।


রবীndকােব_ “নারী” নHIলাল নHী জnঃ ১৯৩৭ সন; (কালকাতা। বৃিtঃ ইেলকিTক;াল ইিJনীয়ার; ইন্ফরেমশন (টকনলিজ'। আবসািরক কমOঃ গৃহকমO; জুিরখ িবnিবদ;ালেয় 'ইেNালিজ’ িবভােগ sাতেকাtর গেবষণা (িবষয়ঃ “মায়াবাদ ও (গৗড়ীয় •বÝব দশOন”)। ই-পtঃ n.nandi@access.uzh.ch


হ মাতা, নহ কnা, নহ বধূ, snরী rপসী, েহ নnনবািসনী উবOশী!” ১

িযিন নন, কnা নন, বধূ নন, িযিন িচর snরী, অপrপা rপময়ী, িতিন েক? িতিন িচরnনী, অথOাৎ তাঁর জn নাই, জরা নাই, মৃত;ু নাই; িতিন িক েকান মতO;বািসনী হেত পােরন? িতিন অধরা হেয়ও (তা বারবার আমােদর মেনর আকােশ হানা (দন িবজলীর মেতা; তখন, “অকsাৎ পুrেষর বেkামােঝ িচt আtহারা, নােচ রkধারা।” ২


এই হাs-লাsময়ী নারীর চ±ল কটােkর আঘােত (দালা জােগ সমুেdর তরেŋ, কিবর (লখনীেত, িশlীর sর-ঝŋাের আর পুrেষর ধমনীেত ধমনীেত (বেজ ওেঠ সৃি'র রণ-দামামা ...। মেতO;র িনঝOিরণী, বিnিন নারী আেবেগর sp (ভŋা (জেগ ওেঠ, তার অব;k কামনা “ওের pােণর বাসনা pােণর আেবগ rিধয়া রািখেত নাির।” ৩ েসই অধীরার, আkলার অতৃp মন-বাসনা -


“িশখর হইেত িশখের ছুিটব, ভূধর হইেত ভূধর লুিটব, েহেস খলখল (গেয় কলকল তােল তােল িদব তািল।” ৪ আকােশর ঝণOাধারা (নেব আেস ধরণীর mামিলমায়। শরেতর cÄ আেলায় ছিড়েয় পেড় নদী - পােরর কােশর বেনেত জীবেনর জয়যাtার আনেnর snন। মেতO;র নারীর জবেনর অিভযান হয় cr। (স কখেনা মাতা, কখেনা কnা, কখেনা গৃিহনী; অnেরর rপায়েণ rপবতী। মাnেষর সংসােরর (ছাT গৃহেকােণ িশc (খাকার মেতা (খলা, যত আবদার, তা মােয়র সেন। তাই যখন “(খাকা মােক cধায় (ডেক, 'এেলম আিম (কাথা (থেক েকানখােন তুই kিড়েয় (পিল আমাের?’ মা cেন কয় (হেস (কঁেদ (খাকাের তার বুেক (বঁেধ'ই{া হেয় িছিল মেনর মাঝাের’।।” ৫ আবার, pকৃিতর (খলাঘের, •শশেবর সিŋনীেদর সােথ kীড়া{েল পিরচয় হয় নারীর আগামীকােলর snর ও কেঠার বাsব জীবেনর সােথ; ভয়, ভাব ও ভাবনার সােথ।


েকােনা এক অমাবsার রােত “… িসঁিড়র মেধ; (যেত (যেত pদীপটা তার িনেভ (গেছ বাতােসেত। cধাই তাের, 'কী হেয়েছ বামী?’ েস (কঁেদ কয় নীেচ (থেক, 'হািরেয় (গিছ আিম!’ ” ৬ ৈশশব, •কেশার এর আিŋনা পার হেয় সদ; যুবতী নারীর hদয় উেdিলত েকােনা এক অজানার হাতছািনেত, তার ভীr মেনর যাtা cr অসীেমর dবOার আhােন “গহন ksমkJ-মােঝ মৃdল মধুর বংিশ বােজ, িবমির tাস লকলােজ সজিন, আও আও (লা।। িপনহ চাr নীল বাস hদেয় pণয়ksমরাশ, হিরণেনেt িবমল হাস, kJবনেম আও (লা।।” ৭ েছাT নদী চেলেছ মহাসাগেরর পােন - “দূর হেত cিন (যন মহাসাগেরর গান।” ৮

বh নারীর কাম; সংসােরর িদনgিল sখ-dঃেখর gিnেত গাঁথা। (সখােন কখেনা (জায়ােরর জেলা{াস“আজু, সিখ, মh মুh গােয় িপক kh kh, kJবেন dঁh dঁh (দাঁহার পােন চায়। যুবনমদিবলিসত পুলেক িহয়া উলিসত, অবশ তn অলিসত মরিছ জn যায়।” ১৩ আবার কখেনা ভাঁটার টান, sৃিতর (বদনা “(হথা sখ (গেল sৃিত একািকনী বিস দীঘOnাস (ফেল শূnগৃেহ।”১৪ . অেনক (kেtই গৃহবঁধূর •দনিnন জীবন একেঘঁেয়িমর kািnেত িk', িবষN “আিম (কবল জািন, রাঁধার পের খাওয়া আবার খাওয়ার পের রাঁধাবাইশ বছর এক চাকােতই বাঁধা।” ১৫

তার এই সাগরপােরর যাtা, এই (তা জীবেনর পেথ যাtা। এই পেথর ধাের কত ফুল, কত রব, আবার কত কNেকও তা ভরা। জn হয় নািয়কার। নায়েকর আিবভOােবর pিতrিত সমােজর অpত;ািশত অিলগিলেত। নািয়কার (দেহ ও মেন (সৗnেযOর, আকাŋার বান “hদেয় আজ (ঢউ িদেয়েছ, খঁুেজ না পাই kল েসৗরেভ িpণ কাঁিদেয় (তােল িভেজ বেনর ফুল।” ৯

িদন আেস, িদন যায়। (তমিন পার হয় এেকর পর এক ঋতু, বছর ও যুগ। (ছাট (ছাট সংসারgিলঅ িববতOেনর জােল বাঁধা। এই চলমান পৃিথবীর সমs আেপিkকতার বnেন ছািপেয় ওেঠ রবীndনােথর কােব;র নারীর আেtাপলিbর শাnত বাণী-

তার অেপkার pহর (য আর কােট না “আিম নারী, আিম মিহয়সী, আমার sের sর (বঁেধেছ (জ;াৎsাবীণায় িনdািবহীন শশী। আিম নইেল িমথ;া হ'ত সn;াতারা-ওঠা, িমথ;া হত কানেন ফুল (ফাটা।” ১৬

“(মেঘর 'পের (মঘ জেমেছ, আঁধার কের আেস, আমায় (কন বিসেয় রাখ একা dােরর পােশ।” ১০

“(মার লািগ কিরেয়া না (শাক, আমার রেয়েছ কমO, আমার রেয়েছ িবnেলাক। েমার পুt িরk হয় নাই শূেnের কিরব পূণO, এই bত বিহব সদাই।” ১১ আবার কখেনা িমলেন “উৎকN আমার লািগ (কহ যিদ pতীিkয়া থােক েসই ধn কিরেব আমােক। ckপk হেত আিন রজনীগnার বৃnখািন েয পাের সাজােত অঘO;থালা কৃÝপk রােত, েয আমাের (দিখবাের পায় অসীম kমায় ভােলামn িমলােয় সকিল, এবার পূজায় তাির আপনাের িদেত চাই বিল।” ১২


রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, িচtা, উবOশী. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ২৫০। রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, িচtা, উবOশী. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ২৫১। ৩ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, pভাতসংগীত, িনঝOেরর spভŋ. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৩৬। ৪ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, pভাতসংগীত, িনঝOেরর spভŋ. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৩৭। ৫ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, িশc, জnকথা. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৪৫০। ৬ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, পলাতকা, হািরেয়-যাওয়া. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৫৭৩। ৭ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ গীতিবতান, ভাnিসংহ ঠাkেরর পদাবলী, ৮. সািহত;ম, কিলকাতা, ১৪০৯, পৃঃ ৬১৯। ৮ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, pভাতসংগীত, িনঝOেরর spভŋ. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৩৮। ৯ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, গীতাJিল, আষাঢ়সn;া. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৫০২। ১০ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ গীতিবতান, pকৃিত, বষOা, ৩২. সািহত;ম, কিলকাতা, ১৪০৯, পৃঃ ৩৮৭। ১১ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ (শেষর কিবতা, An on-line publication: <www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/14>, পৃঃ ৭২। ১২ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ (শেষর কিবতা, An on-line publication: <www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/14>, পৃঃ ৭২-৭৩। ১৩ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ গীতিবতান, ভাnিসংহ ঠাkেরর পদাবলী, ৮. সািহত;ম, কিলকাতা, ১৪০৯, পৃঃ ৬২১। ১৪ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, িবদায়-অিভশাপ. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ২০৩। ১৫ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, পলাতকা, মুিk. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৫৫৪। ১৬ রবীndনাথ ঠাkর ঃ স±িয়তা, পলাতকা, মুিk. িবnভারতী, ১৯৬৩, পৃঃ ৫৫৫। ২


দীঘO pতীkারও (শষ হয়। জীবেন নায়েকর আিবভOাব; কখেনা হঠাৎ, আবার কখেনা (লাকাচােরর (যাগােযােগর পেথ। ঘটনার (শষ, কখেনা িবে{েদ -







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