Monday, November 28, 2011

Exactly three years ago this photo was taken by my father during the festival of Durga Puja.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Flowers are one of the most beautiful creations of God. Some smell good, some others are known for their colours while a few have both. Some grow in our gardens and the wild ones prefer to grow in the forest. Roses, tube roses, merrigold, jasmine are some flowers that are commonly available in the local market. While a rose beautifies a room, a tube-rose garland adorns an idol in the temple; a merrigold is offered to our God at home and a jasmine garland tucked in a woman's hair makes a morning refreshing. A Jaba or a Hibiscus blooms in almost every garden in Bengal. This particular flower which I am talking here comes in different colours like bright red, deep yellow, soft pink and white which is so very rare. There are a wide variety of flowers which have no English names because they are found only in the villages of Bengal. A few of these are offered to Lord Shiva. Flowers which have long stems like Gladiolus and Roses are always kept in a bucket of water in a flower shop. The merrigold garlands are always kept separately from the other flowers by the florist. Violet Orchids which are like creepers are available in a local shop for the last 2 years. The flower-seller says this orchid is a rare variety. A flower which is soft in texture and has rich colourful petals is Bouganvelia which not only grows in a garden but also in an earthen pot. A Tagor is a small flower which has delicate white petals and a thin stem. The fragrance of a Gandharaj is mesmerising. There is a very very different kind of a flower which cannot be plucked easily from the tree. It's known as Kadamba or popularly called a Kadam. This flower is like a spongish orange-shaped ball which has 3-inch-long needle like petals covering it all over. It is said that Lord Krishna loved the smell of Kadamba and he used to sit on the branch of that tree during Jhulan festival in West Bengal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Once November arrives, the smell of nature changes. It is not only the second last month of the English calender but a month that takes a long time to pass by leaving behind a memory of a year fresh in mind. As the pain of getting older pricks inside, the only incentive that keeps the heart going is a bright December. The month which is so special specially for Christians. December is special for me because I celebrate my birthday and my parent's marriage anniversary. Needless to say I remember Lord Jesus too in this month from the 1st to the 25th. Somehow I feel sad on December 25. I can't explain why. Once I had been to a church on the 24th night, but I had to stand outside because of the crowd. But then December 25, the year if I remember, 1994 it was, was very cold. My father, my mother and I couldn't stand in that cold for too long. The fear was I might catch cold and then fall terribly ill. The December then and now is very different. Christmas in Calcutta during the 1990s used to be a big celebration. I hardly go out these days, so I really do not know if that is the same in Kolkata now. At least my Christian friends in Bangalore made me a lil Christian in thought:) Things have changed a lot over the years. Coming back to special December, the last few days are a big wait for the 31st. A day which was a frolic 10 years ago. Now, I wait to spend the day with my family.