Happy Anniversary

It was their first anniversary but work priorities kept them apart. Shalini and Vikas wished each other over a video call in the morning and both looked sad. Vikas had to urgently leave the city to attend a zonal meeting. Shalini too supported him and they agreed to celebrate their anniversary on the weekend.

Shalini was almost in tears as she disconnected the call. She missed him badly. Just a year ago there was such a huge celebration and today they are not even together on their special day.

In an hour she went to her office and was busy with her work. In her office nobody knew it was her anniversary and she preferred not to disclose it either. It was just another day for her. Even Vikas didn’t get time to message her again.

While returning she felt like celebrating the day all by herself. She wanted to eat something nice for dinner and was also craving for a cake! She planned to reach home quickly and then order her favorite menu.

She turned the key in the lock and opened the door. She froze for a moment by what she saw. A well decorated home was waiting for her. Fresh flowers on the table, balloons on the wall, petals on the floor and a beautiful greeting card welcomed her. She knew Vikas was back and ran inside to check where he was.

Vikas had managed to fly back for a night after attending the meeting. He had another flight to catch early in the morning. He knew it would be a hectic trip for him but he also wanted to make their first anniversary a memorable one.

Shalini was extremely happy to have him back home. She ran from one corner of the house to the other to check where he was hiding. Finally she found him waiting in the balcony, with a bouquet in his hand, her favorite wine on the table and a gift box that read, “SURPRISE.”

She jumped to give him a tight hug and asked, “How come?”

He replied with a mischievous smile on his face, “Everything else can wait tonight” and they wished each other, “Happy Anniversary!”

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

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Oh! The Myths

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Some people are so obsessed with superstitions that a mere conversation with them end up being hilarious. I met many such people during my pregnancies. They had their long list of dos and don’ts, mostly don’ts.

Don’t cut your hair or else the baby will be bald, don’t exercise or else the baby will be exhausted, don’t step on a rope, it’ll tangle the umbilical cord, don’t see a monkey, don’t even watch animal shows or else the baby will resemble them, don’t see the sun, it’ll turn the child blind, don’t watch an eclipse, it’ll make the baby look ugly and so on.

The superstitions are never ending and there’s no extent to which people believe in them. Telling these to an expectant mother will only scare her more. My kids broke all such gender prediction myths and am glad they did. I had sweet cravings and looked dull in my first pregnancy so they predicted a girl but a boy was born. When I was expecting my second child, I had spicy cravings, looked beautiful and also didn’t gain much weight so another boy was predicted but to our pleasant surprise, a girl was born.

Some might say that it’s wrong to not believe in them because women have followed such instructions since ages. They continue to do so, so that the baby is not harmed. The truth, however, is far from such myths. You will have a healthy and happy baby if you take care of yourself, eat healthy, exercise, sleep well and stay hydrated. If you are an expectant mother, don’t pay a heed to what people say, do what keeps you relaxed and happy and if you are a husband, pamper her!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Aalpona

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A festival is incomplete without decorating our homes. Every festive season comes with a unique enthusiasm and we take pleasure in making every corner of the house look beautiful. One such decoration in Bengali households is “Aalpona.”

Just like Rangoli is made on the floor with colourful powder, aalpona is made with rice and thus, mostly it is white in colour. The rice is first soaked in water and then a paste is made by adding water. A piece of cloth is dabbed in the rice paste and beautiful designs are made by gently pressing the cloth on the floor.

On every auspicious occasion, festivals and weddings these aalponas are made. The designs are either in the round or linear shape and symbols like flowers, leaves, spiral, cones or just abstract signs are made. The ‘S’ symbol made at the centre of the design that I made on paper, symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi’s feet.

I have seen my mother make these intricate designs on every special occasion at home. I learnt it from her and now when I make them, she says my designs are more beautiful. What else can I ask for! That is the beauty of traditions and I love to follow as much as I can.

This is how ‘Aalpona’ looks like when made with rice paste on the floor.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Away from Home

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Last week was full of fun, frolic and entertainment. It was the much awaited Durga Puja week. No matter which part of the world you live in, there’s no dearth of enjoyment during this festival, especially if you are a Bengali. You get the feeling of a home away from home when you are engrossed in the grandeur and celebrations of worshipping the Goddess of Power.

Undoubtedly, it’s my favourite time of the year and I enjoy it to its fullest. I have celebrated this festival in five different states but till date, my heart longs for the celebrations back home, in my hometown Dhanbad. The peace and tranquillity I get there is unmatched. Also, the cherry on the cake is to be with your parents for the entire festive time.

It’s not possible to visit them every year and in those years somehow, my celebration remains incomplete. We call each other every day, after every event, talk at length and end the call with an unsaid, ‘Missed you.’

On every such occasion when I miss my home and it’s warmth, I think hard, what if I never left home? Life would have been so much simpler. What if I never grew up? I miss being pampered and living a life without responsibilities.

Today, as a parent my only joy is to relive my childhood through my kids. Their innocent questions and keen observations leave me spellbound. This year my son enjoyed every moment of Durga Puja. He was fascinated to see Ma Durga’s ten hands, like her he too wanted a lion, he cried when the idol was being taken away and at the end when we immersed it in the water he amazed everyone by asking, “Will she swim back to her home?”

He brought a smile while bidding a tearful farewell to Ma Durga. My heart sinks when I see the idol being immersed. It creates a void and I am made to think, this is the void we create in our parent’s lives when we leave home.

I wish I could stay with them forever. Staying far away from home, I can only pray to the Almighty. May God bless them with health and happiness and take care of them when they need us the most. Lucky are the ones who get to stay together or at least in the vicinity of their parents. Treasure it, value it and be thankful for every moment of your life.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

পুজো (Pujo)

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পুজো এলো বেজে উঠলো শঙ্খ ঘন্টা ঢাক

মা এলেন পৃথিবীতে শুনে সন্তানের ডাক

 

পুজোর সাথে জুরে আছে স্মৃতি অনেক কটা

মনে পড়ে যায় সেই ছোট্ট বেলার কথা

 

নতুন নতুন জামা আর নতুন ঘরের রঙ

পুজো আসছে শুনেই কেমন মেতে ওঠে মন

 

মহালয়ার দিন ভোরেরবেলা ওঠে যাওয়া এক ডাকে

মহিষাসুর মর্দিনি দেখতে কি দারুণ যে লাগে

 

বিকেল হলেই বেরিয়ে পরতাম প্রতিমা গঠন দেখতে

অসাধারন শিল্পী যেন পারতাম একটু শিখতে

 

সপ্তমীর দিন সকালে উঠে ফুল দুব্য তোলা

পুজোর কাজে মেতে যাওয়া আর জমিয়ে আড্ডা দেওয়া

 

মায়ের দিকে চেয়ে দেখি কি সুন্দর মায়ের রুপ

ফুলের সাজ দীপের আলো সুগন্ধ ভরা ধুপ

 

ধুপ ধুনুচির মাঝে হঠাৎ ভোগের বেলা আসে

খিচুরী চাটনি বেগুন ভাজা কে না ভালবাসে

 

অষ্টমীর মহা আরতি সন্ধি পুজোর প্রদীপ

নবমীর দিন ভক্তি মনে লাগাই হোমের টিপ

 

বিকেল থেকে রাত পর্যন্ত সব পান্দালে যাওয়া

মায়ের দর্শন মেলা ঘোরা আর সেই ফুচকা খাওয়া

 

দশমীর দ্ই চিরে আর আনন্দে সিন্দুর খেলা

মন কিন্তু কেঁদে ওঠে এলো বিসর্জনের বেলা

 

ঢাক বাজিয়ে কোমর দুলিয়ে মা কে দি বিদায়

আসছে বছর আবার হবে বোলে ওঠে সবাই

 

সঙ্গে সঙ্গে শুরু হয়ে যায় বিজযার আলিঙ্গন

হাতে নারু মুখে হাসি মেতে ওঠে আবার মন

 

শেষ হয়ে গেল পুজো মন মানতে চায় না

মনের ভেতরে সর্বদা থাকো এই আশির্বাদ করো মা

……………………………………………………………………………….

(Sharing the poem in English, for all those who understand Bengali)

“Pujo”

Pujo elo beje uthlo shonkho ghonta dhaak,

Maa elen prithibite shune shontaaner daak

 

Pujor sathe jure aache smriti onek kota,

Mone pore jaye shei chotto belar kotha

 

Notun notun jama aar notun ghorer rong,

Pujo aashche shunei kemon mete othe mon

 

Mohaloyar din bhorerbela uthe jawa ek daake,

Mohishasur mordini dekhte ki darun je lage

 

Bikel holei beriye portam protima gothon dekhte,

Ashadharon shilpi jeno partam ektu shikhte

 

Shoptomir din shokale uthe phool dubbo tola,

Pujor kaje mete jawa aar jomiye adda dewa

 

Mayer dike cheye dekhi ki sundor mayer roop,

Phuler saaj diper aalo shugondho bhora dhoop

 

Dhoop dhunichir majhe hothat bhoger bela aashe,

Khichuri chaatni begun bhaja k na bhalobashe

 

Ashthamir moha aaroti shondhi pujor prodip,

Nobomir din bhokti mone lagai homer tip

 

Bikel theke raat porjonto shob pandale jawa,

Mayer dorshon, mela ghora aur shei puchka khawa

 

Doshomir doi chire aar aanonde sindur khela,

Mon kintu kende othe elo bishorjoner bela

 

Dhaak bajiye komor duliye ma k di bidaai,

Aashche bochor abaar hobe bole othe shobai

 

Shonge shonge shuru hoye jaye bijoyar aalingon,

Haathe naru mukhe hashi mete othe abar mon

 

Shesh hoye gelo pujo Mon maante chai na,

Moner bhitore shorvoda thako ei aashirbad koro ma

Dream and It’ll Come True (#TheBlindList #SayYesToTheWorld)

It was a summer afternoon in my hometown Dhanbad. My mother’s friend had come from Canada. It’s not a very usual thing in Dhanbad for someone to go abroad and so we were all in awe when she showed us her pictures from her visit. One after the other she would tell us stories and how things were very different there. After she left, I continued to bask in my imaginary world and dreamt of travelling the world someday. Who knew it would come true!

My blind date with the world began with a trip to Mauritius. I had no plans, no itinerary, no idea about its tourism but ended up trying my hands on Quad-biking, taking a thrilling walk under the sea, posing with a lion and enjoying the clear oceans. After this enriching experience, there was no looking back.

Soon I landed up in awesome Australia! The Kangaroos and Koalas were a treat to watch. Taking a walk in the mesmerizing Harbour Bridge and watching the magnificent Opera House from above is a must if you visit Sydney. Spent a day in the Darling Harbour, took a breath-taking view from the Sydney Tower and ended my day with a plate full of chocolate waffles with banana, strawberry and vanilla scoop.

 

Next, was the much-awaited trip to the USA. My adventure began with the snow-coveredimage2 (1) city of Minnesota where I experienced my life’s first snowfall and I instantly fell in love with it. I would want to experience it all over again. One season was not enough! I then travelled to Orlando and took a trip to Disney World. It was a childhood dream-come-true moment for me. Watched the beautiful castle, danced with Mickey, welcomed the new year amidst the midnight fireworks and watched the fabulous Electric parade. Don’t miss to visit the Asia Theme Park in the Animal Kingdom, it has a touch of our very own India and that was a very pleasant surprise. That’s the beauty of travelling without having an idea of what’s in store for you!

Spent a day in the Sea World and enjoyed the Whale and Dolphin Show. If you love rides then Mako is a must for you. However, I preferred to skip the tallest-longest-fastest ride and went next to NASA. The Kennedy Space Centre is a full day adventure where you can plan a visit on a rocket launch-day and you will remember it for your entire life. Meet a veteran NASA astronaut and listen to his amazing stories. Also, visit a shuttle and experience how it feels to be inside one.

Out of all the beaches in Florida, I chose to visit the Cocoa Beach. What is special about that? Well, that is where we got our adorable Jeannie! Yes, “I Dream of Jeannie” was shot there and it also boasts a street sign that was visited by Barbara Eden. No Jeannie fan can miss that.

We also took a long drive to the Southern-most point of the USA, Key West. It’s an amazingly beautiful place to visit. Our next drive was to world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior. Visited the majestic Niagara Falls just a day before it was shut due to heavy snowfall. Spent a weekend in Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the world. A walk down The Strip is a must to get the real vibe of Las Vegas. Also, covered The Grand Canyon, one of the Natural Wonders of the World. A night spent in New York’s Times Square is still afresh.

The story of my blind date with the world would be incomplete if I don’t share my experience with our very own Incredible India! I have splashed through the waves of Goa, danced all night in the Garba tunes of Gujarat, touched the Tropic of Cancer in Bhopal, enjoyed monsoon in Lonavala, took a tram ride in the City of Joy, Kolkata and have gorged upon the delicious Litti-Chokha of Bihar.

Unplanned trips have their own risks and charm but they turn out to be the best. When we booked our tickets to Las Vegas, people said we won’t be able to enjoy there with a toddler. In reality, we had the best of our time. Also, we took a risk to visit Niagara Falls without any prior planning and were lucky to watch it because the very next day it was shut due to heavy snowfall.

In this life full of uncertainties, a few unplanned trips are a must. Because you have reached the end of my blog and read about my adventures, I would now share a secret. I have booked my tickets for my next blind date! Any guesses? It is to see the heartthrob Roger Federer. I am a huge fan and I cannot miss watching him LIVE. Like every other blind list, even this is full of probabilities. Because the schedule for Australian Open is not revealed and it’s not sure whether he’ll play the Quarter Finals and even if he plays, which day will it be, I am just crossing my fingers to make it happen. I have also thought of a hashtag #RashiMeetsRoger! Hope it comes alive. Wish me luck.

Even if it doesn’t, my blind list will continue for many more years, exploring, discovering and making memories.

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#TheBlindList #SayYesToTheWorld URL Video

Christmas Eve

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This takes me back to one of my fond childhood memories. Today, as a mother when I repeat these tricks with my kids, I relive my childhood.

It was the Christmas season and in school, it was celebrated with great pomp and show. We practised for carol competitions, crib-making competitions and also decorated our classrooms in the Christmas theme. Carols as soothing as “Silent Night,” as peppy as “Jingle Bells,” and my favourite, “Christmas Time Mistletoe and Wine” are still fresh in my mind.

On the last day of school, we celebrated Christmas and it was a day filled with great fun and enthusiasm. The entire school would participate and win prizes. One of our teachers would dress up as Santa and suddenly appear in the auditorium making ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ sound! The big fat Santa would then throw chocolates in the air and we jumped to collect as many of them.

It also marked the beginning of a long winter holiday. While returning from school, we discussed the various plays we saw that day. Some enacted how Christ was born, some plays were based on the miracles of Christ and some played the role of Santa. One such story was of the ‘Santa and the Stockings,’ which left me utterly curious. Everybody in my school-bus agreed that it’s a true story and if you leave your socks outside, Santa would come at night and fill it with gifts.

On reaching home, I innocently asked my mother if it was true and even she agreed. That is when I decided to leave my socks outside on Christmas eve and my parents helped me tie them to a tree in our garden.

Every ten minutes I would peep outside to see if Santa arrived. My father noticed and said, Santa won’t come if I keep a watch, he would come only after I fall asleep. So, on one hand, I wanted to sleep right away so that Santa could come soon but on the other hand, my curiosity kept me awake. I wish an alarm would ring and notify me whenever Santa dropped a gift for me. I started imagining how he would arrive riding his sleigh, wearing red from top to toe and bring gifts for me. I didn’t realize when I slept but the moment I got up in the morning I ran outside to check.

Yes! It was there, Santa had come that night. My excitement knew no bounds and I jumped to pluck my socks. It was such a joy to see a gift inside, it was true.

Today, I smile just by remembering how silly it was. I also realized how parents keep these stories alive to bring happiness and joy to their kids. I too have kept the story and the enthusiasm alive for my child. He sleeps on Christmas eve with the same curiosity and wakes up to his Christmas gift.

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’