Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Durga Puja... on a different note!

October 13

Today is Maha Shashthi. Durga Puja begins today. Like every Bengali I am all excited and enthusiatic about Puja. But this time, my Puja celebration will be different. Instead of going out, pandal hopping, eating out, I'll spend most of my time at home with Aanya. This is Aanya's first Puja, and I hope I'll be able to take her to the Puja pandal for a bit one of the days.

Since I won't be able to go out of the house leaving Aanya alone, my mother has made the offering to Maa Durga for Shashthi Puja on my behalf. It's a little odd that I am sitting at home instead of going out, but I am not one bit upset. There was a time when I used to be in tears if I had to stay at home during the four days of the Puja. Now, for Aanya, nothing matters but her! Guess this what motherhood does to women.

Today started on a good note though. I went to a Goonj volunteer's place this morning to drop some clothes and shoes. Giving things, reaching out to people is my way of living. What could have been a better way to start my Puja celebration?

The next 3 days I will try and blog besides spending some 'quality' time with my little one! Tomorrow is  Saptami... what fun! 


Saptami is almost over, and I have finally found some time to myself. Aanya took her vaccines and polio drops this afternoon. She hasn't been cranky or anything but she sure feels a little pain; after all she had to take 2 pin pricks! She chose to be in my arms rather than sleeping on her own bed. 

Tomorrow will be different. I am going to the Puja pandal at Lokhandwala, may have some Bhog also.        

October 15

Maha Ashtami! I had many plans for this day, but they had to be altered. Never mind, I am going to make it all up tomorrow. The good things... I did have some bhog as Ma brought home some for me. Later in the evening I went to the Lokhandwala pandal for a bit, and guess what? Aanya went too! Just that she did not enter the premises, but stayed with my mother in the car. 

The Puja pandal looked as beautiful as ever, and I particularly liked the 'Pratimas' (idols). I also liked the yellow and blue lights hanging from the ceiling. In one of the Bengali news channels it was mentioned, that this time the Lokhandwala Puja is displaying works of Murshidabad, right from the decor to the dhakis. The sound of the dhak has a dizzying effect on me, and this evening it did help to set the right mood; I had goosebumps!

That was about Ashtami. Aanya turned 2 months today! And yes, we had another cake cutting celebration, and as usual, Aanya was fast asleep during the cake cutting and the photo shoot!       

October 16

Maha Nabami. Today it felt like Puja! My Mashi, Mesho and cousins arrrived this morning to spend the day with us. It's wonderful to have family around during Durga Puja. 

I got up rather early considering that I went to sleep past 7 in the morning. Aanya is a night baby and a morning baby, hence I am up almost all the time!  Anyway, I got Aanya ready and then I wore a saree (my once a year schedule), and then rushed to the Puja pandal with Joy. As we reached, we heard the announcement that the next Pushpanjali was to start in 5 minutes.

Pushpanjali is one part of Durga Puja I like the most. I feel it's a way of connecting with the Almighty. I am not a religious person, nor do I believe in doing Puja; however, there is something about Durga Puja that makes me think and feel otherwise. This is one ritual I have performed almost all of my life. The last 4/5 years Joy has started embracing this ritual too.

Aanya came to the pandal a little later with Ma, and then after a while she became the centre of attraction. Thanks to my mother's many friends in the Puja commitee, Aanya got to seek blessings from Maa Durga by getting on the podium and being there right in front of the Pratima! Almost all eyes were on her, everyone wondering who this kid was, while Aanya slept peacefully through the entire event!

Joy and I chose to skip Bhog as there was a huge queue, and it was extremely hot and sultry. After a short while we came back home, just my Ma and Mashi stayed back at the pandal.

Today was a wonderful day in many ways. Though I was tired and sleepy I enjoyed every moment of the day. It is Dashami tomorrow, the end of Durga Puja. I still feel sad when Puja gets over just the way I used to feel as a little girl. From this year on, Durga Puja will have more significance as I have Aanya in my life!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

For the 35 plus first time mothers to be!

A little warning or a piece of advice, look at it the way you want to. Chances of a premature delivery is very high for the 35 plus first time mothers to be. I hate stereo typing and I chose not to read that particular page from my pregnancy guide book which discusses this problem. I had a premature delivery. The good thing was that it was detected early and my baby was only under weight. She was kept at the NICU, Neonatal ICU, just to ensure that everything was fine and that she gains weight; and she did.

Around the seventh month of my pregnancy my blood pressure started shooting up. That is an indication which I realised after my child's birth. Though I was taking pills to control BP, it was not coming down. And, 1 month and 5 days before the scheduled delivery day I had a C Section; fortunately, there was no complication. A friend had a similar situation but her water bag broke and dried up before the delivery. Poor thing, she and her son suffered quite a bit. By God's grace, both of them are doing fine now.

My darling Aanya is almost 2 months old and she is doing fine. I have been extremely careful with her from the time she came home, but now I have started treating her like any other normal baby.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Many years ago, when I was very young, I used to spend Durga Puja vacation with my maternal grandparents. That's when I grew up listening to Mahalaya - Durga Bandana on the radio. Not that I understood much of what I heard, but there was a thrill about waking up at 4 in the morning and listening to the radio with everyone else in the house.

As I grew there came the days of the television, Mahalaya on Doordarshan, and I found that more appealing than the radio. But, as the years progressed I started losing interest in waking up early in the morning to tune into the radio or the television. Perhaps the significance of traditions, conventions have been reducing in the so-called modern times.

The past few years, in spite of my sincere interest, I miss turning on the television on time. I just can't wake up! This year it was worse, it didn't strike me that it was Mahalaya yesterday, though my cousin sent me a beautiful text message. Guess I am becoming increasingly forgetful or my mind is too preoccupied, whatever...

I was going through some blogs this morning. Thanks to KG aka Aparna, that I realised that YouTube has videos of Mahalaya! She posted a beautiful video 'Dhak'; just loved watching it. These modern ideas will definitely revive the spirit of Mahalaya for those who have lost interest in it. 

Just thinking, with the ever changing technolgy, one hardly misses anything anymore!  Just go through the life cycle of Mahalaya... it was the radio, then the television and now the YouTube videos... what next? :)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Those self proclaimed photographers!

Everyone's a photographer these days, thanks to the digicams and phone cameras. Till a few years ago only those who took interest in photography clicked photographs. Today, it is an easy art, rather it's hardly considered an art, hence everybody is clicking!

I know a few people who are praised and raved about for their interest in photography and their possession of fancy cameras. In fact, a couple of them don't wait for others to praise them, they do it themselves... braggarts! Sadly, if you see what they click with their cameras you'll be shocked 'cause more than half of the photographs are either out of focus or blurred! Most of what I click are not too bad actually, maybe the light and the focus are not always in place, they are not blurred at least (you can see the photos on my blog if you don't believe me!)

I met a professional photographer a couple of years ago, a friend's friend, and boy, in what style he clicked our photos. I didn't realise how bad they were until I saw them on my computer screen! I once trusted a relative to take photographs for an occasion at home, and this person has a variety of cameras. Most of what she clicked were so bad that I can't put them up anywhere, in fact, it's embarrassing to show them to people. The worst part is that I can't complain because I don't want to hurt her, but the fact remains that those occasions are one-time and those moments will not come back in my life anymore. 

This blog may probably seem like I am complaining, maybe I am. People should know what they are good at and what they are not. It's important to acquire skills and practise well before claiming to be an expert; otherwise, it's an insult to the art. And, those self proclaimed photographers, it's about time that you guys take lessons in photography from the real experts, and stop bragging and making a complete fool of yourselves!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010

After the shoddy CWG 2010 preparations the opening ceremony was spectacular! I, like other proud Indians, have been left breathless!

Bravo Indians!