Monday, October 09, 2006


Today marks hundered years since the birth of somebody who made me like english fiction. The man who made me read non-textbook english. This was the man who made me like English Fiction.

It is still afresh in my mind, the first time i ventured into my school library looking for a book to read. I was in middle school and had no idea of anything called english fiction. Had however started to read some tamil fiction by then.

Cruising through the racks, the small thin book with an Indian name caught my attention. "Swami and Friends" was as indian as you could get. The name of the author was actually not unknown to me. R K Narayan was a name i had seen in some english textbook and the ever green television series, 'Malgudi Days'.

From that day onwards, I have been fascinated by this man's works. I have read many of this works and I finish them in record time. I have of course read others, but the charm with this man is something i have not felt with any of the others.

I am literally short of words to write about him. What can i write about him? Who is this somebody, who needs to fetch a dictionary for quite a few words, to write about somebody who has made millions of humans spellbound by his words?

Friday, October 06, 2006


This festival is arguably the longest festival for the hindus. It is 9 days long. Usually starting on the new moon day, the tenth day is the day called 'Vijaya Dasami' which is suppose to be the day of victory.

In the middle of some conversation, there was question as to why is this festival celebrated? What is the significance of it?

One was told that, it is to welcome the colder months which begin after the festival and the climate change is being celebrated. Also, the climate change is a good time for the mosquitoes to bring in all kinds of epidemics and it is time to worship the goddess to keep the place safe from such spreads.

It is true that it is a festival to worship the divine mother, the goddess is worshiped in various incarnations, but, the other things are not things which have verifiable proofs. In West Bengal, this festival is celebrated as Durga Pooja and in Karnataka as Dussera.

To me, we do celebrate navarathri at home with what is called the 'kolu'. This is a unique arrangement of dolls in the drawing room. Usually some old boxes and tables and other such objects are brought together and arranged to form a staircase like arrangement in the drawing room or some other convenient place. The number of steps has to be necessarily odd. On which, we usually spread some coloured cloths and then arrange dolls of gods and goddesses and others in different forms made from a variety of substances.

The dolls can be those of gods, goddesses and other divine people and objects. Of men and women depicting various acts of day-to-day life. Some people also decorate their kolu with statues of national leaders amongst others.

Creativity that is hidden in each person at home is brought out during this festival. The arrangements of the kolu and other decorations and then making more stuff, like parks, zoos, making rangolis from flour or by sticking rice or a plate and filling it with colour powder. Having different kinds of lamps and wall hangings from all over and even serial lights is the order of the day.

People who are initiated to it, do 'Sri Vidhya' pooja everyday during the 9 days. Others perform normal pooja and in the evening the kids are dressed up with different ways. Like a fancy dress competition, each evening, kids at home are dressed up in different costumes and they take pride in going around and showing off to their peers. The good part which is the food part is also there. Sundal (baked cereals with salt and garnished) is made every evening and distributed to everybody who comes. This festival is also an opportunity for the womenfolk to socialise. This was essential in the yesteryears when the ladies were usually never seen outside the house.

The 9th day of the festival is the saraswathi pooja, which is a pooja to goddess saraswathi, the goddess of knowledge. This day, all the books and other study equipment and even other tools are all worshiped as a form of the goddess herself. The 10th day is the vijayadasami which is considered an auspicious day to start learning any new thing. As it is considered the day of victory, it is believed that things started on the day would be victorious always. Young kids are put in school on Vijayadasami day. It is also our version of Teacher's day, when we go and seek blessings from all our teachers.

This year's navarathri got over 4 days ago. And as usual i had to go and sing at quite a few friends' places.

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