Festival of colors

In our bengali culture we celebrate “Dol” (the day before Holi) in a splendid way and on the day of Holi you would see people back to their normal routine.

I have very sweet memories of Dol from my childhood. I’m the single child of my parents, but never felt alone because of my cousins, they always surrounded me, and there used to be at least one get together in every two months.

On the day before Dol we used to visit a nearby place for watching “Holika Dahan” or “Nera Pora” in Bengali. The word Holika is used to refer “Asura” (Devil), and on that night pyres are burnt in the belief of destroying all the evil powers. On the way back to home we used to buy colors, balloons for filling colored water in it and hitting on each other.

On the day of Dol while the elder members of the family used to be in a reluctant mood, enjoying the government holiday, we the youngsters were the busiest person on earth. The day used to start with a sumptuous breakfast and then we kept ourselves busy with mixing colors with water, filling balloons with water, keeping the powdered colors on pocket for offering them to the elder members on the family. After getting tired of smearing enough colors on each other, we used to go out on the streets to find new victims. Any known person passing by the road couldn’t escape from our trap. The elders had to forcefully take us back home at noon and our faces were unrecognisable by that time.

Washing out the colors from skin was a tough task.

Finally all of us used to sit together to dig into the plates of piping hot Mutton Kasha and other mouth watering dishes.

Now, only the memories remain. Each of the cousins are at different part of the country and there has not been a gathering on Dol for the last 10years.

This year also, Dol was spent like any other holiday, tried to uplift the mood by making some Gujiyas, which are considered to be a mandatory part of the Holi Platter.

Unlike the conventional Gujiyas, I used spicy stuffing in it. Boiled some moong dal(lentils), soyabean and grinded them in mixer with some chillies and used this as stuffing.

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International Day Of Happiness 🌸

Happiness- a birthright of every human being. Irrespective of the things we choose to do, and in the way we choose to do the things we should have a common goal and that is staying “Happy” throughout the process and Spreading the Happiness.

While it may seem that in this fast competitive world there’s huge amount of pressure acting on us and resulting in snatching the happiness from our lives, making us restless, letting the negative thoughts surround us completely so that we forget the fundamental thing that happiness is just a practice.

Positivity attracts positivity and negativity attracts negativity.

Whenever we feel sad for some reason, if we can consciously divert our mind to think of one happy moment, our brain will immediately send us the signal of another happy moment and it will go on like this until we forcefully choose to think about the reason for sorrow again that can in return remind us of another dozen of sad moments from the past.

In this practice of feeding our mind with happiness we would experience many obstructions, like making ourselves feel guilty for diverting our mind from the reason for sadness (that may be some real big problem) towards happiness, we may held ourselves guilty for escaping from the problem. But these are all illusion. Staying in a sad phase, punishing ourselves by reminding of the sad moments is of no use! It would only make us weak and instigate a fear in us by weaving some negative consequences in our mind that aren’t going to happen in reality.

But if we choose to handle all the problems staying in a happy phase, then we can see the reality clearly, there’s no unnecessary fear in our mind, we accept the situation we are in, rather than blaming our fate for bringing us in a misery. We start taking baby steps for taking us out of the problems we are in, and as we take a few steps the road infront of us become clear (and when we were surrounded by sadness, this same road was full of uncertainty & probable of inviting more miseries).

It is as simple as that.

My mum taught me one most important lesson at the early days of my childhood.. “whenever you make any mistake while doing a sum, never try to find the mistake in that sum, do it again in a fresh way completely forgetting the way how you have done it earlier, cause it is very hard to find our own mistake. ”

Likewise we should train our mind to look at different aspects for solving our problems rather than concentrating on the misery.

Stay happy stay healthy.. 😊

Crop tops and Saree : a combo made in heaven

A movie date happened almost after six long months. I wanted to wear a saree, but since I’m not a regular saree wearer so apart from some basic colors I don’t have much variety in blouses. Though mix and match are so in fashion now a days, but I couldn’t find anything that could go well with this cotton appliquéd saree.

Then I gave this denim crop top a try and ta da!! I was happy with the way it came out!

Next struggle was with the drape. Opened Pinterest, tried some uncommon drapes but failed to pull off any of them and finally settled in the comfortable seedha pallu drape.

Neevi and seedha pallu are the two drapes that can let me be in my comfort zone, never tries to pull my attention from other things towards them.

P. S the AI cameras on the mobiles now a days have a tendency to whiten every object clicked in auto mode. I hate how it made my denim top look so pale😐

#womensday : stop misusing the term!

One of the famous celebrity designers of our country posts this picture of a dusky plus sized woman and he thinks that it should depict confidence!

May I know Sir, why did you have to follow this cheap marketing gimmick? You are too popular (and overpriced and overhyped and overrated) already. We all know that you are gonna get back to your slim and fair models on the next day! Then why such unethical practice? Why did you use such controversial captions for the curvy dusky models, as if they needed to be highlighted by you to get accepted by the society and they weren’t confident about themselves until you focused on them!

Back to 2007-2008 this designer was interviewed by The Telegraph, shared his struggle, how he had chosen to follow his passion going against everything and overcoming the depression that was eating him up for the guilt of not being able to fulfil his parent’s dream. I was so moved by the words he had shared, that I kept that paper in my book case separately. I had so much respect for him.

That illusion started breaking in these recent four-five years, he’s been delivering controversial statements (shamed women who can’t wear a saree, being unaware of the fact that India is a country of diversity and we are known for being humble and respectful to each other’s language, culture, food habit and way of dressing). I thought him to be more compassionate than this.

But sigh!

Women’s Day? Sorry, I need a day that celebrates egalitarianism.

It’s 11th March and still some women’s day posts are ruling my Facebook timeline.

I enjoy being a woman, being me, every single day to the fullest!

A date is fixed to acknowledge the power of women, and on that single day overwhelming respect is poured on her, surprise gifts from office, wishes from friends, colleagues and from the next day we again start our battle for equality.

There are a very few women who didn’t have to listen to the taunts like “she must have bewitched the examiner(sir)” after topping the examination.

I have studied in a university that has secured 64th rank in the Brics Top Universities Ranking and one of our professors stated after a few days of our enrollment that we, the girls should go for mediocre government jobs only, because he thinks that girls can’t fit themselves in a challenging role that a high profile private job demands.

Then, there was an aged professor, very humble and extremely knowledgeable, and too kind, but on the report card, an average boy would get higher marks on his subject than the bunch of meritorious girls.

They say education( though they mean the conventional degrees only) makes a man chivalrous. I say no! The practice of disrespecting women, considering them as feeble, belittling their power is so deeply rooted in the minds of a particular category of people that it has become so hard to extirpate these things.

If I demand for equality, I’m not supposed to demand for the ladies seat in metro even though it’s proven that women’s bodies are not as strong as compared to men, on every month for four days women are struggling with the dreadful pain and pushing themselves to perform duties like any other day. The blood that gives birth is considered as unholy.

On this women’s day I wanna make a humble request, if you can’t be sympathetic, be apathetic but don’t be anti pathetic at least!

Kudos to all the men who don’t fall under the category I mentioned, who are always encouraging the women, guiding them, helping them, pacifying them at the tough times. They with their small gestures of help make sure that the women succeed through all the odds.

And I owe everything to this man of my life❤️

The paranthe Wali family

Since no one in my family is not much a fan of deep fried things, so we always choose parantha over puris and we include every possible edible things in our parantha!

Winter is like a blessing to us when we can get cabbage, cauliflower, peas, carrots and so many fresh veggies to include in our paranthas.

Above is the picture of parantha in which I included freshly chopped veggies(carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, capsicum, peas, beans, green chillies) and kneaded the atta with these and the binding was not perfect because of adding the chopped vegetables, so there was a lot of difficulty in rolling it. A little more atta is needed than the usual while rolling it, so before shallow frying it, make sure that you dust off the excess atta from the parantha else it will absorb more oil than usual.

Mum made some Dum Aloo to serve with it, I must mention that no additional color was added to it, only tomatoes and home made turmeric paste was used.

What’s your favourite parantha recipe?

A short trip to Kamarpukur – Jayrambati

We started our journey from Kolkata by bus, it took us 3 hours to reach Kamarpukur, a small serene village located in Hooghly District.

Kamarpukur is the birthplace of Sri Ramkrishna. His father was well known in that village for his truthfulness. He developed an attraction for spirituality from him early age. He became an ardent venerator of Goddess Kali and his joining as a priest to Dakshineswar Kali Temple triggered his obsession in spiritualism. His mother tried to get him married for diverting his attention to familial life. Ramakrishna was married to Sarada Devi. He started worshipping Sarada Devi as deity.

You can read more about his life from the link given below.

Ramkrishna paramhangsha

As we entered the Math, lush green fields and colorful winter flowers welcomed us.

We booked rooms for staying at the guest house for a night. You can easily book rooms through their website. The rooms were clean and tidy and filled with serenity.

Guest house

Discipline is the main thing in Ramkrishna Math. It always amazes me that how well they manage such a grand organisation. We had lunch at the Math. The dinning Hall can accommodate upto 1000 people.

Dining hall

They serve lunch at 11.30 am daily. If you wish you have prasad, you have to collect coupons from office by 10.30 am.

On the afternoon we visited jayrambati, birth place of Maa Sarada.

The famous quotation of Maa “I am the mother of the wicked, as I am the mother of the virtuous. Never fear. Whenever you are in distress, just say to yourself ‘I have a mother.’ ” is engraved on the entrance gate of the temple.

Temple of sarada devi

Maa’s original room, her kitchen everything has been preserved with so much care.

From there we visited an orphanage cum school located nearby. When we reached there, it was almost evening and the girls of all ages were playing outdoor games in sarees with such an ease.

Our evening was spent in the Ramkrishna math, listening to Maharaj explaining philosophies of life. Beside the prayer hall, there’s an enormous mango tree, planted by Sri Ramkrishna’s own hand.

There’s a temple for Goddess Durga, and every year Durga Puja is celebrated in a grand manner.

As we were roaming around the Math and reached the backend, a huge bougainvillea tree amazed us with it’s beauty.

We returned home with so many happy memories and promised ourselves to visit again. 😊