In the early morning today, while returning to Baghdad, I found live performance of Indian classical music at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any music lover stopping for a while to enjoy the music. I was alone there for sometime!
I have got some very lovely friends in Baghdad. We share gifts between us. But, we have not met each other yet. This makes our relationship very special. These friends are colleagues of my husband in Baghdad.
Due to security reasons etc. I have not yet visited Baghdad and hence I have not met them. But, whenever, my husband comes home from there they always send some nice gifts to me. I also send them some gifts through my husband when he returns to Baghdad. Of them, I am closer to Teeba as we exchange emails and text messages sometimes. With others, we communicate mainly through my husband.
This time they sent me a very beautiful painting on canvas showing traditional image of Baghdad.
I liked it so much that I immediately got it framed and hanged it in our drawing-room. More than the gift, their love and respect for me behind the gifts are very touching, and I treasure it the most.
Many thanks to Lina, Rafeef, Sarah, Teeba and Yussur!
Gangnam Style has become the first video to clock up more than one billion views on YouTube. The South Korean dance track was posted online in July, propelling pop star Psy to worldwide fame.
YouTube said that the video had been watched seven million to 10 million times a day on average! It overtook the previous record holder – Justin Bieber’s music video Baby – on 24 November.
Incredible! Congratulations, Psy!
Today is Mahasaptami, the 7th day of Navaratri. The main Durga puja starts today. The country is getting dressed up for next four days of complete festivities. This is the most important, social and religious festival of Bengalis. Durga puja is celebrated by Bengalis all over the world, from Australia to America.
My other old friends have also come home in Ranchi from their colleges for Durga Puja. We six of us arranged a get together in the day. We all planned to assemble at our house. We planned to go for lunch at some dhaba on NH-33. We heard of a new joint – Royal Retreat. So we headed for it. We could not find it and reached BIT crossing. Then we started enquiring and so started coming back as we missed it! Then we found it and it’s quite close to our house – near Booty More. As we entered it’s premises, we found the reason for missing while driving down the highway. It’s not a dhaba! It’s a 5-star hotel!! We were not planned for this and so we returned back and had our lunch at Dawat restaurant near RIMS. It was followed by coffee at Brewberry at Lalpur.
In the evening, I and my dad went to Maitraee Club, North Office Para, Doranda for evening cultural programmes there.
Mom was already there since noon for the puja and cultural programmes. She is also one of the organizers. The kids of the neighborhood presented nice programmes.
Then dad, Gaurav and I went to Mecon Colony to see the Durga Puja there. We had nice time there and had good funds.
They have done some nice decorations with lights. It was looking great.
We had some sugar candies there.
Gaurav and I had some shooting games there.
Then, we returned to Maitraee Club and had dinner there with mom. We had Chow Mein and fish fries. We returned home around midnight. Oh, I have to upload the pictures too. Tomorrow is Mahashtami and we will go to Jamshedpur.
Karma is one of the most popular festivals of Jharkhand. This festival falls in the month of August/September (Hindu month of Bhadrapad). It is a festival celebrated by the Oraon, Baiga, Binjhwari and Majhwar tribes of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
The name Karma is drawn from the name of a tree “Karam”. The branch of the Karam tree is carried by the Karma dancers and is passed among them with singing and dancing. This branch is washed with milk and rice beer locally known as Handia. Then it is raised in the middle of the dancing arena. All worshippers dance for whole night in the praise of the “Karam”. The ritual starts with the planting of the trees. The dancers form a circle and dance with their arms around each other dancer’s waists.
The branches are garlanded on the next day. Offerings of flowers, rice and curd are made to them. Red colored baskets filled with grains are placed before the branches. Barley seedlings are distributed among the young people, who wear it on their heads. The branches are worshiped and their blessings sought. As per the legends of Karam Devi, she is believed to be the goddess of wealth and children.
During the dance they pass the branch of the tree, the men leap forward to a rapid roll of drums, while women dance with their feet moving in perfect rhythm to and fro.
The legend behind the festival, according to Harimohan, an anthropologist, is this:
Once upon a time there were seven brothers. They were busy in agriculture work. They had no time even for lunch and as such their wives used to carry lunch to the field daily. Once it so happened that their wives did not bring the lunch for them. They were hungry. In the evening they returned home without food and found that their wives were dancing and singing near a branch of the karam tree in the court yard. This made them angry and one of them lost temper. He snatched the karam branch and threw it into the river. The Karam deity was thus insulted as a result of which the economic condition of their family went on deteriorating. They were starving. One day a Brahman(priest) came to them. The seven brothers narrated the whole story. On hearing it, the Brahman told them that the Karam Rani was angry and she must be appeased. If it was not done their condition would further deteriorate, the Brahman told them. The seven brothers then left the village in search of the Karam Rani. They kept on moving from place to place and one day they found the tree. Subsequently, they worshiped the it. Thereafter their economic condition started improving.
The message is simple: since the entire economy of the Adivasis was dependent on land, water and forest, trees that sustain the environment must be worshiped. Karma Dance is also one of the oldest dance form in India. This dance form is common to the many ethnic groups of India.
Happy Karma to everyone! Long live Karam festival! At a time when cutting and uprooting of trees has become a normal daily affair in the name of business and development, Karam festival reminds us the of importance of trees and nature in our life.
My mom had decided to visit the temple of Sai Baba at Shirdi after I get admitted to SMIMS, Gangtok. My dad planned and booked the itinerary for us to visit Shirdi. He could not join us due to his engagements with his profession. We are missing him.
We reached Aurangabad from Ranchi via Mumbai yesterday. Ajanta & Ellora caves are near Aurangabad besides Shirdi. We reached Aurangabad in the evening around 8:00 pm yesterday.
Since 1983, the Ajanta caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These rock-cut caves are located around 105km away from Aurangabad city of Maharashtra, India.
There are 30 caves in Ajanta of which 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the rest are monasteries.
These caves were discovered in AD 1819 and were built up in the earlier 2nd century BC-AD. Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century BC-AD.
During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries A.D.), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group.
The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence.
All paintings show heavy religious influence, centre on Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.
The paintings, sculptures, murals inside the caves are awesome. These reflect the high quality of art and ideas of the great artists, sculptors of those periods. My mom and I were awestruck when we saw them. We did not realize before that these caves will reveal such a treasure of beauties!
Tomorrow we will leave for Shirdi and will visit Shani Shringanapur on the way.
One of the art world’s most recognisable images — Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — sold Wednesday for a record $119,922,500 at auction in New York City. To mere mortals it hardly seemed like a bargain but someone, somewhere, last night decided that owning a rare version of Edvard Munch’s iconic 1895 artwork The Scream was worth shelling out an eye-watering 119.9 million dollars.
The price, one of the highest ever paid for a work of art and the highest for one bought at an open auction, came after just 12 minutes of bidding and was won by a so-far anonymous telephone bidder. Neither the buyer’s name nor any details about the buyer was released.
The intense interest in the paining is mostly due to its huge stature in both the art world and in global popular culture. The 1895 painting, which is one of only four versions of the work in existence and widely seen as the best one, is one of a handful of artistic images that have crossed over from the world of high art to popular culture.
Now The Scream will join a select group of works that have sold for more than a 100 million dollars, including Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust which sold in 2010 Christie’s for 106.5 million dollars. Yet even that hefty price tag feels like a snip compared to the staggering 250 million dollars paid by oil-rich Qatar to snag Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players for a new art museum. Details of that deal only emerged earlier this year, but it was struck in 2011.
My friend in Ranchi – Pankaj Ji has got his collection of poems published under the name – Nayi Madhushala. The book has been published by Aroo Publications.
Nayi Madhushala was released in the World Book Fair being held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. We celebrated the proud occasion at his house in Ranchi with his family by cutting a cake.
Jaya and I went to his house to meet them with the cake. Pankaj ji cut the cake and then we all enjoyed the evening together. His wife Nisha prepared dinner for us.
In the meanwhile, we received the news that 2,000 copies of his book have been sold in first three hours.
Congratulations, Pankaj ji!
The love that lives for ever is being lost as suitors lay down their pens. Throughout history, couples have expressed their undying love in handwritten letters. Few people take the trouble to write by hand today, but if anything is preserved at the back of a desk drawer, it is likely to be the handwritten love letter that once upon a time sent someone’s heart shuddering. Letters reveal raw emotions such as joyous or unrequited love; a letter bares the soul to just one other person.
What is believed to be the oldest valentine in the English language was written by Margery Brews to John Paston III in February, 1477, in which she addresses him as “my right well beloved Valentine”.
A typed memo or email can never convey the same texture as a handwritten letter. They contain layers of information and reveal much more about a person through the handwriting style, the shape it makes on the paper, as well as the signature itself, often with an array of doodles or drawings. It is not only that the impact of the words seems magnified when written by hand but letters have sometimes acquired smells (of coffee, tea, perhaps, or cigarette) or been spattered by tears or mud, which adds enormously to their power.
Not only love letters, while as kids I used to write letters to friends and relatives, send self-made greeting cards. We used to wait for letters from our friends and relatives. The sight of the neighbourhood mail carrier used to kindle hopes for letters.
The human touch, the raw feelings are missing in the emails, Facebook, twitter and texts. The internet & mobiles have totally erased the culture of letter writing, nowadays. I am also a victim, like everybody else!