Yo Yo Honey Singh in Ranchi

On March 30, Yo Yo Honey Singh performed live in Ranchi. We booked our tickets online a couple of days before. His concert was at JSCA stadium at Dhurwa in Ranchi.

We reached the stadium at 7:30 p.m. as the concert was to begin from 7:30 p.m.

There was a huge crowd for the live concert. A DJ was playing music to entertain the crowd. A few local dance groups gave their stage performance before Honey Singh took the stage. He came on the stage at around 9:00 p.m.

He enthused the audience with his lively, popular songs.

Suddenly after finishing his famous “Sunny Sunny…” song he left the stage saying that he would come again next year. The public was not ready for such early and abrupt end of the show. It was just 10:00 p.m. then and it’s too early. He sang a few songs only. I felt cheated and so do many others, too.

Nothing remains but darkness…

An excerpt from a famous poem written in Bangla language by Jibanananda Das (translated in English for a larger audience):

At the day’s end evening crawls in like the sound of dews,
The kite flaps off the smell of sun from its wings.
When all colors take leave from the world
except for the flicker of the hovering fireflies
The stories are ready to be told
All birds come home, rivers too,
All tasks of the day being over
Nothing remains but darkness
to sit face to face with Banalata Sen.

Kahramana statue, Baghdad

Kahramana roundabout is regarded as one of the most famous spots in Baghdad. It is located on the crossroads between the famous Karrada Dakhil and Karrada Kharij districts. People driving by the roundabout can see the Statue of a beautiful young girl carrying a jar and pouring water down and surrounded by another forty jars around her.

I was going round it today while going to Iqama office in Baghdad. I liked the statue and on return to my home I googled about it. The statue was made during the 1960s, by an artist named Mohammed Gheni. He also made two big statues of king Shahryar and his wife Scheherazade on Abu Nawas Street.

Many people believe that the statue of Kahramana is related to the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, from the One Thousand and One Nights, which is often known in English as the Arabian Nights. It is a statue depicting part of the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The slave girl Morgiana pours boiling oil into storage jars where the thieves are lying in wait to attack her master.

However, there are many others, who tell another story about the young and smart Kahramana, who used to help her father running a small hotel in old Baghdad. The father used to bring a cart full of empty jars, and in the next morning he fills each jar with oil and sells them in the market. On a cold winter night, Kahramana heard some noise and later discovered that there were thieves hiding in the empty jars. Their heads were only visible to watch. Kahramana went to her father’s room, woke him up, and told him about what she saw. They came up with an idea to make some noise in the hotel so the thieves would hide completely inside the jars. When this happened, Kahramana filled a jar with oil and started pouring the oil on every single jar with a thief hiding in it. The thieves began screaming, and one after the other jumped out of the jars, by the time this happened, the police came and arrested them. This is the story as it is told in old tales, and it dates back to the pre-Islamic era. May be Ali Baba story was derived from this old folklore.

Live classical music at Delhi airport

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!

Two musicians playing Indian classical music

Vishwaroop followed by pizzas tonight

Dad is placing orders at the point of sale, while we were sitting at the table. Dad, Mom, Mami, Guttu and I went to see Kamal Hasan’s Vishwaroop in the evening show today at PVR, Vinayak Center in Civil Lines, Allahabad. After that we went to the Domino’s Pizza for pizza dinner. We enjoyed the film and pizzas.

A gift from Baghdad

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 hits one billion views

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.

2012-12-21_1950

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!

Durga Puja 2012 – Mahasaptami

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.

Maa Durga at Maitreyee Club, North Office Para, Doranda

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.

Kids performing dance

Young girls displaying their dancing talent

Then dad, Gaurav and I went to Mecon Colony to see the Durga Puja there. We had nice time there and had good funds.

Puja pandal at Mecon Colony

They have done some nice decorations with lights. It was looking great.

Dazzling light display at Mecon Durga puja pandal

We had some sugar candies there.

Kuchh meetha ho jaye! – sugar candy

Gaurav and I had some shooting games there.

Aiming to shoot – hit or miss?

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 – A tribal festival of Jharkhand

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.

Awesome Ajanta caves

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.

Cave # 29

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.

Cave # 29

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.

Largest sculpture of sleeping Buddha in Cave # 29

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.