Durga Puja

For last several years, we are going to Jamshedpur during Durga Puja on the day of Maha Ashtami to celebrate the Puja there for the remaining days and return to Ranchi on the day of Vijaya Dashami. This year also we planned the same.

We were in Ranchi for Durga Shashthi and Maha Saptami. We are involved mainly in the Maitraee Club puja in North Office Para, Doranda. During our earlier stint in Ranchi from 1997 to 2001, we were staying in North Office Para and were involved in this Puja.

On Jit’s transfer back to Ranchi from Jamshedpur in 2005, we were staying in Bariatu. Although it’s quite a distance between Bariatu and North Office Para, we revived and maintained our connection with Maitraee Club.

Babai came home on October 10, the day of Shashthi in the afternoon. Jit, Baba and I went to the airport to receive Babai. Due to some re-scheduling of flight timings, Babai’s flight came 35 minutes beyond the earlier declared time. We received Babai at the airport. It’s our family re-union after a long time and hence the most pleasurable moment for three of us.

In the evening, we went to Maitraee Club. There were some games being organized by the club. Jit and I both won a prize each.

Babai tied up with his old school friends for the Maha Saptami day to spend time with them.

We had Prasad & bhog there at the club. Today’s main bhog was sponsored by us. After having Bhog I stayed back there for preparation of the cultural programme. Jit returned back home and came back in the evening with Baba & Babai. The club members presented a good cultural programme.

After the programme, we went to Mecon’s colony Shyamali for seeing the puja and dinner. It was almost midnight then. We returned home after having dinner there.

In the morning of October 12, we left for Jamshedpur. So far, the Puja days were good, but there’s a weather forecast of heavy rains and strong winds from the evening of Maha Ashtami as the Cyclone Phailin was scheduled to hit the Indian shores near Gopalpur. It’s a 4-category storm and hence a huge one.

The sky was overcast from the morning. We reached Swarn Vihar, Sonari in Jamshedpur, where we participate in the puja.

Mukherji da and boudi kept the Maha Ashtami bhog for us. We went to their house and had the privilege of the bhog. They are very nice and sweet couple. They love us a lot.

This time the Sandhi Puja was in the afternoon. So after bhog, we returned to the puja pandal for the Sandhi puja.

After witnessing the puja and having the prasad, we went to our hotel – The Sonnet in Bistupur. It had started drizzling by then. We took some rest and then got dressed up for the evening and went to Swarn Vihar again for the cultural programme. Mukherji da participated in a comic play.

Rain is continuing in the evening. We dared out to see the pratima, pandals of CH Area and Aambagan in Sakchi. We also had some foods in the stalls in CH Area and ice candies in Sakchi despite the rains! We returned to the hotel. It rained heavily in the night.

We reached the Swarn Vihar puja pandal on the day of Maha Navami to find the place flooded. It’s raining then also. We offered Pushpanjali. Efforts were made to drain out the water. After the puja of Navami, Jit, and Babai joined in the homa. Then we had bhog. Due to rains, we returned to hotel.

In the evening, we went to Swarn Vihar again for the cultural programme and the dinner arranged by them.

Babai danced in merry after the end of cultural programme

Because of heavy rains, we could not go out and also Baba is scared of rains. We returned to hotel in the night.

On Vijaya Dashami, October 14 we found that many low lying places were flooded. Swarnarekha & Kharkai rivers were swollen.

Swarnarekha flowing to the brim

After the protima baran and sindur khela, we returned to Ranchi after having lunch there.

Pratima baran

We stopped for a cup of tea at a roadside motel near Deori temple. It was raining then.

The fury of the cyclone was felt more in Ranchi with many trees and electric poles uprooted. The power supply was stopped for almost two days to preempt accidents. The power was resumed in Ranchi just before we reached Ranchi. Thank God! The traditional vijaya sammelan at Maitraee club was postponed due to inclement weather conditions.

With the grace of the Goddess Durga, we enjoyed the puja a lot despite such an inclement weather. It was primarily because three of us were together.

Played Holi this year after a long time!

Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Holi is also known as a festival of colours. It is celebrated by throwing colours, scented powders, perfumes on others. One of Holi’s biggest customs is the loosening strictness of social structures, which normally include age, sex, status, and caste. Holi closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Hindus together. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. Additionally, Holi lowers the strictness of social norms. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement and joy.

Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Holi has even greater purposes. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.

Even I can’t recognize me!

After a long period, I am in Ranchi during this time. Also, Babai is with us. In the morning, the people from our apartment came and assembled at the sidewalk of the parking for Holi. Jaya and I also went down. We enjoyed throwing, spreading colours, coloured powders on each other along with water. It was good that weather was nice and so we could meet, greet people with water and colours. Then we all had some sweets before returning to our house for cleaning and bathing. Cleaning our bodies of colours is a big exercise during bath. Anyway, this all adds to the fun.

In the afternoon, I drove to the house of our ex-neighbor with Jaya and Babai for lunch. They invited us for lunch at their place. In the evening, I drove with Jaya and Babai to Doranda, where we used to stay long time back to meet and greet our old friends and again played with colours but without waters. We chatted, enjoyed and dined together. The kids were playing even before returning to home after dinner!

Babai with Gaurav & Nidhi

We enjoyed Holi a lot even after a gap of about 10 years with our friends in Doranda. Tomorrow is the journey day. I will return to Baghdad and Babai will return to Gangtok. I am feeling very sad for Jaya as she will be alone again at home.