Monday, October 17, 2005

Pujo the Probashi Way..
That's pretty much the way I have known Pujo all my life.Even before I knew what Probashi really meant ( Beleive it or not, I was informed (not so politely) only in Grad School by fellow Bongs, that I am, a not-so-fellow Probashi(not very native,yet qualified) Bong!I confirmed with Ma, you know to double check,just to make sure these guyz weren't just giving me a hard time! anyway thats another post).

So ya, I grew up in Baroda and hence qualify as Probashi. Ma is very religious. She made sure the kids went for Pujo. To Kirti Mandir Pujo AND to the other Pujo. She even got me to participate in the whole song-and-dance cultural fare! I,ofcourse,dutifully complied. I was little so knew better than to object.But that was another time...

This year's Pujo was a different ball game altogether.This year's Pujo was more Probashi than ever before. Ma repeatedly asked me to buy tickets to Toronto for Pujo. I ofcourse ignored for the longest time. Less than a week before Pujo weekend I bought the tickets, I found the best air fare in years.
In Toronto, and in the US for that matter, Pujo has to be during weekend, folks cant afford to chuck work to do all the work for Pujo before hand. Sad.Thankfully, this time around Pujo was during a long weekend, the Columbus day weekend. And I coaxed Baba to fly over from Calgary, who ofcourse was more than willing.

Ma had it all ready. My new clothes, Saree (which I carried around myself for two consecutive days!!!Folks I need a pat for pulling this one off!) and everything! First thing I did (as always) was to gorge on home cooked goodies ( Mustard Hilsha Fish, Chicken, and fish again....). I made Ma cook Fish on days she wouldnt even touch non-vegetarian food, but thats another story.
Just like Baroda,there were two big Pujo's- One in a Mondir- the Toronto Kali Bari, and another in a local establishment.
We ofcourse went to both.

This up here is the Pujo at Toronto Kali Bari.Check out the Devout Mashis!

Apparently Toronto has the largest population of Bongs in North America. The milling Pujo crowds, the smell of incense and ghee, the dhaak, the shonkho,the "Pushpanjoli",the "Panjabi" clad lil kids", the all-too-busy Maashima's distributing flowers and such among the countless over-extended flower-seeking hands , the adorable Didu's sitting in the corner ... it was all there. Oh and the scramble for Bhog.More of a scramble than I have ever known, but khichuri and chatney was totally worth it!!Missed thorkari though.

Ma's best buddy from high school(or was it even before that) showed up too. They hugged and reminisced old times and their school years, it was kinda cute,difficult to imagine to imagine Little Ma though. Anyway, M Aunty's (Ma's best buddy) daughter who bore a canny resemblance to Protima Bedi , did some great Odissi to Nazrul's songs.I ofcourse ,for the entire duration of the show, thought it was Bharatnatyam she was doing (hey the M.C said so ! )And then there were these numerous Mashis and Kakus who felt free to step up on stage and sing! Some didn't do too bad though (Baba ofcourse frowned through the entire episode and said all these people were venting their pent up musical energy on us unsuspecting victims!He maybe right,but I have a feeling he was jus jealous.....)

I came back to New York after fabulous weekend .. and promptly wished everyone Shubho Bijoya.

Probashi Shubho Bijoya perhaps?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mr. Tharoor

Last year around this time,I volunteered to help out in an off-off broadway production.( I used to think 'off-off broadway' was a nasty adjective used by the snooty or the ignorant, now I know its an official term. Ouch.) Anyway the play and my life then is another post. This is isnt about it. Shashi Tharoor was the special guest of honour at the opening. Thats when I met him for the first time. I had devoured 'Great Indian Novel' and 'Show Business' by then, but you dont have to meet the novelist to read his novels. So that worked out.
Now as cliched and quivering-school-girl like as it sounds, he was spiffy.Very Stylish. Even Sexy in some strange way. Much to Mr. G's chagrin.
I live on his website now. Bookless in Baghdad next.

http://www.shashitharoor.com