Personal Views

And it rained….

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby…”

First Summer Rains
Photo courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

It had been scorchingly hot here in Bangalore, and its’ not even mid-summer!! Reports say that Sunday’s (31st March, 2013) maximum temperature of 37.6 degrees celsius and minimum temperature of 24.2 degrees celsius has been the highest in the past 25 years in Bangalore!!! I should say that I have started missing the pleasant Bangalore weather terribly. I have been nagging my hubby that it should rain atleast once a week during this summer. As you know, husband never listens to wife 🙂 🙂 But luckily there is someone who listens. This evening God listened to my prayers and showered me with joy of rain, literally :). The rain was heavy, easy, with no meaning or intention but the fulfillment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall… Remembered those good old days in Jharkhand, when we used to dance in the rain, collect hailstones and eat them… making paper boats and float them to see whose boat can survive the rain longest …such nice memories… How badly I want those days to come back again…!! 🙁

Anyways folks, I hope everyone is enjoying the first summer rains here in Bangalore… I wish the rains take away all the worries, sadness and negativity from your lives and leave back the happy sunshine full of joy and happiness… If you want to see the rainbow, you have to stand the rain! Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Smell the rain and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams!! 😀 😀

Here is a rain poem I tumbled over today.. Enjoy it 🙂

“Rain drops falling in my head,
and never knowing when it will end.
Should I run for cover,
or let another rain drop fall in my head again?
I would love to dance in the rain,
and knowing somehow it’ll help erase the pain.
Sometimes when I’m all alone,
and I see rain drops are falling outside again.
There’s happiness that I feel because rain is here once again.
Some may feels gloomy when it rains
and some just want to feel it in their hand.
But me I just love it when rain drops falls into my face.
Oh the magic that rain brings, it makes you feel unique.
It may bring you sadness, wet feeling in toes and clothes
but I just see happiness when it rains…. ❤❤”

Here comes the spring…

Saraswati Puja

 ॥ या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना।

या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ॥

This is the Saraswati Vandana we sing every year on the auspicious occasion of Saraswati Puja. “Saraswati” is the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. The name Saraswati came from “saras” (meaning “flow”) and “wati” (meaning “a woman”). So, Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman. She is depicted as beautiful Goddess with four arms, wearing spotless white saree and seated on a large white lotus sorrounded by swan and peacocks. She is also known as “Sharada” (meaning “autumnal”), “Vani” and “Vagdevi” (both meaning “speech”). Saraswati holds a special place in the minds of Hindu students, as she is the goddess of learning.

Name it a tradition or a student lucky day, one is not supposed to study on Saraswati Puja. Now, who needs a better reason to cast aside books for one day have fun and roam around without being asked or questioned?? Placing all the books of my most dreaded subjects (Maths and Physics) and the pen which I would use during the final examination beside the idol was the first thing I used to do on this day! I used to take part in this puja so actively.  I remember praying and chanting the mantras with my grandfather with all my heart on this day as it meant a lot to me! The only wish I wanted “Maa” to grant me was to pass me in “MATHS”  (ofcourse in other subjects too!!) We were strictly refrained from touching the books or any study material till the day was over! Next day, I used to collect them, pray a small prayer (actually reminding “Maa” that she should have now filled the power of knowledge in me) and then started studying vigorously. After all, final exams always used to be just few days away and I had to make up for one day of my lost time you know 😉

I remember everyone wearing basanti (yellow) color clothes on this special day. Reason: yellow being the favourite color of Saraswati maa, apart from white, and the rich yellow signifiies the onset of Basant Ritu. Most of the flowers, fruits and sweets which were offered to Saraswati maa were either yellow or white in color. It’s not uncommon seeing unmarried and adolescent girls ageing 4-19 years wearing some or other shade of yellow sarees! Apart from the rituals involving the puja, the very sight of cute little school girls decked up looking like cute dolls in sarees (which most of the times are unmanageable) hopping around the streets and lanes, eating the “prasad”, is such a delight to watch 🙂

There are lots of good memories related to Saraswati Puja and my small little town. The aura, the chirping of birds, the blooming flowers, the smell of the aam ka manjar (mango flowers) and the knock of the spring season its amazing. Oh.. it seems to be a decade since I have felt and celebrated it the original way… Hope, I will visit and feel the warmth of this special puja soon in the coming years again!

देखो यह बसन्त मसतानी
आ गई है ऋतुओ की रानी…

The Land From I Belong… “Johar Jharkhand”

I had been thinking for quite long time now that I should write about the land where I grew up, where I learned all the values, where I bloomed and last but not the least where I became a better person. Yes, folks I belong to Jharkhand!.

Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15th November, 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east. The state’s name means “the land of forests” and the land area is about 49,821 square miles. As you guessed, most of the land is covered in trees! Ranchi is the capital and the population here is roughly 33 million. The state is a tribal one, dominated and controlled by indigenous tribal folk because this region is so fertile enough for agricultural values like paddy, wheat, maize and pulses, added to it, being a forest region. Jharkhand also provides great values of forest produces as a major economical status to the state. The state official animal is Elephant and Cuckoo is the state bird. This state can also be said as a blessed piece of land on earth with all sort of natural credibility and treasures to mankind such as copper, coal, iron, manganese, mica, chromite and bauxite.

You can find pure, unadulterated joy in Jharkhand because this is one Indian state that has survived the ill effects of urbanization to a surprising degree. Forests, hills, valleys, waterfalls, wildlife, history, culture, charming towns and vibrant cities – everything embraces the visitor as only a slice of paradise on earth can. And the people, the pristine tribal communities who are the original dwellers of the land, rejoice in their visitors. Those who have returned to Jharkhand more than once, have discovered that the genuine Jharkhand is as exotic and beautiful as the mythical one and far more exciting than the one promoted by the visitor industry!!

Jharkhand is full of surprises. Archeaologists have unearthed pre-Harappan pottery, and pre-historic cave paintings and rock-art. That hint at ancient, cultured civilizations inhabiting these parts. Each sub-caste and tribal grouping Jharkhand has a unique tradition to uphold. Oraon comb-cut paintings can be traced back to ancient times. Kurmi a unique style of ‘sohrai’, where drawing outlines are scratched onto the surface of wall with nails and a wooden compass is used to etch the segmented lotus, Pashupati or Lord Shiva is depicted as a horned deity on the back of a bull. Red, black and white lines are drawn in pairs on either side to represent the ashes of ancestors. The Kurmis of Bhehwara use glyptic art to represent plants on the walls and floors of their homes. Mundas use their fingers to paint in the soft, wet earth of their homes and use unique motifs like the rainbow snake and plant forms of deities. Lavender-gray colored mud from rock-art sites next to Munda villages, are used with ochre mud as contrast colour. Ghatwals use glyptic paintings of animals on their forest dwellings. Turi who are a small community of basket-makers use predominantly floral and jungle-based motifs in natural earthy tones on the walls of their homes. Birhor, Bhuiya Birhor & Bhuiya use simple, strong, and authentic graphic forms like ‘mandalas’, painting with their fingers, crescents, stars, yoni, rectangles with corner petals, ovals with flared lines and concentric circles, are common. Manjhi Santhal – the striking warring figures painted in black or simple clay plaster walls are startling reminders that their origins probably had links with the Indus Valley civilization.

Basant Panchami (Saraswati puja), Holi, Rakhsha Bandhan, Dusshera, Diwali, Jitiyaa, Bhaiya Dooj and Chath Puja are the common hindu’s festivals celebrated throughout the state. Whereas, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and Muharrum are the common muslim festivals.

Chath Puja is reckoned as one of the most important festivals of Jharkhand. The ‘Sun-God’ is worshiped in a different form here on the two special days. During this festival the setting Sun is worshiped with utmost sincerity and devotion. The inhabitants of the state have immense faith on this auspicious festival, which is celebrated two times a year once in the month of Chaitra or March, and the other time in which it is celebrated is the month of Kartik, which falls in the month of November. The harmonious melody of the lyrics chanted during this festival lets one immerse in the sanctity and the purity of this auspicious occasion. Besides the Hindus, some of the Muslims also actively participate in the holy ceremony. If we opt for redefining this festival then we can say that it is an expression of seeking blessings from the forces of the nature, thus representing the amalgamation of the Vedic and non-Aryan religion.

Jityya is celebrated by ladies who have kids. Long and a healthy life is what they ask for from Parwati (Lord Shiva’s wife). Ladies fast the entire day and adorn their kids with ‘kajal tika’ (black sooth produced from the oil diyas) on the forehead for keeping the evil eyes away. Kids are fed with the foods of their choice.

Bhaiya Dooj is the other prominent festival of Jharkhand. It is a festival purely dedicated to the love and affection between brothers and sisters. Brothers bless their sisters and also promises to protect them from all hardships. The celebration of Bhaiya Dooj in this state can be redefined as a bond that speaks of sensitivity and timeless relationship.

Some of the important festivals of the tribal’s such as Karam, Baha, Sarhul and Sohrai are actually glaring example of the tribal spirit. And whatever the rituals, dance and music come naturally along with them. Simple tribal dances are mixed together with dances about the difficulty of life and social problems to create some vibrant and eclectic mixes. A number of Indian musicians have also come from Jharkhand.

Popular Dances of Jharkhand Photo courtesy: www.trekearth.com | www.indiaadvices.com

Palas phool or tesu ke phool are one of the common flowers seen in Jharkhand. Tribal women’s wearing it on their hair is a common sight. Palash flowers adore the trees from January end to March, making the tree top looks like its ablaze. Palash tree is also considered to be the Fire God’s incarnation. Mythology says that it was a punishment given to him by Goddess Parwati for disturbing her and Lord Shiva’s privacy. The wood is dirty white and soft. Being durable under water, the wood is used for well-curbs and water scoops. Good charcoal can be made from it. The flowers are used for dyeing clothes. It’s said that the cloth can tear but the color will never go… The red fiery flowers reminds me of one of my favorite poems:
“Basant ke aise dino mein,
jee chahta hai, jaaoon jhool,
iss ped se jhoola laga kar,
aur upar se barse tesu ke phool…”

Palash Ke Phool Photo courtesy: Prokrity Asad | www.skyscrapercity.com

‘Kadam’ flowers/ fruits are also common which is widely eaten raw or rejoiced as chutney or sabji. Here is me holding a couple of them 🙂

Kadam Ke PhoolPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

Jharkhand cuisine has more to it besides its ethnic eating habits. The land where the modern state of Jharkhand is spread across, was under the influence of Mughal rule, and thus, the Mughal cuisines have greatly influenced the cooking style and the tastes of the people residing in Jharkhand. Here is a list of the recipes of the people of Jharkhand: Bihari Litti, ole (suran or elephant feet) bharta, Sattu, Pittha, Nimki, Thekua (dessert), Besan (gatte ki sabzi), Mitha Khaza, Kala-Chana Ghoogni, Til Barfi, Aloo Chokha, Kohde (kadime) ke phool ke pakode, Kacchu ke Patte ke Pakode (Patra), Sehjan ke phool ke pakode, Chana Dal ki Kachree, Pua, Singal and Khichdi. Thekua is one of the popular dishes of Jharkhand. It is also known as khajoor and is a homemade dessert. Thekua is a sweet dish which is also crispy. It is a dessert made by mixing sugar, wheat, flour and chopped coconuts. The sweet concoction can be carried along with you in long journeys, as it can be stored safely for a few days. Moreover, it is very easy to prepare thekua. In Jharkhand, vegetables are a high priority in the meals. Most of the plant parts are cooked in different varieties eg. chutney, subji, daal or can be eaten raw. A plant’s leaf, flower, stem and fruits everything can be served as a different delicacy altogether. There is a wide variety of non-veg items too.

Delicacies of JharkhandPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

This is one place where the sun seems to radiate hope. The evening sky overflows with stars. The hills seem to be moving like the waves of the sea. The tribal drums weave their rhythmic magic. And the spirit revives in an atmosphere that is best described as unique. Life seems far less complicated and far more captivating when you are in Jharkhand. Here is where you can do your own thing – follow what everybody else follows, or break pleasure of a walk-in the-woods.

Yes. Jharkhand is perfect. The kind of perfection that exists somewhere between your head and heart. Relax. Play. Do business. Party. Withdraw. Study. Build relationships. Enrich yourself culturally. Seek entertainment. Find delight.

I invite you to come and feel the warmth of Jharkhand… Johar! Hiju’ bin (Namaste! You are welcome!)

🙂 🙂

More links to read about Jharkhand:
jai-jharkhand.blogspot.in
incrediblejharkhand.com
india-in-your-home.com
indfy.com/jharkhand/food.html
jharkhandtourism.in/artculture/people.htm

 

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