Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Journey Eastward..

22nd November 2001
It doesn't take an exceptionally bright mind to think of drought and starvation deaths when western Orissa is mentioned. I journeyed eastward not to enhance my knowledge about the objective reality of backwardness or poverty but to be at home.

After days of exams and one day of hectic shopping the 24 hours on the train were the beginning of a well deserved break.

Sambalpur is bigger than an average district headquarters but minus the trappings of a truly 'urban' area. The infrastructure is far from good. The roads, drainage, sanitation, power all remind one of a resource rich state with poor people.

Home made Golgappas apart, the highlights of the trip were the visit to Ghanteswari temple near Hirakud dam, Sambaleswari temple after whom the town is named and the scooter ride to Chichinda, Abijita's anscestral village. I hope to go back for aunty's chai...

- 13th March 2002

The Great Indian Journey I could call it I guess-a mass huddled together and moving- ....home? The last time I went to Sambalpur I never dreamed I'd take this circuitous route the next time I travelled. Thanks to the VHP and other psychopaths that Hinduism has produced in the recent years and their scheduled yatra everybody insisted I don't make the journey alone. So here I am hurtling to Cuttack from where Lipi and I will take a bus to Sambalpur. Am looking forward to seeing new places and meeting better people than the kurta clad, neta looking bloke, seated next to me.

14th March 2002.
The 2nd day of the train journey was better than I ever imagined. There was a small( well make that medium sized) explosion of emotion when Mr X - the I am oppressed person-felt that the city dwellers were walking all over him. Geetu, Vinayan and I fought back quite well and after the space issue was settled, we all maintained a stony silence....till they got down at Tata Nagar. Lipi's parents were perfect hosts-uncle came to the station and aunty made yummy breakfast. The first leg of the journey successfully over I'm going to Cuttack to take a bus to Sambalpur. Lipis is not coming because she has an exam to write. I do hope I make it in time.
15th March 2002.
I made it in time for the 8.30 bus because the driver was kind enough to stop the bus, which was leaving the bus stand, for me. With the accompaniment of "Chaka Dola" songs the luxury bus with push back seats wound its way through Denkanal and Angul to Sambalpur. People were accommodating and nice. Women travelled by themselves and not knowing Odiya didn't matter much.

'Amartya' had lights streaming down and loads of buas and mausis were already there. It was after all the first wedding in the family!!Abijita looked like herself in her brown suit. She came running down the stairs...SHE is Actually getting MARRIED!!!

The mehndi didi came by 5.00 and Abijita began her bridal metamorphosis. There was a puja where turmeric and vermillion and rice were liberally sprinkled on her.

16th March 2002

Wedding day dawned and there were lots of things to be done. Decorating the reception area ws left to the cousins. Geetu, Vinayan and I joined in. Abijita looked lovely in her green sari, every bit the beautiful bride...The wedding finally began at around 11 in the night. As in north Indian marriages, the baraat arrived , were welcomed and fed and the groom was seated in the pandaal. After rounds of puja, chanting mantras and pouring ghee into the fire by the bride and the groom individually, they both finally sat together. The main ceremony in an Odiya wedding is kanyadaan after which the palms of the bride and groom are tied with a thread( literally bound for life!!!) . All the members of the family pour water from a conch on 'the united palms' and bless the couple. I was totally unprepared for the tears and to some extent loud crying by the sisters, aunts and cousins that accompanied the 'panigrahan' ceremony. It was my first experience attending a wedding north of the Vindhyas. Never had I witnessed the" bidaai tears" either that flowed freely as the couple were leaving for the groom's home at Rourkela. Subrat seemed as concerned and helpless as I felt. I think I am going to like him and that they are going to be happy together. It was time for us to leave too. I left wishing Abijita and Subrat a life time of togetherness.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ladies Pleej

In my five years in Jharkhand I have come across a lot of english terms used as hindi. The speaker and the listener use it in their conversation often to mean something not originally intended. I have collected a few of these gems. Here goes...

"Pleej akele Ladies hai na" is to refer to a single lady and has been frequently overheard in relation to travel.

"Bahut riks hai" . No I haven't spelled it wrong. This distorted form of risk is used for risk as if it were a hindi word.

"Acha healthy bacha hai ji". Before reach the conclusion that healthy has been incorporated into the hindi language I would like to submit that healthy means fat. Instead of saying "mota ho gaya"the polite way is to say, healthy ho gaye hai. When used in the negative, "health aaj kal kam gaya hai" means you have lost weight!!

"Harassment ho gaya".Dont confuse this with harassment by a person or regime. In Bihari terminology it is a generic term to denote fatigue. Shaadi karane mein harassment ho gaya. Dhoop me itna harassment etc. etc.

Gate. This again is used to describe doors of all kinds. The door of the house, car are all gates!!

Marketing. No, not the degree or the specialisation. The simple act of shopping is called marketing!

"Family ko nahi laye lekin bacchwa aya hai" When I heard this for the first time didn't know what the person was saying. Later I realised family in this lingo is wife!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How the Whale Learnt Her Lesson

Not long ago in an ocean which was very very blue,there lived a Blue Whale called Mili. Now Blue Whale is the largest living creature ever to have lived on earth.Mili weighed one lakh kilos and was thirty five metres long. That is as long as a row of cars parked in a very large parking lot and as heavy as a tiny mountain. Thank God Mili never had to walk!!

Mili knew she was BIG. She was LOUD and BOASTFUL.

Ollie Orca on the other hand was a small smart whale. He was a Killer Whale. Small whales however are bigger that the tallest Dads and Moms you know. Ollie's mom Olivia asked him to stay with the pod which is what a group of whales is called,but Ollie thought he was old enough to venture into deeper waters.

One day as he went exploring, he saw Mili. She blew a fountain as she came up to breathe. Spotting Ollie she screamed,"Get away kid!Out of my way!"Ollie was shocked and hurt at being called kid. He decided to teach Mili a lesson. Gathering all the courage he could muster he looked at her in the eye and said,"Hey ,'Miss I know it All',why don't you pick on someone your size-the biggest snake in all the world is sleeping down below",pointing in the direction of the trans-atlantic optic fibre cable. It was long long wire connecting Europe and America so that people could talk easily to each other on phone.

Mili didn't know this. She thought it was a huge monster snake. She hated the fact that it was bigger than her. She dived deep down and dug her baleen into it. Baleen is like a sieve mom uses in the kitchen to take yucky cream out of your milk and blue whales have only baleen ....no teeth.
Mili's baleen ached but nothing happened to the 'snake'. Worse still was the fact that some Humans sitting in front of computers in far away London actually sent a ship to chase Mili away from the cable.

Imagine how embarrassed Mili felt to be shooed away by Humans!

After this anytime she got anywhere close to a pod of Killer Whales they would all sing in chorus,"There goes Mili the Buddu Blue Whale..Buddhu Buddhu Buddu...." Mili had learnt her lesson and never was boastful again!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In Twilight Zone

I told her a story today. Her story. How she had told me about Jambavan,about Shantanu and Satyavati, about how she had to carry Kichu to prevent him from eating camphor while in the puja room....

She had been bathed and fed, the sheet on the water bed changed. The roles reversed,my great grandmother smiled as I spoke holding her hand.She couldn't comprehend my account of the class trip to Ganapati Pule or my friend Sreeja's wedding but she still recognised my voice.

Amma says there are goods days when television interests her and she finds fault with the food. But most of the days are spent in sleep-heavy yet not sound. Her mind wanders,oblivious...in a world where no one is granted permission to enter or interrupt. In limbo on the bridge between life and death...in twilight zone.