For your eyes only – 7

Whenever I go to my small town, in everything I internally do comparison and contrast between the metro of Bangalooru and district town Kishanganj. Say, I do that for almost everything not for discussion but think a lot, what makes two places different.

On Puja occasions, we do see fair (mela) type scene, which meant a lot for us in childhood, but now a days from there not many things that we need to buy. In childhood, a small piggy-bank ‘gullak’ meant a lot, when purchased from the mela-vendor. On the edible side, still Puchkas and Jalebi’s I can’t resist to buy and now we do look for hygienic vendors. Pity, this time only 50 Puchka (Golgappas) I did gulped, because my brother-in-law did not give me company for long :p


Balooooooons 🙂 ( I still do buy some, just to hang on door 🙂


Churiyan (Bangles) – Oriental woman’s love…


Mina Bazaar – ( What a contrast to metro designer showrooms : no mannequins, neon lamps and brand names here and its the lifeline of Majority of Indian )


Wow so cheap ! Chat Rs. 5/- , Samosa 2/-


Mud pots and toys

A young man selling artificial flowers ( Now globally people can see his flowers 🙂 ) ( Look behind there is written on wall “Chhatra Sakti( Student Power) – What a contrast !!

For your eyes only – 6

On the Navami evening, I and my younger brother-in-law went out for the visiting the Puja pandals. My sister, Pinky decided not to go out because of the small kid, and so did Ma as she was not going. To us, walking hours, visiting the pandals through the crowd, meeting friends and relatives has been , great evening, once in the year. Though we could not spend time at any pandal much. Here are the more snaps of pandals, we visited.


Railway Colony Pandal (After seeing so many ballons, Still feeling kiddish 🙂


Railway Colony Deity (Dhupa Aarti is going on)


Deity made up of Glass @ Manoranjan Club ( that time under light show)


Durga Ma @ Lohar Patty Temple


Tribal Artwork @ Dompatty (See two sikhs praying at right side) Our town has the best example of communal harmony.


Ma Durga @ Subhash Pally Mandir ( Traditional way)


All Deity in one Singhashan @ Milan Pally Temple (All the deity is at one altar only- thats the traditional way )

Happy Raksha Bandhan

Silky threads are here,
With me,
But not those,
Mehandi hands,
To tie them.

Sweets are here,
Full of shops,
But I shall,
Be hungry for one.

I have money,
Thousands today.
But 20 Rs. I gave them,
Asked from Baba,
They kept in purse, safe.

God bless,
My sisters,
With all happiness.
As their destiny –
Today is like poem only.

Flower Vase, Bangalore,27 August,07

A real story on my Bimla didi appears at my Hindi blog.

Respecting someone’s anger

I have heard about respecting friendship, love, elders, poor, sick and all the stuff. “Respecting anger” – a term though practiced many a times but in abstract words understood it for the first time during a farewell party.

In my recent home visit, I was enough lucky to be on the farewell party of my previous boss Mr. SPU , that was govt office. I have heard him speaking well in other officers’ farewell speech with good literary essence. On the day of his own farewell, he could not encapsulate the literary essence, being emotional that time. In plain words he acclaimed all his staffs, and praised the way they worked for the organization. The work in Finance dept. and specially in the state of Bihar, needs person like him for a better work environment.

Long ago, when I gifted him “The monk who.. “, right he was, when he told he is my like elder brother. He is a poet, editor and with a refined hobby of gardening.

Coming back to his farewell speech, his words were like.. “My staff have been cooperative. ….. at the times , I chided or even scolded them, as I could not hold my temper for the mistakes and process. And at the times, I had thought – loosing temper will affect the employee’s moral and repented myself. And I really felt sorry for that, I should not have lost that. But later on I found that as like my other words, they respected my anger well. And truly speaking, I am obliged to their respect. I have no words… “

Though I had never given him a chance of a slightest complaint, as in his words, when I resigned the job – “I was underemployed at the office” ! But about him, he is a emotional persona in fact. And at the same time, a perfectly balanced bureaucrat .

On Emotional Quotient meter, many of us fall in this category. And about respecting anger, the truth prevails, be it employer’s anger, or parents’ anger, friends’ anger or anger of a tired shopkeeper. To a very extent, we can bear it, as most of the time there is a valid reason behind a individual’s anger. Respecting a valid anger pays back – its the truth.

मीनू

दीपा की शादी में मुहल्ले के सारे लोग जमा थे उस दिन सब खुशियाँ मना रहे थे । जैसा मामाजी ने बता रखा था – सोना उस रात बारातियों के लिए सारी व्यवस्था कर रहा था ।

सोना ने उस रात खाना भी नहीं खाया, उसकी प्यारी ममेरी बहन की शादी में उसे भुख भी नहीं लग रही थी । वैसे भी उसके यहाँ बहनों की शादी के दिन भाईयों को खाना नसीब नहीं होता है – जब तक सही सलामत विदाई न हो जाए ।

रात के ग्यारह बज चुके थे । पर जेनरेटरों की आवाज और दौड़ते – भागते और ठंड में भी आईसक्रीम माँगते बच्चे, और शहनाई की धुन में लगता था अभी भी शाम ही है । बंगाली बाराती के लड़के- लड़कियाँ और सजेधजे घरवाले । एक रात का नाच – गाना और झुठे – सच्चे वादे, छोटे मोटे तानाकशी और प्यार भरी शरारतें ।

शादी शुरू हो चुकी थी । पंडितजी नव-दंपती को अपनी नहीं समझ में आनेवाली मंत्र सुना रहे थे । सोना की माँ, मीनू सबके साथ मंडप के पास कुर्सी पर बैठी हूई थी । वैसे बेटियों की पसंद की हूई, क्रीम सिल्क की हल्की जड़ीदार साड़ी में आज वह खिल रही थी पर अब उसके चेहरे पर झुर्रियाँ साफ दिखती थी ।

अभी सोना बारातियों को जनवासा में रखकर मंडप के पास पहूँचा ही था कि मीनू उसे बुलाकर कह दी – अगर समय मिले तो हम सबके लिए काफी बनाकर ले आओ । पता चला कि भाड़े का काफी वाला जा चुका था और सभी को काफी पीने का मन हो रहा था ।

वैसे माँ की बात काटना उसके बस की बात नहीं । पर बगल में बैठी हूई थी सोना की मौसेरी और उसकी अपनी बहन भी – जो यह सोचकर मुस्कुरा रही थी – कि चलो सोना भैया हैं – अब काफी मिलेगा । कम से कम पचीस कप काफी बनाने में सहायता के लिए फैशन स्टुडियो की कोई मा़डल बहन आगे नहीं आयी – अगर साथ आयी तो फिर वही – छुटकी साँवली पियाली – सीधी साधी ।

मीनू अब भी देख रही थी – शादी की रस्में । बीच-बीच में कुछ मजाक भी कर लेती थी आस-पास की मेहमानों से । अचानक पीछे से आ खड़ी हूई – मधुजा की माँ – विद्या । और पता नहीं क्या सोचकर रख डाली अपने दोनों हाथ मीनू के कंधे पर । विद्या और मीनू में गहरी जानपहचान थी । वैसे विद्या थोड़ी अभिमानी भी थी – उसका एक कारण यह भी था – गोरी तीखे नयन नख्शों वाली उसकी बेटी मधुजा । मधुजा दीपा की सहेली भी थी पर उन दिनों एम एस सी की परीक्षा के कारण शादी में नहीं आ सकी ।

मीनू को विद्या को वैसा करना थोड़ा अजीब सा लगा ।

“क्या हो रहा है ।” – मुस्कुरा कर मीनू सिर उठाकर देखने लगी ।

विद्या ने फिर हँसकर थोड़ा वजन और बढ़ा दिया ।

“अब इस उम्र में इतना वजन कहाँ सह पाती हूँ ।” – मीनू दोनों हाथों को उलटकर उसके हाथों को प्यार से पकड़कर कहने लगी ।

अब थोड़ा बजन और बढाते हूए सिर झुकाकर धीरे से कहने लगी – ” मैं तो आपका वजन हल्का कर दूँगी – आप भी, अगर हो सके, तो मेरा वजन हल्का कर दो ना ! “

विद्या अब हँसकर भार हल्का कर दी । मीनू को सारी बातें समझते देर न लगी । बाकी कोई न समझ पाया कि क्या हो रहा है ।

मीनू के सपने वह खुद ही जानती थी । चाहती तो वह भी की सोना की जल्दी अंगुठी बन जाए । पर वही जानती थी कि सोना के लिए उसे क्या चाहिए – बस एक बिलकुल साधारण पत्थर खोजती थी – बाकी पारस पत्थर की कला उसे जो आती थी ।

मीनू कभी मधुजा की धुँधली छवि याद करती, तो कभी बारातियों और मेहमानों पर आँखें दौड़ाती पर उसका सिर अभी भी भारी सा लग रहा था ।

वह इंतजार कर ही रही थी – कि ट्रे में कप सजाए “साईड प्लीज – गरम काफी” ट्रेन भेंडर वाली स्टाईल में बोलता हूआ सोना आ गया था । मीनू कप उठाकर कहने लगी – “सोना, पहले आँटी लोगों को दो ।”

पियाली दुसरी छोटी ट्रे लेकर लड़कियों की तरफ चली गयी ।

Sarva Siksha Abhiyan – the execution reality

The children are about to follow the parents – as they are born of illiterate parents forming a vast class of Indian illiterate, somnolent society. As our integral part of society, this class spends nights in the murkiness of huts and slums. A grotesque persona of another Indian – to form an uncivilized massed of developing country. With them along us, we economic reform advocates have compunction about ground realities.

While for our developing country, visualizing vision 2020, is daunted by this mass of children, who are currently in the age group of 5- 10 (supposed to be in class I – V), and by the year 2020, they will form the youth aged 18 to 23. Govt. policies of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) as planned in the communiqué, if implemented properly, will make some difference by that time – I am sure.

Evidently as I have seen my last home trip, the managing the Abhiyan is a challenge with the available man-power and additional contractual positions. When the locally elected persons serve voluntarily in the school governing body, the concerted execution of the program was thought to be smooth. Worth to add is, currently financial assistance available in these programs, with transparency, hence details need not secluded, seems far better, compared to trifle funds available earlier for doing so.

As the are funds available and given the nature of planned spending, brings sometimes management problems, when govt. bodies gets embroiled with locally elected management representative bodies. The challenges arises, when these representatives, from ‘quota’s turn out logically blunt/twisted. At this situations, there requires not being martinet, but authoritativeness and skillful manoeuvering of surreal meeting situations.

At the ground level, still the manual trumpery documentation and accounting process is underway in these programs. And this is really time and productive time consuming. These most of the bland junk of paper-works forms the heap in the govt. offices, that needs to be cleaned fast. Otherwise just paper works are not supposed to deliver a fecund SSA.

The assiduity of the teacher’s efforts as chain link between policies on paper – the beneficiary children – funds and pedagogues may show some results in near future.

Gauri and Budhiya

Dedicating to a characteristic – when a creature want to live for others, and she made me keep writing again.

Gauri was our cow 18 years old !

I reached home 24th Feb. early morning. And apart from human pairs of eyes, a so called animal’s eyes seemed waiting for me. Whether just for me, I don’t know.

Casual roaming around home premises, I saw her, our Gauri sitting permanently beside the walls, with occasional drops of tear flowing down her eyes. She was being feed in sitting posture since last few days as her hind legs got paralyzed without any specific reason.

I suggested Sambhu, our caretaker of cattle, to feed her favorite green grass (dub) , with that she may gain strength. She always needed our touch. I put more paddy straws, under her immobile belly as in these days we still needed quilts in night there. Veterinary uncle, who know all of our cattle, suggested not to put any treatment pressure on her legs. Let her live to her best, as she is.

And today is 2nd March. In the very morning, we all had wet eyes, as Gauri seemed to appear in just sitting posture but actually she left for the heavenly abode.

Green grass was still lying still in her basket. And a straw of yellow straw, she seemed chewing. None could believe that she is no more.

Ma told not to cry at all, as on cow’s peaceful death, one should not cry. Though controlled, was she honest really to herself !

Prior night, at dinner table we discussed about her falling health, but we all failed to get a glimpse at night of hers in talking other things, and we thought she will live for some more time or may gain back her strength to stand. Though I guessed that she might recover with some miracle, but I had a faint thought, if I leave for Bangalore after three days, will I be able to see her again.

She died with a wish of bearing a calf ever.

Our determination to keep an infertile cow for 18 years was a matter of non-sense decision with loads of suggestions around. For children playing cricket in front of our house, Gauri, having a short stature, was a matter of love, as she was the simpler than anything. Annoying point was that, she was the object of desire for the animal brokers!

To the needed persons, ma’s reply used to be “Her mother fed my all children, can’t I keep her last one without asking for milk.”

As Civil Surgeons’ specially regulated medicines and other uterine treatments, traditional medicines, and best possible fertility treatments could not help her conceive a calf ever.

Another reason we kept her without asking for anything was, Ma could not see the last day of her mother. Her mother budhiya was Ma’s best company to feed us with her nutritious milk.

On memorizing Budhiya’s last days, her voice saddens always.

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From our farmlands in suburbs, majority of cattle feeding requirements fulfilled, we do keep cows as per Hindu traditions. The purpose never was or is for economical benefits from cattle, cows only, now just two. May be it’s for auspicious reasons and having pure milk of home.

Budhiya, was our first cow bought to feed my infant sister, Pinky. Her milk used to be full of cream. As we grew, we got habituated to take dudh-roti ( milk-bread ) after dinner daily and we saw several of her calves growing as we grew up. Most of her calves grown into milking cows and few to ox – sent to other places. Though the cows were never sold, was given to others.

Gauri was born as last calf of “Budhiya”, when we completed the construction of our new home.

Year 1889, when our griha pravesh ( house inauguration) function was being performed, along with my parents, as per customs, a perfect white calf , christened as Gauri, accompanied her mother Budhiya and took the rounds of our newly built home

Though Budhiya had little horns, she always threatened us in childhood, if we try to touch her little calves. Those times, we feared her.

Years passed off.

Budhiya became old. Her height seemed shortened, tooth eroded and used to take finer grains and straws only. One day she stopped taking food and water. And none of male member was at home. Ma at Nani’s place. Papa at working place and me in hostel. Sisters called up nearby uncle and veterinary hospital’s uncle. Every thing seemed useless to revive her health.

She sat down finally. Her ropes of neck were freed up, as it’s customary to keep without ropes, when hopes of cow’s life blink faint.

Day 1 passed off. She was looking for someone.. Day 2 and day 3 passed off. Blame the poor communication facilities those days. On those days Ma was eager to come home back, but she could not as having ill health of nani.

Budhiya Passed off with eyes wide open! Though, didi did all Gangajal rituals. While returned home back, Ma saw an empty cowshed. She could not see her last days. She cried for days !

Budhiya was buried at our backyards, on his burial place, now grows green trees.

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Today is 2nd March. Her last calf – Gauri was being kept in the grave forever.

As now the backyard is full of teak trees, we men, carried her body (corpse!) to our farm land. At a corner, rectangular wide and deep land was dug up.

“In which direction her head should be kept ?” – Shambhu asked me, before our cow Gauri was to be put in grave.

I did not know exactly hence asked Patoriwala for the confirmation. It was north.

We kept pouring soil to cover her grave. While pouring soil with shovel, one moment , my emotions were telling jut to look her face back again for last time, taking out all soil put on her, as if how she looked !

But I know the five elements, I kept pouring and pouring !

And we made a square platform over the grave.

She remained a lowest maintained animal, with no complaint practically, with occasional fines that we had to pay, when she used to do graze someone’s paddy / wheat ignorantly.

We bore everything, as our insignificant fines were of no means as those of her of infertility.

Her eyes used to have tears when we bring back from hospital / Gaushala with hopes of fertility. She used to love all the calves grown in front of her eyes. She was several times hit by other cows for her this behavior! Gauri didn’t give us a single drop of milk, but we never complaint ever as we could understand her pains always. She couldn’t speak. While washing / caressing her back belly down, she used to stay calmer!

Today she is not more, with a perfect sitting posture till the last moment, she never let feel anyone that she is no more….. !

Bihar – the write thing ! (9) – Being a Bihari

In my Navodaya days, I remember that during our vacations in home, after hearing the tone of my Bengali, Ma used to warn me – “Why your tone of speaking changed, be polite!” I used to wonder – how she marks it! Afterwards Navodaya days, for our career scopes, like thousands of learned family there, she too insisted that proceed anywhere outside than Bihar.

Year 1994, Ma and I reached Chennai by train for my coaching admissions. On the way in train, I was carrying all my certificates too. I had felt that, she didn’t slept most part of the nights, knowing my 10th mark sheet was in the box. Though the train comes out of Bihar territories, but it was the result of our fear of losing baggage in train journeys of Bihar!

At T. Nagar, Chennai, Ma took me to a hostel for making my stay arrangement during the coaching period. We were waiting at the reception unless the manager was to come. By the time on being asked a guy there told that one bed is going to vacate next 5 days. I used to be smarter those teenage days. I could talk in English too! As the manager came, I took the lead and was asking for the seat, if any. He refused to have any. I argued,-“Next week some seat no. was going to vacate”. He was surprised and now he refused more. Ma didn’t tell anything to him at that time.

After searching for few more hostels, Ma insisted to return back to same hostel. Now she spoke to him and requested for temporary arrangement if possible unless any seat is available. He immediately told okay and took my luggage into room no. 7. I was given a temporary seat.

Next day manager was telling to me -” See guy, I was not willing to give you seat here. But seeing your Ma and her behavior, I gave you seat. Otherwise Biharis I don’t give! I was shocked. “But your mother is Bengali”, he added. “Yes”, I nodded with surprise. In those days, I did not know that by costume one can be recognized of place of belonging. “How you knew that?”- I asked him. He added to prove his expertise- “People from all over India come here. Did not she have white & red bangles (shakha & pola) in her hand and Bengali sari and sindoor”. At that time only I knew that its unique identity of Bengali married ladies. Later on I knew that Oriya and Assamese ladies are almost same.

For such long period, I was for the first time outside Bihar. I mingled with the people from all over India there. Those 6 months were my days of improvements.

But my Bihari – non Residential Bengali identity remained unsolved. For my whole stay in Chennai, I used to tell people, I am from West Bengal. Though in fact, I stay at the boundary town of Bihar- Bengal. The 2 km south and 2 km north of our town is the boundary line of West Bengal with our relatives.

Again it was the year of 2001-02. I was working in a computer lab in Bangalore for my project works. My Professor used to have and still have fatherly affection for me. Obviously he knew well that I am from a Bihar town and he also knew that I came from Bengal town institute, Siliguri (Darjeeling) for projects. But several times when seeing me in the lab, his colleagues used to ask him about me. He used to tell them straight- “He is Prem from West Bengal, Darjeeling”. Once in hurry even he told too that “He is from Assam”. I have to digest the reality behind his convincing answers.

Still at the workplace or somewhere else on being asked my name – people get confused. Next question comes – “From where do you belong?” Obvious the answer is “Bihar”. But sensing the situation, I have to enrich them “though I am Bengali”.

Coming back to our home, Ma, though for our school studies she preferred Hindi than Bengali and at home our mother-tongue remained Bengali only. I can guess today that she maintained an unseen boundary around us from the local culture. Since our childhood days she impregnated fine arts, music, classical dance and other cultural activities which are indispensable part of any cultured Bengali families. We were allowed to mingle with selected friends only. Though she has risen up the levels of caste, creed and regional variations, after getting good marriage proposals from native Bihar families for my sisters, those could not be materialized.

I have to hear and bear the facts underlying. There all the things need to improve a lot including socio-political culture with added sense of responsibility.

In the cosmopolitan life, I am escaping the situations and maintaining my Bengali culture. The fact remains that I am born and brought up on the land of Bihar. I would have been happier, had people embraced me as Bihari !
Last posts in the same series :

Health Services , Rubberi Devi, Tea Production, Common man and Media, Democracy , Common Life, Origin as a State.

Madhubani Paintings -1

Before I proceed, I shall like to share my happiness with all my readers that my last post was true.

The blessings worked well and I am fine with His Grace. One Another Madhubani Painting
As per daily routine, I climbed the stairs again. At the intermediate space between the stairs there are big well framed Madhubani paintings in the building. Generally I looked them as any other decoative Madhubani paintings. On day I stopped near to the intermediate area of stairs and tried to look into the Madhubani painting minutely. At the bottom were signature of "Bachcho Devi" in Hindi as if some neo-literate had written in curve handwriting. I was surprised that the paintings, which I used to take granted, were genuine and painted on natural papers.

Great !! The cultural soul of Bihar on sparkling Bangalore walls adding to the beauty of place.

The theme of painting – Maa Durga and Mahisasur Vadha. Its the first time, I was seeing the painting in real and painted with such great craftmanship. Although I know about the paintings and their characteristics. The colours used are probably all natural. Painter has used red, violet , brown, blue and green generously.

I have a lot of praise for Madhubani paintings. Hence my respect to the interior decorator who used these paintings with such a love.