Monday, February 21, 2011


1. Aging gracefully is fun. I just realised that people who acknowledge and celebrate being fifty always end up on the positive side of the age debate. After all who minds the compliments like "Fifty? you still look so young". Bottom line- Accept your physical age. Wrinkles look good and wisdom even better. Salt and pepper is in and Grey is sexy. Also, It's your mind which does all the calculations. Be nice and be chirpy as a sixteen year old.

2. Went to watch Saat Khoon Maaf. And I just want to quote Gulzaar to describe the experience- "Aapko dekh ke, badi der se/Meri saans ruki hain..." Also, the security at Inox in GVK mall, Hyderabad asked my friends Shreya and Paridhi while pointing towards me "Inki umaar kitni hain?" Well! it was an A certified movie and I actually had to show my Voter ID card to get in. I didn't know how to react. He let my other friends enter. Only me and Runjhun were asked to ensure that we were more than eighteen. What to say?

3. Was in Calcutta last week. Had Mourola machher chochchori after long and I re-realised that I love food. It was good food week for me with the newly discovered Hot Chips outlet near my place taking the award for the debutant category.

4. Marriage invitations for all and sundry seem to be pouring in. And my parents are making it quite clear that it will be my turn very soon. Well! to think about it, I will love o get married. But only to the right person. And I made quite an effort to describe Mr. Right to my parents. In the end, I ended up singing Suman- "Tomar tulona aami khujina kokhono/ Bohu byabohar kora kono upomay". Wish I meet Mr.Right sometime soon :)

5. Had this really fun journey while coming back from the airport. Had Pami and two wonderful juniors like Chau and Sandipan for company. amazing weather, adda and songs which we adore- Rabindrsangeet, songs from teen bhuboner paarey to Hirok Rajar deshey, Chandrobindoo, Suman and Anjan Dutta. Thank you guys :))

6. Was sitting through a class lecture when it just occurred to me that why does the feeling a vernacular language is amiss in any other language known to you and you are quite comfortable with. Imagine this. "Lyang" and "lengi" sound optimistically brilliant about a foregone love affair and the calculative other half into it (Aranyer Dinratri anyone?). Whereas this new age- "dumping" "ditching" sounds so very "kejo". As if the affair wasn't one to remember. It was all about calculations. May be the words are quite reflective of the generations swearing by the lingo. But when Anjan Dutta sings about the girl (Mala?) who "lyang" ofies her poor boyfriend and settles with a rich man, it talks about a generation when the term love marriages were coined. And truly speaking, you empathise with Mala too.

7. That reminds me. Why do you call it Love Marriage anymore? As it is the term sounds horrendous. What is love? Isn't love getting to know the person and discovering him through the journey called Life. You begin as strangers and end up to be quite the good friends you are supposed to be. Does that idea of Arranged marriages sound good. For a person branded as Romantic to the hilt, that sounds quite an idea that Mr. Darcy should approve. In the end it's all about's about the journey, not the convenience of it. Nowadays, the proverbial love marriages sound more like "marriage of convenience". But then again, who am I to comment on that? I am still in search of true love (wink) whichever way it reaches me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saraswati Pujo- not so long ago.

So today is Saraswati Pujo. and like every bongo nari worth her salt, I also have a few memories here and there. But the memories that one associates with Saraswati pujo primarily in the bengali diaspora (read bangalir valentines day and a few more) are somewhat absent in my case. The reasons are varied. One of them is the fact that since the time I have entered college, I haven't been able to attend one single Saraswati pujo. That's quite a 'long' five years. Isn't it?
While I was pondering on the issue about missing out on Sarswati pujo for five years straight during one of the class lectures (International Humanitarian law- was it) today morning that I realised that five years is indeed a long time. Time flies. But leaves a mark here and there. I could never have that perfect Saraswati pujo morning, 'yellow taant sari', jhari mara at para and then a very innocent love affair may be (mishti mishti prem)- the beginning of it, on Sarswati pujo. And I don't think I will ever have one in this life. The age is long gone.

Don't get me wrong. I love being twenty three and am really looking forward to turning thirty (and I have very different aspirations from gul panag on that count)...but I am equally at ease to acknowledge that every age and every passing by year brings with it it's own charm. Think about it. I will not trade being twenty three with being eighteen. and vice versa. Because twenty three has given me the confidence to take on the world (and now that my friend Runjhun has convinced the laziest side of me, I am seriously giving that book a thought). In short, it's like this I am more aware of myself and know that I have something to bank on. and regardless of how much we crib about life, we have all emerged victorious. And Eighteen was all about that lush green innocence with dash of pinks and blue. I still have blues, green and pink on my mind- all over it. But I have to acknowledge it- that starry eyed me at eighteen is widely different from me now at twenty three. And it's true for most of us. Pinks, blue and green stay on...just the quota of innocence (and rose tinted glasses) remain on the statistical flow chart :) You love that chocolate sundae right? And you love it more when you can buy that for yourself and your beloved ones-dad, mom, sister. Twenty three is about that. But that Rupees five candy ice cream(which my mom always told me was made of "nordomar jol"- water out of sewer pits) always tasted sweeter.

And this was about Saraswati pujo, right??? Oh! yes.

I never attended Saraswati Pujo in my school, Nava Nalanda since our founding fathers and mothers belonged to the Brahmo sect (ones among Hindus who do not believe in idol worship). never had the opportunity to attend Saraswati Pujo during my two years in Higher Secondary section in South Point, so don't know about that experience also. But then again people in Nava Nalanda had carefully planned out a completely different Valentines Day for itself. Trust the Nalandites to do that- some of the best brains in the city flocked in there. And any guesses what that day was. Well!! Pochishey Bosihakh, the day we celebrated the birth anniversary of the man who influenced me and continues to do so for generations that will be beyond my comprehension. Yes! Rabindrajayanti (or Nava Nalanda'r Rabindrasmaran was our very own homespun Valentines day (along with a dash of Reunion spirit) with laal paar sada shari, jui phooler mala and hint of first crush. Many of my friends invited their dates to come to the boulevard on that day and though I never had one, I loved discussing every bit of my crush on that young and dapper maths teacher of mine who never really thought anything me about me other than the very chubby para kid. Sigh!

But, I miss one thing about Saraswati pujo...actually two. Wearing Saris. That's the first one. For someone who loves wearing the garment on every other occasion, the day is a dream. My mom would never fuss about tying my sari, because she thought it was one day when I should wear it properly (I still can't neatly drape a sari and my mom always complain that why don't I learn it properly). And the second one is obvious, and you must have guessed it by now in case you even have an iota of hint about the bong foodie inside me. Yes! the Saraswati pujo menu. And there lies a huge twist also.

Most of the bong households (and that cuts through the Bangal-ghoti divide) traditionally prefer having Khichuri and other delicious vegetarian stuff on the day of Saraswati pujo. But people originally from Dhaka, Bikrampur or for that matter my ancestral village Bharakar, have this tradition of eating 'jora ilish' (twin hilsa fish) on the day Saraswati pujo.I am not sure whether it's  family custom or more of a 'lokachar' (custom of the people across a particular region), but that's what I remember. I remember my amma cutting the ilish into pieces after what I described as a 'pujo' with Holud (turmeric) and other memorabilia considered holy in the Bengali household. They were neatly put across in a tray which much to my amusement looked like the tottwo tray (gifts tray) used in Bengali marriages.
My father always had a tough time locating the jora ilish during this time of the year. Later, he switched to bringing two identical Hilsa fishes and then go ahead with the custom. The preparation was simple. The normal ilish beguner jhol (hilsa curry with eggplants), the way its is supposed to be on that day.My mom cooked the perfect variety with a splatter of  kalo jeerey (cumin seends) thrown in.  For me that was simply heaven. Rice and Ilish mach- Perfect bliss for me.
But all that was many eons ago, and that makes me realise- time flies. albeit with brakes in between. It will be five years this Christmas since Amma has left for her heavenly abode. We no longer have jora ilish during Sarswati pujo. It was not possible to get hold of one such jora ilish or for that matter two identical ones and once it was stopped, it was suggested we do not carry it forward any more. (It's almost a general belief in case a ritual or custom is involuntarily stopped somehow, one should not carry it forward or do so with some more customs thrown in- we of course switched sides with Khichuri which is a favourite with my sister and mom.) I haven't been home for any Sarswati pujo in between for the past five years. I haven't attended one single Saraswati pujo in my father's newly done up library downstairs. I have stopped missing the banter every time anybody would come to my house door to collect subscription money for their nondescript club and my father asking each one of then the correct spelling of 'Saraswati' in Bengali and in English.

But I still remain a sucker for that ilish beguner jhol. Everytime, I go back home, my mom makes sure I have enough helpings of my favourite ilish mach with that perfect dash of kalo jeerey. It's that 'one' dish that makes me proclaim that my mom is the best cook in the world. (I have actually three best cooks- My didun, ma and my pishimoni- don't be jealous :P). I still don't get to eat more than one or two Narkel er Kul (not translatable) even after Sarswati pujo. Earlier it was the fear of impending exams. Here it is simply not available- that's why. And I think I will almost end up enjoying the triumphant faces of those children on my doorstep spelling out - dontye shwo, ro, dontye shwoy bwoy, to ey dweerghoyi kar- and my father cheering them "very good" and giving them that coveted twenty rupees note. The inflation might have made the stakes higher and twenty might now spell fifty or hundred- but that is primarily an economist's debate. For me, somethings never change :) :)

Biddhye dao, Buddhi dao :)
Sri Sri Saraswati Debyoi Nomoh!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

100th Post: Songs that stay on

So here it is. I mean the 100th post.  Am in two minds to give a Karan Johar-esque Filmfare speech. He apparently cried this time too. But that apart, it's been quite nice a journey...and now when I think about the shit I wrote, I doubt my intelligence. But then again, being emotional is not all about being foolish. Right? It's also about being in touch with nicer sides of life- the ones you share with two cups of piping hot tea. And thanks for all the appreciation and the bitching- both actually. And most importantly thanks for bearing with me. I can be obnoxious, uber senti and a walking talkathon- all at the same time- I guess a few people know that too well. But in spite of that people came back and read my blog. Commented and shared. That's actually nice you know.

I was thinking of doing something nice for the 100th post, when I came across a fellow blogger's list of favourite books. Well, thought of doing that. Actually, that's long overdue since Swayambhu Da has already tagged me in such a post of his. But not in a mood.....actually, I was reading 'Sex and the City' - the novel by Candace Bushnell and to tell you the truth, I am horrified...if that's what critics describe as "Jane Austen with a Martini"- DIE!!! I have silently taken refuge to a collection of short stories by Indian women across all languages (albeit translated in English) and Karan Bajaj's latest. 

So what's the other healer- yes, music. And here it is my list of a few of my favourite film songs which I love to listen and share with all, in no particular order. I am not including a few other genres with which I am mostly identified with (read Robi Thakurer gaan, Chandrobindoo, Suman) primarily because the list will be quite long then.

1. Ajeeb Dastaan hain yeh/Kahan shuru kahan khatam/ Yeh manzeelien hain kaunsi/ Na woh samajh sakein na hum.....

The iconic song with the iconic beauty. This song from Dil Apna Preet Paraya is one of the closest to my heart. Somehow I need to be in sync with the lyrics of a song to like it. And that's what precisely describes my fondness for this song. Serene, Calm and nostalgic. It's all about unspoken words, unsung romances (which as a Bengali fascinates me like anything) woh samajh sake na hum- that precisely :)

2. Hoyto Tomari jonnyo/Hoyechi premey je bonyo/ Jani tumi ananyo/ ashar haat barayi.....

Gangar ghat, Soumitra, Manna De, Good ole' Cal. Need I say more? 
What more does a woman want?  (exclude Phuchka and ghotigorom please!) :) :) 

3. Naina Milaike...Jhoot Kapat chhal kiyi ni.....

That Rahman is a magician is a foregone conclusion. But this song is also all about the wordsmith called Gulzaar. I once started learning Urdu quite religiously and it's an open secret that one of the reasons was primarily the temptation to read Gulzaar in the language he is close to, apart form Hindi. 

"Dil ki kachcheri mein muqadma chalai ke....mujrim humein kar diyi ni"

4. Phir Se aaiyo badra bidesi....

Namkeen's soundtrack is full of sweet nothings and this finds a place of glory. More so because the Meghpeon had a story to tell and long back it was all over :)

5. Lajey Ranga holo koney bou go/ Malabodol hobe aj ratey...

Let's face it. We love marriages. I love marriages and all the chaos associated with it. I once remember telling a gathering of pishis, jethis, kakimas that in case (of course I will) I get married it will be full on Indian style- the big fat bangali wedding- three days long. This song is all about that method in madness. 

"khaat dilam, palonk dilam/saatbhori sona/ raibaghini nonodi go khnota diyo na"

6. Uthche jege shokalgulo

Autograph's soundtrack has been a revelation and there is no denying that this was one of the best songs of the year. If only, there was no midriff baring Nandana Devsen!! Raima Sen or Radhika Apte or may be Vidya Balan- they are honorary bongs right? please!- "Khunshuti ar jhograjhati/ adda hobe khub jomati"- that's what we all crave for right?

7. Pachayi Niramey

This is a holy exception to my list of understandable lyrics category. Alaipayuthey, Madhavan, Maniratnam and Rahman in original...bliss!

8. Tumko Dekha to yeh khayal aayaa/ Zindagi dhoop tum ghana saaya

I rediscovered this song on a lazy sunday morning and thought it's the best thing to have happened to me since  the leading man in the movie. Yes! am a Farooq Sheikh fan :)

9. Dekha ek khwaab to yeh silsile huye....

There is something about unrequited love you know. and tulip fields. and probably the most controversial pairing of my father's generation. 

10. Hain aapna dil to awara/na jane kispe aayega...

I have listened to Hemonto Mukhopadhyay in Bengali and I still feel that this is one of his better sung songs. and obviously the panache with he sings it. "Hain ek tutaa hua tara/ na jane kispe aayega"

11. Aamar bhindeshi tara/ eka rateri akashey (re worked version- Antaheen)

Simply because it had to be there. I love the original more. No doubt. But somehow Shantanu Moitra did something really nice with this song. And add to it Anindya's charm (oh! that fichel hashi). Every work of art should be open to interpretation and Shantanu's version was a perfect ode to the original. "Aami payina chnutey tomay/ amar ekla lagey bhari". 

P.S. Anindya, the lyricist, I just wanted you to know- You have given words to those unspoken emotions more than once. At least for me.

12. Pretty Woman- the song.

The movie was fairytale. Richard Gere- a dream and Julia Roberts was catapulted to overnight stardom  And the song- :) :) "fairytale". That reminds me Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy did a wonderful job in Kal Ho na Ho while they reworked it.

13. Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon

I have heard that Mukesh was primarily known as the voice of Raj Kapoor. I wish he wasn't stereotyped because of that. This particular number from "Kabhi Kabhie" makes you fall for that tall lanky guy on screen singing the nagma's so well. And Mukesh is heavenly.

14. Yeh tumhari meri baatein/ humesha yunhi chalti rahein

I love Farhan Akhtar and I love the musical sense he inherited. I loved his raspy voice in Rock On. But the film remains special for this song. Conversations are delightful. Who won't like to describe a relationship like that?

15. Ami Chini go chini tomare/ ogo bideshini

Don't get me wrong and am not like that Youtube junkie who wrote that Rabindranath Tagore wrote "Sokhi Bhabona kahare boley" for Ekti Tarar khonje. But This makes it to the list because of Kishore Kumar. and the picturisation- one of the best picturisation of Robindroshongeet on screen (Ray's genius- what more do you expect?) I think my love for Soumitra is well known by now. So I won't delve on that much. I love the note on which the song ends- "Ogo Bouthakurani"

16. Aami Miss Calcutta 1976

Aparna Sen- Period.

17. Aamar din katey na/ Aamar raat katey na/ Dingulo je kichuteyi pichu hatey na

Choddobeshi was a cult comedy and this song is one of the best of that 'purboraag' mode I have ever heard.

18. Aabke Saajan sawan mein

This one's from Choddobeshi's Hindi remake - "Chupke Chupke". Sharmila Tagore and the fellow bongs (You know Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Jaya Bhaduri- yes! 'them') in the unit to do justice to the story and this song.... "itney badein ghar mein nahi..ek bhi jharokha"

19. Besh korechi prem korechi

Trust Mithu Mukherjee and Ranjit Mullick to unabashedly declare the affair and how! Btw, It was Mouchak.

20. Thare Rahiyo O baanke yaar

I remember Pakeezah for two reasons. Meena Kumari and her feet - "aapke pair bohot khoobsurat hain/ inhe zameen pe mat rakhiye/ mailey ho jayenge" and this song. Lata Mangeshkar- Hail!

21. Dil cheez kya hain aap meri jaan lijiye

Lyrics. Poetry. And if we talk about Lata can the sibling be far behind? Asha ji, you are my favourite. More so because you can only sing "Aagey khud hi janlo/ Iske aagey hum/ aur kya kahein/ jaanam samjha karo"- and at this age.

22. Ei poth jodi na sesh hoy tobe kemon hoto tumi boloto?

And I will close the list with the iconic Bengali Romantic song. This one permeates through ages and generations with elan. Rina Brown! Uttam-Suchitra- need I say more?

And I am not happy because songs like- "sob khelar sera bangalir tumi football", "Jodi hoyi chorkanta oi sharir bhanjey", "Nari choritro bejay jotil, kichui bujhtey parbe na, ora kono law maney na, tai oder naam law law na" :P and "ekey to phagun mash darron ey somoy, legeche bishom chot ki jaani ki hoy" was missed.

Also, "Ke tumi Nandini/Agey to dekhini"- Remember Parar pujo? Ashtami anjali? and Jhari mara?- I know you get it.

And 90's Hindi film songs- You are truly my life line. I can listen to "Ghoonghat ke aar se dilbar ka" and "Ek do teen" anytime. I think I will now make a list according to genres. That sounds a better idea.

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