Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bengali New Year 1416

Best wishes for the Bengali new year 1416! Obviously a big ocassion with bengalis worldwide and in Bengal. Alas. No holiday for me this poila baisakh (the first day of the month of Baisakh).

And this morning was sultrier than usual. On top of that I got onto a crowded bus and got no seat for a very long time. There I was sweaty, hot and bothered and hanging on for dear life as the maniac driver (pre-requisitive for all mini bus driver) zoomed and swerved his way through the roads of Kolkata. Until we got stuck in a massive jam on Diamond Harbour Road. On our side of the road, vehicles stretched behind and in front of us as far as the eye could see. And on the other side? One after the other, various processions, boudis and bhadraloks carrying banners, others dressed as Swami Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc, women doing dandiya for some odd reason, men in pristine white dhoti panjabi! And in midst of all this, autos, taxis, big and small buses, matadors, vans, cycles simply climbed onto the tram tracks in the divider in the middle throwing up a thick blanket of dust.

And then as we moved ahead after a long wait, I saw the other signs of Poila Baisakh: Long queues outside mandirs and equally long ones outside meat shops! Start the new year with puja and end it with a good mangshor jhol (almost a religion in Bengal). Nothing quite like it!

And ofcourse there were the ubiquitous blood donation camps (as important as mangshor jhol it seems). I counted three in the 10 km stretch...must have missed others while I was watching the procession.

Even a long and tiring day at work couldn't stop us from being in a general good mood that is usually associated with all holidays and ofcourse poila baisakh. Subho Naba Barsha to all!


Swati said...

This time was so strange...Poila Boishak has always been this special day, but this time, we just wished each other, went off to work, school etc, came back to pulao that Ashtami di had made, but apart from that it could have been any other day. Maybe because my parents aren't here. Dont know why, I went to bed kind of sad. Like I've failed in my duty of making Jiya and Hrik understand the significance of this day. We never did anything extra special when I was a kid to celebrate, but the day always was kind of special. Wonder what it is we're losing?

runab said...

Subho Nababarsha to you too!!

And whats with you and blood donation camps :P

Sukanya M said...

Swa - chill. I am sure they hv their special days ... diwali and dushera etc (do in rome as romans do)...

Its Kolkata I guess...manic about everything - poila baisakh to christmas and beyond. Just dont get the same feel elsewhere :-)

Runa - Subho Nabarasha to the both of you...

Its not so much with me...but Kolkata - the blood donation camps that is.

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