PUJO

A beautiful write up by Vir Sanghvi  (Editorial Director of Hindustan Times) on Kolkata & Durga Puja :
 What ‘Pujo’ means to a Bengali ?
Most modern Indian cities strive to rise above ethnicity. Tell anybody who lives in Bombay that he lives in a Maharashtrian city and he will take immediate offence. We are cosmopolitan, he will say indigenously.
Tell a Delhiwalla that his is a Punjabi city (which, in many ways, it is) and he will respond with much self-righteous nonsense about being the nation’s capital, about the international composition of the city’s elite etc.
And tell a Bangalorean that he lives in a Kannadiga city and you’ll get lots of techno-gaff about the internet revolution and about how Bangalore is even more cosmopolitan than Bombay.
But, the only way to understand what Calcutta is about is recognize that the city is essentially Bengali. What’s more, no Bengali minds you saying that. 
Rather, he is proud of the fact.
Calcutta’s strengths and weaknesses mirror those of the Bengali character. It has the drawbacks: the sudden passions, the cheerful chaos, the utter 
contempt for mere commerce, the fiery response to the smallest provocation. And it has the strengths (actually, I think of the drawbacks as strengths in their
own way). Calcutta embodies the Bengali love of culture; the triumph of intellectualism over greed; the complete transparency of all emotions, the 
disdain with which hypocrisy and insincerity are treated; the warmth of genuine humanity; and the supremacy of emotion over all other aspects of human
existence.
That’s why Calcutta is not for everyone.
You want your cities clean and green; stick to Delhi. You want your cities, rich and impersonal; go to Bombay. You want them high-tech and full of draught 
beer; Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul: come to Calcutta.
When I look back on the years I’ve spent in Calcutta – and I come back so many times each year that I often feel I’ve never been away – I don’t 
remember the things that people remember about cities. 
When I think of London, I think of the vast open spaces of Hyde Park. When I think of NewYork, I think of the frenzy of Times Square.
When I think of Tokyo, I think of the bright lights of Shinjiku.  And when I think of Paris, I think of the Champs Elysee.
But when I think of Calcutta, I never think of any one place. I don’t focus on the greenery of the maidan, the beauty of the Victoria Memorial, the bustle 
of Burra Bazar or the splendour of the new Howrah Bridge. I think of people. Because, finally, a city is more than bricks and mortars, street lights and tarred roads. A city is the sum of its people. And who can ever forget or replicate – the people of Calcutta? 
When I first came to live here, I was told that the city would grow on me. What nobody told me was that the city would change my life. It was in Calcutta that I
learn’t about true warmth; about simple human decency; about love and friendship; about emotions and caring; about truth and honesty. I learn’t other things too. Coming from Bombay as I did, it was a revelation to live in a city where people judged each other on the things that really mattered; where they recognized that being rich did not make you a better person – in fact, it might have the opposite effect. I learn’t also that if life is about more than just money, it is about the things that other cities ignore; about culture, about ideas, about art, and about passion. 
  
In Bombay, a man with a relatively low income will salt some of it away for the day when he gets a stock market tip. In Calcutta, a man with exactly the same
income will not know the difference between a debenture and a dividend. But he will spend his money on the things that matter. Each morning, he will read at
least two newspapers and develop sharply etched views on the state of the world. Each evening, there will be fresh (ideally, fresh-water or river) fish on his
table. His children will be encouraged to learn to dance or sing. His family will appreciate the power of poetry And for him, religion and culture will be in
inextricably bound together.
Ah religion! Tell outsiders about the importance of Puja in Calcutta and they’ll scoff. Don’t be silly, they’ll say. Puja is a religious festival. And Bengal has voted for the CPM since 1977. How can godless Bengal be so hung up on a religions festival? I never know how to explain them that to a Bengali, religion consists of much more than shouting Jai Shri Ram or pulling down somebody’s mosque. It has little to do with meaningless ritual or sinister political activity. 
  
The essence of Puja is that all the passions of Bengal converge: emotion, culture, the love of life, the warmth of being together, the joy of celebration, the pride in artistic expression and yes, the cult of the goddess. It may be about religion. But is about much more than just worship. In which other part of India would small, not particularly well-off localities, vie with each other to produce the best pandals? Where else could puja pandals go beyond religion to draw inspiration from everything else? In the years I lived in Calcutta, the pandals featured Amitabh Bachchan, Princes Diana and even Saddam Hussain! Where else would children cry with the sheer emotional power of Dashimi, upset that the Goddess had left their homes? Where else would the whole city gooseflesh when the dhakis first begin to beat their drums? Which other Indian festival – in any part of the country – is so much about food, about going from one roadside stall to another, following your nose as it trails the smells of cooking?
To understand Puja, you must understand Calcutta. And to understand Calcutta, you must understand the Bengali. It’s not easy. Certainly, you can’t do it till you come and live here, till you let Calcutta suffuse your being, invade your bloodstream and steal your soul. But once you have, you’ll love Calcutta forever. 
Wherever you go, a bit of Calcutta will go with you. I know, because it’s happened to me. And every Puja, I am overcome by the magic of Bengal.
It’s a feeling that’ll never go away. 

Brands for less!

Yesterday I went to an exhibition at The Park (Calcutta) where they had brands for really cheap prices and it was amazing especially the bags, wallets and shoes! They had Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Bebe, Roberto Cavalli and so many more. It was a sale of the rejected pieces of these high brands. I wanted it all..well, most of it! The clothes weren’t bad but they were kept in heaps and you really had to struggle to find something nice. I found some really pretty dresses which unfortunately did not fit me 😦

*sign that I need to start exercising*  I ended up buying a Roberto Cavalli animal print pant and shirt by the same designer 🙂 
This is what I wore. I wanted to keep it simple because it was in the afternoon..so I didn’t accessorise expect for a ring and paired the dress with my snake print pumps.

 P.S Sorry for the bad pictures and background. The pictures were taken in a hurry.

Butterfly Butterfly..which colour do you want to choose?

You know the times when you’re really bored, sitting at home with nothing ‘much’ to do and then someone calls and you make a random plan to go somewhere..aren’t those times so much better than the planned ones? That is what I expected today to be. But it wasn’t that great though it wasn’t too bad..just normal.
I ended up going to my favourite momo place again..and had chocolate shots too.. It’s funny how every time I take an oath to eat healthy I end up eating ONLY oily fattening food! And I have been putting off joining aerobic classes for the longest time now *not good* I WILL make it a point to join in November.
I’m going a little shopping tomorrow..pray I get something really nice 🙂
  

 Top- Bought from a friend’s boutique
Shoes- West Side
Denim- Sisley

P.S I know you’ve been seeing these ballerinas a little too much on my blog..please excuse my obsession with them 😛

The Floral Maxi

It’s not always that you get something nice during sales,that is,not unless you rush to the store during the first two days. I’m always so excited for the sale period. This time I even managed to cajole my mother into giving me some extra cash. But the sales were so disappointing! The only place I liked some stuff was Sisley. I bought this maxi dress for just 750 😀 I bought a few more things which I just cannot remember because the sales were such a long time ago.

Nostalgia

 If you’ve ever studied in the hills(as in Darjeeling, Sikkim), you can never forget the taste of the Momos and the Nepali Alu Dum you get there. How I miss it! The momo eateries in the cities are never good enough. However, after trying out like a million momo eateries in Calcutta, I finally found one which so reminds me of the Kurseong momos and the Nepali Alu Dum..I could go there everyday just to eat it! I wish I’d remembered to take pictures of the dishes..but I was too busy gorging on them.

Please excuse my hair.
Yesterday I thought I’d get a hair spa done at home to save money..turned out to be a very very bad idea! Basically I got the spa cream from Hong Kong Market Siliguri(known to sell duplicate products). . HORRIBLE IDEA! But I go to that store all the time and it has been quite reliable so far..except this one time where my hair looks like a ‘chiriya ka ghosla'(bird’s nest)!

My top shows how horribly I still am obsessed with hearts 😛 It’s such an old top..I have no idea where its from..
I love the floral clutch..another obsession-florals! I’d wear them even if they are not in fashion.
I’m also kind of obsessed with rings too at the moment.

Pants-Bosinni
Clutch- Shopper’s Stop
Gladiators- Calcutta
Earrings- Goa

Heritage

This is a long overdue post..I meant to post it in August but the pictures weren’t with me.
I do not own this picture

My friends and I have decided to discover the other and more beautiful  part of Calcutta which excludes our  regular malls, coffee shops, clubs and hookah parlours.
So we first visited Princep Ghat.
It is such a BEAUTIFUL place.
Strange! We’ve lived here for 5 long years and never been there before! *stupid us*

I do not own this picture

We went on a boat ride too. It was so romantic..starry sky, a light breeze, the water and two chattering friends for company! I did secretly wish ‘someone else’ would replace them 😛 But someone else was out of town..
We couldn’t take pictures of the boat ride cos it was already dark. But we did manage to take a few pictures later and here are they 🙂