Sunday, April 15, 2007
"puthandu vazthukal" and "poila baishak"
i am a tamilian and have spent a good 15 years of my youth in kolkata.i can call myself a 25% bengali.and then for the last twenty years or so i have been visiting kolkata ten to twelve times a year at least.hence i call myself a 50% bengali.i celebrated on 14th the tamil new year's day and the bengali 'naboborsho' on the 15th.both at kolkata. as per the tamil almanac,the new year is called 'sarvajit'.the same name gets repeated after 60 years.i don't know whether there is any such almanac system in bengal.'sarvajit' means one who conquers all.let us on this happy occasion look forward to this new year with love for all and hope that we work towards conquering all the negative and dark forces and make our planet a safer and greener place to live in.
it all began on saturday morning with my laptop receiving emails from family and friends flashing the "puthandu vazthugal"(new year greetings) and my cellphone incessantly ringing.i had come to kolkata on work and missed very much the fun of celebrating the new year with the family.
last night on the eve of 'poila baishak'(first day of baishak)my colleague and me went out to enjoy some good bangla food.we decided to try itc's "sonar bangla".i was visiting this hotel for the first time.built on 16 acres of marshy land on the eastern express highway and about 8 km from the city,i was very impressed with the architecture and the ambience. exquisite italian marble has been used for the flooring.it is one big expanse of halls,bars and restaurants and water bodies.the several restaurants,the bar and the coffeeshop are generously spaced.we drank 'mojito' at the bar and then moved to the coffee shop where some fantastic bangla food awaited us.one might think that for vegetarians bengali food does not offer much,as it is heavily oriented towards maach and mangsho(fish and meat)eaters.no doubt,but still i couldn't complain.besides the tasty and delectable vegetable biriyani,i had a variety of veg preparations like 'begun shiraji' and 'patol sorse' followed by all the bengali mishtis that you could think of! my colleagues loved their 'pabda maacher jhaal' and 'panthar mangsho'.and the bonus was a close view of actor soumitra chatterjee and his wife dressed for the occasion in traditional attire.
only a fortnight back maharashtra and karnataka celebrated gudi padva and ugadi repectively.and on friday in punjab, baishaki was welcomed with songs and dances.these are different names for the same festival in different parts of the country.but the commonality running through these festivals is very apparent.start the new year with a pooja,meet family and friends,exchange gifts,prepare the best and tastiest of food and sweets.also importantly, eat something that is bitter and follow it with sugar or a sweet.life is a combination of the good and the bad.bitter and pleasant.be prepared for both.take each in your stride as it comes with eqanimity.conquer the evil and dark forces and spread love and cheer all around.after all this is the year when one conquers all-'sarvajit'.i wish my blog friends a very happy new year.