Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Unique Way to Begin The New Year

Every year, I begin the new year by sending SMS messages to my friends and colleagues. This time, I thought to begin it in a unique way, by gifting a book to a fellow book-lover, though unknown to me. This way I can spread the joy of reading in this new year.

This is how it works:

STEP 1: Send a book to the address I'll give you. This is the address of the person who has introduced me to it.

STEP 2: Coy and paste my status on your Facebook wall, which is as follows:

Then when someone comments/says yes, give them my address and name.
Whoever says yes will send a book to me.

Of course, in reality, you may get far less books than 36 as claimed in the status message. But then the focus is on spreading the joy of reading.

Today I gifted a book to an unknown person. In my case, I decided to gift the book which happens to be my best read in 2015. So I gifted "Riot" by Shashi Tharoor to my unknown friend, hoping that he likes it. Thanks to e-commerce giant Amazon, it took me only a few minutes. Lets see how many books I get ultimately in return, or whether I get one at all.

In this digital age, number of book-readers are dwindling fast. In this scenario, this kind of initiative can go a long way to promote reading habit.

Thanks to all the readers who visit my blog and wishing all of you a very happy and fun-filled year ahead. Stay tuned to my blog. Keep reading!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Revisiting the Golden Days: A Write-up on my school

"Ye daulat bhii le lo, ye shoharat bhii le lo
Bhale chhiin lo mujhase merii javaanii
Magar mujhako lautaa do bachapan kaa saavan
Vo kaagaz kii kashtii, vo baarish kaa paanii....."

So goes a popular song of Jagjit Singh. Indeed, we all want to go back to our childhood days. Yesterday was the reunion of my school. Though I didn't attend the reunion, I saw so many photos of the reunion in Facebook page of our school's alumni association. It made me feel so nostalgic yesterday night to see the old school building, my beloved teachers once again, thanks to Facebook. Memories swamp over me.... Writing admission test for getting admitted in Class 5, the big classroom of Section A, Class 5, me sitting in the last bench, sharing lunch with friends, getting angry over some squabble with them, playing in the school playground with them..... me giggling over some silly jokes in the big, airy, 2nd floor classroom of Section A, Class 6, standing over the bench holding ears with all my classmates for talking loudly in the class..... the big tree on the school entrance..... the wicked gate-keeper of the school with stretched ears, thats why we called him 'Lambokorno'..... writing exams, trying to draw perfectly those Geometrical figures..... wearing a saree for the first time in Class 9.... borrowing my mother's pink saree to wear in the school's Saraswati Puja..... making measurements in the Physics lab, breaking a test-tube in the Chemistry lab and the teacher's reproach..... that frog dissection in the Biology lab which gave me vomiting..... I entered there on the verge of adolescence and left it on the edge of adulthood..... Meanwhile, it occupies all the 8 years of my adolescence..... Memories that seems to be from a previous birth (do I have any?)..... eyes glisten even today as I think of my alma mater..... Life was so simple as can never be again..... Thanks to Gramya Hitakari Alumni Association..... Keep up the good work, girls (we will never grow up to become women in our teachers eyes, I guess)..... Miss my school, my friends, my teachers..... I am what I am today because of you.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
This is my first letter to you. I don’t know much about you in this three years brief existence on earth. I only know this much that you look quite adorable in that red outfit of yours (like the one mom tried to make me wear last Christmas) and your white beard (yes, I know that. There was even one with the Santa Claus dress she bought last year. But I hate to wear beard. I am not very comfortable with it). Another thing I know about is is that you fulfill the wished of those children who have been nice all the year (and not naughty, of course). But how can one define what is nice and what is naughty, for the same act which seems nice to me, seems naughty to my mom. See, it all depends on the perspective. So which side will you take, Santa? Mine or my mom’s? Well, I don’t know.
This year though, I tried to be nice throughout the year, that too from my mom’s perspective. Like all three-year-olds, I love colours, perhaps you know that. Pastel crayons, plastic crayons, sketch pens, colou pencils, I have it all (though I lose one almost everyday, and that leaves no other choice for my mom but to buy one entire set again). I know she likes to see me painting. “You paint so well dear”. She nods approvingly whenever I am painting something on my colouring books, whether that painting makes sense or not. But paint the same picture on the wall, or the almirah, or the refrigerator (yes, I paint there, too), she will yell at me with so much reproach in her eyes. This year, though, I tried to confine my paintings mostly to colouring books and minimise the mural paintings (I succeeded to minimise it, though I could not stop it altogether. I just love walls painted with exciting colours and nice pictures, rather than the boring monocoloured wall).
This year, I started school for the first time in my lofe (I am a student of playgroup, for your kind information). Though I don’t quite love the idea of going to school, but I have to go there. It’s kind of compulsion. Otherwise, my mom creates a big fuss over me not going to school and watching cartoons on TV all day long. In this first year of my school life, though, I attended school for most of the time.
Thanks to my play school, I am learning my alphabets now. And sometimes, though just to make my mom happy, I try to write them on my exercise book and complete my home tasks, instead of playing with my toys or watching cartoons. See, how nice I am.
And oh, one last nice act of mine, I must mention here. I ate rice and vegetables on some days during this year (although serving papad or fried potato is compulsory for me to eat rice). I also tried to reduce my ice-cream intake (last summer, I caught cold by having excessive ice-creams and had a fever. It’s so distressing, you know).
Hope I have been nice enough. Now it’s your turn to be nice and gift me the toys that I wish.
With love and laughter,

P.S.: I am just learning my alphabets as I told you and am not knowledgeable enough to write an entire letter. So my mom wrote this letter on behalf of me. However, within a few years, when I’ll grow up a little bit and will be able to write letters on my own, I’ll write you you far better letters than this one that mom has written.

(This letter is my entry for the 'Letters to Santa" (LTS) contest conducted by Flipkart.)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Woman With The Jewelleries

I met her in the ladies compartment of Down Midnapur local, on my way back from office. She is in her late sixties, but she has such spirit that defies her age. She is a regular hawker in different local trains, selling cheap imitation fashion jewelleries in the ladies compartment. But behind this apparent happiness lives a bereaved mother, who has lost all her three sons when they were in their youth. So she makes daughters out of those girls and young women who are her customers. And on many occasions, she gives them their preferred jewelleries free of cost, for the God who has snatched her sons from her, has given her so many daughters in return, or so she believes.
We often feel sorry for our own small miseries, small indeed are ours when compared to hers. But still she smiles and embraces life with open arms. Such is her indomitable spirit.
Life is indeed worth living, for these people also live life so fully.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Maa Durga, Woman Power and the murder of a girl child

Maa, it's autumn now in Bengal. The air is getting nippy, the sky is clear blue and in the countryside, the kash flowers are swaying their heads in gentle air. All these heralds that You are coming to Your father's house. On your four days stay at your father's house in Bengal, we Bengalis worship you as an annual ritual. We hold you in veneration. Maa, You are the symbol of woman power to us. The woman who gives birth, who nourishes and cares, yet when the time comes, she vanquishes the demon. Then are we hypocrite, Maa? On the auspicious day of Mahalaya, the very day which is synonimous to the commencement of Devi Paksha, a girl child was murdered this year. This gruesome murder of a child pains me very much. Being a mother myself, the picture of her wailing mother suffused my mind with great sorrow. Why this contradiction, Maa? On the one hand, we make a great show of worshipping our mother idol, and on the other, our daughters are being tortured every day. Every day as I turn the pages of the newspaper, there are news of women, and even minor girls, being raped, murdered, dowry deaths, female infanticide and the list is endless. When will You end this, Maa? For once, You come alive, hold Your Trishul firmly and demolish the demons who are torturing You every day, for it's You who live inside each daughter, each woman, each mother. When will that day come? Do you have any answer?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Puja Shopping

Puja Shopping: The Journey from Traditional Shopping to e-Shopping

With Durga Puja round the corner, it's time for shopping for Bengalis. It's the time of the year when everybody wants to look their best. Newspapers and TV channels display advertisements by various shops and shopping malls. Recently, I came across an advertisement by a prominent retail chain with the theme "Sarbajanin Shopping Pujo". This truely captures the flavour of the season. As for me, I am always hard-pressed for time. My hectic schedule leaves me very little time to indulge in the luxury of month-long shopping. For me, for the past few years (since I got the job and became a working woman, to be more specific), shopping has been a round-the-year affair. I don't wait for the festive season for it. I do shopping whenever I manage to spare my time and decide that something is nice enough to be purchased. This year, though, shopping has been a different experience for me altogether. With the boom of e-commerce, I am spoilt for choices when it comes to shopping. Also, I can afford to indulge in shopping from the cosy comfort of my home. So, this year, most of my shopping was done online. 

I bought a few salwar suits and kurtas from BIBA, my favourite brand. Then another two kurtas from RANGRITI. I bought some lovely earrings from  Flipkart. This year's shopping experience was truly amazing and entirely different.

I bought this kurta from Rangriti.

I think it'll look lovely when paired with red coloured churidar and dupatta. This earring, bought from Flipkart, goes well with it.
Long live e-commerce!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Indian Diaspora and Bollywood

Indian Diaspora and Bollywood

For diasporic Indians, the Bollywood movie experience was one way of going back, of revisiting, albeit briefly, the homeland that one has left behind. But after the 1990s owing primarily to the purchasing power and imaginative hunger of this very nostalgic diaspora, Bollywood registered a radical shift in both its form and content. Bollywood's visual culture became more global and cosmopolitan so as to attract audiences in the West. In the 1990s, the diaspora had become a market to reckon with, a territory for film distribution, whose earnings could supplement, if not rival, box office collections from India itself. The process of not only globalizing itself, but spreading images of India abroad and thereby Indianizing the globe is happening in unprecedented ways. From being the subaltern second cinema of the world, it is becoming the dominant second cinema of the world- may be not as dominant as Hollywood, but dominant nonetheless.

An article by Makarand Paranjape.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Book Review: RUDALI

This is a short-story written by Mahasweta Devi. It centres around the life of Sanichari, a tribal woman, who had to endure much hardships in life. She faced many deaths in her life, each of a near and dear one, yet she never had the luxury to shed tears for any of them, as each time she had to wage a struggle for mere survival. Finally, for the sake of living, she became Rudali, a professional mourner. She had to sell her pent up tears to earn a livelihood.
It’s a heart-wrenching story of a woman and brings tears to the readers eyes. It offers great insights into the tribal life, who are exploited by the upper castes generation after generation. The book was adopted into a movie. Though I haven’t seen the movie. Yet the book moved me deeply.

Thursday, January 8, 2015



I read this book in December, 2014. This novel, written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, is a retelling of the epic "Mahabharata", but from a female perspective. I guess the epic, as it was written by a male and because of the fact that literature of any time is a reflection of the contemporary social system, lacks portrayal of female characters in detail. This novel portrays one of the leading female character, Draupadi. Draupadi herself is the narrator here and the novel depicts her emotions, her struggle, her life. It's HER story. Once you start, you can't put this book off, without finishing it. This mesmerizing tale of Paanchali is a must read for all, especially the women-folk.