Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chhat Puja at Juhu Beach

[For the uninformed or the non-biharis, do go through this if you want to know what Chhat is and what it means to us.]

For 3 years in a row, I've had to read how lakhs of people turn up at Juhu beach for Chhat puja delebrations and curse myself for not being a witness. Afterall Chhat was a fest I looked forward to when I was back home, as you might have judged by the link I gave. Anyway this time I along with Rajeev and Abir gathered enough courage to see what it's like. Priyanka Chopra's expected presence made the choice that much easier.

Everybody seemed to be going to Juhu. We were stuck in traffic for a very long time. Long enough to witness sugarcane sticks tied together kept on top of taxis, women with sindoor upto their noses sitting in luggage autorickshaws and open trucks, sounds of typical Chhat songs floating around. Quintessential Chhat atmosphere. We might as well have been in Jamshedpur, or Patna for that matter, if the Best buses and the big black Merc parked alongside were to be neglected.

We finally reached Juhu beach. This was the my first visit to this oh-so-famous tourist spot; as you might guess I'm not too keen on symbols. Tourist symbols at those. The sun had set and hence the puja was over, which was a huge letdown. Nevertheless the gathering was unprecedented. Here's a pic to give an idea:


One sea meets the other

And this was just the sparse side. On the other side two huge stages had been put up. One by the Bihari Front, organised by Sanjay Niruapm, and the other by Uttar Bharat something something. The Uttar Bharat one had some freaky show where 2 singers singing bhojpuri songs were hung up in the air in a box by a huge crane which moved them around in the air while a spotlight miserably tried to follow them. Scary stuff, quite obviously the kind the crowds liked. The Sanajy Nirupam one was slightly more sober and politicsed. He greeted the crowd in Bhojpuri and Maithili (that's my mother tongue if you're wondering) and then continued in heavily Bihari accented hindi. He mentioned how he fought with the BMC and moved the SC to allow celebrations of Chhat at Juhu, with loudspeakers and firecrackers and all. He then welcomed Maragret Alva, some top post holder in Congress (yeah I can't recall what) who he stressed multiple times had flown from Delhi for specifically this purpose. The crowd believed him and cheered wildly. Alva came on to speak. The firecrackers that were bursting in the background one after another maintained a better speed than the words in her Hindi speech. I don't think that shook the belief of the crowd.

We came, we saw, we came back

We got bored by now. Announcements were made that Nagma (bhojpuri film actress) and Manoj Tiwari and some other household names of Bhojpuri entertainment would continue with the show. Later Priyanka Chopra would grace the stage with her presence. She has a pretty face allright, but risking your life (we were intimidated by the potentially stampedisih crowd, yes) for a pretty face who won't even get to know that you did, didn't seem to be great idea. Plus we felt terribly out of place, and prasad would not be handed until morning session of Puja. We decided to give it a pass.

But not before Abir tried his hands at his new found hobby: abstract photography.



10 more days and I shall be a werewolf again

Gathering experiences, not of the terribly wild kind, is a quest; probably even a purpose. Here goes another one.

Friday, October 27, 2006

एक अर्से बाद

(re-discovered this brilliant site, where you type in hindi using english alphabets and the software does the conversion to hindi bit. there might be font issues, but couldn't restrain myslef from doing a hindi post :) )

मुझे
याद भी नही पिछली बार मैने कब अपने मन से हिंदी मे कुछ लिखा था. अब तो कभी कभी ऐसा लगता है की मैं हिंदी लिखना भूल ही गया. ये अजीब सी बात है की दसवीं कक्षा मे मैने अपनी हिंदी शिक्षिका से हिंदी पदहने की औचित्य पर एक लंबी सी बेहेस की थी और आज मैं एक महीने पुरानी अख़बार की ढेर मे आधे घंटे तक उस ख़बर को खोजता रहा जिसमे इस site का ज़िक्र था. ख़ैर वो विषय से ज़्यादा विषय को पढ़ाने वाले के लिए मेरी चिढ़ का नतीजा थी.

अभी मैं ज़्यादा कुछ लिख नही सकता क्योकि करने को बहुत कुछ बचा हुआ है . हमेशा की तरह अंतिम दिन ही सब कुछ करना है . लेकिन अब जब हिंदी मे लिखने का इतना आसान सा तरीक़ा मुझे पता चल चुका है , तो उम्मीद है आगे बहुत कुछ लिखता रहूँगा .

( इस उर्दू-हिंदी के मिश्रण के लिए क्षमा चाहूँगा, आजकल बहुत सोचने पर भी हिंदी के शब्द याद नही आते . और school मे कहाँ हम जयशंकर प्रसाद और महादेवी वर्मा के कठिन अलंकार पढ़ा करते थे..)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The gathering storm

[This post is what happens when you become a dormant blogger]

These days, these times I constantly feel like a grain of sand trapped in an hour glass. The tiny grain that has rested for a while, then accelerated and caught speed, finally to fall through the interconnecting passage and then rest again. Rest and watch layers of sand stack upon it. Right now I'm free falling; through the passage separating the dependent life and the independent life. Things are happening in a blur. Only this idyllic Diwali vacation gives me some time to chronicle what has been going on. After all as W. H Davies has aptly put, "A poor life this if, full of care/We have no time to stand and stare."

Viva La Liga!

Intra football couldn't have been more fun. This time we decided to experiment, albeit on a format that had already been in place in H-4, and it's been a huge success. All the players who registered for the La Liga as we call it were rated on a scale of 10. People who wanted to be managers had a total of 45 points to choose 8 rated players, pretty much how fantasy football works. Currently there are 10 registered teams, which amounts to 80 willing players. Unprecedented in a hostel sporting event. The matches are pretty charged up affairs, with the overall league winners taking the jersey of the team name they play with. It is unbelievable fun playing under lights for 45 minutes, with hostelmates lining up on the sides cheering (actually there is much more of jeering) for you. Our team Liverpool, managed by Giddu (Abrahamovic minus the money and the babe, lucky with star players), is on top right now after 2 rounds, beating Mohun Bagan 7-0 (the team names suggest the disparity) and Barcelona 1-0. The 2nd match being a bitter, bitter encounter where I was virtually mauled and manhandled before managing to score the winning goal. And I am in contention for the golden boot, leading the scroing chart with 3 goals, but that depends on who scores how many goals against Bagan :)

Trivial Matters and the Unibrows

It was very, very satisfying to complete all the 30 levels of Trivius, a highly addictive cryptic trivia game hosted as a part of SJMSOM's fest. Vaibhav and I wasted just about 5 days, discounting another 5 where we gave up on level 21, brainstorming and scavenging the internet. Of course we were helped on some levels, most thankfully on 21 by Vaibhav's cousin, and on one by Surdy. There, you had the acknowledgements, we'll take the prizes ( Honestly we owe you a treat, just keep reminding us.)

The Rock Trivia was kept as a part of the Music GC. The first time I saw the posters, I knew this was the only time I could be a part of a position winning team in a music event. After being psyched by KP for showing up late for the elims, where I was conveniently substituted (temporarily much to my relief), we made it through to the finals with relative ease. The finals weren't easy. Rock trivia can be as obscure as you choose to make it, as teams except H8 an H13 found out. We were trailing by over 25 points coming into the final round, but an amazing display of quizzing reflex action by Vaibhav and a few chip ins by KP and yours truly won us the quiz by 10 points to spare. So I, of all people, have now a music GC first place to my name.

Potpourri, which includes dumb charades, tinto, manhunt etc. is always fun to practice and take part in. Ever since our mesmerising performance in my 2nd year, it has been a thing I look forward to every year. Last year was a disaster, Mood I was a heartbreak (waiting lists always are), so we decided to step up on practice. Sujay took charge of acting since Kela passed out and Krishna came into the team. He coined the name Unibrows for our team, a name reflecting the fact that all three of us coincidentally share the freaky attribute of having joint eyebrows. It is always great fun practising for events like dumb c, specially when you have slightly slow guessers like me and slightly impatient actors like Krishna (the pogo stick jump to represent a horse was a classic.) The main event would have been a cakewalk for us, had we not got Mattle Toys as a brand name. It took an eternity to be guessed by us, not helped by the fact that I hadn't heard of this company and that Krishna, who acted, is an amateur scrabble champion (which made it a frustratingly obvious guess for him.) Nevertheless we managed a respectable 3rd, within 10 seconds of the eventual winners. Mood I will be the swan song for me and Sujay, hopefully the song will earn us some money too.

What else?

Another Diwali minus the firecrackers, but thankfully had a taste of long forgotten home food at LG's place. And also the remembrance of old days and the friendly banter once I got together with cousin sisters, almost a decade since that happened last and god knows how much more since that happens again.

I did not go home citing academic commitments. Thankfully no one asks for a proof. The results, well, they cannot get worse from what they have been past 4 years. Even if they improve, it's way too late already.

I could stretch the grain sand analogy here, but it would hurt more than I can handle once I read this blog a few months, or even a few weeks from now. Already it has become difficult for me to sit on the chair and type, thinking about the content of this post. I'm not changing it anyway :)

Oh and do read my arti on blogging (for InsIghT) if you can spare the time (2nd last page, We-blog.)