Durga Puja Celebrations in Bengal

The blooming of kash. Pic by Amitabha Gupta

Goddess Durga is the symbol of strength. Her victory over Mahisasur is the victory of Good over Evil. As autumn arrives, the fields get covered with the kash flowers and the sky is at its bluest with white fluffy clouds floating by in abandon. Fragrance of flowers like Shiuli, fills the air as nature decks up like a bride. The people of Bengal get ready to welcome Goddess Durga, who comes down from heaven to spend four days at her paternal home – the Earth. For four blessed days she fills the lives of people with happiness and mirth.

The people of Bengal celebrate Durga Puja with great pomp and show. Huge pandals or temporary structures are made for the four days displaying the rich art and culture of the region. Every idol and pandal  is exquisitely  crafted to create awe among the onlookers.

If festivity is in the air, delicacies cannot be far behind. Bengalis, being ardent food lovers will go to any length to treat their palates with the most delicious food possible. As a result, restaurants and food stalls are totally packed during Durga Puja. Numerous fairs are organised across the state. Various types of  stalls and  rides do big business during these four days.

Pure gold Idol weighing 50 Kgs made for four days. The idol was melted after token immersion.

The Puja which begins on Sasthi (sixth day) continues for Saptami, Ashthami, Navomi  and ends on Dashami (tenth day) when the devotees depart from Goddess Durga as she is immersed in rivers.  The idols are made of river clay and get dissolved in water.  People bid adieu to their beloved goddess with the chants ‘ Aschhe bochor aabar hobe’ which means ‘come next year and we shall again celebrate.’ This symbolises the eternal hope for better things that rings eternally in every soul. 

For the story of the creation of Goddess Durga, refer to my post Mahalaya.

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Types of Sentences

It is a bright and sunny day.-Assertive Sentence

TYPES OF SENTENCES  based on FUNCTIONS are:-

  • ASSERTIVE SENTENCE
  • IMPERATIVE SENTENCE
  • INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE
  • EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE
  • OPTATIVE SENTENCE

In my last post on sentences I had written about the basic elements of a sentence. I had also briefly mentioned that sentences can be divided from different aspects. The aspects being i) Functional ii) Structural iii) Polarity iv) Voice and v) Pattern. In this post I shall elaborate on the types of sentences based on functions.

ASSERTIVE SENTENCE

  • A sentence that makes a statement or assertion is called a declarative or assertive sentence.

It simply declares, asserts or makes a statement.

E.g. It is a bright and sunny day.

        She likes to watch action movies.

         It is a Ming vase.

FUNCTIONS OF ASSERTIVE SENTENCE.

  1. Narrating – I saw an UFO last evening.
  2. Stating – ‘He returned home a happy man.’
  3. Giving reason – ‘He was late as he had a small accident.’
  4. Demanding action – ‘I demand action against the culprit.’
  5. Expressing doubt – ‘I am unsure of her arrival.’
  6. Protesting – Cutting trees must be banned.
  7. Describing – The rainbow is beautiful.
  8. Expressing apprehension– I won’t be able to pass the exam.   
  9. Giving information – Sharon has passed the exam.
  10. Expressing opinion – I think it is going to rain.
  11. Comparing – Ron is shorter than Harry.
  12. Giving warning –  There’s a snake behind you.
  13. Confirming – Yes, I’m coming.
  14. Contradicting – ‘No, that’s not right.’
  15. Arguing – ‘You are wrong, I’m right.’
  16. Apologising – ‘I’m sorry ; I should not have said so.’
  17. Assuring – Of course, you will pass.
  18. Addressing – Hello, Miss Muffet.
  19. Answering – Yes, I am a doctor.
  20. Classifying – There are two types of voice: Active and passive.
  21. Comparing –  Feather is lighter than wool.
  22.  Defining – A sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense.
  23. Hesitating – But, I can’t give you the whole cake.
  24. Illustrating – Latin is the mother of most European languages.

IMPERATIVE SENTENCE

  • A sentence that expresses a command or an entreaty is called an imperative sentence.

E.g.  Please close the door.

        You must not watch television for more than two hours.

     Study hard to get good marks.

     Have mercy upon us.

FUNCTIONS OF IMPERATIVE SENTENCES

  1. Alerting –  Look out!
  2. Directing – Go straight and then turn left.
  3. Giving advice  –  Plant a tree.
  4. Giving order  –  Get out of the room.
  5. Giving permission – Yes, you may leave.
  6. Instructing –  Draw a straight line.
  7. Inviting – Please come and grace the occasion.
  8. Reminding – Don’t forget to take your passport.
  9. Prohibiting – Don’t  get up till you finish your homework.
  10. Instant commanding – Halt!  Fire!

INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE

  • A sentence that asks a question is called an interrogative sentence.

E.g. Where do you live?

        Have you finished your work?

        When did you visit Paris?

         How much did it cost?

FUNCTIONS OF INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES

  1. Asking for permission – May I speak?
  2. Asking for opinion – Is this dress looking good?
  3. Asking for reason – Why have you come late?
  4. Asking for confirmation – You are the doctor, aren’t you?
  5. Asking for information – How do I go there?
  6. Enquiring – Will you have another apple?
  7. Expressing doubt – Will it be sunny tomorrow?
  8. Expressing disgust – Who the hell does he think he is?
  9. Threatening – Who dares to challenge me?
  10. Making request – Will you please help me?
  11. Interrogating – When did you discover the theft?

EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE

  • A sentence that expresses strong feeling or surprise is called  an exclamatory sentence.

 E.g. How very cold the morning is!

         What a beautiful scenery!

          What a shame!

          What a selfish boy he is!

FUNCTIONS OF EXCLAMATORY SENTENCES

  1. Elation –  What a pleasant surprise!
  2. Expressing wonder – What a beautiful scenery!
  3. Expressing joy – Hurrah! We have won.
  4. Expressing sorrow – Alas! My dog is no more.
  5. Expressing hatred – Fie! How horrible of you.
  6. Expressing disgust – Ugh! What a stench.
  7. Expressing compassion – Poor thing! She is so lonely.
  8. Encouragement – Bravo! Encore!
  9. Greeting – Hi! Nice to meet you.
  10. Bidding farewell – Goodbye!

OPTATIVE SENTENCES

  • Optative sentences express a wish, a prayer or a blessing.

May you be happy.

Wish you a happy birthday.

Let it be true.

FUNCTIONS OF OPTATIVE SENTENCES

  1. Praying – May God bless you.
  2. Greeting – Wish you a Merry Christmas.
  3. Expressing Desire – May you succeed in all you do.
  4. Expressing good wishes– Long live the Queen.
  5. Expressing final wish – May his soul rest in peace.
Hurrah! We have won.- Exclamatory sentence.

Golden Moments

The world is an amazingly adventurous place … just look through my eyes.
——————————————————————–

Speech is silver, Silence is gold;
Such proverbs are somewhat old.
Silence gives us blissful peace,
A silent Siesta’s  each man’s wish.

It was a hot summer afternoon, when
Venturing out would make one swoon;
The fans were on, the rooms were cool.
The ones outside were surely fools.

Mom told stories of kings and Queens,
Of a lovely princess and her dreams.
Hoping her stories would put to sleep,
Her toddler son and daughters sweet.

As her story ended she fell asleep,
Drowning in a peaceful slumber deep.
The daughters too had fallen asleep;
But toddler son wished to have a peak.

He was feeling hot, had a little sweat;
The bathroom tap could make him wet.
He toddled there, and turned the tap,
Sound of water broke the sister’s nap.

She found her Bro, missing from bed;
‘Wake up sis! you sleepy head.’
The younger one to the elder said.
And saying so leapt up from her bed.

She tiptoed to the washroom door;
Sitting happily on the  floor,
His expression one of joy untold,
The noon was hot and the water cold.

Splash, Splash, Splash went his feet;
Thump, Thump, Thump went the beat.
As he splashed the water with his hand,
At the door he saw his sisters stand.

He laughed out loud in greatest joy,
The tap water was, his newest toy.
He shrieked in glee, he felt so free;
To solve the washroom’s mystery.

The sisters pulled him from the tap,
And a towel around him wrapped.
He gave them a one toothed smile,
Knowing what he did was vile.

 The sisters laughed to see him so,
 But what he did, mom must know.
So they carried him to their mom;
And gifted her a towel wrapped son.

It amused mom, to hear the story,
Of her son’s endeavour to gather glory.
Speech is silver and silence is gold,
Not so when you have a one year old.

Memoirs of childhood days.

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Sentences

Sentences help us to communicate. Correct communication creates wonders.

SENTENCE – Definition

  • A sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense.

It starts with a capital letter and ends with a fullstop(.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!).

This is the common definition of a sentence. Now let us look at the properties of a sentence.

A sentence is generally a group of words.

A sentence generally contains a subject and a verb.

A sentence is the largest unit in a language.

A sentence contains a sense more or less complete.

A sentence consists of one or more clauses.

ELEMENTS OF A SENTENCE: PHRASE & CLAUSE

A sentence is the largest structural unit of a language. It can be divided into further smaller elements or units.

A sentence consists of clause/s           ->

A clause consists of phrase/s               ->

A phrase consists of word/s                 ->

A word consists of letter/s                  

Letters   ->   Words   ->   Phrase   ->   Clause   ->   Sentence

e.g: There is a mango tree in the garden.

        Will you help me?

        What a nice person he is!

        Please sing a song for us.

Sentence Types

The main divisions of sentences based on different aspects are:

  • FUNCTIONAL
  • Assertive
  • Interrogative
  • Imperative
  • Exclamatory
  • Opative
  •  STRUCTURAL:

i)    Simple

ii)   Compound

iii)   Complex

iv) Complex- Compound

V)  Compound- Complex

The other minor divisions are:-

  • FROM POLARITY:-
  • Affirmative
  • Negative
  • VOICE :-
  • Active voice
  • Passive voice
  • PATTERN:
  • Subject + Verb + Direct object
  • Subject – Verb – Subject – Complement
Think before you speak.

These are the basic divisions of the types of sentences. My next post will elaborate on the types of sentences. Sentences have magic to turn the world into a heavenly place.

Mahalaya

Mahalaya – An invitation to goddess Durga to come to her paternal home on Earth.

Welcome Goddess Durga,
To your homeland the Earth.
We send you invitations Ma,
To visit Earth once again.

It’s autumn again,
The white fluffy clouds say so.
And the gathering of shiuli flowers;
Beneath the shiuli tree.

They too are waiting for you;
To come and make them happy.
Our hearts are gathering joy,
In anticipation of your arrival .

Come soon Ma, we’re waiting for you,
With prayers, joy and new dresses.
What happiness you spread Ma,
When you come to the Earth.

For those four blessed days,
We wait throughout the year .
The four days of pure bliss,
When you are here with us.

You are strength, you are power,
You are the soft love of Mother.
You are happiness, you are joy,
You are the source of our existence.

Your ten hands symbolise
The multitasking power of woman
When every God failed to destroy Evil
You did so with elan and ease.

Come to the Earth once more Ma,
We are eagerly waiting for you .
Come to the Earth once more, and
Bless us with happiness and health.

The story of goddess Durga.

According to Indian mythology-Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva who resides in the Himalayas. They have two sons Kartik, Ganesh and two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. Kartik is a soldier, Ganesh a scholar, Lakshmi the creator of wealth and Saraswati the goddess of learning and music.

Mahisasur was a demon who penanced for a long time to gain a boon of immortality from Brahma, the creator. Brahma was forced to grant him the boon, and he said that no male could ever kill Mahisasur. Mahisasur became all powerful and created a havoc in the three worlds, the heaven, the Earth, and the hell.

Protected by the boon he defeated all humans and Gods. He banished the King of Gods, the thunder god Indra, from heaven. Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, found a loop hole in the boon given to Mahisasur. The consort of Shiva- Parvati; Lakshmi and Saraswati were recreated as Durga for slaying the demon Mahisasur. She was made as a goddess with ten hands which carried ten weapons given by the gods. She was startingly beautiful and rode a lion being the abode of strength.

When Mahisasur came to know of the beautiful lady, he gave orders to bring her to his palace. All his warriors who attempted to do so were killed by Durga. Ultimately Mahisasur was forced to fight with Durga. As the fight advanced Mashisasur realised that Durga was no ordinary mortal. He was able to change forms and therefore went on changing forms to hide from Durga. Finally he was slain by Durga, as he took the form of Mahis or buffalo. Thus, Durga came to be known as Mahisasurmardini or the destroyer of the demon Mahisasur.

As the monsoon ends and the beautiful season of autumn advances. The state of Bengal celebrates Durga Puja. People believe that the goddess comes to her paternal home on Earth for four days, along with her four kids. People of Bengal celebrate the coming home of Parvati by worshipping her in the image of Durga. Mahalaya is the invitation (in the form of mantras) sent to goddess Durga seven days prior to Durga Puja.

A Trip to Historical Places in Delhi

We reached Delhi by air from Kolkata and arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at 5 pm in the evening. We had booked an SUV for our tour in and around Delhi to make the trip convenient and hassle free. For those who want to hire local taxis, being alert is advisable.

Let me tell you some historical facts regarding Delhi which will help you to understand the place better.

Delhi has been the capital city for numerous dynasties since the time of Mahabharata. It has seen the rise and fall of many dynasties over a period of five thousand years. The legend of Mahabharata talks of the beautiful city of Indraprastha, built by the Pandavas as their capital in the same region. However, according to the historical sources the city of Lal Kot was founded by the Tomara ruler Anangpal in 786 A.D. Prithviraj Chauhanruled over Delhi till 1192 when he was defeated by the Afghan warrior Muhammad Ghori. Muhammad Ghori left Delhi in the hands of his trusted servant and viceroy Qutub-ud-din Aibak, who founded the Slave Dynasty in 1206.

The last sultan Ibrahim Lodi was defeated by the First Mughal ruler Babur at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. While the early Mughal rulers, favoured Agra as their capital. Shah Jahan the great builder, built Shahjahanabad in 1638 which is now known as old Delhi. Mughal rulers- (Babur-Humayun-Akbar- Jahangir- Shah Jahan- Aurangzeb)

The Britishers occupied Delhi in 1803 A.D, and they shifted their capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1911. New Delhi was designed by Edward Lutyens. New Delhi became the capital of India after India’s independence in1947.

After checking in at Ramada plaza, formerly known as Ashok Yatri Nivas, in the evening. We decided to visit the Delhi haat, which offers an exotic blend of handicrafts, food, cultural and music performances from all over India. Small thatched roof cottages and the village atmosphere creates a great ambience.

The next morning we decided to visit the historical places in Delhi. We started from Old Delhi and then moved towards New Delhi which helped in managing our time efficiently.

The Red fort

Image result for free red fort images

We started our tour with a visit to the Red fort, which is made of red sand stone. Every Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India hoists the national Flag from the main gate of this fort.

 Lal Qila or Red fort was built by Shah Jahan from 1638 – 1648. It was the royal residence of the Mughals till 1857 when Bahdur Shah Zafar was defeated by the Britishers.

The fort has various structures like the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Nhar –i-Behisht, Mumtaz mahal, Moti masjid and Hyat Baksh Bagh. Tourists can have tea and snacks in the Dawat Khana. There is also a provision of light and sound theatre in the evening which is immensely popular.

Raj Ghat

Image result for free raj ghat images

A visit to the Raj ghat is a must for those visiting Delhi. Situated behind the Red Fort it is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. The black marble platform marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation on 31 January, 1948 a day after his assassination. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns at one end. After paying homage to the great freedom fighter we moved on to our next destination.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid of Delhi

Our next stop was Jama Masjid next to Chandni Chowk. Jama Masjid, also known as Masjid e Jahan Numa, was built by Shah Jahan from 1650-’56. It is one of the largest mosques of India and portrays indo-islamic architecture. Attire covering from head to legs is needed to visit this mosque. The courtyard can accommodate 25,000 devotees at one time. The architectural splendour consists of three gates, four towers and two minarets made from a combination of red sandstone and white marble. The numerous eateries around the masjid offering authentic Mughlai cuisine will leave your taste buds tingling.

Humayun’s Tomb

Our next stop was the marvellous monument that houses the tomb of the second Mughal Emperor Humayun. It was the inspiration behind Taj Mahal and was built in the year 1570 by Haji Begum, widow of Humayun. The entire complex with its brilliant Persian architecture and beautiful gardens is one of the most popular tourist spots.

India Gate

India Gate is one of the iconic monuments of New Delhi. It is a triumphal arch, 42 meters high, designed by Edward Lutyens. Located at the centre of Delhi the memorial was built to salute the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1st World war as a part of the British army. An eternal flame burns in memory of the soldiers.

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak the founder of the Delhi Sultanate. The monument is the tallest minar in India (73 metres) and is made using indo-islamic architecture. The minar has five stories with beautiful carvings from the Quran. The first three storeys are made of red sand stone while the last two are made of marble and sandstone.

Image result for iron pillar of delhi free photos

The Iron pillar near the Quwwat ul mosque  in the Qutub complex, weighs more than 6 tons and is made of 98% wrought iron. It was forged 1,600 years ago and brought to Delhi about 1000 years ago. The iron pillar was possibly made for Chandragupta Maurya according to the Brahmi script on the pillar. The  iron pillar has not rusted till date and as the saying goes, anyone who can touch the tips of fingers encircling the pillar will become a king or extremely powerful. The funny part is that everyone’s fingers almost seem to touch but does not touch the tip of the other finger.

Jantar Mantar

File:Jantar Mantar (Delhi) - IMG 2023.JPG
The Misra Yantra or the Mixed Instrument

It was exciting to visit Jantar Mantar, which is an observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur and forms a part of a collection of five observatories located in Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura. The observatory was made in 1724 to calculate time and movements of sun, moon and other planets.  There are 13 architectural instruments of astronomy which can be used to compile astronomical tables. The precision of the instruments are amazing.

The Lotus Temple, The Akshardham temple, The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Lodhi gardens  are also among the must sees in Delhi.  The Delhi trip was one which transferred us to the past glory of medieval India. It was a lovely, enriching experience that will remain etched in our memory forever.

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The Parrot and the Mouse

A little mouse found an apple,
Under an apple tree.
It was a round and juicy one,
So, he went on an eating spree.

He ate a bit and found it fit,
To take the rest to his house.
He rolled it along, all the way,
Sans help of another mouse.

There came a part which was steep,
It was hard to push the apple up.
When he heaved it up with all his might;
It rolled back without a stop.

Tired out, and wet with sweat;
He thought it better to rest.
Then try again, after the wait;
To take the apple to his nest.

A parrot soon came flying by,
And perched on a branch above.
She watched mousie struggle hard,
Her heart was filled with love.

‘May I help you, mousie dear,
To carry your heavy load?
I can carry it up the slope,
And take it to your abode.’

‘No, and thanks,’ replied the mouse;
And carried on with his work.
Pushing and rolling it up the slope,
Till before a rock he was stuck.

He tried to manoeuvre it around,
But it slipped from his grasp.
Down the slope it went again;
Now, atop it buzzed a wasp.

The parrot came to his rescue at once,
And the wasp flew away.
‘Let me carry your load,’ said she
‘It will save your day.’

Hesitatingly the mouse allowed;
The parrot to carry his load.
He gave directions to the bird,
For reaching his abode.

He scuttered fast to his home;
Freely without his food.
While birdie took his apple ripe,
And flew above the wood.

The mouse had a long wait,
Before he saw the parrot arrive.
Now the apple was a scrap on her beak;
So, she did not need to strive.

‘You’ve eaten my apple, you greedy guts!’
Cried the mouse, fuming red.
‘I’ve taken my due for helping you,’
With an aura she said.

Then she flew up high, into the sky;
Leaving the scrap behind.
The mouse had learnt his lesson well
Which he’ll always keep in mind.

If you badly want to have something,
Depend on your efforts alone.
The results will be in your hands,
And you can take the benefits home.

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Connecting with the Real World


Photo by Pixabay

With great advancement in technology, connectivity in all forms has increased by leaps and bounds. Connectivity through transport, media  and  social media have improved making life easier for people across the world. Smartphones have emerged as the biggest contributor in connecting people across the world. Twitter, facebook and whatsapp are a rage in the present age. Everyone you meet is engrossed in connecting with the world through social media day in and day out.

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc

Whatever is happening in life and around, must be posted on the net. Right from cooking, travel, to losses and gains in life, every bit of the information must be declared to the world. They must be liked, shared and commented upon be as many people in the list as possible. Such things were unthinkable in the past. People were free to meet whosoever they wanted and whenever they wanted to. Population was less and people were glad to have visitors, as it was enjoyable to entertain guests. But even in these intrusions into privacy, private matters remained strictly private. It was considered improper to tell others what one did and what one ate, or how well off one was or wasn’t. There are people who are less fortunate than others and it is improper to make people feel distressed over the lack of fortune in one’s life.

Photo by bruce mars

The selfie age has emerged as an age of selfish thoughtless people. People who are too self-engrossed to think over anything other than their own petty issues.  Selfie addiction has seen addicts take innumerable selfies in a day and posting them for comments and likes by people who are as self engrossed as themselves  and  do not care a bit about others but their own looks and lives. The selfie addiction has seen cases of hallucination, in which people find themselves looking at their  smartphones every now and then, imagining message tones even when there are none. 

Addiction to smartphones is such that the present generation is unable to focus in their work with full potential. Several fatal accidents have occurred due to recklessness during taking selfies. Half of the valuable time and energy is spent in useless scrolling through social media peeping into the lives of others; only to develop a complex about their own lives by comparing the lack of innumerable things which others possess, but they don’t. Surprisingly, the comparison stops at good things. Nobody is interested in the sufferings, pains and problems that others have to endure. 

Photo by rawpixel.com

It is difficult to face the reality, look into one’s eyes and find a solution to the numerous problems that crop up in day to day life. It is easy to escape from reality and spend time engrossed in the virtual world which is now taking the place of reality. People, especially the young generation prefers to connect with their friends through the social media even when they are within their affinity. Scenes of friends and family sitting together and surfing through social media or the net has become a common sight. There is no confrontation, no responsibility, and no labour to bog one down and make life difficult. There is also an adequate release of Dopamine to make one feel good.

Photo by Kaku Nguyen

The end result of lack of responsible behaviour will however be reflected in the next generation, who are being brought up in a misbalanced manner of overindulgence and neglect. They are pampered with unnecessary elements on one hand; while on the other they are deprived of the essential care and nurture, which will help them to become a balanced person to live a happy life.

Photo by Muhammad Rahmat Yulianto

The kite teaches us to fly high, while staying connected to the ground. Otherwise we are lost.

Therefore the need of the hour is to connect with real people over games and conversations which will make people stay grounded and face the difficulties of life with élan and ease.  It is also necessary to connect with nature, because the farther we move from nature the greater our problems will be.  So, one must stay connected in the real sense. Talk and spend real time with family and friends to improve the quality of life, and really be there for people who mean the world.