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I –IJA

Welcome to the ninth day of the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge.

Ija – This is how mothers are addressed in Uttarakhand.

We are all aware of the love, care and concern of our mothers. They are the ones who play a very important role in our lives. It is the indomitable spirit of the women that forms the backbone of the family.

(https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/04/03/c-chaitra-heralds-a-heartwarming-tradition/ ) As mentioned in the above post on letter C the economy of villages in Uttarakhand is called Postcard/money order economy.

This is due to large scale migration of the people to the cities for work or most of the men are employed in the army. The entire household responsibility is shouldered by the women. In case they are in the village and not employed they provide no help at all in the farming tasks. Women leave early in the morning to get fodder for the animals and also take care of the house.

In case you ever get a chance to visit the villages in Uttarakhand you will come across beautiful abandoned houses. Ghost villages you can call them.

It is sad but true.

Today I want to share the achievements of two women, simple yet formidable..

You can call them Ija.

1) GAURA DEVI (1925-91) : MOTHER OF TREES

Photo credit : en.wikipedia.org

She was born in a village in Chamoli district.A contractor was in the process of cutting the trees in that area. She assembled the women in the village and set out to protect the forest of Oak trees. Oak forms a very important part of the village ecosystem. The women hugged the trees to prevent them from being felled by the contractor. The hugging of trees gave the name to the movement –Chipko Movement.

She was not an educated lady, nor did she have political of financial backing. But she was a mother who knew that the destruction of the forest would lead to environmental damage,lack of fodder for the animals which were also an important  means of survival. It would be an unwanted intrusion in their life, a parasitic relationship.

The forest was her mother land.

She knew she needed to do something for her family.

This movement was later spearheaded  by other environmentalists in Uttarakhand.

2)  ICCHAGIRI MAI (1912-1992) :  FIGHTER AGAINST LIQUOR

Photo Courtesy: 99uttarakhand.in

Drinking is a very serious problem in the hills. She fought against the consumption of a locally brewed liquor called ‘Tinchri’. This is why she was celled ‘Tinchri Mai’.

She once burned a liquor shop in Pauri in Garhwal and went to the residence of the Deputy Commissioner to surrender.

She helped the women to provide education and health facilities. She earned a great reputation for herself. A book has been written about her life.

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts. Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information:-

1. https://www.euttarakhand.com

2. http://www.wikipedia.com

3. Google search results

# This is the ninth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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H – HARELA

Welcome to the eighth day of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge.

Pic Courtesy :Dr.Manisha Sanguri Jalal
A worship altar during Harela with the customary Aipan.
(Read about aipan in post of letter A)
https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/04/01/a-aipan-art/

Harela means green which symbolizes prosperity especially for the farming community.

It falls thrice a year i.e. first in the Chaitra Navratras (Chaitra Month : March/April) just before the Bhitouli festival, Sharad Navratras (Ashwin Month : September/October) and in  Shravan Month ( Mid July).

Read more about Chaitra and Bhitouli here. (https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/04/03/c-chaitra-heralds-a-heartwarming-tradition/)

In the Shravan month which marks the beginning of the monsoon season. It commemorates the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati also. Small clay idols of Gauri, Maheshwar and Ganesha known as Dikare  are made for worshipping

In the Sharavan month Harela  a fair is also held in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand. This fair takes place every year from 16 July to 21 July. It is believed to be around 100 years or more. The origin of this fair  is believed to be from a farmer’s market where in olden times farmers got together to sell their wares. People from the hills would visit this fair to buy things that were brought by traders from far off places. It was also a place for some recreation.

The preparation for this festival starts ten days before. Seven or five types of seeds are sown in a container. These grains sowed in the soil symbolize future harvest. The festival is significant because it provides an opportunity to the farmers to test the quality of grains they intends to plant. These leaves are cut on the tenth day after the ceremonial worship and placed on the head and behind the ears. This is actually an agricultural based festival. They consider it auspicious as it marks the advent of the sowing season. It is a prayer for a prosperous sowing season and a good harvest.

Pic Courtesy :Mrs.Ranjana Bisht

It is also a day to celebrate and  socialize. Tree plantation is also done to celebrate it. Everyone is encouraged to plant trees as a practice to protect and preserve the environment.

Pic Courtesy : Mrs. Ranjana Bisht
A worship altar during Harela with the customary Aipan.
(Read about aipan in post of letter A)

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

  • Websites:-         
    • www.wikipedia.com
    • Mrs. Ranjana Bisht
    • Google search engine results
    • Dr. Manisha Sanguri Jalal

# This is the eighth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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G – GOLU DEVTA

“Jai Nyay Devta Golu Apki Jai ho”.

Welcome to the seventh day of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge.

Golu Devta is the God of Justice of Uttarakhand.

In Kumaon he is referred to as Golu Devta and in Eastern Garhwal as Goril Devta.

There are a few temples dedicated to Golu Devta in Kumaon,Uttarakhand. The Chitai Golu Devta temple is the most prominent temple and is located at 4 km from the main gate of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and is  about 10 km from Almora.

The other famous temple is located near Bhowali at a place called Ghorakhal, next to the Sainik School in Ghorakhal which was established in 1966 in the estate of the Nawab of Rampur.Ghorakhal means a pond for watering the horses.

Pic Courtesy : en.wikipedia.org

Historically Champawat  is considered the place of origin of Golu Devta and a temple dedicated to him stands here.

In ancient times Golu Dev used to travel to large distances on his horse to meet the people in his kingdom.He used to hold Darbar (open meeting) and listen to their problems and help them. He is still highly revered by the people in this area.

Golu Dev still meets with his people and in many villages the practice of Golu Darbar is still prevalent.The most common form of Golu Dev Darbar these days is Jagar (You will read more about it in the letter J in the series)

People come to the temple of the deity seeking a problem for their solutions. They write down their problems and give it to the deity who is held in high esteem by the people of Uttarakhand. A bell is also tied along with the written request and hung in the temple premises.It is believed that no request goes unanswered here. After the wish is granted a thanksgiving visit is made and an offering is made to the deity.

Pic Courtesy: outlookindia.com

The temple premises are full thousands of bells of various sizes along with written requests. These bells are neither used nor sold. It is therefore also called the “Temple of bells”.

These temples are a great attraction for the tourists also.

MYTHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE:-

(Source Wikipedia)

Golu Devta is considered as an incarnation of Shiva. He is considered to be the sonof a general of a Kasturi King. His mother Kalinka is believed to be the sister of two other local deities Harishchand Devjyun (the divine spirit of Raja Harish of the Chands) and Sem Devjyun and both these deities are regarded as uncles of Lord Golu.

The most popular story about Golu Dev talks of a local king who, while hunting, sent his servants to look for water. The servants disturbed a woman who was praying. The woman, in a fit of anger, taunted the king that he could not separate two fighting bulls and proceeded to do so herself. The king was very impressed by this deed and he married the lady.

When this queen gave birth to a son, the other queens, who were jealous of her, placed a stone in its place and the child in a cage and put the cage into the river. The child was brought up by a fisherman.

When the boy grew up he took a wooden horse to the river and on being questioned by the queens he replied that if women can give birth to stone then wooden horses can drink water.

When the king heard about this, he punished the guilty queens and crowned the boy, who went on to be known as Golu devta.

Golu Devta is seen in the form of Lord Shiva, his brother Kalva Devta is in the form on Bhairava and his sister Garh Devi in the form of Shakti.

Normally 3 days pooja or 9 days pooja is performed to worship Lord Golu Devta also known as Goreel Devta in Chamoli District(Garhwal). Various offerings are made. Animal sacrifice is also prevalent, though it has been banned now. Golu Devta is offered white Cloths, white pagari (turban) and white shawl.

Many movie scenes have been picturised here.Prominent ones are Madhumati(1958), Vivah(2006), Baaz: A Bird in Danger (2003) in the Ghorakhal temple.

(I have visited it many times in my school life and specifically on days of my Class X and XII board exams as our exam centre was in the Sainik School at Ghorakhal.)

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the seventh post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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F – FOOD

Welcome to the sixth day of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge.

Today my blogpost is a Foodies delight!!!!

The cuisine of Kumaon and Garhwal (the two regions of  Uttarakhand) is mostly based on lentils, leafy vegetables and a variety of flour grains. Most of these items are produced locally. Food also changes according to the season based on the seasonal body requirements.

1) SISUNAAK SAAG (STINGING NETTLE ):- 

Common name:- Bicchu ghas (Kumaon) and Dhol kanali( Garhwal)

Botanical Name:- Girardinia diversifolia

Stinging nettle is actually a wild plant that grows in abundance here. It has sharp hair like layer on the leaf that cause a stinging sensation when exposed to the body.This is due to Formic acid present in it. A local remedy is applying Dock plant(Leaves like a spinach) which grows near the stinging nettle and gives a cooling sensation. This is an example of Neutralization reaction in Chemistry.

It is not a frequently cooked dish but it has its own uniqueness.

The tender leaves are plucked using a tong. When kept for some time the stings subside and the the leaves are exposed to fire to remove insects and the washed and boiled a nd cooked similar to a mustard saag. Seeds are also roasted and eaten.

Stinging nettle is rich in iron,magnesium and Vitamin A. The chemicals such as Formic Acid and histamine in it act as anti-inflammmatory agents. Paste of roots helps to treat wounds and headache. Concotation of leaves, roots etc help in curing gastric problems and boils

Jean Bardot, scientist at University of Maryland Medical Centre in the US, terms the plant as “a super wild food” for its diuretic, anti- rheumatic, anti-allergic nature.

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor cooking with a local chef .(The video is in Hindi but still worth watching to observe the plant, the process of cutting and cooking)

2 )BHANG KI CHUTNEY:-

Bhang : Hemp plant used to make Marijuana.

This plant grows in the wild though it can be commercially grown too. The seeds of this plant are not intoxicating, the leaves are. The seeds are used to make oil, protein and milk also.The seeds are allowed to dry on the plant. The fiber of the plant is used to make ropes, clothes etc.

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor prepare it. (Non Hindi speaking people may also watch it to observe the plant, seeds and the recipe)

Out of the numerous sweets let us enjoy two of them.

3) BAL MITHAI:-   It is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoa (milk thickened by heating in an open pan) and soaked in sugar syrup and then coated with white sugar balls.It is a popular sweet from Almora town of Uttarakhand. It can be stored for a long period of time if kept at room temperature.

Wikipedia attributes the invention of Bal Mithai to Lala Joga Ram Shah of Lal Bazaar, Almora during early twentieth century. Scholars believe that the Bal Mithai initially must have been the name of the prime offering to the Sun God.Over the years, the sweet has found home in many Kumaoni stories and folklore, arising from the milieu of Kumaon  as evident from the memoirs of noted Hindi writers. (Source Wikipedia)

And look what did I find it can be ordered online!!! First apart after the lockdown it seems… https://www.foodfeasta.com/location/indian/almora-uttarakhand.html

Watch Chef Kunal Kapoor cooking with local chefs.

4) SINGAURI:- This is also a local sweet  product created  in Almora. It involves condensing the milk without allowing it to change its colour.The soft solidified  material is packed in cones made of green leaves od awild creeper found locally called Malu( Bauhinia vahlii).The leaves add to the taste of the sweet (leaf is not edible).

Pic Courtesy: uttarakhandshopping.com
Pic Courtesy : Dr. Manisha Sanguri Jalal

Enjoy these delicacies!!!!

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the sixth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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E – EPIC MAHABHARATA

Photo Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

Welcome to the fifth day of the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge!!!!!!

The Epic Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic which depicts the conflict between two branches in the family. The two groups of brothers  the Pandavas and the Kauravas, battled for the throne of Hastinapur .This led to the famous battle of Kurushestra.This epic is a description of many kingdoms, religious practices, culture, geography, deceit and honor etc.

It was written by Rishi Vyasa. In ancient India the knowledge was passed through Oral teaching. It was much later that it was  written down. In the case of Mahabharata it was dictated by Ved Vyasa and written by Ganesha (The Elephant headed God).

The oldest preserved parts of the above epic are dated around 400 BCE, though the incidents written could be older. However, recently after the discovery of a chariot and other artefacts from the Sanauli excavation site, Mahabharata incidents are more likely to have occurred earlier, sometime between 1500-2000 century .

According to the epic the five Pandavas brother were sent on a 14 year exile and they traveled extensively in the Himalayan region. There are many places associated with them in Uttarakhand.

So, today we will visit 5 existing places that are mentioned in the Mahabharata.

1)  BADRINATH :-

Picture courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

The ashram of Ved Vyas who authored Mahabharata is in Badrinath. During their exile the  Pandavas  had stayed in Badrinath and hid their weapons here during the exile to retrieve them later after the exile.

Badrinath was a popular place for the munis and rishis during the time of Mahabharat as well as now.The temple has an idol of god Vishnu in meditation posture.

2)  JAGESHWARA DHAM:-

It is 34 km from Almora town. The temple complex lies on the left bank of the river Jatganga. There are three temple clusters here built between 7th -11th century by the Katyuri kings. It is considered the place where the Pandavas, while starting for their Mahaprasthan(last journey) towards Swargarohani, had performed their shraddh (last rites) i.e cutting all ties with the world.The banks of Jatganga are still used as a cremation ground.

3) MANA VILLAGE:-

Photo Courtesy: youtube.com
Photo Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Mana village is 3 km from Badrinath and is the alst village on the Indo-Tibetian border. The Pandavas had started on their Mahaprasthan (last journey) from here. Draupadi was the first among them to fall down and die while crossing it.

(I remember walking across the snow laden mountain to reach Mana village on a school trip. It was the end of winter but people who had migrated  to the lower heights had  not returned. The homes were locked by homemade contraptions and not by actual locks. The homes were made based on typical village architecture and stood facing each other and were separated by a stone road.)

4) HANOL:-

Photo Courtesy : uttarakhandtemples.in

The name of the village according to the legend was kept after the name of Huna Bhatt, a Brahmin. It can also be derived from ‘hanul’ meaning fire. This place was used to punish offenders using fire. It is also believed to be called Chakrapur as it is believed to be the place to which the Pandavas escaped from Lakshagraha (House made of Lac) on River Yamuna. The Kauravas had planned to set the palace on fire to kill their brothers but the five brothers escaped through an underground tunnel.

The village is at an altitude of 1,050 m above on the left bank of River Tons earlier known as River Tamas (meaning short-tempered). No water can be drawn from it for irrigation purposes, because of its precipitous banks and deep gorges. It is for this reason the river is called Karam Nashini.

Mythological story:-

King,Brubahan who was the king of this region. He admired Karna and Duryodhan very much and wanted support the Kauravas in the battle. Lord Krishna knew about the immense warfare skills and tricked him and did not let him support Duryodhan. But King Brubahan cried at every defeat of the  Kauravas which formed the Tamas river.The water of the river is still not used  as they believe that the tears of King Brubahan is still flowing in that river. After the war King Brubahan gave shelter to the rest of the Kaurava clan here and they started to worship King Duryodhan and King Karna.

The temple village of Hanol is a sort of pilgrimage place for people living in vast areas in the mountainous parts of Uttarakhand.

5) HIDIMBA TEMPLE:-

Photo courtesy: Youtube.com

A group of lakes known as Sattal exists in Kumaon (near the lake town of  Bhimtal) which is a place of attraction for nature and bird lovers. The hill near the lake known is known as Hidimba Parvat. It gets its name from a demon Hidimba who fell in love with Bhima,the Pandava brother while they were living in the forest.(Another temple dedicated to her is in Manali, Himachal Pradesh,which is more famous.)

(Nowadays Mahabharata  is being aired on Doordarshan. A reminder of our childhood days. You might want to read about my childhood days here.)

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

  • Websites:-         
    • www.wikipedia.com
    • Google search engine
    • Mrs. Ranjana Bisht

# This is the fifth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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D – DEAD ,YET ON DUTY

Welcome to the fourth day of the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge-2020

This is the story of Service No. 4039009, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat ,4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand.

Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org

This brave soldier was born on August 19,1941 in Baryun, British Garhwal District (present day Pauri Garhwal District).

In  Sela Pass on the Indo –China Border in Arunachal Pradesh now stands a memorial dedicated to  this brave soldier, Rifleman Jaswant  Singh Rawat,  Maha Vir Chakra (posthumous) of 4 Garhwal Rifles.

Photo courtesy:- tourmyindia.com

This particular army post where history was rewritten is now called Jaswant Garh.

Jaswant Garh War Memorial is a famous tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh.It is located about 25 kilometers from Tawang in Nuranang district at an altitude of about 10,000 feet.It has a temple-like structure covered with the camouflage pattern of the Indian Army.

Photo courtesy: tourmyindia.com

Photo courtesy: nomads.in
Photo courtesy: hrdots.com

Battle of Nuranang :-

This is that moment in history which immortalized him.

On 17 November 1962, Jaswant Singh Rawat was posted at Nuranang Bridge in NEFA (North –East Frontier Agency,India). His company was relentlessly attacked by the Chinese army. This was the fourth attack in a matter of days. First attempt was made by the Chinese to enter Arunachal Pradesh as Monpas (local ethnic group) but the attempt was thwarted by the Garhwal Rifles. Two more attacks happened on the same day.

It was the fourth attack that made Jaswant SIngh  Rawat immortal and gave rise to the legend of Baba Jaswant Singh who guards the frontier in the East even after his death.

The objectives of the Chinese Army had become clear.They wanted to capture Nuranang at any cost, as it would be their gateway to India.

They moved a MMG (Medium Machine Gun) close to where they were under immense firing by the Light Machine Guns of 4 Garhwal Rifles

This created a problem for the Indians.

Lance Naik Trilok Singh, Rifleman Jaswant Singh and Rifleman Gopal Singh undertook a suicide mission.They crawled through rocks and bushes under heavy enemy fire to take out the Chinese MMG with hand grenades. They succeeded, lobbing grenades from as close to 15 yards.

The Official Citation describes this incident:-

In memory of RFN Jaswant Singh Rawat, assisted by L/Nk Trilok Singh Negi and RFN Gopal Singh Gusain as part of Company 4th Battalion Garhwal Rifles on 17 Nov 1962, volunteered to silence an enemy MMG that had come close to their defenses and was firing accurately at the locality.

That very day 4th Garhwal Rifles had beaten back two of the enemy attacks on their location. Jaswant Rawat and Gopal Gusain supported by the covering fire from Trilok Negi heroically closed within grenade throwing distance and destroyed the Chinese detachment of five men seizing the MMG.

However in the process of returning Jaswant Rawat and Trilok Negi were killed whereas Gopal Gusain though seriously injured came back with the captured weapon. The entire operation cost the Chinese 300 Dead and wounded with loss to Garhwal rifles being 2 dead and 8 wounded.

Photo Courtesy: quora.com

The 4 Garhwal Rifles was awarded battle honour Nuranang, the only battle honour awarded to any Army unit in the Sino-Indian war of 1962.

Photo courtesy: indiatimes.com

These crucial 15 minutes act of self-sacrificing bravado changed the course of the Battle Of Nuranang. Indian LMGs came alive and beat the Chinese back.

Arunachal Pradesh could never come under Chinese control.

In a battle that started on 17th November 1962 and continued for the next 72 hours more than 300 Chinese soldiers had been killed.

If you read history, the 1962 Indo-Chinese War was fought by an ill prepared army with no proper boots and clothes toward the cold, lack of artillery support was another issue. At such a time this bravery was exceptional.

For his exceptional courage, Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat   was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.He was mere 21 years old.

The post that he held to thwart the Chinese troops has been renamed Jaswant Garh in recognition of his courage.

(72 Hours: Martyr Who Never Died is a 2019 Indian film based on his life.)

This plaque says it all…

Photo courtesy:- indiatimes.com

Even though he is no more,the Indian Army still treats him as an active soldier on duty and disburses his salary, awards him routine promotions and even sanctions his leave.

His room in the memorial has a bed, clean towel, linen is washed regularly, shoes are polished and food and tea is served on time.His linen goes for a routine wash and his towel is changed everyday. Soldiers posted at this post take care of his needs as if he is alive. His personal belongings such as his watch and bullet riddled cap are also kept properly. His shoes are polished every day and soldiers claim that they are often covered in mud, which shows he is guarding the post in the night.

Photo courtesy:-rediff.com
Photo courtesy:-chandrashekharasandprints

Army personnel passing by this route make it a point to pay their respects at the shrine of Jaswant Singh.

If legend is to be believed it is discovered that bed sheets of his room are found crumpled and his clothes lay scattered in the room. It is strongly believed that Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat still guards the post as a spirit and has been guiding Indian soldiers in dreams.It has been reported that  convoys in blizzards have been helped by Jaswant Singh  who directed safety. 

He receives regular mail from people sharing their problems. He also gets invitations for various family celebrations from people. People requesting some solace from the problems of life.

Strange ,but true.

(Jaswant Singh retired in the year 2002 after 40 years of his martyrdom.I could not gather information about the changes in his memorial.)

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Local versions of his story:-

(The stories posted here are various versions of that particular day, but they all celebrate his exceptional courage. No confirmed written course of events exists as yet about them but it describes a true event in history.) 

# One version says that he was accompanied by two other surviving soldiers and the other states that he was helped by two Monpa girls named Sela and Nura. Together they arranged and fired the guns in such a manner so as to create the impression to the Chinese that they were fighting a battalion and not a lone soldier.

# Another version states that he was captured by the Chinese troops who beheaded him and carried it with them as a trophy. After the ceasefire, the Chinese commander, impressed by Rawat’s bravery, returned the head along with a brass bust of the gallant soldier. The bust is now installed at the site of the battle.

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A report in Pauri Garhwal edition of Hindustan times states that , “Only nine families now live in Jaswant’s village Baryun. His ancestral house, like many other houses of the village, about 180 km from Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, has also been reduced to ruins and the pathway to this house is lost in the overgrown wild shrubs.”

Photo courtesy:-hindustantimes.com

Another example of exodus of villagers to the town due to lack of source of income. Sad reality of Uttarakhand.

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Someone has rightly said, “A nation that does not honour its dead warriors will perish.”

Photo Courtesy: twitter.com

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts. Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the fourth post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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B – BEDU FRUIT

Welcome to the second day of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge!!!!!!!

Today I will take you on a journey through the wilderness of Uttarakhand to search for a fruit.I also assure you that it is going to be a lyrical journey!!!!

Come join me.

BEDU FRUIT

Botanical Name:- Ficus palmate

Local name:- Khemri (Hindi); Bedu (Kumaon); Indian Fig (English); Bendu (Nepali); Anjir.

BEDU FRUIT

It is a sweet and juicy fruit and is found in abundance in the wild. It is a source of minerals, phosphorus and a small amount of Vitamin C.

Medicinal uses:-

  • Helps in relieving inflammation
  • Sap is used in the treatment of warts.
  • Treatment of constipation and diseases of the lungs and bladder.
  • The latex of the plant is also used to take out thorns if they are lodged deep in the skin.

Reproduction:-

  • Fig trees have a unique form of fertilization. Each species of fig requires a specialized species of wasp that is itself totally dependent upon that fig species in order to breed.
  • The trees produce three types of flowers:-  male, a long-styled female and a short-styled female flower, often called the gall flower. All three types of flower are contained within the structure we usually think of as the fruit.

I am sharing a few YouTube links to answer some important questions:-

  1. Do figs contain digested wasps?
  • Life cycle of a fig wasp.
  • Video of wasps entering a fig.

Even though the current generation is not very fond of the Bedu fruit but it has been immortalized in the form of a song ‘Bedu pako barah masa’.

 So, here begins our enthralling lyrical journey……

 ‘Bedu pako barah masa’ is a Kumaoni folk song reflecting the natural beauty, the changing seasons and traditions of Uttarakhand.

The refrain which is  ‘Bedu pako barah masa’  can be translated as follows:-

Bedu means berries; pako means ripe; barah means 12; Masa is month. Collectively it means, Berries ripen in all twelve months.

The song is like the state anthem of Uttarakhand. It has been performed worldwide and sends waves of nostalgia, longing and attachment for those who belong to this state.

The song was written by Brijendra Lal Shah and composed by Mohan Upreti and B M Shah in Raag Durga. According to Wikipedia, it was first played on stage in 1952 at the Government Inter College, Nainital and became familiar nationally when it was performed at Teen Murti Bhavan in honour of an international gathering. The then Prime Minister of India,Jawaharlal Nehru, chose this song as the best folk song among other participants from India.

Bedu pako barah masa:-

THEME OF THE SONG:-  

The theme of the refrain (‘Bedu pako barah masa’) is symbolic.The Bedu fruit which ripens round the year is not valued much but the deliciously sweet bayberry only appears briefly during the short season in April and May i.e. in the month of Chaith. Thus it is something to look forward to in the midst of an ordinary existence. In a state typified by mountainous terrain the warmth of spring and summer brings a promising bounty of flowers and berries and gladdens the heart.

The verses express the emotions of a woman giving reasons to her beloved husband as she wants to visit her mother’s place.

In general, ‘Bedu’ fruit has only a limited value be it eating or other usages among Kumaoni and Garhwali people, hence not considered as a fruit at all. However ‘Kaphal’ not only tastes good but also it happens to ripen around the month when natural beauty touches its extreme.

This entire natural beauty instigates childhood memories and fun days within her heart and she expresses her interest of going to her mother’s place. It shows her longing to visit her mother. The composer has also included places like Almora and Nainital in the songs and the famous things therein. In one of the lines the composer provides us with the powerful bond of love between the husband and wife and explains that if a thorn pricks her beloved  she would also feel the pain.

LYRICS:-

Bedu pako bara masa
Narain kafal paako chaita, meri chhaila —(2)

The figs (bedu) ripens round the year, Narain

But the bayberry(kaphal) only ripens in the month of Chaitra/Chaith

Roona bhoona deen aaya
Narain pujo mero maita, meri chhaila

Those lovely days (of spring) are here

My dear Narain, please take me home to my parents

Almora ki Nanda Devi/ Nainital ki Naina Devi
Narain phul chadauni paati meri chhaila
Bedu pako bara masa…..

At the Nanda Devi shrine in Almora/At the Naina Devi shrine in Nainital

My dear Narain, people offer tributes of flowers and foliage

Almora ko lal bazaar
Narain lal matte ki seedhi meri chhalia,
Bedu pako baromasa…..

The Lal Bazaar at Almora

My dear Narain, has stairs of red earth

Tyar khutti ko kaano budo
Narain meri khutti ki peeda meri chhaila.
Bedu pako baromasa…..

If a thorn pierces your foot

My dear Narain, I sense the pain in mine

Aap khaani paan supari
Narain maike deeni bidi meri chhaila,
Bedu pako baromasa….
.

They enjoy paan supari (betel nut and leaf)

My dear Narain, while I have to settle for bidi (rustic leaf-wrapped cigarette)

GLOSSARY OF WORDS USED IN THE SONG :-

  1. Kafal -wild red-coloured  bayberry.
https://qphs.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4ceb0a1cf7e13774b544646414afb6db
  • A raag or raga is a melodic framework for improvisation akin to a melodic mode in Indian  classical music.
  • Kumaon division: – It is one of the regions and administrative divisions of the Indian state  of Uttarakhand. It includes the districts of Almora and Bageshwar.
  • Garhwal division: – It is the western region of administrative division of the Indian state  of Uttarakhand  lying in the Himalayas, it is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by the Kumaoni region.
  • Chaita is “mid-March to mid-April” period of the year in the Indian Hindu Calendar.
  • Red soil:  Geru (Also used to make Aipan).
  • Nainital and Amora are popular hill stations in the Indian State of Uttarakhand.
  • Teen Murti Bhawan  is the former residence of the first Prime Minister of India, New Delhi. He stayed there for 16 years until his own death on 27 May. It is now a memorial.
  • Paan is a preparation combining betel leaf with areca nut.
  • Areca Nut is the seed of the areca palm. It is commonly referred to as betel nut.
  • Beedi is a thin handmade mini cigar filled with tobacco flakes and commonly wrapped in a Tendu or Diospyros melanoxylon leaf tied with a string.

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts. Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the second post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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A – AIPAN ART

Kumaoni words: My respects to the elders and love to the kids.May the aipan made on your doorstep bless you with prosperity for eternity ..Best wishes for Diwali(The festival of lights.)

Welcome to the first day of the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge!!!!!!

In the course of 26 days, together we will explore some known and unknown facts about Uttarakhand –The Abode of Gods.

So, let us begin…….

Every festivity in India is marked with various forms of auspicious floor decorations.

It has various names and variations in the art forms based on the Indian state it is associated with such as Rangoli,  Bhuggul, Aipan, Satiya, Chowk Pooran etc. These art forms are an immensely important part of the social, religious and cultural fabric.

Today as we launch the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge -2020 let us begin this delightful occasion with the auspicious Aipan Art –the traditional art form of Uttarakhand, which finds its place in every celebration in Uttarakhand.

‘Aipan’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Arpan,’ which means ‘dedication’ i.e. an offering to the Gods.  

The traditional mixture used for it is ‘geru’ a red colored ochre or filtered red soil used as the background and  ‘biswar’ a paste of raw  rice to draw the particular design using the last three fingers of the hand. The design comprises of lines, dots and various patterns with special meaning for each design.

Designs could vary from representation of Hindu deities, Mountain Gods, Elements of nature and social life.

Each motif displays the amalgamation of cultural, spiritual and social heritage.

Aipan at the door steps:

The floral motifs or some other appropriate design is drawn with combination of ‘Vasudhara’ the vertical lines. They are made by dripping the rice solution using the Anamika i.e. the Ring finger. These are drawn in the groups consisting of lines in odd numbers like 5, 7, 9 or 11.

This type of design with the Vasundhara i.e. the vertical lines are drawn on the doorsteps, place of worship, structure drawn around the Tulsi i.e. (a plant which has great religious significance in India).

Aipan at the doorstep


Pic Courtesy : Dr. Manisha Sanguri Jalal

Swastik Aipan:-

All four arms of the Swastik inspire us to move forward towards success.It is considered an auspicious symbol for worship.It also represents creation and progress. All these group or block of lines in traditional Aipan should end with dots.

Lakshmi Peth:-

This aipan is drawn at the place of worship of Goddess Lakshmi,the goddess of wealth and prosperity, particularly on Deepawali (Festival of lights).

LakshmiPeeth

Lakshmi Padchinha:-  

On Deepawali day, footprints of Goddess Lakshmi are drawn from the main entrance of the house to the  place of worship inside the house.

Astadal Kamal:-

This aipan is drawn at the place where ‘Havan’(Ceremonial fire) is performed. It is an octagonal geometry with lotus petals and a swastik is drawn at the center.

Dhuliarghya Var Chauka:-

The bridegroom is made to stand on the Chauka when introduction and welcome of bridegroom is performed while chanting vedik mantras.

Janeu ceremony:-  

It is drawn at  the place of  ‘Janeo’ or threading ceremony. This drawing has 15 dots in the center. It is also drawn when the ‘Janeo’ is changed on every Raksha Bandhan  every year.(Festival when a sister ties a thread (rakhi) on the wrist of her brother seeking his protection). In this chowki seven stars within a hexagon, form the main section. Here the seven stars represents the “Sapt-Rishis”. Floral designs with dots are drawn around it.

Namkarna Chauki:-

 Namkrana ceremony (naming ceremony)of a newborn is held on the eleventh day. This is the first time when the baby is exposed to the sun (Surya darshan). This is drawn in the courtyard where the ceremony is observed.

AIPAN BEING PREPARED FOR THE AREA OF WORSHIP:-


AIPAN WITHOUT DOTS:-

It is drawn on the 12th day of someone’s death (Peepal Pani or Shanti Path). On the third day of death, these Aipan without dots are removed and fresh aipan with dots are drawn to show end of mourning period.

There are numerous other designs and specific names for motifs drawn for various ceremonies.

Over the years modernization has taken over the traditional art forms and rituals and most of this knowledge is lost.(While collecting information for this blog post I realised this even more) The preparation of Biswar and Geru has been replaced by paint. Aipan stickers are also available now.

The beauty of this traditional art form has been replaced by quick and easy solutions.The awareness and knowledge about the proper technique and role of each line,dot and design is bare minimum in the present generation.

Some individuals as well as organizations are trying to revive this traditional art form as well as generate revenue by creating new and trendy products.(as shown below)

Example, Project Aipan :::: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1cacc_C-_4

(Items like bookmarks,diary covers,nameplates,decorative items etc.)

In this time of lock down why not give wings to your artistic skills. Learn a new art form!!!!

MODERN AND EASY WAY TO MAKE AIPAN:::

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts.Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the first post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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GATHER YOUR FIGHTING SPIRIT OR THE DISEASE WILL DEFEAT YOU!!

#Longpostalert

Today we are in the middle of a global crisis due to the Corona virus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic. What exactly is it? Through my post I would like to explain the scientific aspect as well as simple measures to protect ourselves from possible infection.This post is also useful for the children.

The cause of any type of disaster is always some inhuman activity by us which is focused on our selfish greed and motives.

DISASTERS:-

  • A natural catastrophe having unfortunate consequences is called a disaster.

TYPES OF DISASTERS:-

  • GEOPHYSICAL (e.g. Earthquakes, Landslides, Tsunamis and Volcanic Activity)
  • HYDROLOGICAL (e.g. Avalanches and Floods)
  • CLIMATOLOGICAL (e.g. Extreme Temperatures, Drought and Wildfires)
  • METEOROLOGICAL (e.g. Cyclones and Storms/Wave Surges)
  • BIOLOGICAL (e.g. Disease Epidemics and Insect/Animal Plagues)

The world is right now in the middle of a Biological disaster.

WHAT IS A BIOLOGICAL DISASTER?

  • The devastating effects caused by an enormous spread of a certain kind of living organism that may spread disease, viruses or infestation of plant, animal or insect life on an epidemic or pandemic level.It can also be simply, a sudden growth in the population of a certain kind of plants or animal e.g. a locust plague.
  • EPIDEMIC LEVEL:– It indicates a disaster that affects many people in a given area or community.
  • PANDEMIC LEVEL: It indicates a disaster that affects a much larger region, sometimes an entire continent or even the whole planet. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The prefix pan- across the entire universe or mankind.

The stages :

Stage 1: Infection is imported, that is an infected person comes from abroad.

Stage 2: Local transmission, when this known infected person(s) transmits the disease to those he or she interacts with (family, friends and the like).

Stage 3: Community transmission, wherein it’s difficult to pinpoint the source of infection and a person tests positive without any travel history or any contact history with a positive case.

Stage 4: When the disease is declared an epidemic, where it has spread to the entire country. India currently is at Stage 2 of the outbreak.Indication of Stage 3have begun.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019–20 Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE?

  • The name COVID-19 was derived from the year it was first detected (2019) and using letters from CO-rona-VI-rus D-isease it was termed as COVID-19.

Disease :

  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19

Virus:– 

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 
(SARS-CoV-2)

WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on 11 February 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The word corona means crown.

The name “coronavirus” is derived from Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “wreath”, itself a borrowing from Greek κορώνη korṓnē, “garland, wreath”. The name refers to the characteristic appearance of virions (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy,which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  

Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

SYMPTOMS:

Respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days, with an average of 5 days.This is the reason a quarantine period of 14 days has been applied.

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.

Management involves treatment of symptoms, supportive care,isolation and experimental measures.

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus:-

Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by following these simple hygiene habits:-

1) Wash your hands frequently

2) Maintain social distancing

3) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

4) Practice respiratory hygiene

5) If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

HANDWASHING STEPS:

IMPORTANT:- Do not waste water while washing your hands.

World Health Organisation (WHO) :: Myth-busters:-

I would like to elaborate two points from the Prime Minister’s speech:

a) The call to express gratitude to doctors, nurses, paramedics, municipal staff, armed forces, airport staff etc. who are working round the clock to keep us safe is praiseworthy.

In this world where values are deteriorating day by day it is such a wonderful way to teach compassion and gratitude to the children and relearn it ourselves. Though I wish children could encounter good examples everywhere and everyday.

b) Janta curfew,a self imposed curfew and now the lock-down of the entire nation to encourage social distancing MIGHT help us to stay away from Stage 3 (Community Transmission) DISASTER.

Here we need to understand that viruses are exceptions. They display living characteristics only when they take over mechanisms of some other living organism(host). The hosts right now are humans so if less or no movement of the host occurs it means that the viruses will not be able to multiply.

Viruses like the one spreading the Corona disease multiply exponentially. So to flatten the curve “SOCIAL DISTANCING” by avoiding public places and generally limiting our movements is a must.

Also it is in the coming weeks and months that we will get to know whether we have escaped Stage 3 disaster or not. BEWARE!!!

So,right now prevention is better than cure.

# Let us be responsible citizens by disclosing our travel details,following the self quarantine or isolation period properly. Cases of people disappearing or not following these procedures are a blot on mankind.

# Let us be responsible citizens because a disease does not discriminate when it spreads.

# Let us not be threats to the lives of others.

So,this is the right time to fulfill our responsibilities towards humanity as a whole.

# Spend time with your family without gadgets!! Recall and relive those ludo, tambola and antakshari sessions.

# Let go of the weight on your shoulders. Celebrate life and pay gratitude that you are hale and hearty and have all the bounties that life can provide.

“Be the change that you want to see in this world”.

Wonderful news from Venice..Water quality is improving due to no boat traffic and lockdown of the city due to the pandemic…

Author’s Note:- Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

Information and photographs for this blog post have been sourced from:-

Blogging with a purpose #CauseAChatter #blogchatter

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Blogchatter A to Z Challenge 2020-THEME REVEAL

I started blogging in May 2019 and since then I have heard and read a lot about the yearly A to Z challenge. The posts that I explored were immensely informative and interesting.

A month of blogging!! How did they manage? These were my initial thoughts.

But then curiosity killed the cat. The moment this year’s challenge was announced, I registered immediately and very enthusiastically.

It was while choosing the theme, deciding how to spread it from A to Z and collecting the initial information that I realized I had bitten more than I could chew!! But then Rome was also not built in a day!!!

So here I am ready to Rock and Roll!!! Fingers crossed.

I was brought up in the picturesque town of Bhimtal (Uttarakhand). It is a place which played a very important part in my upbringing. So, throughout April I plan to take you through a journey in the Himalayas. I will be decoding some explored and unexplored aspects  about the State of Uttarakhand, Abode of Gods.

Join me and let us together explore the varied facets of the lifestyle,social and mythological aspects of Uttarakhand. A journey of discovery from  the epic Mahabharata to the present times.

I am also eagerly waiting to read the posts by fellow bloggers. Meet familiar as well as new people and forge bonds. Hope to have a very interesting time here!!!

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YOU MADE ME “The Woman That I Am”…

Dear Papa,
I am neither very eloquent with my feelings nor a prolific writer, but I can say in the simplest words that ‘I do love you’. Having lost mummy when I was seven years old, your love and warmth has always protectively enveloped me. Never once have I
doubted your love.
You have never been vocal and demonstrative about your feelings but you have always been the solid rock I leaned against in times of trouble. I still remember how I annoyed you about everything after Mummy’s death. How you silently suffered. I have
always lashed out at you at every opportunity. I feel sorry about it now.
Be it a difficult Mathematics problem, a Physics Ray diagram, a declamation competition or the doll’s broken arm –you have always been there for me.
A lot of heartbreaks in life were borne with stoic silence by you. The jovial smile, the wave and the nod never needed words to be understood.
I can still hear you humming ‘’Hey Jude, don’t make it bad…’ by Beatles or whistling the signature tune of the song “Ye shaam mastani, madhosh kiye jaye…”
I might have been Papa’s girl, but you cleverly moulded me into a strong, considerate and self dependent girl. You never let success or loss affect me. You taught me to firmly and confidently move ahead in life in spite of all the hardships.


Together, we have felt love and joy, laughter and respect,
We have borne pain and torture, felt despair and disrespect,
We have been harassed and belittled, suffered sarcasm and neglect,
We have seen uncountable shades of life,
We have witnessed numerous sunrises and sunsets,
But those dark clouds of grief did not deter us,
Because it was rainbow that tempted us….
I still do not crack or crumble under pressure,
I still hold my head high, stand tall and erect,
A picture of serenity and strength.


Thank you Papa for making me #TheWomanThatIAm!!!!!


I miss you.


With love,

Your daughter,

P

“This post is a part of ‘The Woman That I Am’ Blog Hop #TheWomanThatIAm organized by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul #RRxMM. The Event is sponsored by Kraffitti.”

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A BEAUTIFUL LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS…..

This Decade Blog Hop triggered a plethora of memories, stirred numerous emotions and touched the long forgotten realms of my life.

Come join me for a glimpse of my life down the decade.

I used to begin every New Year with some new hocus pocus. One year I decided that if I got up early on New Year morning then I would automatically wake up early throughout the year. Did I?

I also had the habit of writing numerous resolutions in my diary and then would religiously break them one by one. My making resolution vs breaking resolution graph was rather consistent for years.

So, how did I begin my previous decade?

I began it with “forgiveness” and “gratitude” and with it I deviated from my consistent record; for it remains unbroken till date.

After years of being miserable, followed by intense introspection I focused on rebuilding the broken parts of my life. I decided to let go of all the pent up anger and mend my fractured relationship with my family. My first step was to connect with a few relatives using Orkut,followed by phone calls. Though it still took me a few more years to actually meet my family(after a gap of nearly 20 years) and let go of all the negativity. It helped me to move on in life without the guilt that I did not try to mend relationships.

THE STRUGGLE ENDS WHEN GRATITUDE BEGINS….

And what a wonderful healing effect it had on my mind and body!!! I felt as if some burden had been removed from my soul. I developed a sense of gratitude even for hardships and life rewarded me enormously.  

Everyone around me knows me as a strong and brave person. But believe me I was not born strong; circumstances made me so. I have traveled alone, lived alone and managed my life on my own for more than a decade now. I am sometimes asked whether I have any hatred for people around me who have not fulfilled their responsibilities towards me. My answer is a big “NO”. And do you know why? Because I always tend to focus on the ray of hope that penetrates the darkness.

Why brood over the negative aspect? Look at the positive side. Their neglect made me strong, let me dream, let me carve a life of my own. It made me what I am today. So why should I crib?

I belong to a generation which transitioned from no phone to landlines to mobile phones and social media. Due to the latter I slowly came in touch with many school friends in the past decade. But life has changed me so much that it is now getting difficult for them to understand me. I find myself at loss of words to explain to them about everything that happened in my life after I completed schooling. I am no longer what they remember me as.

SOMETIMES, HAPPY MEMORIES HURT THE MOST…

Their simple questions about my welfare trigger such painful memories that I end up replying in monosyllables. Due to this I constantly get blocked and unblocked by them. There is a painful time of nearly 22 years that I have erased from my mind but the changes it has brought in my personality are here to stay. I will try to improve this negative trait in the coming decade.

My professional life has always been full of people who have cared for me, helped me develop professionally and personally. Don’t think that I did not face hurdles or encounter negative people but I was blessed with such wonderful friends,that the hurdles and negativity fizzled in the bright light of positivity. I have friends around me believing in my potential more than I do, and this keeps me in high spirits on sad days. This decade I reignited my passion of writing, reading and public speaking. My storytelling sessions over the past decade have been widely appreciated but this activity is solely restricted to school workshops.I hope to take it up more seriously, maybe launch a channel or conduct workshops in the coming decade. Fingers crossed.

SOMETIMES MEMORIES SNEAK OUT OF MY EYES AND ROLL DOWN MY CHEEKS….

This decade I lost a friend and it was one of the triggering factors that started bringing a change in my perspective towards life. Until then like most people I believed that professional achievement was the one and only index of my success.It would be just work, work and work! I hardly read books, pursued my hobbies or socialized. I used to get annoyed when he would plan an outing for our group. I would go only if I was totally free. His death made me explore the various other aspects of my life. He has also left me with a lingering regret of not meeting him enough. Maybe I would have sensed his inner turmoil…Maybe….

In 2019, the last year of the decade two significant events happened in my life.

FIRST: After being a closet writer for years I started sharing my thoughts with the world. First through my blog which I started in May and then through various online platforms.

SECOND: I was diagnosed with Thyroid Carcinoma in June.It was a wake up call for me to take care of myself. So, are you taking care of your health? https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2019/11/30/are-you-taking-care-of-your-body/ (Do read it).

Call it karmic intervention but writing was very therapeutic for me during my medical crisis.

In 2011 as part of a campaign I wrote some determinations towards 2030.I am happy to share that I have laid the foundation stones for all of them and they are in various stages of completion.

Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm.”

The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.”

Some events of the past decade broke me, some made me strong and some changed me completely. But at the end of this decade my life glowed even brighter.

After all, STARS CAN’T SHINE WITHOUT DARKNESS…

CHEERS TO THE PAST AND CHEERS TO THE FUTURE..

“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”

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YADON KI GADI MUJHE BULA RAHI HAI; KHUSHI SE SEETI BAJA RAHI HAI…

This wonderful  Bollywood themed Blog Hop triggered the voice of my soul and musical memories flooded  my mind.

The past holds soothing memories that enliven my present.

After all  “ Har Ghadi Badal Rahi hai Roop Zindagi….”

My childhood memories are soaked with lilting tunes of Bollywood songs which I heard either on the radio or through my father’s enviable collection of cassettes. Radio programmes based on songs, narration of a movie’s story, cricket commentaries etc were much awaited. Cassettes were either bought or recorded. After hearing them for the umpteenth time I eventually remembered the next song that would play in a particular cassette. It was joyous to rewind and listen to my favorite song again and again.

Life was very simple then.

With the advent of television came Chitrahaar, Rangoli and the Sunday movie. Pin drop silence and concentration were mandatory.

How can I forget Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana? As kids we were given the duty to adjust the antenna.

Sunday mornings reverberated with the sound of “Signal aaya kya ????”

“Nahi!!!!!Thoda aur ghuma antenna”.

After numerous adjustments we would happily settle for the poor reception. Patience was a virtue then. Can you imagine anyone sitting peacefully today, if they did not get what they wanted?

Families and neighbours gathered around the TV sets for these programmes. Nowadays  people do not even sit  together at the dining table.

Family gatherings were incomplete without a lively Antakshari session. It would eventually end in heated arguments about the lyrics. The starting letter of the song would be debated earnestly. These memories still bring a smile on my face.

Animated conversations based on a new movie, or a song and its lyrics were an interesting part of our life . If someone had watched the movie in the theatre he was equivalent to God! Each detail of the movie was discussed, dissected and savoured. It brought people of varied age groups together.

Music is after all the universal language of mankind.

No matter how accessible songs and movies have become now, I still hold on to the memories of a life where we celebrated moments.

So much has changed since then. No wonder “Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jate hai jo mukam,wo phir nahi aate.…”

How can I forget the photographs taken by my Kodak camera. One reel would take 36 photographs. Thanks to it I have numerous albums full of memories of togetherness. In fact getting the photographs developed was another source of excitement. It broke our heart if they did not come out well.

Life was simple and contentment was easy to achieve. Small things gave immense joy.

Today, as I sit warmly snuggled in a blanket on a snowy January evening in Shimla, sipping a fragrant cup of kahwa,various questions arise in my mind.

When we bought our Radio-cum-Cassette player a license was needed. I wish it was mandatory right now too, looking at the negative effects of free access to media.

Where have these joyous moments disappeared in the mad rush for unrealistic achievements?

Why have we drifted apart from each other and hidden behind the facade of social media?

Come on friends in this New Year – 2020 let us resolve to celebrate each moment of our life….

This post is a part of #ALPxGUN BlogHop #BollyExpress hosted by Alpana andPraGun and sponsored by – UnorthodoxpeepsRangPotliExploreKidsWorldSoulfulFood and Praggatti Rao

#ALPxGUN BollyExpress Bloghop
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ARE YOU TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY?

 

24th June ,2019

 I was summoned by my doctor for some emergency discussion as I had been undergoing tests for a lump in the neck for the past few days. On reaching the doctor’s cabin I was told that my reports indicate that I may be suffering from thyroid carcinoma. It was a bombshell for me and everyone around me. I was then advised to undergo further tests.

_______________________________________________________________

8th July, 2019

Results of the tests confirmed the previous diagnosis.

________________________________________________________________

The next few days were spent in analyzing the mistakes and planning the future course of treatment.

What did I miss?

Where did I go wrong?

How will I overcome this?

Will I die?

Numerous doubts rose in my mind.

______________________________________________________________________

12th July,2019

Today, I got up in the morning and found the answer to all my doubts.

Realization dawned….. My focus towards my health was negligible.

Why?

Because no major sickness had ever happened to me and I was overconfident that nothing will ever happen to me. I wrongly believed that I will remain untouched from any major illness.

 I will exercise when I am old.

I will quit junk food when I am old.

 I will quit sugar when I am old.

 Illnesses come in old age and am not old.

UNFORTUNATELY MY DEAR FRIENDS THIS IS WHAT MOST OF US THINK……..

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Our body gives signs when it is not well but do we ever listen? I ignored my body.

  • I had constant fatigue. I told myself it was because I was overworked.
  • A mild twist fractured my foot a few years back and I was warned to take a calcium rich diet. I promised myself but on and off I broke my promise.
  • I was gaining weight and I blamed it on my fatigue due to which I was unable to go for walks.

As you can see I created a vicious cycle of excuses around me.

We take our health and life for granted till we face some medical emergency.Health is not valued till sickness comes.

  • It is very important to eat healthy.
  • Take out some time for physical exercise.
  • Develop and nurture a hobby that helps to overcome stress as well as keep you occupied in a healthy manner.
  • Read books.
  • Write about your happiness, dreams, sadness etc. Pour it out. You will immediately feel better.
  • Surround yourself with positive thinking and friends. Be there for them if you want them to be around you when you need them. Socialize personally not just on social media.
  • Get the basic blood tests done once a year.
  • Health Insurance is a must. Thankfully I had it and eventually got the best treatment thanks to their full cooperation and prompt funding. (How I beat cancer and what it taught me::: Sonali Bendre’s Interview)
  • Stay positive throughout the medical treatment and beyond.Your worrying is not going to help.It has been proven that stress releases hormones that aggravate the disease.
  • Most importantly stop postponing living your life for an unknown time in the future.

____________________________________________________________________________________       

Has this changed my outlook? Oh yes! It has.

  • Focus is one powerful habit that keeps me going.
  •  I am eating healthy. Not that I have stopped eating out but I keep a check on what I eat.
  • I have resumed my habit of walking.I used to love walking but had stopped 5 years back when I fractured my foot and eventually  became lazy to resume  it.
  • I exercise or do yoga.
  • I am very conscious about my health and take my body symptoms seriously rather than just ignoring them.Of course I do it without being paranoid.
  • I pamper my body. How will I pursue my  numerous goals and dreams if it stops working?

 GREAT HABITS ARE FORMED DAILY..Even though the 21/90 rule can help us to achieve small victories and guide us towards a greater good. Please do not expect some magic to occur after 21 days. It totally depends on your attitude.

The 21 Day Myth.

20191201_003812

Cheers to a happy and healthy life…

This post is a part of Blog Anniversary celebrations of Thoughts by Geethica Turns 3 co-hosted by Zainab and Ashvini.

It is based on the prompt ::::  Today,I got up in the morning and found…….

 

 

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Your potential is endless and untapped..

Dear Yashika,

Do not give up when you do not score high in the exams, as long as you are focused on your future,

Do not give up when you do not have the luxuries that your friends have,as long as you have gratitude for your own life,

Do not give up when your dreams are crushed,as long as you dream numerous more,

Do not give up when I deny your request,as long as you understand and trust me,

Do not ever give up my child, for your life is like a butterfly emerging out of the chrysalis….

How?

When a butterfly finally comes out of the chrysalis it has undergone complete transformation i.e. it has changed from a caterpillar into a butterfly.It slowly stretches its wings and adapts to the new surroundings. Upon realising the true potential of its wings and trusting itself ,it soars high into the sky.

Your life my child is also the same. You will blossom and shine at the right moment.

But first you have to believe in yourself.

“How can I know who I am, until I find out who I was?” Jack Frost.

In the movie Kung Fu Panda,Po,a panda was chosen to undertake a heroic mission even though he was everything but a warrior. Po received a Dragon scroll that was supposed to turn him into a Dragon Warrior. On opening the scroll he found nothing but a golden, reflective surface that was completely blank, but it reflected his face. This was the secret to his “limitless power”.

Hrithik  Roshan stammered as a child and due to it had low confidence. He took speech therapy classes and overcame his disability. Today he is a renowned Bollywood superstar.

How did both of them achieve success?

It was because they believed in the power within and never gave up.

Continue to make persistent efforts and you will eventually win in life. You will be amazed to see what you can achieve. You have immense and unlimited potential.

May you be blessed with wisdom, courage and confidence. May you soar high in the sky.

Always dream and try to be better than yourself each day.

Break the suffocating shackles and win in life.

Lots of love my heartbeat,

Bua

This post is part of #childrensday blog train hosted by www.prernawahi.com and www.vartikasdiary.com

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मेरी परी

“मां, आओ ना,चलो ना,” नन्ही सी गुनगुन ने मां का पल्लू खींचते हुए बोला। मुस्कुराते हुए दोनों मां बेटी बगीचे में चली गई।गुनगुन हवा में उड़ते हुए रूई की फाहें जैसे सिंहपर्णी के पुष्प से खेलने लगी।

खुशनुमा हवा के झोंके सी है गुनगुन,जो अब लगभग तीन वर्ष की हो चुकी है। इस नन्ही सी परी ने उसके जीवन को रंगों से भर दिया है।अब उसके घर की दीवारें खुशी से गूंजती है।

कौन सोच सकता था की वो छोटी सी कली जो सड़क किनारे एक पॉलिथीन बैग में मिली थी,उसका जीवन बन जाएगी ।

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GRATITUDE..

Her life turned topsy-turvy the day she was diagnosed with cancer.

She felt as if the light of hope and joy was forever extinguished.A torrent of negativity engulfed her soul.Full of hopelessness and numerous regrets she reflected on the past trials and tribulations in her life..


And then it dawned on her.She never gave up!


Gratitude filled her heart as her outlook changed.


Her soul lit up like numerous bright lanterns rising up.

She vowed, “I will fulfil my dreams, for life is a blessing.I gift myself eternal happiness and peace.I am a woman extraordinaire.I am a born winner.”


The sky illuminated with joy!

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WALTZ OF THE YELLOW LIGHT..

Swirling and twirling rises the gentle breeze, 
The dainty dandelions it loves to tease, 
Delicately dance the yellow flowers,
Humming and flitting around are the lovely bees.

Down trickled the cool showers,
On the dandelions and the sunflowers. 
Mesmerising shades of yellow veil the ground,
Sheltered by the dense newly -leafed bowers.

The sights and fragrances of nature abound,
With the birds chirping in the background.
Bright yellow beam shoots across the sky,
Beckoning the sunflowers to whirl around.

Raise your arms high, towards the sky,
Rejoice and celebrate, without a sigh.
The yellow light has mellowed down,
It is now time to bid goodbye.

Picture courtesy:Pickpic.com
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A DAUGHTER’S GIFT OF GREEN LOVE…

MAITI MOVEMENT:- https://www.womensweb.in/2019/06/a-daughters-gift-of-green-love/

Please click the link above to view the article.

This article was published in Women’s Web..It talks about a very auspicious ceremony held during a wedding in the Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand(India).A great event which should be emulated worldwide.

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VISION OF LIFE…

“Hello! Can you please describe the view around us, am blind, you see,”the stranger asked the lady.

“Right in front is a flower laden garden with flower beds shaped in various designs, placed around a circular cobbled pathway.A few swings are placed under the tree for children to play,”she described enthusiastically.

They were interrupted by the lady’s grandaughter who had come to accompany her home, as the lady was blind.


The lady on the bench was also sightless but not blind.

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A MUTE WITNESS…

I have felt love and joy, laughter and respect,

I have borne pain and torture,seen despair and disrespect,


I have been harassed and belittled, suffered sarcasm and neglect,

I bear testimony to the torture of innocent souls and heard their stifled sobs,

I have also seen uncountable shades of life,

I have witnessed numerous sunrises turning into sunsets,


These dark clouds of grief do not deter me,

It is the silver lining that tempts me,


Poised elegantly like the majestic Eiffel Tower,in the City of Love,


I hold my head high,stand tall and erect,


A picture of serenity,fortitude and strength.

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CALL OF THE WILD..

Schooltime memories flooded her mind as she revisited the idyllic lake town in Uttarakhand.

The invigorating walk around the lake, which reflected the colours of the trees and the sky.

The sound of water splashing against the oars,fishermen patiently standing knee deep in the water with their fishing rods.


Every morning,without fail,she was greeted by a kingfisher the lone sentinel guarding the lake.


Then came urbanisation.


Every image changed!


Will her progeny be there today?There it is!


Exquisite!


Much more beautiful than what she remembered.


Nature glows with abundance,but do we have the eyes to admire it?


Do we even deserve it?

Picture Source: Internet

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THE BOOK ON THE BOOKSHELF..

Bedtime tales and fond memories poured out of the book she held in her hand.

She recalled the fantasy world of Rapunzel,Aladdin and Baba Yaga-the witch flying on her broomstick.

She was introduced to books by her father,who gifted her one on every birthday.
He presented her a lifetime entry pass to the world of unending pursuit of adventure.


Now when her father is also a distant memory,she remembers him fondly through the books, she reads and writes.Spinning wonderful tales,weaving the past into the present and creating unlimited dreams for generations to come.


The books on the bookshelf salute his eternal memory.

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PROTECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT…

Mahatma Gandhi rightly said, ‘The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.’These words form the key towards understanding sustainable development.

1) Use water in moderation while washing,bathing etc.

2) Reusing water waste from washing machine for cleaning floors or using in the washrooms.

3) Preventing overflow of water tanks.

4) Rainwater harvesting by connecting roof drain pipes to a tank.

5) Follow the 5Rs -Reduce,Recycle,Reuse,Re-purpose,Refuse.

6) Even if you do not have an open area in or around your house, create a green space in the smallest possible space. A few flowerpots aesthetically placed will make you happy as well as help your kids form a bond with nature and become sensitive.

7)Always carry a shopping bag with you.

8)Use a carpool.

9)Please plant a sapling for every occasion you want to commemorate.

‘ Be the change you want to see in this world.’

Blogging with a purpose #CauseAChatter

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YOUR REFLECTION IS YOU!!!!

Enraged and hurt she stomped out. Who was this devil she just saw?


What!


Her reflection! Really!


What had she become?


“It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.” She had heard her mother quoting.


And then it dawned on her.


How can my happiness be in someone else’s hand? When I am the master of my destiny.


With gratitude she reflected on all the bounties in her life.


A strong beam of light shone around her.

Her vision changed and the reflection smiled back at her.


She was in love with her life.

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रंगो की मुस्कान ।

राधिका ने तपती धूप में बूढ़े माली और उनके आठ साल के पोते को बगीचे में काम करते देखा।

बगीचा अत्यधिक सुन्दर लग रहा था।हरा-भरा और सुगंधित पुष्पों से सजा। कितना मनमोहक दृष्य था।


वह सोच में डूब गई।


यह स्वार्थहीन होकर हमारे जीवन में रंग भरते हैं। क्या कभी हमने इनके बारें में विचार किया है?
इन सुन्दर पुष्पों के भांति उनका जीवन क्यों नहीं है?इतना बेरंग क्यों है?


राधिका की मां ने उसके विचार भाँप लिए।


अब माली का पोता विद्यालय जाएगा।


आज उन्होंनेे उसके जीवन में रंग भर दिए,उसे पंख दे दिए।

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श्रद्धांजलि

आग में झुलसी जिंदगियां,
घरों के चिराग बुझ गए ,
जो हाथ बढ़ने थे मदद को,
वो उनका दर्द देखते रह गए।


अरे इंसा !
तू कब से इतना बेदर्द हो गया?


आग में फंसी जिंदगियां,
और तू फोटो खींचता रह गया?


कहां गई वह मानवता ?
जब हर हाथ मदद को उठता था,
एकजुट होकर सबकी सलामती की दुआएं करता था।


अरे इंसा! याद रख-


जो बोएगा, वही फसल खाएगा ।


छोड़ दे दर्द बेचने की होड़,
संस्कारों पर ध्यान दें ,
वरना ना तू रहेगा, ना हम रहेंगे,
ना यह जहाँ रह जाएगा ।


अरे इंसा!

मदद को हाथ बढ़ाना सीख,
तू नहीं, मैं नहीं, तो कौन मसीहा आएगा?


बस एक ही मानव जागा उस दिन,
बस एक ही हाथ मदद को बढ़ा,
अगर मिलकर सब हाथ बढ़ाते,
हर घर का चिराग आज रौशन होता।


अरे इंसा!
तू कब से इतना बेदर्द हो गया?

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DO NOT GIVE UP….

Your prying eyes followed me everywhere forcing me to follow the societal norms.
“Don’t laugh out loud,be graceful. You need to be a positive example for everyone.” they said.


Time stood still.

I let go of my dreams and just existed, leading an obedient and dreamless life.
And then I looked at you and thought.


Why not rise and shine and celebrate life right under your prying eyes!!!!!


A life-changing event.


A realisation that life is to be lived only once….

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वो सुनहरी यादें ।

बैठी तनहा सोच रही थी,
जीवन का लेखा जोखा बुन रही थी ।
सर्द हवा का झोंका आया,
साथ अपने कुछ यादें लाया।

खो गई ,उन सुनहरी यादों में,

वो मौज, वो मस्ती,
वो बेफिक्री, वो पागलपन,
वो दोस्तों का काफिला,
वो सदा मिलते रहने का वादा।

वक्त गुज़रा-

आज मिलेंगे ;कल मिलेंगे; में बदलता गया,
बस यही सोचते-सोचते ; हर दिन गुज़रता गया,
कल- कल ,करते -करते; आज भी गँवा दिया ,
कल मिलेंगे ;कल मिलेंगे; बस यही होता गया।

वक्त यूहीं गुज़रता रहा,
हम बेखबर,बस सोचते रहे।

अरे!!!!
आज इतनी खामोशी क्यों है?
दोस्तों का काफिला इतना सुन्न क्यों है?
वो हंसना खिलखिलाना बंद क्यों है?

सुना है ,एक दोस्त बिछड़ गया है,
वक्त से पहले कहीं खो गया है,
क्या सोचा था ? क्या हो गया है?
बस यादों का समंदर रह गया है ।


वह बोलता था-
फिर मिलेंगे; मिलते रहेंगे,


पर खुद ही कहीं गुम हो गया है।

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यादों का कारवां

ऐ हवा ! तू जल्द से जाना ,

उन वादियों में झूम कर गाना,
याद बहुत से लोग हैं आते,
उन्हें मेरा संदेशा पहुंचाना,
वो सुबह पक्षियों का चहचहाना ,
वो लोगों का काम पर बातें करते जाना,
वो शांत झील पर नावों का आना,
पतवार से टकराकर पानी का छलकना,


वो दोस्तों के घर जाना,
वो बात- बात पर बेवजह खिलखिलाना,
सुनसान रात में झींगुर का गाना,
शाम को पक्षियों का घर लौट कर आना,
अनगिनत लोगों से तजुर्बे हैं पाए,
कई थे जो पीड़ा में काम आए ,
वो लोगों की दुआएं, वह उनका दुलार,
मिटाए नहीं मिटते वो यादों के पल ,
छूटे नहीं छूटते यादों के वो घर,


ऐ हवा ! तू वहां जरूर जाना,
उन लोगों को याद दिलाना,
माना मैं वह गलियां छोड़ चुकी हूं,
सब कुछ पीछे छोड़ चुकी हूं ,
पर हर दिन, हर पल, याद मुझे वो लोग हैं आए,
ऐसा भी क्या था उस जगह में,
कि लौट- लौट कर निगाह वापस वहाँँ जाए,
बहुत कुछ छूटा आज तक जिंदगी में,
पर एक अजीब तसल्ली सी है,
जो खोया वह किस दिन लौट कर आया?
बस एक सुकून है दिल में समाया,


भविष्य हो जो भी –

पर रूक कर, मुड़ कर,
जब भी निगाह डाली,
बड़ी खूबसूरत यादें हैं नज़र आईं,


ऐ हवा! संग खुशहाली ले जाना,
गम के बादलों का निशां मिटा कर,
अंधेरों घरों में उजाला कर आना,
कौन सा काम है मुश्किल उन्हें समझाना,
क्यों कल की फिक्र में आज को गवांते?


उस शांत वादी में सभी मुस्कुराए,
फूलों की महक दूर – दूर तक फैल जाये,
खिलखिलाने का स्वर गूंज कर यहां तक आए,
बस यही संदेशा वहां दे आना,
उन्हें मेरी दुआएं जरूर पहुंचाना।

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I HAVE A DREAM…



We take a long time to finally realise what our dreams actually are…. and an equally long time to go about living them. It happened to me and it happens to nearly everyone, except a few……a lucky few I must call them.


Not a day has passed since I have not dreamed a new dream. Every second of my life is a new dream ….


But it took me many long years to realise that the life I was living was not everything that I wanted….


It was incomplete…


My life, my destiny, my dreams ,my ambitions lay elsewhere. What I thought was my dream life was actually nothing— but a collection of compromises which mostly I had not chosen myself but had either been thrust upon me or most of the time I did not have the courage to say “NO
’.


‘NO’ is a negative word but yet releases positive vibes for oneself, in situations where you need to prioritise yourself…


Living your dream; to have the courage to stand up, is really tough. But dreams need to be taken care of.

They are the personification of your life!!!!


Do you realise that if you are not happy doing or being what you are then you are worse than having tried and failed? At least in the latter case you will live with the satisfaction—-that you tried…


YOUR DREAMS ARE YOUR OWN, THEY ARE YOU, THEY REFLECT YOU, THEY COMPLETE YOU!!!!!!!!


YOU ARE; NOT YOU !!!!!!!WITHOUT YOUR DREAMS!!!!!!!


They are an unending treasure trove, life blood that will never run dry…Try and find a few and make them true…


You will see how you pave the way for even more to be fulfilled. Don’t make a mess of everything —- for you will always find willing hands to mess them up…Rather use your energy on realising them…


Go ahead and do a few things you have always wanted to do—not what you were made to do….


Let go of even a few harmless compromises and inhibitions—feel the pressure lighten, feel free…..


IF A BIRD CAN FLY,SO CAN YOU!


All these years I have kind of sleep walked through my life. I went to school, completed college, dreamed of taking up a career for financial security and so on…But it was while I was studying for my Bachelor’s degree something just snapped and eventually my grades plummeted.


I always had low self-confidence; now I had ‘none’. I felt suffocated and spent endless hours just brooding about the fact that I was a ‘Nobody’. I had no dreams, I was dead inside….


Slowly I withdrew and became a recluse and ultimately with no one to share my deepest thoughts with; I started to pen down my thoughts. And things started changing. As I was able to talk to myself I made new friends and as days passed I realised if I relentlessly plodded through my life I would go nowhere; and reach nowhere…..


I needed to immensely overhaul my life….


AND I DID!!!!!


I did not have many dreams left at that point of time but yet there were a few that I decided to make true.


Eventually all this led to the discovery that my greatest dream was to WRITE!!!!


So here I am sharing my thoughts. It took me many long, painful and lonely years to realise that I actually had a dream..


People tell me I am lucky that I discovered it, some never discover it too afraid to speak out.


Talk about your dreams… Talk to yourself…. It is therapeutic..


To realise a dream isn’t an instant…it is the realisation of a life time ahead….

P.S. It took me a decade more to express this openly…Until now it was buried deep in my notebook.


To be continued…..


Many more to come….

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ETERNAL LOVE..

No matter how things be,

No matter what the future be like,

I shall have your love and you shall have mine..

Slowly as years pass,

Memories of these days…

The time spent together shall embrace me now and then,

Our love shall become deeper and you’ll still be mine,

No matter where you go,

No matter what you do,

My love shall envelope you and you’ll still continue to be mine.

Through thick and thin …..

Through health and sickness..

When things are a bit rough,

You will support me and so will I,

The twinkle in my eye is just for YOU!

My love is eternal, ALL FOR YOU!!!!

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GRACE UNDER FIRE

A frozen moment that suddenly melts,

Wrapped in a cloak of despair or disgust,

There comes a time in everyone’s life,

When things just refuse to fall in line.

Whenever the light dims and fortune wanes,

There are many to tell you why you have failed,

Not many to stop and offer a reassuring pat,

But to point out one by one your innumerable mistakes,

When the going gets tough,

And you feel a tightness in your chest,

When sadness embraces you,

And you feel lost in a maze,

The tear in your eye melts,

And courses down your cheek.

It’s time to face the gale against your chest,

To stand up erect and give your best,

Never once the nightingale stopped her chant,

It sang blithely be it rain or hail,

Never once has she stopped and asked,

“Why should I sing when I am in despair?”

The frozen moments with it retain,

The memories of the lonesome phase,

The mighty banyan does crumble,

The Earth does shake and break,

But the one who bears it and yet stand erect,

IS THE ONE WHO BEARS IT WITH GRACE……..

C – CHAITRA HERALDS A HEARTWARMING TRADITION

Pic courtesy: http://www.bedupako.com
Welcome to the third day of the #BlogchatterAtoZ challenge.

The hills of Uttarakhand state have many unique traditions and festivals.

So,today we will celebrate the  month of Chaitra with a joyous celebration called Bhitauli, a much awaited event by married women.

Come join me.

Chaitra is associated with the coming of spring and is considered to be a very auspicious month as it signifies the creation of the universe.

Holi, the festival of colors is celebrated  on  full moon day known as Purnima in the Falgun month (before Chaitra) of the Hindu calendar.

The first day of Chaitra is celebrated as New Year’s Day, known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Chaitrai Vishu or Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

This month brings the highly awaited ‘Bhitauli’ festival which is a heartwarming festival dedicated to married women.

‘Bhitauli’ means ‘to meet’.

Usually the brother of the married girl visits her with gifts,fruits and homemade sweets(made from a mixture of  flour,milk,ghee and sugar, kheer ). The gifts that she receives are full of her parents love and immense blessings.It makes her recall the carefree days that she used to spend in her parents’ house. The homemade sweets are shared by everyone in the village and enlivens the spirits of everyone in the village. Neighbors are invited for having a special pudding which is prepared in the evening.

This heartwarming festival is very special for married women as it reminds them of the nostalgic memories they had at their paternal home.

Pic courtesy: Amar Ujala (Kumaoni lady in traditional attire)
Bhitauli Festival of Kumaon, Uttarakhand

To understand the background of this festival and its significance we need to understand the lifestyle in Uttarakhand. The men in this state are mostly in the army or have migrated for work away from their villages. Due to this the economy here is usually called ‘Postcard economy or Money order economy’.

Pic courtesy: Dr.Manisha Sanguri Jalal

Women shoulder all the responsibility here. They are the backbone of the society . This festival comes at a time when their is some respite from the various farming activities in Chaitra.So, they are able to enjoy the visits from their family members. Life is itself hard for most of them due to unproductive terrain and no job opportunities.

In urban areas, families may send a money order or send online gifts to the daughter due to large distances but in rural areas ‘Bhitauli’ still remains an occasion for the married female to actually meet her family and receive their immense love and blessings.

Now due to modernization the gifts have also been replaced by modern gift items like a Smartphone!!

Numerous songs depict the love of a daughter towards her brother and family:-

Few lines from a song :-

“जेठ म्हैणा जेठ होली, रंगीलो बैसाख, रंगीलो बैसाख
लाड़ो म्हैणा, योछ चैतोलिया मास.
बैणा वे येछ गोरी रैणा मैणा ऋतु मयाल.”

Meaning:-

The month of Jeth is the longest and the month of Baisakh is colorful,but the month of Chaitra is different as it is the most loved and heartwarming.

(Basically the song shows the long wait of a daughter for her brother, the reason she likes this month the most.)

There are a few stories (with regional differences) around the festival have been transmitted from generation to generation:-

  1. भै भुको, मैं सिती : –  Once upon a time in a village lived a widowed woman. Her daughter was married in a far away village. Her brother was young so he could not go and meet her sister. As he grew older he got to know about her sister. Her mother started crying because she was never able to visit or invite her daughter for any festival. He decided to visit her sister even though he was 10-12 years old. Her mother was afraid to send her son because of the distance as well as the danger of various animals in the forest. Finally she relented.

Her mother made a lot of homemade food and sweet items for her daughter. Early next morning he left with instructions from her mother not to spend the night in her sister’s house as it is against the custom. He reached her house in the afternoon and found that she was sleeping. He decided not to wake her as he realized she must be tired after working in her field.

He put the bag of Bhitauli near her bedside and waited for her to wake up. It was getting late and she did not wake up. With a heavy heart he returned to his house.

When his sister woke up she saw the bag near her bedside which contained food items and a new saree. She realized that her brother had come and she came out of the house to look for him. But she could not find him.

She started wailing and when the village gathered they found her repeating , “भै भुको, मैं सिती”, “भै भुको, मैं सिती”, which means – my brother was hungry and I was sleeping.

2) Gauridhana and Kalianag

Kalianag was the King of Kaushya and got married to Gauridhana the daughter of Bhanu uday.The king loved his wife but did not let her go to her parental house. Many years passed. In the meantime her brother was born. When her brother grew older he got to know about his sister and decided to meet her. It was in the month of Chaitra that he arrived at his sister’s house with gifts(bhatauli).

There he met Bhaga, Kalianag’s sister who took  her to Gauridhana. Kalianag was not at home. It was a very emotional meeting.In a rush to return home before Kalianag returned he forgot to touch his sister’s feet and take her blessings.

This triggered negatives thoughts in the mind of Bhaga and she assumed that he was not her brother but her childhood lover. She shared her thoughts with her brother Kalianag on his return. Instigated he went in search of the brother and in the eventual confrontation both died. Gauridhana died due to the shock.

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Imagine the time when there were no proper roads and means of communication. Imagine the long wait by the daughter to meet her family. Financial and communication constraints prevented her from visiting their parents. Imagine the emotional turmoil in the daughter’s heart. Even today when we are well connected a visit to or from a parental relative is so delightful.

This therefore remains a highly emotional and much awaited festival in Uttarakhand.

Bhitauli Festival of Kumaon, Uttarakhand

Author’s Note:- Information and photographs have been widely sourced from various websites as well as my personal contacts. Please feel free to inform me of any misinformation or any violation.My email id pashmeenachowdhary@gmail.com

References for information and photographs credits :

# This is the third post for #BlogchatterA2Z challenge. My theme is Uttarakhand-The Abode of Gods .

# You may access my theme reveal here::::: https://pashmeenachowdhary.home.blog/2020/03/16/blogchatter-a-to-z-challenge-2020-theme-reveal/

# Do share your links for quick access…Would love to read…. See you around!!!!!

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