Recently the Uber cab driver case has jolted the nation, yet again. Discussions, speeches, activities, protests, media, all possible things, which can highlight this case, started yet again.

Now what? Where is the Change?

Change…umm…well, yes may be. But not in judiciary laws, neither in government nor in people’s mentality but yes, in WOMAN’s perspective towards MAN.

When asked by my friends, that why do I sense so much rage against man in every woman, nowadays? Why are ALL men being stereotyped and hated by woman? And, why do guys think that we are pointing fingers on them when they are not even part of it? 

Hushhh! Received many different answers from different individuals.

One of my friends, who is a guy, says, “it hurts our sentiments, when they generalise men and say such things and put a feminist status on FB to have a cool status”, true! Another friend said, who is a gal, “why do guys think and take it that way? We know our brother, father and friends are good men and protective about us, but at the same time they should also act a bit responsible towards other women around and see to it that they raise their voce if anyone is getting suffered. How many times did they raise voice against some odd? Ask them.” True again.

Few guys said, “Girls try to lend sympathy from people by saying all such stuff, we do respect girl and should not be blamed for what the rapists has done, just because we share the same gender. Stop Generalising Us, The Men.” True that! Another bunch of girls said, “Why do we have to consider ourselves as weaker section? Why do we have such saying as male-dominating society? Why does anyone have to dominate anyone?” True! 

This goes on and ultimately leads to an unnecessary battle, which is absolutely diverted from the main subject.

Well, what’s the subject? You must be thinking the same question.

The subject is not the girls making it sensational or girls are getting molested, or what guys should learn or how family should bring up their child, NO. These are not the subject. The subject is what’s the aftermath of doing such in-human act? Because the former will get resolved only if the latter is accomplished.

These discussions are not doing any good to us but creating a broad bridge among two genders, that’s it.

Just forget for a moment what gender community you belong to and start thinking as an individual. Empathise victim’s point of view and see what can be done to eradicate such issue rather than stimulating any gender discrimination.

Lately, read Shenaz’s letter. I am not offended by her letter but I am bit surprised that she has addressed the complete letter to the most influential men of our nation and not women.  Not because she could not remember any influential women while writing the letter, but has written it with a gender perspective and not with an individual perspective. This is what we, the common people, do and think.

Sometimes, in my daily life, when I get up in a crowded metro and a guy makes a way for me doesn’t mean I am good. When I am unable to close the window in the bus and a guy comes up and help me closing it, doesn't mean he is acting as a good-guy in the crowd. When some guy offers me a seat in a crowded bus doesn't mean he is trying to impress me. It simply means that individual is good not me. Similarly, when a girl gets some help from another girl, no one ever notices that. This is because of gender perspective.

Not only this, do you know judiciary discrimination is also done against men? The following paragraph was found in Wikipedia with reference links:

“Although socially women have been at a disadvantage, Indian laws highly favor women. If a husband commits adultery he will be jailed, but a woman cannot be jailed for adultery and neither will she be punished by the courts. There is no recognition of sexual molestation of men and rarely the police stations lodge an First Information Report (FIR); men are considered the culprit by default even if it was the woman that committed sexual abuse against men.[citation needed] Women can jail husband's family for dowry related cases by just filing an FIR. The law IPC 498A demands that the husband's family be considered guilty by default, unless proven otherwise, in other words it implements the doctrine of 'guilty unless proven innocent' defying the universally practised doctrine of 'innocent until proven guilty'. According to one source, this provision is much abused as only four percent of the cases go to the court and the final conviction rate is as low as two percent.[11][verification needed]. There are many laws including 498a, false rape laws etc., favoring women to greater extent. If a man files a rape complaint, it’s not considered as rape, since rape clearly is for men and not for women. If a woman rapes man then court can’t punish her.”

I am not writing this to make any woman realize that men are good or any man to realize that women are no weaker section but to make each of you realize that it is important to raise voice against wrong and do something against it as an individual. Let’s not allow anything bad in our surroundings.


All I want to say is that you should stand against odd, irrespective of your gender, as an individual. This is just a small change we need to bring in ourselves, so that we create a better society for our grandchildren to live.  

Looking at those heavy dark clouds splattering water on the land reminded her something sort of “reverse ocean”. Ahana loves rain, and thinks as if an ocean has turned itself up and pouring the excess water out through a sieve. With a winsome smile, she was endeared by every drop of deluge rainwater falling against her face. 

PC: Google Image



Ahana Mukherjee, 24 years old lass, had a different philosophy towards life. She welcomes each day of her life with open arms, which makes her exuberant.

A violin teacher, who enjoys every second while teaching violin to her students. She thinks music lies everywhere, in the murmur of talking, in the foot steps while walking, running vehicles on road, in moving train on tracks, in the mooing of cow, in the cycle bells, even in the whistle of the pressure cooker. And what she loves the most is playing her violin in rain. Because for her, music lies even in the sound of its rain water. She changes her strings according to the musical note created by the pattering rain.

At around 5:30 PM, on her way back to home, it came, the Rain. She couldn’t wait to reach home and playing her instrument of passion.

She needs to cross the road to board her public transport. She was standing under a shade, opposite of the road, waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. As soon as she opened her umbrella and tried to cross the road on green signal, she was pulled a fast one on by the gusty wind and heavy rain droplets. They mischiviously snatched the umbrella from her hand and threw it few steps away.

In her own thought she first smiled, and went back to get her umbrella. While lifting the umbrella, she saw fumbled feet, wearing a pair of sporty shoes, approaching towards her.

It was a woman in her thirties. She was a stout woman, wearing a long salwar kameez, and a sunglass, holding a cane, which guides her when no one is around. Yes! She was a blind lady.

Owing to a soft heart, Ahana gently replied to her anxious face and feelings, “where you want to go, aunty?”

“Oh dear, could you please make me cross the road, I need to get my bus from the opposite stand”, said the lady with uneasiness in her voice.

“Oh Sure, why not!” said Ahana and gripped her hand from one hand and tried to hold the umbrella with another. But, it was such a deluging and loud rain that even an umbrella couldn’t prove its worth. This made them stepping back to afore position.

Fretfully, the blind lady said, “Oh Jesus, it’s raining so hard, I will get drenched. But I need to catch the bus and reach the church before 7. Else the mass will start, and I don’t want to miss it dear because it is Easter today.”

Looking at those wrinkled eyebrows, which was partially covered by the sunglass, Ahana consoled her and said, “Oh don’t worry. This time you hold the umbrella and I will hold you” with a smothered laugh. This saying made both of them to grin in unison.

While she was explaining the strategy for crossing the road by holding the umbrella and all, suddenly she was drawn back in her thoughts. She thought, this blind lady is missing the most beautiful gift of nature happening rite there. The Rain.

“So what if she is blind, she can feel it”, thought the lively Ahana.

Ahana was a gal who loved to sprawl a realm of positivity wherever she is. In the commotion of her deep thoughts, she decided to introduce the lady to the awesomeness of the Rain.

It was a while away and the lady asked, “What happened beta, lets move.”

Laughingly, Ahana replied, “Oh yes!sure. But tell me one thing Aunty, do u like rain?”

“I don’t know, Beta. I have never seen it. I think it must be beautiful, but for me it becomes difficult to reach my destination when it rains.” said the lady with a heavy heart.

“Aunty, I might sound stupid to you but just forget it that you cannot see things, its okay you are blind, not a big deal. Don’t let your ailment come in between this present moment. Enjoy it Aunty. And you know what, sometimes stupidity fetches you peace in heart than being in a logical or rational sense.” Somewhere the words of Ahana spelled a magic in her. She actually forgot that she can’t see, and started enjoying the very moment.

Ahana pulled her hand under the rain, all though she was keeping the umbrella open but even the God has the same plan that day. The umbrella got folded backwards with the gusty wind, but this time they didn’t step back.


“And the umbrella is gone again”, said Ahana, which made a loud laugh under the open sky in unison.

“Let it be aunty, don’t care about it. Just feel the droplet, let it touch your heart.”

Hearing that, the lady looked up and felt the sound of the water droplets pouring against her face. She felt as if Lord Jesus caressed her face and whispering “Live it and Love it, my child” like a feather rolling into her ears. Adrenaline was rushing into her body, she started swaying her face against the rainwater with a childish smile on her face. She could feel the coldness of the drop; indeed she was very much into that moment.

While being in that moment, suddenly the watch caught Ahana’s attention and reminded her that the lady is supposed to reach the church by 7. She said in scurry, “Come aunty, the light has turned green now, lets cross the road.” She then pulled her hand gently and made her cross the road without any shield from rain.

Finally, both of them reached the stop. Ahana in her own thoughts, waiting eagerly to reach home and play the Violin, but then as soon as she looked at the Aunty, she felt really bad as the lady was totally drenched. With a low voice, she uttered, “Aunty I am really sorry, but you are drenched, take my hanky if you need but I just wanted you to have a smile and live the moment. Sorry but it was intended to have fun.” And her voice went in gravity.

The lady didn’t utter a word, she just caressed on her face and said, “you must be the most beautiful creation of god my dear. Be as you are.” Her voice was shivering, not because of cold but coz of heaviness in her heart. She was crying, but it was hard for Ahana to discern the rain water from tears, which were rolling on her cheek.

She just left for her destination with the cane. But Ahana was just awestruck, she did not want her to cry, but with her innocence, she had gifted the most precious gift to a lady who has never seen her face. A smile, a zeal to live every moment without letting any ailment come in between.


 
PC: Google Image
Pujo aasche”, “Pujor Bajar” these terms are very often used in every bong’s conversation during this festive time. Being a bengali-girl-born-in-Delhi makes the north Indians wonder what exactly I do in Durga Puja, why it is one of my favourite times, what is so special about it. I don’t know, if it is the fun I live, or the food I relish, or the new folds I release in my dress, the places I go, the laughs I share, the beats of dhaak I enjoy, or getting enamored by the beautiful face of Durga idol and decorated Pandals, the bhog proshad I taste… it becomes very difficult for me then to express the feel I sense each moment during the Pujo festive season.

Shopping Fever
Halter to heels, we buy it all. At this festive season, we help many clothing business to increase their market turnovers. We believe Pujo is the only time where we can flaunt the best clothing collection we have. And, this is the only time when your mom will never mind you buying even sarees, because we believe how cheongsam is to Chinese, saree is to Bengalis, and I personally do not find anything graceful than an ethnic sharee (That’s how we pronounce). Bottom line is, yes! we do shop a lot.


Rehearsals
Be it Robindro nrityo and shongeet, Abritti, Natok, Agomini, people with talents get a chance to showcase their forte on a mini platform of Durga Pujo. Even though if we are working, we do keep ourselves free from any schedule or business appointments during rehearsals. But before putting it on-live, we rehearse, and believe me we just don’t rehearse but we live each moments with laughs, dinning together, planning, ribbing each other, debating a lot (bongs are very good at that). All in all, a healthy congregate to cherish all life.

Mohaloya
Then comes the Mahaloya, the onset of countdown to Pujo. The day, when you can hear early morning chants in every home television. And the fisrt sound of dhaak, oh that lingers in my ears. The torpon performed by my father to give tribute to our ancestors. Finally, the arrival of the days we longed-for every year.


…And it begins
Newly dressed people, entering to the Pandal, greeting each other with smiles, the aroma of dhuno, seeking blessing from Durga maa idol, the chants in air, this is how it starts on Shashti evening. Then comes the Anondomela, where the home master-chefs, our mother, participates and earn pride and praises by selling their cooked meal in a mini food stall arranged in Pandal. This followed by some or other interesting activities throughout the 4 days: Shaptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami.

Mornings are mainly occupied with pujo rituals, anjoli, bhog and evenings with people thronging the pandals, flaunting dresses, relishing foods, tuning with the performances and late night chats and laughs. Along with these, different fun activities are organised where the age does not have any bar, from drawing competition to haadhi-bhaanga…you name it, we play it. How can someone miss the pulse of Durga Pujo, the Dhunochi naach and stunts done using the earthen pot. Believe me, the pujo is no less than a college fest, where you can even check out fresh crowd including both hot and cool crows and birds, hope u know what I mean. ;)
    
       
                          PC: Mukul Banerjee
PC: Mukul Banerjee






      













On second last day, navami, we hire a vehicle and start exploring other pandals all over Delhi. Mainly, CR Park [D Block, Matri mondir, mela ground], Kashmiri gate (which is supposed to have the oldest pujo), Timar Pur, Aram Bagh, Karol Bagh, Kali Bari  are in our list. Chitranjan park, called mini bengal, has the best Pandals ever and the street food as Moghlayi, Birynai, Chop, Puchka, jhaal-moori, Eggroll, fish-kalmayi, and other Bengali delicacies which we do not get opportunity to eat otherwise ( that’s something we Delhites bongs miss a lot, Kolkata street foods).

PC: Mukul Banerjee


On this very day, the crowded place does not bother us, walking for long does not pain our legs, even the new shoe bites are not something that can never stop us from having fun, and we do not leave any poses unturned and almost take shots everywhere…lol. We really do talk, walk, sing, laugh, eat, rib whole day. Even after screwing our each muscle, we are still left with energy, which will then be utilised for playing dandiya at night.



Time to bid good bye
The day, when married women, wearing saree in hues of red and white, apply vermillion to each other in order to celebrate the occasion, this is called as shidoor khela. And, the youngsters become actual Mawali, and keep tapping their feet with dhaak while moving towards the Yamuna to immerse the Durga idol.

 
PC: Mukul Banerjee
Believe me, this is the time that actually fill our eyes with tears, because we all come, meet, laugh all for one cause, to celebrate Maa Durga’s arrival to earth. So while immersing the Idol means you are again introducing her to the universe, this is Doshomi Bishorjon.  But still we end up our note with a feeling in our heart as “aasche bochor abar hobe” that means it is not yet over, will again happen next year. Then comes celebration of bijoya doshomi, when we grace blessings from our elders and hug our loved ones, and end up having mutton curry and rice, the most delicious savor ever.

PC: Mukul Banerjee


Well, after the all hectic days, finally I fall ill, either with stomach upset, or with throat and body pain. Having said that, there is no fun without these after-effects of Pujo, isn’t? :D I hope by now u must have realized how important and fun-filled durga pujo is in one bong’s life, in my life.


I rest my write-up here, time to breath a little… phewww.

Now, let the world know your Durga Puja festive experiences as well, please leave your experiences below. J