Monday, October 18, 2010

O Maa Meri Pat Rakhiyo Sada

In a constant effort to improve the toddler’s mental horizons (and lest it be said secularism is something I do as a hobby, you know faarigh waqt may I do some light reading, cooking and practice secularism); we embarked this weekend on the Dhaka Durga (Pandal) Darshan.

We took an invitation by the Kumudini Trust as not just a fortuitous incident. The invitation was to watch the celebrations at the family temple in Tangail which in the past fifty years or so has been opened to civilians like us as well. The temple has a history of 400 years, pretty much around the same time we left for Tangail from Dhaka. On a good day the drive should not take more than 90 minutes but considering the driver feels that every time he asks for directions someone out there makes little puppy dogs and babies cry, the building had aged dramatically from its pictures when we got there.

The good people at the gate pointed out the dining hall when we finally got there. Food first, darshan later they cajoled us. How could one argue their immense logic. At the dining hall the toddler jumped head first, no invitations necessary, into the luchi and sabzi. Plucking the potatoes in pickle from the serving bowl, he popped them one after the other into his mouth. Of course at home any effort to give him anything other than the bland kichdi is met with cries of Too Hot. But like Goldilocks before him he found his bowl of Just Right that evening. Sadly there IS no truth in advertising? Dear Coke Ad, My Mom’s Food the best? Sorry, No meri Mummy dey parathey sab se vadiya in this household.

We had to cross a river in a boat for the temple. It was a two minute boat ride and I wondered why a simple footbridge could not suffice, until I saw the sentry at the boat-stand in action. He was more of a border guard for class, culture to keep what he saw as unsavoury elements away. Sorry only bhadralok need apply. We could only catch the end of the opera being performed courtesy our Late Latif entry but whatever we could catch that evening was “ the real deal” if you know what I mean. Unlike neighbouring pandal which played authentic pujo hymns like Soni Dey Nakhrey.

Two observations: Bhansali needs to be thrashed for Dola Re Dola-ing Durga Puja for us.

And 2) the name of the tailor who specialises in Ethnic Garb for the Discerning Tourist. Who is this who is responsible for the flood of “Flowery Drawstring Trouser matched with Mirrored Kurti where Side Slit ends at Armpit “ look for the Token White Person who like totally “digs it dude” such evenings.

And the campus for the Kumudini Trust is amazing, and their generosity of spirit and resources commendable. That evening we went to bed vowing of similar large heartedness, of course it is easier for us to have such grand intentions when all our worldly possessions are our laptops, books and mortgages.

Kindly pursue pictorial record considering a picture is worth a thousand or so words.

On the second day we trotted down to Old Dhaka. And took these pics.

Not that I am a big fan of Reading the Body to make pronouncements on someone’s cultural politics but well there are times I have to make an exception. Proof that there are still some out there who are secure enough in their faith to participate in the significant moments of their fellow citizens.

We ended our evening at the Jagannath Hall at Dhaka University .

and I tried to beat my personal best for Phuchka Eating. Sorry, we are desi only. No Tequila Shots. Only Gol Gappa Shots

The final day was the Money Talks and How pandal at the more prosperous suburb Banani.

And I realised that the Bengali depiction for the three goddesses is more generously endowed in the Beyonce region than any others. Or is it just me who thinks they are more wide hipped? Any anthropologists out there?

So all in all three very beautiful days for us, and cliched though it may sound a right royal feast of sights and sounds. Sunday evening, households in Dhaka retired to their hilsa preparation which is kind of a Dashami tradition here. But considering in recent days Fish Are Friends and Not Food for Us, we got high on carbs and our love for the city instead.

Hope all of you had an equally fun weekend. Drop me a line if you can, for I hear every time I get a comment on my blog an angel gets its wings.

Edited to Add: Right after I clicked publish, a blog dost told me about all the fun at Beyond Five Days. Head out there!!


  1. You might want to change that incentive of angels getting wings after this particular watch

  2. @Parul: gulp!
    damn you zuzu for not telling me about this version.

  3. the part about thrashing bhansali for his durga puja
    i cannot agree more

  4. gorgeous pics, A. and yes, lets thrash bhansali. most bongs wanted to do that after they saw the movie.

  5. A good time was had by all!
    (As well as your readers:)

  6. You copied my blog name you bitch! you have an ugly face and a stupid blog, fuck you, you stupid bangali!

  7. language DD!! anyways my blog was started a good two years before yours, and I think the Jolie film started it all long before the line was a twinkle in anyone's eye.
    Im not Bengali, not that there is anything wrong with it, and well what can one do with being esthetically challeneged

  8. Aneela, whoever left the comment on your blog is definitely not me :)

    Rest assured I sign in my blogger when I have to comment. I don't require using a Name and Url to say something.

    Nice to meet you here.

    I hope you know the hazards of cyberspace. I didn't know I have enemies, but who cares, they just happen to elate my ego :D

  9. Dude... who has phuchkas in plates, I ask you? such sacrilege. The Pujas photographs look beautiful, especially the one from the boat.

  10. Beautifully written and those photographs are exquisite. How's the Phuchka in Dhaka? I once wanted to marry a Phuchka wala.

  11. Superb post. My mom's side of the family is from Dhaka...did I ever tell you that? And travelling across the river by boat to see a pujo sounds, words fail me. They remind me of the simpler times, like when my grandparents were young; of Panther Panchali and novels by Sarat Chandra.

    Another gorgeous post.

  12. @sugar and MadM: Forget the mutual admiration club from before, lets start a Slap Sanja B Group

    @Sue: Be glad I didnt use the spoon they offered.

    @ Preoccupied better get in line. The Puchka wala is mine right after Pierce B. Hope your Mr Right Now aint bad too.

    @M4: sigh, your comment beats my post's lame ass hollow


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