Friday, October 8, 2010

Kickstarting the Festivities: Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja

When a certain mischievous (what's the word I'm looking for? impish? charming? oh, just fill in the blank here!!) food blogger put out an invitation to join in her Durga Pujo event, I thought "what fun!!" followed immediately by"but what can I contribute here?". Those who know me, will immediately know why the question popped up in my mind.....but then I got to thinking and little by little the post started taking shape.

I don't have many memories of Durga Puja, Diwali being the main festival that is celebrated in our home. I haven't done much pandal hopping either, even though my best friend is Bengali (I used to wait for her to bring back parshad for me!---this was many moons back, while we were in hostel. The university had a very large Bengali community which meant that Durga Pujo was celebrated with aplomb!!  and I would tag along with her to the main extravaganza to eat my fill of delicious Bengali food. I had never before in my life had a potato dish so good (aloo poshto) or other nameless (because I can't for the life of me remember their names. But I can still remember the taste and aroma and atmosphere, like I'm partaking of it right now) delights put out in front of me. Someone out here in blogland mentioned in one of her posts that you can try to replicate the flavors of the food from bhog, but you will never really achieve it. I agree. I have tried to make langar food at home, but it always falls short of expectations. Maybe that pinch of magic, that laughter and camaraderie which goes into its making is missing. Sometimes, too many cooks manage to create magic.

Somewhere else on blogland I read a story recounting the magic that a community created during the annual Anandamela. I have to agree wholeheartedly. Because daddy was in the army, we moved a lot during my formative years. The communities I grew up in were always a mishmash of people  and personalities. It was the India of my dreams, where every color and language coexisted (I have vivid memories of celebrating pongal, replete with banana leaves!). I, in turn, turned out to be a mishmash of cultures. I absorbed every culture I had the privilege to live in. Because my mom was so immersed in the arts, I also acquired an appreciation for the local traditions. The life of an army brat was a good one and the community was just that, a community. All festivals were celebrated and the kids had a ball. My mom tells me that we had participated in a few Durga Pujas along the way, but I somehow have no memories of anything apart from the rasogullas (I know, I always tend to think with my tummy in the foreground!).

Which brings me to the community that I am most interested in right now, this community that we have lovingly built. You, me, us. I am honored to have read all your lovely posts as you shared your memories with us. This post is for all you lovely people out there, those who celebrate and those who don't, for each of you who is willing to open your heart and let in some of that magic....

May you have a beautiful celebration. May there be lots of this:

May there be loads of this.......

Sabudana tikki. Recipe from here. Thanks Sangeeta!

Maybe some of these:

Stuffed kulchas. Recipe here.

May your kullad (cup) brimmeth over...

While you're gorging on food, don't forget mother nature's bountiful gems:

Yup, tank up on those antioxidants!!!

May your evening be bright, may your diyas be lit....

Don't forget the main reason behind the celebrations, may you have a blissful Puja!

While you're seeking blessings, remember to put in a little prayer for peace on Earth. I just did.

Dear Pree, this one's for you. Post submitted to "Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja".

Credits: All pictures taken by me at home. Please do not use them without my permission. (I'm quite approachable and won't turn you down if you ask. )


  1. So beautifully written, GB. I am quite touched. All the photographs are so you - full of color and warmth.

    Thanks for being part of the celebrations.

    P.S. And I am just a wee taller than an imp. :-)

  2. Dear GB, Loved reading your post...I truly agree with we are in such a community that plays the magic where we can cherish those memories we left behind..I loved your snaps too...and amazingly most of the snaps are touched with a bengaliness.....Glad to know that you liked my post...Thanks for sharing...

  3. beautifully written and captured pictures to depict the festivities. and I agree with Pree all the pictures are just you...with that bright tones and touch of something Indian.

  4. those earrings look really pretty

  5. Such a beautiful post and beautifully written ...I had always believed that food tasted so good in Pujo pandals and gurudwara langars because it wasn't tasted before offering to God but I love your perspective that so much laughter and camarderie that goes into making it creates the magic.....Lovely read and awesome pics ...the kangans are beautifully clicked and the other pics are great too along with the interesting one liners ...It was great reading this post early in the morning.

  6. I can so so relate to your post..Me, a delhi girl who fell in love with a bengali guy and nothing changed after that..ha ha ha! I prepare recipes at my convinence,I celebrate in my own way, believing GOD is one and enjoy as if there will be no chance to do so again. I love the earrings and the bangla doll (?)Cant think of a better word other than doll...and the food is yummy..any thoughts of starting a food blog!
    Had a chance of closely looking a pooja after the read my thoughts too in the post called 'A bou from Delhi' on my page!

  7. Great post GB.....! It really is all about the people in the end! Take away people from all of those memories and then it becomes nothing! Even all of our food memories are centered around the folks who were with us.....Loved your pics....warm and earthy and colorful and so YOU! Have a great festival and holiday season!

  8. Lovely post GB, Lovely pictures, agree wholeheartedy with Kamini, all those beautiful memories are centered round people we love.
    Have a great festival...and keep posting....

  9. Gagan, you re the best. Just the right start to the festivities!! Loved loved the post. By the way totally relate to what you said about the army...and us army brats:-)

  10. Thank you for your comments GB. I am glad you are enjoying my posts as much as I am enjoying yours. Thanks too for very kindly including the recipes along with the pics of the food. Otherwise it would have left me all agonized ;-)

  11. A doll!!!!!!! Ooooooh! :) I felt like you put in that picture for me ! tee hee .

    Thank you for having me over to celebrate with you. It has been so good knowing you , G :).

  12. Lovely write up and nice pics!
    Wish you a very happy Durga Puja:)

  13. what a beautiful & touching post. Completely with you about the people bit. After all, all our memorable meals are not about fancy food or great decor..its ultimately about the family & friends we shared it with

  14. What a lovely post. You need to get a blog award for this! It tickles the senses:)....the food pics are awesome, and the trinkets so pretty! I am bookmarking this post, as a kind of benchmark post for me:)...great inspiration, blogging and otherwise!


  15. what a lovely write up and gorgeous pics! Fantastic!

  16. Lovely clicks! Like all the jewelery you have clicked.

  17. HI Gagan ...loved your post , every bit of it.

    The pictures are so so beautiful as always. Thanks for the mention and your vadas look so good.

    That bengali doll is so cute.

  18. I cannot wait to explore these recipes. I don't know why I am suddenly so drawn to beauitful food - but I am!



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