In the Dreams of a Boatman…

53 thoughts on “In the Dreams of a Boatman…”

  1. So nice to read about the traditional festival and yes agree any festival celebration back home are the best, miles away from home it is impossible to recreate that magic however much we try ! Hope you still have fun in NJ .Happy festivities !

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      1. That’s true I can kind of relate to that growing up in a different town and state than my hometown in Kerala , on the plus side got to enjoy the festivals of both states ! Thank you !

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      2. A little town called kumarapatnam in Harihar about 250 kms from Bengaluru, was a colony by Grasim industries with people from all the states over and so very cosmopolitan!

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      3. That does sound interesting and I looked it up out of more curiosity (I sure hope I am not going the way of the curious cat). From the few images what I could gather is that it’s a green town.

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      4. I’m happy to hear you found some images, yes it is quite green really miss those good 22 Plus yrs spent there , these days we only travel to Kerala which is again a beautiful place !

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      5. wow that must have been an awesome experience visiting an Ayurvedic retreat for a story, the backwaters are definitely a great vacation place, would love to read your travel story on that sometime soon !!

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      6. Hehe I have to have more time in the country for that. When we go back, all I do is divide time between Calcutta and Delhi but yes we have got to start planning trips around the country to see more of it. xx

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  2. Hi Dippy,
    What a lovely post! I loved reading about your traditions and childhood memories. I was always curious what Indians did during what is the biggest festival for the Nepalese, Dashain as it’s called. I know it’s about Goddess Durga and probably her victory over killing some kind of antihero (Ravana?) but I am really not sure. Our traditions during the festival are mostly receiving red tika from elders, flying kites, gambling, drinking and eating a lot of meat. And I mean, a lot. There are some local customs like swinging on a big bamboo swing (so fun) which I think is unique only to Nepal. It was always about the traditions for me, not really the religious side of the festival. Whenever it’s autumn, I miss the festival atmosphere back home. In fact I was thinking about it just today when we had perfect cloudless blue skies with autumn air. It’s been six years since I last celebrated it with family. Surely it’s the same festival (celebrated differently) that we’re talking about? 🙂 Have a nice day!

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    1. Durga kills Mahishashur, the ashura. Ravana was part ashura if I am not wrong. A big bamboo swing sounds unique. I do not believe I have seen the likes of it in India 🙂 Gambling and drinking is common in India when Diwali sets in a few weeks later. Then you should see the card parties and the kind of money people win/lose. I expect it is the same at yours since you mention it. We eat plenty of mutton at that time too because Bengalis worship Kali during Diwali. Earlier there used to be a sacrifice of Kali at our family pujo, now it has been changed to a token sacrifice of an ash gourd. Thank heavens!

      Yes Pooja, we are surely talking about the same festival. In North India they call it Dussehra. We are neighbours after all. Isn’t it a bittersweet emotion? Though six years is a long time and I can imagine your pangs of nostalgia.
      You have a lovely weekend to live it up. xx

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  3. Nice post girl and yes, just went to the temple to pray Durga! Love starting Sept with fall as well as the Navaratri season. Def get to wear a lot of indian outfits haha 🙂 Hope you have a great Navaratri 🙂

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    1. Thank you Maha 🙂 Let Durga bring out the warrior in us then. I have not had the chance to experience the Navaratris yet. It is such a North Indian experience isn’t it? Well here’s to a wonderful dressy Navaratri to you! xx

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  4. Very enjoyable post… thank you for sharing your memories. Having been raised in the West, I’ve totally missed out on these festivities to the point that they come and go and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything…. In any case, wishing you all the best for this festive season!

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    1. Thank you Annika. Our environment shapes the way we look at things and feel about them. I can quite imagine that you would feel strongly about the festivities you have experienced as a child. I think the best aspect about any festival is the promise of food and good cheer.

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  5. I have always loved learning about other cultures, their mythology and the way in which these are celebrated – this was an excellent post and so well written 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing! x

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  6. Those rituals of home and family (Christmas for me, of course and Easter) tug at the heart when we are away. The call of the child, the desire to soak up the certainty of the yearly rehearsed festivals. It matters not whether you adhere to the religious aspects it is the comfort of the familiar and the surety of the shared joy that makes it part of our heart wherever we are. I loved this post. Loved the love that you pored into all those nooks of memories. And of course your pictures. Xx

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    1. Thank you Osyth. As always your words tap into the deepest corners of my heart. Funnily enough I feel the same kind of passion for Christmas. You see those are the two big festivals I have grown up with. Possibly because of the culture of Christmas celebrated in Calcutta with great pomp, fairy lights strewn across Park Street, the Anglo-Indian community’s fervour and the many Christmas cakes and goodies that appeared on old-world bakery windows. Those fruit cakes drove me into a frenzy. I am a fruit cake nut. And I try to replicate the flavours and almost get there. Something tells me that it is the rose-tinted memories of childhood that added the final touch of perfection to those cakes. Btw I for once could not find most of my photos so you were excused from being piled under a barrage of them 🙂 xx

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  7. Durga Puja is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. The extravagance that organizers exhibit is boundless and will always surprise you. I have had few of my closest friends as Bengalis and I totally love the culture and the kind of people that they are generally. They live their life like there’s no tomorrow. They speak their mind and are amazing people!

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    1. Haha those are generous words. We also have the capacity to extend our vocal cords beyond what’s needed but hey I am not fighting your compliments. Thank you! And you are right the extravagance is gobsmacking. Then everything is dismantled…that always makes me a bit melancholic.

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      1. Haha, Bengalis are definitely one of the most talented communities, quite genuinely. But about the melancholy of having to part with it or to see it dismantle is totally understandable, we experience it with Ganesh visarjan too. It’s heartbreaking. ?

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    1. Thank you Jen. There are cultures and cultures and then subcultures too which can be confusing but there is enough difference to keep even me engaged. Childhood – it is funny to grow up and see things from a different perspective and yet it is always rosier as a child. xx

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  8. Loved reading about the finer details of a Durga Puja celebration. Have never attended one yet. And you are so right, the memories of home festivities made on an impressionable mind back then are irreplaceable. However many other Diwali and Holi celebrations I may have been a part of, have never been able to find true happiness in my heart. Its just not right if its not at home. Wishing you a great festive time ahead xx

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    1. Hey Anushree, thank you 🙂 I hope you shall have a wonderful time in the festive season too. You get me with the words, ‘Its just not right if its not at home.’ We must be a rare breed 🙂 I hope one day you do get to set your eyes on Durga Puja in its home, Calcutta, because it is one of those celebrations that truly do justice to the stomach and the senses. Have yourself a lovely week, girl. xx

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  9. Thank you for sharing this lovely read and photography, Dippy. It’s another world altogether for us and your enjoyable writing brings it so much closer.
    Take care, have a great Sunday. x

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    1. Thank you Dina. I appreciate that you took the time to read it because it is often difficult to imagine other cultures which are as different as chalk from cheese. From one traveller to another, may these differences only bring us closer. Hope you have a wonderful week and I did indeed have a lovely Sunday in the hills of Pennsylvania 🙂 xx

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  10. I love your stories and memories! Traditional festivals always intrigue me. My parents are Mexican and it’s my dream to go to Mexico someday for the Day of the Dead festivities. The state where they’re from apparently does it beautifully so I want to see it for myself!

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    1. Thank you Pam. There is a whole lot to be said about tradition even though I sometimes am guilty of wanting to bypass them. But some traditions just grip hold of the heart.

      I have heard a fair bit about the Day of the Dead and seen shots of the festival. It is fascinating. When you attend it in person, it would possibly be something else because yeah your roots always tend to call out to you. xx

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