Diwali

late-night-after-diwali-018It’s quarter to 4 in the morning, I’m still up, watching lights in my room which I decorated for Diwali, and sipping coffee. My love for coffee and lights will be eternal. I want to see my room decorated with fairy lights throughout the year. The fairy lights in the room keep channging its position with time. Sometime its simply hanging on the wall, at times it just hangs around my pic collage. Fairy light decoration makes me extremely happy. May be that’s why I like Diwali (the festival of lights) more than any other festivals. This was my third Diwali away from home, first time it was in the year 2011. I was in my final year of MSc in Rourkela, and Mom Dad were in Mumbai. Just a day off on Diwali stopped me from going home. Second time was in the year 2016. I had some urgent project deliveries hence couldn’t make it home. Third time was last year i.e. 2017. I was in Mountain View for some project!I miss Diwali at home. Mom would prepare the puja thali, Dad would wear dhoti and do evening puja. I used to be busy all day checking out for easiest rangoli design. I used to draw rangoli every year without a fail. Every year my design would be the same except for the colours. When we (bhaiya, darling sister and I) were in school, Diwali meant bursting crackers, playing with different kind of sparklers, anaar (flower pot), chakri, rocket, eating lots of sweets and helping mom in lighting diyas. Fairy lights were not common in those days. There used to be a secret competition among the kids on whose crackers would be noisiest. Mom and dad would stand in the balcony to see us bursting crackers and ensure we don’t hurt ourselves. Now that we are grown ups, we understand that bursting crackers is nonsense. It might be a way of expressing happiness or a symbol of celebration but with time it seems more like adding to the pollution and mere waste of money. People celebrate Diwali as a symbol of victory. Victory of good over evil. I think the major festivals in India (Holi, Durga Puja, Diwali) has the same significance “victory of good over evil” but with different stories.  With this I’ll end up this story hoping to write new stories soon.

Mid year review!

This year I have decided to travel as much as I can, as far as I can and click as many photos as I can. My travel story started in march with a week-long trip to Delhi, though I don’t count Delhi in the story because Delhi is more like a second home to me and I prefer relaxing there than roaming around the places. But Delhi has got lots of places to cover, historical monuments, some old markets, places to eat.

That’s what I do in Delhi. #myclick

My second destination was Orissa, specifically Bhubaneswar, Nayagarh, Puri, Konark. Orissa holds a special place in my heart. I have lived in Orissa (Rourkela) for two years, during my masters, and that was the first time I was away from home, made new friends, learned how to live in a hostel with limited facilities, and learned the local language as well. Learning local language helps you in connecting with the local people. May be that’s the reason I have got more friends from Orissa than any other states. Trip to Orissa was pending for the last five years and I am glad I made it. It was possible only because of my friend Smita, the only friend about whom I have spoken on my blog till now. It was her wedding which took me back to Orissa that too in summer (April), when the temperature was 48° C. One more reason to travel was the desire to see Odiya wedding and a hope to capture some moments in my camera. Below are some glimpse from the wedding.

Apart from attending wedding in Nayagarh, I went to Jagannath Temple, Puri. People are not allowed to carry cell phones or camera inside the temple premise, also there are dedicated counter outside the temple for people to take off their footwear, and submit mobile phones and camera.  There were priests all around the temple, trying to allure the visitors by saying they will get a “special darshan / more close view” of the lord (it’s trap, don’t fall in the trap) and they don’t have to stand in the long queue. In return to all these services, the priests charge a hefty amount. Since I was with my friends who keep visiting the temple quite often, I was aware of all these “favours” offered by the priests and hence, my money was saved. Since Konark is just 35 kms away from Puri, one cannot give a miss to Konark Sun Temple. This temple has its own history. Konark Sun Temple is one of the seven wonders of India, also a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

Puri(2) and Konark 057
Konark Sun Temple

My third destination this year was in June when I went to Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, with my girl friends. Same time last year I wnet to Ooty, Tamilnadu with some other friends (again an all girls trip). I liked Kodai more than Ooty. More details about the stay, places I visited and my experience will be covered in my next blog post can be found here.

My fourth destination is yet to happen and the destination has been decided. Well, I can’t disclose the destination now. All I can say is it’s again one of the world heritage sites in India and this place is on my wishlist for the last two years. Keep guessing till I write about it further. 🙂

Sardar ji Uncle

12797948_1758731601025782_1269249174_aDr. Tirath S. Sehmbhi from Punjab, young, dynamic and 67. All I know about him is that he is in London for the past 45 years or may be more. He did his studies from Imperial College, London University. He works at my client’s site. I had heard a lot about him from my other colleagues who keep visiting the client’s site. Now that I am at the client’s site, I met him. When you see someone in the foreign land from the same country as you are from, you feel connected. I was also feeling connected to this Uncle and may be the uncle was also feeling the same. He is senior at the work place so ideally I should call him by his name i.e. Tirath or “Sir” but I call him uncle. He is not talkative but, yes, he has lot of stories to tell, and, sadly, no one to listen them. “I am more patriotic than anyone living in India”, his favourite dialogue, he keeps telling us. I have never questioned his patriotism and don’t have any intention to do that.

It’s my second week in Cambridge. I went office on my usual time. At lunch time, I asked him if he would join me. It has become a routine now to ask him. Without a fail he would reply, “Beta main to lunch ghar se laata hu”. Today he saw I didn’t have lunch with me he asked me before I could ask him, “Beta ji aapka lunch kidhar hai”. I told him I keep fast on Tuesdays, and, therefore I didn’t bring lunch with me. To which he asked me if I take fruits. I told him that I do take fruits but forgot to bring it today. He offered me his fruit bowl which he would take after his lunch daily. I was a little embarrassed. I didn’t know what to say him. I was quiet for a moment, then I said I had fruits in the morning, thanks anyway. On that he said “le lo beta, isi bahane mujhe yaad to karoge”.I took the fruit bowl, said thank you and I went.

Even if he had not offered his fruit bowl, then also, he would have been remembered always. It’s hard to forget someone that you know you’ll remember always. 🙂

Sardar ji Uncle will always be remembered for his kindness, stories and of course fruit bowl.