Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Jiggy Monsoon

St. James School

On 24th of this month Akanksha and few of her school mates were taken to St. James School, one of the most prestigious schools in town, to participate in 'Jiggy Monsoon' competition. It was a inter school competition where six other schools along with Loreto House(Akanksha's School) also participated. 

Loreto house

The competition was held for five categories- quiz, dance, singing, cookery and designing. Akanksha was chosen for a group dance based on monsoon. Their group came first. Not only this, Loreto House begged Ist position in all the categories. It won the best school title.

Yesterday, all the participants were handed over with the prizes. It consisted a certificate, an umbrella and a short story book. Though Akanksha is unsatisfied with the prize, I am happy and proud, because to come first among six best schools in town is in itself a big prize.  

The Certificate

The prizes 
As Akanksha told me, I too feel, they could really have been a little more generous with the prizes. :) What do you feel?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Sunday Enthusiasm

Captured a few shots of a football game played in the lake area while we went for a morning walk yesterday. It was quite fun watching them engrossed playing in the muddy field.  

My man was watching for sometime but could not stop himself from joining them.

When we enquired if they come to play everyday, one of them replied its 'sunday enthusiasm'.

It was quite refreshing to watch them playing. Might come again next Sunday

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Manjira Nartan

'Manjira Nartan' a Manipuri dance item performed by Akanksha on the occasion of Rath Yatra. It was not a formal stage performance. It was done just to pay her respect to Lord Jagannath on the occasion of Rath Yatra. This dance is actually done on the occasion of Jhulan Yatra. I am uploading it in the hope that you will watch and bless my daughter.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Guru Purnima

Yesterday was 'Guru Purnima'. Always heard about it but never got a chance to take part in such rituals or can rightly be said that never really bothered to know about it. Just knowing it as an auspicious day we offer special offerings to God. But, this year was something special. Akanksha was asked by her dance school to be present on this particular day as the school was going to celebrate 'Guru Purnima'.

On enquiring if we needed to take something with us, we were told that we can take flowers and sweets if we wish. So the father came home early loaded with lovely white fresh flowers, garlands and sweets. The ceremony was to start at 6.30p.m. and we managed to be just on time.

As we entered the venue the atmosphere was mesmerizing. On the left side of the entrance the portrait of their 'Guru'(Guru Bipin Singh) was placed on an alter.

All the students ore white colored tops and peach color phanek(a Manipuri wrap around). The students who ever came inside first offered the flowers, garlands, sweets, fruits and some even brought gifts and paid their respect to Guruji and went inside where all the students- young and aged stood together to start the occasion. The program started with the Guru Pranam, the performance of Chali and then the chanting of the Guru Shloka by all the students:

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Saakshat Para Brahma 
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha

The senior students started the performance and the juniors were also not lacking behind. All the performances were dedicated to their Guru.

 Also, there was a solo performance by Bimbavati Devi whose dances are always a delight to watch.

The young girls and the boys were also not behind. They too performed brilliantly. As such numbers of items were performed which were very colorful.


The junior girls performed the Manjira Nartan and Akanksha got the privilege to accompany them.

At the end, all the students again gathered together and paid their respect to their Guru by performing the Guru Pranam.

That marked the end of the occasion, after which all the parents, students and guardians were served with refreshments.

Witnessing the occasion made me realize that this day is dedicated to the Gurus or a Guru who is  a trusted counselor and advisor or can rightly be called a mentor. 'Guru' is a Hindu term for a spiritual or an academic teacher.

Guru Bipin Singh, a world renowned Manipuri dancer was the founder of Manipuri Nartanalaya, a dance institute where Akanksha is persuing her dance training and I am really thankful to Manipuri Nartanalaya and Guru Mata Kalavati Devi for making the students aware of this day from such a young age, so that they do not remain ignorant of such an auspicious day like I was till now.

I, too, paid my respect silently to all my teachers and elders on this auspicious day.

(The pictures could not be taken properly as all the performers were constantly in motion)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Jagannath Rath Yatra

Anything that is easily accessible seems worthless. It is human nature. But once we realize that we are deprived of it, we start craving for it. Such has happened with me or rather I would say us because it is about majority of our community people residing in Kolkata far away from our motherland.

We, the Bishnupriya Manipuris, are a small community from the north eastern part of India residing mainly in the states of Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. We are so small that most of the people of our country even do not know that we survive in this country. We being the followers of Lord Vishnu, considered Rath Yatra as one of our most important festivals. 

But far from our native land we started feeling deprived from our culture which was otherwise never so important. As such few of the community people met and decided that Rath Yatra would be celebrated in Kolkata by us in a small way. It was in the year 2004 that we the Bishnupriya Manipuri community started celebrating Rath Yatra in Kolkata. Today, the celebration that started from the drawing room of a relative, reached the main roads of Kolkata, facing many topsy-turvy situations. 

This year too on the 10th of July, we celebrated the festival in a very colorful way in accordance to our customs and rituals.

The deities (Balabhadra, Subhadra, Jagganath) are dressed in new colorful attires before taking to the chariot(rath)

The deities were placed on the chariot and Arti(pooja) is being performed before starting the ride

After the pooja the chariot is pulled with the help of the rope attached to the chariot. Pulling the chariot is regarded auspicious

The drummers and singers lead the rath singing various devotional songs

The devotional songs of the singers were mesmerizing which attracted lots of passers by who followed the chariot 

At places the artists performed various items that were of attraction to all

Finally travelling a distance of about 2 kms the chariot reached the destination where the main puja and the programs were to take place

The Chariot (Rath) with our society banner

Our priest ready to take the deities inside

The deities placed in the Ashana(throne/altar) 

The priests performs the puja

Devotional songs and slokas being chanted

The drummers ready to perform

One of the drummers showing his skill using three drums

Akanksha performing the manjira nartan

The ladies in traditional attires getting ready for the Das Avatar song which is performed by the devotees present there clapping their hands on the beats of the drums moving in a circular motion

After all the performances were over, all the devotees were served with the Khidchi Prasadam.