Thursday, March 22, 2007

Unforgettable Gudhipadwa

We all just celebrated Gudhipadwa. But I remember the celebration of Gudhipadwa when I was in Hyderabad. I was working with E TV Marathi. For more than 18 months I was there. During this period we got opportunity to celebrate Gudhipadwa of Maharashtra and Ugadi of Andhra Prudish at a time.

When you are in Maharashtra you never get feel of Marathi culture or festivals of Maharashtra. But when you are outside Maharashtra you must remember these things. As we were missing all the Marathi festivals, we decided to celebrate Gudhipadwa in Marathi style. Myself, Rajendra Hunje, Shriranga Khare and Sachin Fulpagare were living in one house on rent.

We all had night shift during that week. Night shift of E TV was from 12 in midnight to 8 am. When we finished our shift and came back to home then time was around 9.15. After that we started to wash our home. Our home had two rooms, one hall and one kitchen. We washed all the rooms using detergent and phenyl. After that we all took bath and gone to Sai Baba Mandir just near to our home.

We decided to set up a Gudhi on our home. But problem was this tradition was not famous in AP and Marathi peoples were very less in our area. So we did not get required material to set up Gudhi. Then we tried for things in Sai baba mandir. There we got Saffron colour silk cloth and Neem leaves. Then we found out one long stick. From that saffron silk cloth we prepared Gudhi and put that on our home. Everyone including owner of our home was curious about all this things. They were inquiring about all this traditions and why we are doing this. We feel very satisfied and proud when the entire things gone properly.

But it was not the end of our celebration. After that we started to prepare food for lunch. We prepared puris; mix vegetable, masala rice, chatni and Koshimbir also. We bought Jilebi from one Marathi vendor and then enjoyed all Maharashtrian food in lunch. Our neighbors Ketaki Joshi (Lonkar at that time), Nima Patil and Megha also joined us for the lunch. Food was delicious that we took that for our friends in office also. They also liked the food and the way we celebrated Gudhipadwa.

Telugu people celebrate Ugadi on Gudhipadwa. Our house Owner was also co-operating. On Ugadi he gave us some juice which all tastes like sweet, bitter, and soar also. So you may not get idea what it is? Thinking behind this is that in life we have to face all type of experiences. Some are good and some may be bad for us. But you have to face all those challenges without any exception. The juice is just like life, which had some sweet and some bitter. He also gave us sweet roti, which was made by his wife.

Before that we all (me, shrirang, rajendra and Sachin) contributed around 2000 Rs and bought a Colour television of LG. That time India was on tour of Pakistan after around 14 to 15 years. So we all were eager to see matches and we had not TV. So we all contributed and bought TV on auspicious occasion of Gudhipadwa or Ugadi.

That Gudhipadwa was lifetime experience for all of us and I never forget that day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

About Marathi and Maharashtra…

This is View from Cruise while Enjoying home made Rice Beer.

Just enjoy the food from Assam Rice, Fish and Rosso Gulla.

In Assam I also experienced that those peoples have lot of respect and love towards Maharashtra. Specially Pune and Mumbai. They are also much crazy to know more Mumbai and life style there.

Bakarwadi and Samosas…

I met Mr. Punjab Sharma there. He was working with Brahmaputra Water Works as Engineer now. About 10-12 years back he was in pune in CWPRS. That time he used to stay near Swargate. He told some memories of that time to us and we were amazed. He told us some specialties of pune like Naaz (Samosa Special), Poona Café House, and Bakarwadi of Chitale Sweets. I was not expecting such experience in Assam.

Pune and Mumbai are much familiar in Assam as so many students from Assam (From Northeast also) came to Maharashtra for education in the past. Now also figure of such students is high. That’s why they know much more about Mahrashtra and they told us that Marathi peoples are good and have helping nature.

Bambai se aaya mera dost...

When we go to one village in Nalbari district we gone for Tea on one Tapari. There the owner made special tea for us and serve the with song

``Bambai se aaya mera dost, dost ko salam karo,
Raat ko kho piyo, din ko aaram karo…”

We told that, salam bilam mat karo yar. Then he told that you came to our village form such a long distance that we have to salute you. When we speak with other peoples then they told us that nobody from outside Assam was gone to that village. That’s why they were much more happy. We were amazed with their hospitality and love.

We enjoyed the village food there in the night. Chicken with special Assami taste, Chenar and Rohu fish, rice with kali daal was the menu for dinner. Food was so delicious that I ate much more than my capacity and still no problem on next day. Wah! Kya Baat hein!!

Lachit Badfukan…

Northeast has some special features and one of them is that people from NE want to keep their special identity. This thing comes into picture at opening and closing ceremony of National Games. Other incidents also show this fact. In Guwahati there is one statue of Lachit Badfukan. He is the Freedom Fighter of Assam and fought against Mughals. He stopped the Mughals from entering in Assam. One volunteer Botipon Malakar was with me in jeep and he showed me that statue.

He asked me you know Lachit Badfukan? Fortunately I knew the name and work of Badfukan. When I told information about Badfukan to him. He was so delighted after hearing me that one cannot imagine. He took my hands in his hands and hugged me just because I knew about Badfukan. He told me that nobody from outside NE knows about Lachit. But you are from Pune and still know Lachit this is great for us.

Shivsena there also…

Pullok Mohanta was transport committee president during national games. One day he asked me about Balasaheb Thackrey. I was surprised after hearing word Balasaheb. I was thinking that he wants some information about BMC elections. But he was not interested in that. He told me that ``He was lost in Dadar when he had gone to Mumbai in his early childhood. He lost from his parents and was started crying. Then some shivsena workers took him to home. Gave him food and water. Inquired about his parents and then searched his parents in nearby areas. In few hours they found my parents and we came together again.”In that sense I have some different remembrance about shivsena.

Memories from Assam...

With Journalists from all over the country on CRUISE on Brahmaputra.

All the Participant States from all over the country and their flags

A National Sojourn in Assam

(This picture of Sepak Takraw in National Games.)

First time it was happening in the Assam and second time in the North-East India. In the shadow of threats by United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), government of Assam dared to organize the National Games in Guwahati and you could only see to believe how excellent these games were. No obstruction from Ulfa, huge response from local peoples and excellent organization were the key reasons that everyone including Press reporters was happy with the games.

National Games taking place in Guwahati was big news for us. So many reporters from all over the country were there to cover the games. Kerala reporters were largest in numbers. They were about 32 and Maharashtra had only two reporters. They were from Marathi daily Sakal. I was one of them, the other being Mr. Sanjay Gharpure from Mumbai. After a long travel of around 54 hours, we reached Guwahati and immediately started our work.

Opening and Closing ceremony was the showcase event for the strength of Northeast. Traditional dances from all the seven northeastern states and Sikkim were the attraction of the program. Though the security was tight throughout the games, it did not prove to be a burden for spectators and journalists. Many times you have to just go through metal detector and nothing else. In all the tour neither a single security person checked ourselves nor any other journalist neither we were asked to open our bags and laptops.

National games was lackluster for many as there was no super star like Leander Peas, Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Anju Bobby George and many other international athletes. But people from Assam were not unhappy with that. They just wanted to enjoy the games and people from all over the city and nearer villages thronged to stadiums to watch the games. Can you imagine people were standing in queue to just watch the swimming tank and competitions there? Crowd was expected at soccer, hockey, athletics, basketball, volleyball, kabaddi and other popular games. But people in large number were present to watch games like fencing, cycling, sepak takraw, lawn bowl and rugby also.

When we talked to people they told us that, for last so many years such games or tournaments were happening only in National Capital New Delhi or state capitals like Mumbai, Kolkatta or Hyderabad. It was the first time that games were organized in Assam and so people were enthusiastic to watch the stadiums, games and players also. So people turned to all stadiums and give overwhelming response to all the games and cheered all the players crossing state differences.

As National game was first time in Assam, organizers and volunteers were very much helping and they loved to care a lot. Many of them were college students and they worked as volunteers while maintaining their regular schedule. They were not expecting money for their work. As one Rajendra Kumar said, “This is our game. Assam is holding games for the first time. How can I ask for money for personal duty? If government gives us then its ok, but we will never ask for money for our work.” People were working with this spirit and because of that everyone who was there were happy with arrangements.

We enjoyed the lunch on Cruise courtesy of Assam Tourism Department. Brahmaputra was the river, which is about 2 kilometers broad in guwahati. Because of this there is only one bridge on river and it is outside the city. People travel through boats to go from south guwahati to north guwahati because there is only one bridge. There are so many big boats called cruise on river. People can enjoy their lunch or dinner there. Food on that cruise was just like food in village which adivasis eat. Steamed rice, which is cooked in leaves, mutton of duck, pickle of Bamboo, Rohu fish, Chicken Curry was the menu for lunch. When you finish your lunch then they serve you Roso Gulla with Sweet Curd. It was an unforgotten experience for me to travel on Brahmaputra in Cruise.

Another experience we got in Nalbari district. While going to my friend’s village in Nalbari, we had to pass through one village where all the houses were of Bangladeshi infiltrators. There were total 120 Bangladeshi families in one village and there are a number of such villages by the bank of river Brahmaputra.

Few years back Assam Gana Parishad and AASU people fought with those infiltrators and send them back to Bangladesh. But unfortunately the came back again in 90’s and that time congress government gave ration card to them. Then those infiltrators were successful to get land for farming and now they are settled down there and working in the cities of Assam and Kolkatta. We feel very sorry about that thing. But not only us but also everyone is helpless and none can do anything against it. As it’s matter of votes now.