White river

In Hindi it is called Kaans. It is a perennial grass and grow in abundance in the dry river beds and adjoining spaces. It is rhizome and spreads quickly claiming the empty soil. Ghaggar river flows near our home in Panchkula, Haryana. It is seasonal river nowadays though once upon time as the history tells us it was a powerful river flowing till sea and along with another river called Hakra originating in Afghanistan and flowing down to Punjab and Sind, Ghaggar formed a river systems called Ghaggar Hakra system. But now it is mostly dry with small amount of water flowing in the deepest channel.

The grass is found all over the northern plains of India upto Assam. Generally it grows in on the edges of the rivers. This grass has claimed the empty dry bed of the river. At this time of end of August, it has begun to bloom into white colored flowers stalks and whole of the river bed resembles a white sea. It looks beautiful though. Blooms are just in delicate condition and shall go on to become more thick in the coming months. Then they will dry and their color will change to slightly brown and finally they will begin to disintegrate.

In Bengal where it is called Kash Fool, it heralds the onset of Puja festival.

Here are some photographs of the flowers.

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Ganesh Chaturthi in Chandigarh

The other day I was searching for the bicycle shops in Chandigarh area. The name of one shop was “Bhonsle Cycle”. For a moment, I thought I was in Mumbai because of the Maharashtrian title of the name. Similarly, there is A jewellery shop in Manimajra, a large town in Chandigarh territory. Today there was an article in the newspaper about the upcoming festival of Ganesh Chaturthi being scheduled for celebrations by large population of Marathis in Chandigarh.

Connection began to clear up. The third battle of Panipat came to my mind. Marathas then ruled many parts of Haryana and Punjab. Although they lost but Marathas being so brave and aggressive to reach Punjab is a fact. But the present population of these people is due to the proximity of head quarters of Northern Command of Army. Many army persons must have settled here. Also, due to the great improvements in the transportation systems mobility of people within the country has increased a great deal. People who work on central government offices also are posted in different parts of the country. I on my part have spent 22 years in Mumbai.

This year marathi people here have begun gearing up to celebrate 50 years of the Puja. It all started in 1962 when first Marathi play was staged. In 1964, first Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated in the Tagore theatre and idols were immersed in Sukhna Lake. In 1965, the festivities were cancelled due to breaking of India Pakistan war. Many of the people taking part in arrangements and plays were from defence and went to perform their duties. In 1966, Air Force provided a spacious vehicle called “queen Marry” for carrying the idols for immersion. In the year 1967, Mandal was established officially and besides this festival others like Kojagiri, Sankrant and Gudi Padva began to be celebrated. In 1968, Utsav was celebrated in Government technical college premises. In 1970 the Mandal was registered officially. In 1978 Maharastra Bhavan building was inaugurated in sector 19. Since then it is a regular affair. People of Chandigarh also participate with great zeal.

Since idol was not made here earlier, it was brought from Maharastra. It was the most difficult task since train connection is poor and also handling of the idol is a delicate matter. Once even, Air Force brought the idol by air lifting it from Mumbai.

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Rehearsals
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Beginnings

This year, there shall be a performance by renown artist Abhya Devare from Satara. Krishan  Leela will be performed by Pallavi and Kanhari Pinge. In the Anand Mela, there will be Si Khand, Puran Poli along with Kari. Marathi women have become good punjabi cooks here and cuisines shall be prepared by them.

Songs of Kuldeep Manak: Fragrance of Punjabi Soil

In Punjab and Rajasthan, folk singers belong to mostly Muslim religion. First example is of Mardana the disciple of Guru Nanak who played the Rabab when Guru sang the praises of the God. He along with Bala were constant companions of the Guru and accompanied him on his sojourns far and wide. The tradition continued and many of the famous singers in Punjab claim to be the descendants of Mardana. Also they have become so attached to Sikhism that from their outlook supporting the turban and beard, no one distinguish them from being the Sikhs.

Among these folk singers was Kuldeep Manak who hailed from Jalal village in the Bathinda district. He was born in 1951 and died in 2011. His father and forefathers were singers who sang in the Gurudwaras. His original name was Latif Mohammad which he later changed to Kuldeep Singh Manak. He supported the turban. For about 30 years from the age of 17, he was undoubtedly the king of folk in Punjab. Like when Sun shines, the stars fade away, other singers did not stand anywhere near in comparison except Surinder Shinda.

His voice was like the jangling of silver coins-pure and rustic. Bathinda borders Rajasthan and is a very dry and dusty place. There are frequent sand storms in the evening after the intense heat in the day time. The wind howls in the alleys and sand covers many things. One of the lyricists described his voice like the wind blowing during the storm-raw and hitting straight your heart. Since he sang the subjects related to folk stories and religion, he was immensely popular in the countryside. People were crazy about his songs. He sang a genre of folk music called Kalian and was called the Badshah of Kalian.

His songs cover so many popular and even unheard of Quissas-the stories of valor and love-which include Heer Ranjha, Laila Majnu, Mirza Sahiban, Kima Malki, Sassi Punnu as the love stories, Banda Singh Bahadur, Dulla Bhatti the Muslim Rajput who drove Akbar to such a desperation that he had to shift his base from Agra to Punjab to quell the Dulla, Jaimal Phatta-two Hindu Rajputs who refused to give their daughter to Akbar in marriage just like the parents of Jodha Bai did, Jagga Daku the Robinhood of Punjab and the death of Kehar Singh by his mother in law and brother in laws for the greed of money.

Further, his songs based on the religious stories like Sarwan of Ramayana who carried his blind parents from place to place for pilgrimage and was killed by an arrow from Raja Dashrath the father of Lord Rama, Pooran bhagat who was thrown in a well on the orders of his father King Salwan on the false charges made by King’s young wife Loona, subsequent rescue of Pooran by Guru Gorakhnath and his becoming a saint, then Raja Rasalu who was Pooran’s step brother born to the same Loona with the blessings of Pooran. The songs are replete with such stories.

The credit for his fame also goes to lyricist Dev Threekawala. The duo had a great rapport and churned out all this famous stuff. The winning quality of his songs was very simple and rustic language which tugged at the strings of the hearts of the simple village folks.

He was buried after death according to Muslim traditions. There were reports in the media that his wife who belongs to Sikh community tried to excavate his grave and to perform last rites in Hindu tradition but was prevented by the villagers.

Story of two charged dots

Once upon a time many years ago, there were two charged particles. They came to existence within a short span of time to one another. How do we trace their journeys in the time? Well scientists use cloud chamber to trace their paths in the space with time. This is a writer’s device so it can be extraordinary and perfect.
From their trajectories it is clear that they had opposite charges but very far apart in the beginning. But their traces were of opposite slope and thus they were heading to a collision in future. Force of attraction also began playing its part in bringing them closer and closer.
Eventually they met and neutralised their charge and became an atom. Although being one but had their independent existences also. The resultant product was stable for many years.
Then under the influence of external forces and due to a sense of ennui, the atom began to become unstable. It began to expand. Both charges began distancing from each other. Like the universe which is expanding continuously, the charged dots started loosing communication with each other and becoming more and more independent identities again as they were in the beginning. Soon they will be out of the view of cloud chamber screen. The scientist shall have to zoom out the screen to see them both moving away from one another and losing out the finer details in the process. Story will come to an end.

Journey of two lines

Once upon a time many years ago, a dot was born in the space at the origin and began moving forward in the time tracing a line. After sometime, another dot was born and began moving forward tracing a line like the another dot. Their traces were sloped, not parallel. So as the time passed, the lines traced by the dots began converging towards each other. Then they met and coalesced at a point to become one. No one could discern that these were two lines overlapping each other except on a close examination.

For long years, they travelled forward more or less as a single line with some kinks here and there. Sometimes one colour and sometimes the other colour line was visible. A time came, not suddenly but gradually, they began drifting apart from one another and separated moderately from one another. After sometime they became parallel to each other. As we know, two parallel lines however close are destined never to meet one another. How long this will continue because sometimes or the other one of the dots will stop moving and vanish from the screen. Another lonely dot will continue for the time stipulated by the almighty for it and then there will be no lines. Story will come to an end.