Dhiru Bhai

Navratri had a different flavour in Dhanbad and very different in Jharia. Dhanbad was very very hep for me when I was small.There was a banjara family living in a big hut near Jalaram mandir. My mama house was overlooking their house. They would listen to music lodly and they fought very loudly with sticks and all. Their women were in ghagra cholis with thick silver payals. My fascination for payals and thick silver ones comes from there. The second brother was Dhiru Bhai. He was tall dark lean with a thin moustache in a very rustic way very Mills and Boon kind of a guy. He had intense eyes. One month before navratri, he would teach boys Dandiya. They boys would range from 7-20 years who would want to participate. The practise happenned in Nandvana Wadi and no one was allowed to witness the practise. Nandvana wadi was a wedding venue with a very big rectangular chowk. The show waould happen on ashtmi or Dusshera and was the most waited dance for the whole town. All boys were dressed in white kuta churidars. Dhiru bhai used to wear white churidar in those days when all men wore white pajamas with their kurtas. They would all have the same dupatta tied around their waist like a sash. The quality of Dandiya improved every year and the sash colour changed every year. They were so well synchronised and so effortless. Without fail every year , one small boy would fall sick and not come for the Dandiya. So that the partner work happens effortlessly, Dhirubhai would take his place and play dandiya with another small boy. The big chowk would be full of boys in their positions in a huge circle and then the dhol manjira would start. They would dance to the music for a long time before the singer started singing the Garba. It was always on “Maniyaro te haalo haalo”.These guys actually had a live music dance rehersal before the ashtmi for their final dandiya. We were all oh so impressed. All guys looked so good and danced so well.
He also ran a gym and his younger brother Raju Bhai would teach young guys how to build their muscles outside his hut.I remember my brother Parin shaping up in his akhada. The hut was on a hillock or a pile of mud and they would cover it in mud and wash their utensils with the same mud. Few weights and a rod would be their gym. All Jharia boys nearing fifteen would start visiting it.
I dont know where Dhirubhai is or is there a building in place of his large hut. May be on my next visit to the Jalaram Mandir I would look out for their house.
He was the real Dandiya King or is it too shabby a word to use for him? He was so passionate to teach Dandiya to the boys. His formations would definitely beat any good dancer of today. My idea of the Tall dark and handsome in those days with those brooding eyes.I was always scared to even look at him.Mama said they were not nice people as they made a lot of noise.All the people in Jharia referred to them as Waghris.On a festival at mama s house, I had dropped my new gold bangle, which my granny had made for me,out of the window. Some one from their house and found and had given it to me.
As a child,I thought they were nice people, completely misunderstood and ostracised from the people.


Navratri in class.

Yoga class walk is very interesting. There is a restaurant, beer bar, ac repair shops,paper shop, tailors, idli dosa atta shop, car battery repair shop, . I love the smell of all these shops. I love the smell of petrol, fresh paper and the cooling liquid in batteries. I can eat all of it.
The class celebrates navratri next friday. They said id you go to shivaji park you see half of India. They speak in Marathi. I am translating all that I understood. At Shivaji Park, there is Durga Puja like West bengal, there is Ramayan play going on with the bhajan and dohai. The male characters play Sita, Kaikeyi, Kaushalya and Mandodari. Then the gymkhana has garba so thats Gujarat for you. She wanted to know if students know what happens in Maharashtra. Two ladies stood up and shared. The girls got together sang songs in the evening drew an elephant and played games around it, danced and made prasad. The songs were all of how a child bride goes to her mom s house and all in laws try to get her back home. She back answers when they try to bribe her to come home. Both the ladies sang those songs. One of them sang very well and the whole class was clapping to the beat of the song. Then we did shavasana.
Ambe Maa visits her mother for nine days and returns to her in laws on Dushera. She is very happy for nine days and her friends visit her every night and they all play Garba. The elders of the family sing and watch over the celebrations.Bolo Ambe maat ni Jai.
The idli dosa atta shop is run by a lady who was a researcher with a big hospital in Mumbai. After children, she quit her job and started making atta to sell.
Cheers to Women power!

Just happy

Loss of words is not what happens to me generally. I am happy because I am happy. No causes and no reasons. Just me and it is all about me.
Yoga class having a navratri function collection per person is twenty five rupees. After paying so much in school every now and then for this and that, this amount is a pleasant surprise. The teacher showed shirshasana. Too much!
Life is easy and Life is so good.


Sometimes I want to write the blog to bash someone and sometimes to criticise people. I am generally not so thrilled when people dont respect you and your privacy. This is an encroachment of a different type. Cannot be qualified as harassment but is bothering nonetheless. I have my circle of friends of both sexes, married unmarried, divorced, married again or going to be married. One thing all of us have is respect for each other. There is no crossing boundaries, no innuendos sexual or otherwise. There is mutual love and respect. There is also respect for that person s husband/ wife/ family. No one passes comments which could be misconstrued. Each spouse is ok with all friendships because they are so above board. It does not mean we do not share our lives with each other or talk out our problems with each other. No one is artificial or pretending to be someone else at any point of time. I am grateful to all my friends and really thankful to all their families.In all this the sanctity of marriage is very much there. No one has set these boundaries. These are the good people and the good spouses I am associated with.
I really wonder than why does a man flirt. They say no one is loyal always and stuff like that. Your thoughts become actions. So bas line maaro. The latest is ofcourse with an emotional twinge. These are the people who do not respect their spouse and hold no sanctity for their marriage. To say man by nature is polygamous is utter shit. Vikram Bhatt had written it is ok for spouses to wander in marriage because human beings are not monogamous. But when asked would he want to be the same in his next birth , he said I would not. I have hurt so many people by being that way and that seeing them hurting is unbearable.
Way back, I have had some people making calls like crazy. Lots who would write long sick letters. One was so angry that gist of his letter stated what a money grabbing woman I was. Some one said what a big flirt i was. One would land up where ever I was out with friends. One would wait every evening for me.One would keep sending gifts which I would chuck without opening.Then the email and sms harassment came in.Even dirty jokes piss me off.These were all normal people whom I had known and had had normal friendships with. What happens to perfectly sane people who are good in their upbringing and careers and have no addictions what so ever? Is this the reaction when they cant get the woman or do they feel spurned? I did feel violated by each of those instances.
When you flirt with a person who is not interested in you, you are definitely violating them. Some People do not know what normal healthy friendships are. If a girl talks, she will give in is what they think. It is utterly disgusting. Sorry I am not against men or women in general and the traits can be in any person. Lot could be in the upbringing about how you relate to the opposite sex. I just have my parents and whole lot of cousins to thank for that.Again why blame parents if the son turns out whatever. Each one of us is responsible for the life we choose to live.Does a harasser think if he would want anyone to harass his wife, daughters, sons?

My Yoga class

I have joined a yoga class. It is funny but all the things that i resisted earlier is what i love now. Two things made me do Yoga. One is a friend I truly admire, adore , idolise. She said she gave the churma ladduprasad from our Ganpati to her yoga teacher. She learns yoga! Wow , then I surely must join. Second is Madonna, she practises yoga and is fab at fifty. Actually the Holly wood actresses, models who practise yoga seem very inspiring to me. Toh aisa hai ki ,Yoga yahan se hai aur mujhe wahan hota hai uske kaaran yoga karna hai. Me and my craze for all things imported.
This class is in a quiet hall which is just a hall with a compound. There is nothing else and the hall is used for yoga only. In Mumbai all things places are so multi purpose that I find this rather unique. There are a couple of huts inside the compound. Bambai hai toh encroachment toh hona hi hai.The ladies in the hut keep stitching godris out of old clothes and drying them on the wet ground. The men of that house sit on the bench and listen to songs on their mobile. The hall is covered with dhurries. One toilet and a changing room at the end.So far I have not yet ventured there. The teachers sit at a reception like desk at the left of the hall near the entrance.
The yoga class runs for the last forty fifty years. Fill the form, pay the minimal fees and join. I have taken three to four fifteen pm slot. It was difficult to give up from My Me Time which is one to four pm. I meet friends, go for lunches , shopping, read, visit the parlour, chat on the phone, write my blog, clean the shelves etc all in this time. So you can imagine how precious it is for me.After this major sacrifice I joined. It is personal coaching with out paying extra for it. The teacher corrected me in the first sentence.” It is not Yoga, it is yog.”Got that. Then she asked me to read the name of the first excercise. Again , “It is not asanas , it is aasan.” I just shut up and followed instructions after that. The difficult was not the excercise but to keep your eyes closed, relax and do pran dharna. By the way, praan dharna , is watching your breath.
Second class, I was asked to weigh myself right at the teachers desk and it was written against my name in the attendance register. Any ways all women are fat in my class and above sixty in age and weight.I didnt much care about them until I saw the way their bodies could bend and stretch.
The attendance was taken as in school all names were taken with surnames. Have never heard so many surnames ending with Kar and De. Every one said “Yes madam” when their name was called out. I wanted to giggle. All sixty plus women so much respect for the teacher. They can easily sleep or watch soaps but here they are committed to their health and their lives.
Today I walked in ten min late and the teacher asked me why i was late. i was again asked to name Sulabh Pawan Muktasan. She asked me the meaning of sulabh . I said common . She said why. I said because sulabh sauchalay is common toilet. Next was Dronasan. She asked What is Dron? I said I know Dronacharya was a saint.She was stunned. Then it was time for Group meditation and Pranayam. This was just the third class. New yog updates later.

Ganpati Bappa Morya, Purcha Varshi Laukarya

Being in Mumbai for Ganpati Visarjan is a completely wow experience. One must be here at this time of the year atleast once in your lifetime. The traffic is most well managed today better than when the President is visiting. All is happy colourful and Bappa is ready to take his voyage into the sea. devika was crying at Visarjan on watching immersions. I told her even Ganpati wants to go back to his parents Shiva Parvati after ten days of festivity so he leaves. She seemed pretty satisfied.Though the fear of loud drums, lots of people and crackers is there. Jaideep and me love it completely. Some societies give free water and biscuits to people who are going for immersion. The vada pav walas do max business. The politicians put up stages, hoardings and help desks everywhere. All big Murtis after Lal Baghcha Raja in Parel come to Shivaji Park for visarjan. Near my house is a small bridge/ flyover above the railway tracks. This bridge ends into a turnabout. The main road leads to the sea. The best place to watch the visarjan is near the turn about at Ganga Vihar hotel. One can see the idols coming from high above the bridge towards you.Quite a sight. The sea of people has never been scary. All are happy with their family and friends. No drunkenness, no rash driving , no eve teasing! Delhi , are you listening?
Nana Patekar s Ganpati is four bulidings away. The visarjan has a sea of humanity wanting to see Nana. He runs an open kitchen for ten days. This time Kunal Vijaykar covered it in NDTV good times.They have the band and guys carrying kersosene lamps.
Near my building three societies had Ganpatis for one and half days. Each one had a Nasik Dhol band with lezims and the works. All three building Ganpatis left for Visarjan together. The guys in one building were in white Lucknowi kurtas and the other building were wearing white traditional topis guys and girls. Really cool Bappa.Then saw a group of women with lezim for the visarjan and they were not professionals but the sound was good. Some just go with their building people with every ones’ Ganpati on one cart and only Manjiras or cymbals for music.
I am very cryu on our Ganpati visarjan. Post lunch Jaideep and my mood starts sinking. When he picks up the idol and we shout Ganpati bappa Morya it is really tearful. The Arti on the beach in the sand trying to keep the kapur burning against the sea breeze is heart breaking. It is like your child going abroad for work or studies. You know he will come back next year but the sadness lingers. The guys who take the idol into the water goes quite deep and then turns around to show you God. He takes three dips in the water while i watch unblinkingly at Ganpati Bappa and then he immerses it. He comes back with little sand from the sea and your Paat- the wooden seat on which I had kept the idol. The family is waiting little high up on the beach, they had not come into the water. We eat the coconut and do darshans of all the Ganpati ready for visarjan with artis going on.
As soon as we come home, there is relief and happiness that all went well. Tea snacks start all over again.Dinner menu is being decided. Rabinder my friend offers to cook and she is an amazing cook. The dhols in the neighbouring buildings have started playing. They are getting ready for visarjan. It is time to go down and bid adieu to the lord again. Purcha Varshi laukarya