Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Chhath Puja 2018 at Nallagandla lake (Close to Aparna CyberZon)

Usually, I go to my native place (Purnia, Bihar) for Chhath puja, but this year, I was in Hyderabad. We wanted to see Chhath puja and get blessings from Chhatthi maiyya somewhere. Two years back,  when I was in Hyderabad, I had gone to Hussain Sagar lake (Near Sanjeeviah park), there Chhath puja happens on grand scale. I think there were 5000+ people there with excellent light, music, and all other arrangements. But this time, I wanted to visit some nearby place (I stay in Manjeera Diamond Towers, Gopanpally, Hyderabad).

Inquiring with friends, I came to know that some people do celebrate Chhath at Nallagandla Lake. So we asked few other family friends and we all visited the place in evening as well as morning. we had arranged music (Chhath geet) and even though there were less number of people (~50), we all did Puja with all rituals.

Kids were enjoying the most :) So if you are staying nearby Nallagandla, Gopanpally, we can connect (I know some people in different societies near by) and in coming year, we can celebrate Chhath with better arrangements.

Jai Chhatthi Maiya!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Festivals/Rituals in Mithila culture

I belong to Mithila region of Bihar, India. Mithila is land of Seeta mata, who is also named as Maithili. Maithili (One of three major languages spoken in Bihar, others are Bhojpuri and Magahi) is our mother tongue. I am proud of Mithila culture. Though every culture has its own beauty, but As I have seen all the festivals since childhood, I am writing this post, so that world knows about our culture, tradition and rituals.

Disclaimer: All the details are from my own perspective and for most of the festivals, I have used example of my family and my village (Some festivals may be specific to a particular caste/community within Mithila). Festivals dates are approximate and may not be exactly right and these dates changes every year as it depends on Hindi calendar (Chaitra, Baishak... Falgun month)

Let me mention that, these festivals and rituals are going on since 100s of years, though many of these are either scaled down on grandeur or people stopped celebrating them, as people have moved out of villages and have comparatively less time for so many festivals.

You will notice that most of Mithila festivals are focused on two objectives
1. Relationship and bonding between family, friends and society should increase.
2. Have delicious and variety food.

In my village, just 25 years back, there was no TV, no Phone, no news paper. There used to be Radio, that too not with every family, so the means for entertainment was nothing like today. They used to have these festivals quite frequently, and people used to celebrate these with full enthusiasm and with proper (as per documentation or as per Pandit) procedures. Today things are changed quite a bit.

Let me explain the festivals and rituals which is part of Mithila's life.

1. Makar Sankranti (15 Jan).

In this festival, there will be some puja (Means Worshiping God. I will use word Puja several times below) done and then elder ladies (Like Mother, Grand mother etc..) will prepare a mixture of Til (Sesame seeds), Chawal (Rice) and Gur (Jaggery) [Called Til-Chouri], and keep in a bowl and all younger people (In village - actually not entire village, but our tola - i,e part of village based on a particular caste) will go to them, will keep their hands in front of them, and then the ladies will ask "Til Til Bahbee?" (Meaning, "I am giving you this Til-Chouri, will you respect this? meaning Will you care for me when I get old?"). This question will be asked for 3 times (We know the trick!), so we (Naughty kids) will say No for 2 times and Yes for the third time.. even the naughtiest kid does not say No in third time.. But decent people will say Yes for all three times..

Later everybody will eat Dahee (Curd), Chura (Flat rice), Kela (Banana), Sweets, Achar (Pickles), Tilkut (Special sweet made out of Til), Sabji (Vegetable curry). I remember in 2002, we were in 1st year of engineering, and we (some 20 North Indians), prepared Dahee, and Alu-Gobhee sabjee. Some of our south friends were also invited for lunch.. They were not aware that Chura swells and increases in size in stomach after some time and if you ate Chura for full stomach, you will start feeling uncomfortable after some time. Some of our South-Buddies couldn't eat dinner!
There will also be several different types of Laay/Ladu (Like Til ke laay, Chra ke laay, Murhi ke laay, Chaur ke laay etc..) prepared and stocked for coming days.. Til is very healthy in Winter season.  Later in evening, they prepare Khichdi for dinner

2. Narak Nivaran Chaturdashi (19 Jan)

I never did this, but its like a day's fasting kept by both Men and Women. This fast is done to not get into Narak (Hell) after death.. There are many recurring fasts (Like every Sunday some do, Every Thursday some do - they wear yellow cloth, Some do every Monday for Lord Shiva's worship), but this fast has special status.

3. Sarswati Puja (25 Jan)

This festival is also called Basant Panchami. This festival is for mainly for Students (But everybody celebrates). We do Puja of Goddess Saraswati (Vidya kee devi, Goddess of Knowledge). Its 2 day festival.
On day 1, Idol will be placed with some Puja. Students keep few books beside the idol, and they do not need to study this day, even Parents and Teacher do not force to study this day ..

There will be Prasadam given (specially sweet Bundiya) to all who comes to visit the Puja stall. In that night there will be Jagaran and next day, there will be Idol immersion into nearest river or pond.

4. Maha Shivratri (17 Feb)

There will be fasting for God Shiva. This fast is kept by both Men and Woman. I remember, In my village Bhatotar, we used to celebrate this festival at Shiv Mandir (Near Barhara kothi railway station). There used to be non-stop Keertan/Bhajan for 24 hours (We call it AshtJam), along with in-between drama/play.
One interesting thing about AshtJam is that it must be continuous (Hare Rama / Hare Krishna / Hare Shiva chanting) and even one second matters, so what happens is when One group is singing (say since 2-3 hrs) and then second group (Keertan Mandali) has to start now, the second group gets in along with 1st group, and sings together for 5-10 minutes, and then 1st group leaves the Mandap. They take some rest and join back again after 2-3 Mandali's are done the rounds.

5. Holi (5-6 Mar)

This is 2 day festival. 1st day is DhurKhel, where in we play with Dust. Mud etc.
As a kid we used to be spoilers (He he he .. sorry).. Like we used to put dust/cow-dung in milk vessel (for milk sellers), which used to almost get into fight most of the time .. Or used to throw mud on running train .. But essentially its to put some dust/mud to friend/relatives to make them dirty and nobody cares and get angry (As long as there is no much damage)..

Second day, we play with color (Wet color) and Abeer (Colored powder).. There will be village people marching whole village singing Holi songs..They play musical instruments like Dhol, Jhal, Majeera etc.. At every home (We call it Dwar, So most of the home in our villages, has two portions, one is Angan -Backside and one is Dwar. - Front), this group sings the song and it is host's (That Dwar's family) responsibility to arrange for some Tea/Paan/Bhang (as per their financial status) for all. Group will sing 1-2 song and the last song will always be "Sada ananda rahe ehi dware.." meaning "We pray that this home should remain happy always.".  There are Sara-rara songs, songs of love, song of God/Goddess, song of patriotism..

During my childhood, we used to sing one song (Though bit offending) "Haan haan, Kutte nahin samajhte Gandhi Jayaprakash kee bhasha, Bina maar ke nahin badalti englishtaani chaal, bhagat singh jaaga hai" Meaning "These British dogs will not understand the language of peace proposed by GandhiJi and JayaPrakash, rather they will not understand without beating, because there are people like Bhagat singh emerged" .. and it was like so much passion and energy.. Probably this song was written when we were fighting for independence, but people continued to sing even after independence!
There was another song "Jhanjhar Jhanjh Jhamam Jham Jhankee, Jhahrat Jhora Jhori Guyyan, Aju khele Holi, Ajun khele Hori guyyan, Aju khele holi.."..
There were few of my villagers who used to write Holi songs quite innovatively (Based on recent political atmosphere or other societal issues).. Essentially, what Holi meant is to become at good terms with all families, know each other.. so even if two families are not at good terms, they play Abeer/Holi and go to other's Dwar for singing..

Later in the evening, every younger person takes blessing (puts Abeer on elder's feet) from all elder ones. This is a sign of respect.. and then elder person will put some abeer on younger one's fore-head.
There will be special dishes prepared. For day time, we have MalPua (Prepard from Maida, Milk, Banana, Sugar - fried in ghee) and in evening, we used to have Mutton (Goat meat).

I also remember, for few years, we (the younger ones, aged between 10-20) get music system with sound boxes, and dance in Holi, which old people did not like and shouted on us.. but we didn't listen!

Another interesting thing was Pre-Holi singing. Every night (Which starts some 15-20 days before Holi, till holi day), after dinner, villagers gather to one family's Dwar and sing holi song.. That host serves some snacks, tea and Paan (beetle leaf), and at the end, some other family (This singing group used to consist mostly Male) head will propose to have the next day holi gathering at his home.. and cycle continued..

6. Dora (7 March) - This festival happens on next day of Holi. All families will gather at one particular woman's home (This lady is considered well respected as She performs Dora for all families). Every family will bring some home made sweets, fruits etc in some kind of bowl (Made by bamboo's thin peelings ).. The old lady will say a story (And it is same story every year) about some King and queen who got some Shrap (Curse) and King became very poor and queen also became very poor and they somehow meet after 12 years of painful separation..

7. Ramnavami (28 Mar)

This is a festival for the worship of Rama.. In some places there will be Ashtajam. In my home, there will be Ramacharitmanas path, in which my mother (and in between, My father, or If I am there, sometime I read too) reads entire Ramacharitmanas (Only Doha, its ~800 pages, 7 parts namely Bala-kand—77 chapters, Ayodhya-kand—119 chapters, Aranya-kand—75 chapters, Kishkindha-kand—67 chapters, Sundara-kand—68 chapters, Lanka-kand—128 chapters, Uttara-kand—111 chapters) ) in one go (No discontinuity, remember from above?).

So If I am supposed to take over reading, I will sit beside my mother and start reading and then my mother will leave the place.). This generally starts by 7-8AM and goes on till 11 PM. There will be Ramayan Arti at last and then only we will eat something (For all those who are going to read the holy book, must remain on fast since morning)

8. Satua pawan/Jurisheetal/Sirwa/Biswa (14-15 April)

This festival has different names in different parts of Bihar, but essentially what happens is we fly the kites on these two days (and after this day no kite flying till next year Makar sankranti). People eat Tender-Mango, Sattu (Gram flour), and there will be some Puja..

9. Akshaya Tritiya (21 Apr)

There is a trend in India to buy some Jewelleary on this auspicious day, but I didn't know this until I came to South India in 2001.
In my village, there was a tradition to call entire village (I mean part of it, because, most of the villages are divided based on Caste and religion - though Sad, but that is how management is easier, and there is harmony between all caste and religion in most of the villages) to their home (This is not done by all families, but only very few designated voluntary families, reason will be obvious in a bit :)) to have Sharbat..
So you have some 50-100 people standing/sitting at one place (Dwar of one particular family), and that family prepares lot of Sharbat (Water, Sugar, Lemon and some flavors like Ruh-afza) and serve to all (Unlimited) .. because this is hot summer time, having a nice Sharbat refreshes everybody, but can you have it again after some time on same day? May be once more? Fine.. hence there were only 1-2 families which used to host this Sharbat party..

10. Ardara (10 June)

This is a festival for Sun God .. There will be some Puja done and there will be once again special food.. like Rice kheer and Mango (In our region, there is a famous mango named "Maldah", which is called King of mangoes in our side - and I had not heard the name of Alphanso mango till I came to South India.. And I still like Maldah more than Alphanso..:))

11. Guru Poornima (31 Jul)

I don't think there is special food attached to this festival..But kind of some puja happens ..

12. Nagpanchami (1 Aug)

In this festival, we worship Snake God.. and leave some milk and Lava (Its like popcorn of Paddy) outside our homes (bit far) and we believe Snake comes and eats Lava and drinks milk.. Though most likely its rats or some other reptiles :). In our village, there is a Vishahra temple (temple of snake god) and there will be some special puja done there..
Here I want to add two small stories around how this temple.was made .

1. One fine day (some 25 years ago), one of my Uncle, who were doing some farming work in his field, got a clay (like brick) which had snake shape made on that.. Uncle conveyed this to villagers, and some one suggested that, we should do some Puja (Called Bhagait).. so there was some Bhagat (One person, who was probably drunk, and spins his head round and round and utters some things like a crazy person), what ever he says is like word written on stone. People used to believe that during Puja, God will get into his skin and at that particular time what ever He says is the order by God. (Not now, its 25 years ago :) )

He said, there should be a temple built over here (Where Uncle found that stone/clay).. so be it .. But who is going to fund it? read second story for that

2. So now, villagers put a sign board at that place mentioning, "Site for building Vishahara temple. Please donate 2 bricks, whenever you carry bricks in tractor or donate some money" .. and we kiddos used to play cricket nearby in high school play ground.. so what used to happen, if there were some tractors carrying bricks, they used to throw 2-3 bricks on that site voluntarily, but some tractor were not and we (or if there are other villagers seeing someone not honoring) used to request (or even force) to them to throw bricks.. also there was donation box.. and with the help of many villagers, we built the temple in some 10 years) and now this is the temple, where every people come to take blessings after all important rituals like Mundan, Marriage etc..)

13. Raksha Bandhan (10 Aug)

This is the well known festival, where in Sister ties the Rakhi (Made of Silk threads) on the wrist of brothers.. Sister does some Aarti of brother, gives sweet to brother after tying the Rakhi.. Later who ever is younger touches feet of elder one.. Many a times, Brother gives some gift to sister..
Now a days, most of the brothers and sisters stay in different cities across the globe.. so Sister sends Rakhee by Post/Courier to brother.. Both Sister and brother keeps fast till brother ties the Rakhi (and they confirm on phone) after taking bath.. There is a famous story of Rani Karnavati sending Rakhi to Humayun (Who was a Muslim emperor, and Karnavati being Hindu-Rajput). and Humayun saved Karnavati by respecting Rakhee..). In childhood, I had seen a Hindi movie "Saajan ka ghar" in which a brother "Depak tijori" met with an accident and when Sister "Juhee chawla" comes to meet in hospital, she comes to know that Deepak's one hand is chopped off..and then Deepak says, sister, Look this hand is saved in which you had tied the Rakhee..and he says, Alas, there were customs to tie Rakhee in both the hands.. and everybody watching cries at this scene .. :) ..

14. Krisna jamastamai / Jhoolan  (18 Aug)

This is a festival in which we celebrate the birth day of Lord Krishna.. We put idol of little Krishna (Nanhe Gopal) in a Jhoola (Cradle) and it will be regularly be moved by PanditJi..
At many places, there will be fair (Mela) organized. This was getting celebrated nicely at our nearby villages Barahara kothi and Sukhsena.. There used to be some Drama/Arkestra (Musical event) in evening.

15. Chaurchan /Ganesh chaturthee (29 Aug)

This festival is done in groups. a bunch of related families comes to one home, where in One lady does the Puja.. All other families keep their home made sweet bowl and Curd (in clay pot) near place of Pooja.. There will be some puja of Moon god.. and after this every body will take some fruit in their hand and see moon (Many a times it takes quite some time to see the moon, as it is rainy season). There are some villages in which there is a tradition of throwing Dhela (Small stones) or Kadamb fruit, having objective to break curd pot.. This is naughty thing to do, but in my village it was not quite prevalent..

 15. Ananat Puja (8 Sep)

In this festival, also all families gather at one home, where in one old lady says some story, and then there is one band (named Anant, which has 14 twists, made from special thread), and everybody wears this on their hand (between elbow and shoulder).. they keep this band for at least few weeks..

There is something interesting.. This festival relates to Samudra manthan .. so the old lady will search something in the pile of flowers and fruits and other people will ask "Anant bhetla?" meaning "Did you get Anant?" and lady will say No..for many times and lastly She will say "Haan bhetal" i.e "Yes I got.."

16. Jitiya (16 Sep)

This need special mention. I don't think there is any similar festival anywhere in India.. This festival is to showcase the love and sacrifice by mother for their son (Sadly, this is done for Son only.. if some lady does not have Son, still they do in hope to get Son in blessings by God).
In this festival, family members (especially younger ones) eat Chura, Dahee, Cheeni, Khaja etc.. in the wee hours (around 4 AM). I remember, after this early breakfast, we used to play Gulli-Danda or Budhiya kabaddi..
Later in the morning, Mother prepares a basket full with fruits, flowers, sweets, Gram, Some leafs like bamboo leaf, Maina leaf etc.. and cover it with some cloth and tie a knot.. And then do a Nirjala fast (i.e Fast without even taking water) for around 36 hours (Depends on some Muhurtam)..
Its quite difficult.. And after the time ends, Son opens the knot tied earlier to uncover the fruit basket..
Mother does some puja after that .. and every body takes the Prasad and then only Mother eats something..
Its suggested to first drink something hot just after long water-less fast like Tea/Milk, If someone drinks cold water, there are chances to have throat problems.. Its been like 20 years I am not there at my home on Jitiya, but still my Mother (and all mothers does that) does this Fast and I call to her and inform that I have taken bath and please ask some one else (my cousins) to open the knot..

I request to all mothers out there (In my community), If you do not feel well in between, please do take some fruit juice or hot milk (And generally, Juice and milk do not break the usual fast :) )..

I have seen one incident which is not good.. but let me share that.. My neighbor Aunt in Patna used to do this Fast.. she was very weak by health and still she used to do.. and after doing fast for some 36 hours, on the morning (after few hrs she was supposed to break the fast), she was preparing Tea and she got unconscious while she was holding the Pan (having boiling water) and unfortunately their only son (Who was 5 years old, and for whom she was fasting) was holding his mom, boiling water fell on the son and he got severely injured. Immediately both Mom and son were rushed to hospital.. Luckily there was no long term impact..

17. Biswakarma Puja (17 Sep)

This is a festival to worship Biswakarma (Who is engineer God i.e who keeps machines safe!). We worship our vehicles (By cleaning and putting garlands), factories clean their machines and all workers have celebrations (I think mostly no work on this day!).. Also businessman starts a new Bahee-Khata (Registers to maintain the business finances, applicable to small businessman and in today's computer age, this is becoming irrelevant).

18. Dashahara (Kalash sthapan to Jatra) (25 Sep - 3 Oct)

This is a 10 days long festival, which starts with Kalashsthapan (i.e one earthen pot filled with water is kept on a heap of soil, and on this soil Jau (Barley grain)  seeds are thrown, so that in 10 days it grows some 3-5 inches long grass, which is called Jayanti).

There will be Durga sapta sati (a holy book consisting of 13 chapters) path (reading), i.e someone will read the book (Either read this book daily which takes 2-3 hrs or can read few chapters every day and finish it off in 9 days).

There will be large Pandals prepared at many places having large idols of Goddess Durga and few other Gods/Goddesses. and there will be Mela around that Pandal..
On Ashtami, Nawami and Dashami, there will be some special puja done.
Dashmi is also called as Jatra (Yatra or travelDay). Essentially no body travels to other places between dashahra, and its considered auspicious to travel on Dashmi after the Puja is done in morning).
Every Male has to tie the Now-Grown Jau grass (Called Jayanti, 2-3 strands) into their Tikki (or Chutia, u might have seen on the head of Chankya.. These days we don't keep chutia, hence just tie in some hair).. Do Pranam (Touch feet) to all close elders.. So even if we do not generally go to to home village in Dashahra and do not tie Jayanti, we do Pranam to all elders (Close relatives) on this day on phone at least

19. Dhanteras (21 Oct)

On this day there is a tradition of buying some useful house hold thing like utensils or some vehicle or some Jewellary etc..

20. Deewali (23 Oct)

This is again special in our Mithila culture.. On this day, We prepare (or buy) Kandeel (a box type of structure made out of bamboo sticks, and pasted with colorful papers). (Earlier we - our family, used to prepare aeroplane  structured kandeel as well, but that was stopped some 15 years back, as it was quite time consuming and laborious task to maintain/repair it and cover it with colored papers).

Later on the day we prepare Ukka-Paati (This is made by tieng bunch of dried Santhi (Joot/Patua tree),  which looks like a cross (Christ's Cross!), and catches fire quickly.. We throw one-each Ukka-Pati on each house (in the family) and to nearest temples.  Later in the evening we lit many-many Diyas, Candles to lighten all the places, roof tops .. Hence this festival is also called Festival of light..

Then in evening we burst crackers.. and around 7-8 PM, we gather at one place to have Ukka-Paati (One person will bring the fire in one long Ukka-Paati from our Bhagwati-Ghar - which is like a small temple inside our house..; and then rest all (Male only again) will put their Ukka-Paati on that fire, so it seems like a large bon-fire, and everybody holds their Ukka-Paati .. so at times the hand feels the heat..

Earlier (some 40 years ago), there was dangerous trend to jump over this bon-fire across by young people .. this used to be considered brave and good.. But there was a incident, where in two person jumped at the same time from opposite side and the flame was so high they could not see each other, and both of them had a clash and fell in the fire (Not much harm though).. and since then this tradition is stopped.. In place of we jumping across the fire, we just cross the small fire (only my fire, not everyone's fire), then take 5 strands of burnt Santhi (Joot tree) and then everybody comes to Bhagwati ghar .. They keep these strands in temple, and do a Jayakara (Chant slogan - Bol de kaalika maharani kee jay.. and everybody says Jay) of Goddess Kaali.. And there after happens the tradition, for which most people come to their village/home from anywhere in India they might be residing in ..

I have missed 5 such occasions in my life time [during my engineering days (4 times) and once After my marriage (In that year, all my vacations were exhausted, as there are so many rituals.. it was like a month for Marriage :) ) .. Anyways, essence is everybody tries to reach home on Deewali.. All younger (Male/Female) touches the feet of all elders.

First Male group will start from Bhagwati ghar, do Pranam to many people and then start by houses in sequence..Do Pranam to all elder ladies.. and in between any elder male comes (and not yet done Pranam), then do Pranam .. What happens is this removes all the bad feelings towards others .. even if two families had fight few days ago, both family members will forget their enmity and do this ritual and mostly forget the fight (Until it happens again).. so in a way cleaning up the hunted feelings within society.. Finally everybody will reach to one common (Big famous temple in my village) Kaali mandir and there will be multiple Jayakaras..

At 12 mid night, there will be special Puja in Kaali temple..

21. Kaali Puja (24 Oct) 

Next day to Deewali is Kaali Puja, in which we worship Goddess kaali by doing Bali pradaan of goat (Though not favoring the cruelty on animals, but this is long tradition, and anyway goats are getting killed for usual meat eating - and veg versus non-veg is a seperate blog post!, so I neither condemn this ritual nor support this)..

In our village there will be football match and in the evening there will be some musical events..

22. Bhai Dooj (25 Oct)

This is also called Bhardutia. This is a festival of brother and sisters.. In this festival, Brother is supposed to go to Sisters place (If married) or do the ritual at their home.. So the ritual is to put 5 beetle leaf in brother's hand, put some Pithar (Paste made of rice), Sindoor (Vermilion), 5 nut (Beetle nut), 5 one rupee coins .. then sisters put the folded hand (With beetle leaf etc..) into a large bowl of water and clean his hands.. Later who ever is younger touches elder's feet.. Sister gives some sweet to eat to brother.. Brother may give some gift/money/sweets to sister.

23. Chhath (29/30 Oct)

This festival is celebrated to worship Sun God.. this is done in two parts.. One in the evening (Sunset) and one in the early morning (sunrise).

What happens is there will be one or more big basket (having Sweets, Fruits, Coconut, Sugarcane etc.) which needs to be carried from home to the nearest water-body (a pond or river) on head.. Here Chhath Vratees (People who does chhath fasting, and this is also quite tough fast. I skipped mention of Kharna and other related rituals) get into the water in evening time (say around 3 PM) and stay in there until sun sets.

After that, all these baskets kept on the river pond bank (Decorated with banana tree) is given in hands of Vratee, and He/She dips the portion of basket into water and then gives back.. and we take these baskets back to our home (We do not open the basket).

Later at around 3 AM, we all wake up and then take the basket back to same river/pond bed and again Vratee gets into the water. This time it will be colder (as compared to evening time), and stay there until sun rises. After the sun rises, each basket is again given in the hand of Vratee, and other family members put Milk into that basket (This process is called "Arghya dena" and is considered essential).

There are people who has this mannat (votive) to go to the water-body from their home (few 100 meters to even few kilometers) by measuring the distance by their body (Like how Hydra moves). It means a person standing, then sleeps on the road keeping a knife or stick to mark by his hand till he can reach, and then stands up and walk to the mark drawn, and again stands there, sleeps on the road and repeat the same until He/She reaches to water. In fact they get into water like this only, so there will be slope at the end, and one needs to be very careful. This ritual is not done by all, only very few people does this. I was seeing Chhath festival at Bangalore and Hyderabad, and here also there were people doing this ritual.

24. Devuthan Ekadashi (3 Nov)

Some Puja - in this also some people do Ramayan Path..

25. Shema Chakeba (8 Nov)

In this festival people (girls/ladies especially) make different birds, animals (Like elephant) using clay and color them nicely. They also make Chugla (Meaning a person who speaks bad about others behind them)..

In night (say around 8PM), ladies and children goes to nearby field, and they break all these clay and also burn Chugla.

26. Lawan  (25 Nov)

This is a festival for new paddy crop.. (Also called Navanna meaning new grain). In this festival people worship fire (Agni) God by giving some portion of Chura (Made out of newly cut paddy), Dahee, Mulee (Radish) etc.. Also people eat Chura/dahee/Cheeni.

Some more festivals and rituals

Apart from above festivals which is generic and happens every year for everybody, there are few other Rituals/festivals which happens once in life time (Again depends on Male or Female) as mentioned below.

1. Chhatthi
For newly born kid - on 6th day from birth

2. Barhi
12th day from Kid's birth .. after this day, mother can do house hold work, till then take rest new mom !

3. Mundan
Only for boys - Between 1 to 5 years.. Head Hair will be cut (Not shaved) - Huge celebration..

4. Upnayan
Only for male - Between 10-20 Years. Head Hair will be shaved and Gayitri Mantra will be taught. Again huge celebration

5. Tushari Puja
Only for female. Girls when get into marriageable age, they do this Puja .. hoping they will get better husbands!

6. Vivah
So many rituals in Vivah (Marriage).. There are two important Mithila specific words for arranging the marriage. One is "Ghatak" (Bride's family who comes to discuss for marriage with Groom's family, and One would-be groom has many Ghataks and One set of Ghatak visits many would be groom!) and second one is Agua (One/Two person who knows both Groom side and Bride side, which takes the initiatives and has very important role..) Role of Agua is decreasing day by day but they were the only means to introduce Bride and Groom family back when there was no matrimonial websites :)

7. Vat Savitri 
Only for married woman. For the first year after marriage, this is a big function.. Woman continue doing this festival every year, though in simple manner.

8. Kojagra
This is a one time festival, wherein, Bride's family distributes sweets to Groom's society/village.

Specially Paan and Makhaan is must.

9. Dwiragman
For Married couple - After marriage, bride does not go to groom's home immediately, rather She goes after few months or may be after few years!.. and that time again there will be function.. But now-a-days, this ritual is done few days after marriage itself, as most of the family members stays at different places., and its tough to gather again and again. 30-40 years before, most of the people used to do farming or small business and used to stay in village only, hence they had plenty of time :)

10. Madhushramini
Only for recently married woman (Within an year). This is 15 days festival, in which bride is not supposed to eat salt and do puja everyday. On 15th day, Groom is expected to be there to perform some puja.

After marriage, people have kids and same cycle repeats for Son/Daughter and GrandSon/GrandDaughter .. and as its Sashwat Satya (universal truth), one who is born will die one day.. So some rituals are done for the departed soul, by their relatives.

1. Shraddh
This is 13 days ritual post death, in which, 11th day, all close relatives will shave their head (or do a hair cut, if Upanayan is not done). There will be some rituals performed for peace of departed soul and there will be feast, where in 100s of people get invited.

2. Barkhi
Fom 1st death anniversary to 5th death anniversary - There will be Head shaving (Called Nakh-Baal) and there will be some puja/rituals followed by feast for villagers.

3. Ekodisht
After 5th death anniversary (Barkhi), every year, till the family can do.. They invite few people for eating on that day ..

Note: As mentioned earlier, it is all my personal view and the intention is to let the world know about our culture/tradition. There may be something incorrect as well, as its been 15 years, I was not there at village for any festival except Deewali/Chhath. Please let me know if something needs to be corrected or enhanced.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Three memorable journeys in my life

These three journey were, 
1. When I was in 9th std.
2. When I was preparing for Engineering entrance tests, after 10+2
3. When I was in 7th sem of engineering

Disclaimer: As the stories are quite old, I might have missed some of the things exactly. Also, this blog post is just meant for fun and should be taken lightly. No offense meant to anyone..

1. When I was in 9th std.

I was studying in a residential school, High school, Dhamdaha, Purnia. I used to stay in hostel, which was in the same campus. It used to take 2-3 minutes to reach school from hostel. This place Dhamdaha is a small town (subdivision) 11KM from my village Bhatotar (Nearest bus stop at Barhara kothi, 1 KM from my village). From Dhamdaha, mainly there are 3 roads. One goes toward Barhara (11 KM), one goes to Bhavanipur (14KM) and one goes to Purnia (32 KM). I used to be good student in my school, and was one among top 4 students in classes. In dhamdaha, there was only one cinema hall named "Ashish chitralaya". This cinema hall had unusual show timings (Generally in Purnia, show timings were 12-3, 3-6 etc), but in Dhamdaha it was 11-2, 2-5 etc .. This was probably done to cater the need of students. How? Well our class used to start at 10 till 1.30; and then 30 mins break then 2  to 4PM. The classes in my school had three exit doors, one at front, one at middle and one at last, i.e someone can make attendance at 10.30AM, (sit in last bench) and when teacher turns towards black-board, run out of the class and reach to cinema hall, which had back entrance, and used to take 2-3 minutes from my school. Though, this had to be done by only risk-takers, as if teacher or some other staff sees going out of class, then God save him (I think, I did this dare once or twice in 3 years, influenced by some of my back bench-er friends :) ). After movie, one can come back by 2PM and attend rest of the classes. This was also important, as the attendance used to be
taken in first class (at 10.30) and post-lunch, first class (2PM). If you are absent in 1st class, fine was 10 Paise, but if u r present in 1st class and absent after break, fine was 50Paise. I used to visit my home once in 2-3 weeks. Catch a bus, and reach Barhara in 1 hr (yes, for 10KM, it used to take 1 Hr, as there was many stops in between and road was bad). The bus fare was 3 Rs, but students used to pay 1 Re only after having occasional arguments with bus conductor. As Bhavanipur was 1 Hr journey and has 2-3 cinema halls (SriRam talkies, Janki talkies), many students used to go there to watch movie by bunking classes or on Sundays. Well, this was the background for the story. Now the real story starts..

One fine day, when I was about to go to school at around 9.45AM, my friends MXX and VXX called me and said "Do u want to watch movie in Fourstar?" (Fourstar is a famous cinema hall in Purnia), I said no man, I have to go to school, and No I can not go to Purnia at any cost .. If we go now, we will be back by 6 PM, and we may miss evening attendance (at around 5.30PM), and if we miss attendance we will not get dinner at hostel mess. But Vxx tried to convince me that, what man, always study study.. come no, for one day, whats big deal.. we will be back by 5PM.. I thought he was asking to come, so he will bear all the expenses for travel, movie etc.. I got convinced.. :)

I left my books in room and came to bus stand with these two guys. Got a mini bus for Purnia. I wanted to sit inside the bus, but Vxx told that, hey come, we will sit on Bus-roof-top, and in that case we will not pay the bus fare.. We sat on bus roof.. After few KMs, conductor came and asked money. I was silent, thought Vxx should pay. Vxx says, we are students and we don't have money.. After bitter argument, He forced us to get down.. We were again waiting for another bus.. We got another bus in some time.. We again climbed to top, and this time after little argument, the irritated conductor didn't force use to get down, but we didn't pay the fare (It was 10Rs per person). We reached Purnia bus stand by 11.45AM. We rushed to Fourstar (which is close by), and we got into ticket queue. At this point, Vxx asks me give me 20Rs, I said why? He says, I don't have money now, I will pay u later. I became angry, then He asked to Mxx. Mxx said, He does not have a single rupee. Vxx did not have any money. He had thought, I usually have money with me, so it should be ok. I searched my pockets, and got 11Rs. Now the ticket rate was 4Rs and 6Rs, and we were short of 1 Re for even the from tickets. We went to counter and asked for 3 tkts in 11Rs, counter person didn't agree. Now what to do..? Vxx says, hey we will go to Roopwani cinema, where the minimum rate is 3 Rs. Those who know Purnia, can imagine Fourstar and Roopwani distance, it is around 2KM. we ran like athletes and reached Roopwani by say 12.20PM. We took 3 tks in 9 Rs. Movie was (I think)- Meharbaan
(Mithun chakraborty). We sat in the first row as the movie was already started. In interval, we were hungry, but there was no money (except, I had two rupee note). At 3PM, we came outside and walked towards bus stand. In between, roadside, there was one robot-astrologer (which has many lights glowing on a robot type machine, equipped with many headphones). I said, I want to hear my future. It was 2 Rs for one person. I had not seen this earlier, so I was interested. I got the headphone and listened my future, and while listening I took out 2 Rs and gave to the person. After this we moved again towards bus stand. Then Vxx says, we will eat some Jhaalmurhi (Rice flakes with some spices), I asked how, He says, that 2 Rs, u gave to astro person, actually, in place of him, u gave to my hand, and we can have that in 2 Rs. I said give me 2 Rs. I took it and ran to astro person, and gave 2 rs to him and said sorry.

Now, we are hungry, have to reach school, no one knows about us, we have bunked classes, next day class teacher will ask to me for sure, as I was normally not missing class, and that too class teacher knew that I stay in hostel. He will say this to hostel warden as well. Then hostel warden will say this to my father.. all sorts of fear is going on my head. We reached bus stand. There is a bus for Dhamdaha, but normally from bus stand (from where bus starts), conductor takes money before hand only and not on the way. Now
what to do.. We tried to get into bus, but was not allowed without tkts, we said, that we lost our money, and we have no money at all.. please let us get in .. no mercy shown to poor fellows.. And bus left in front of us.. After long time, there was one mini bus (Maxi). We got somehow on top of this. When conductor asked for ticket, Vxx said, we don't have.. That fellow was not agreeing and wanted us to get down.. But miracle happens sometime.. There was another conductor of another route bus, who was from Vxx's village. Vxx went to him and explained things to him. This villager talked to our bus's conductor, and we were allowed to sit on top of bus. (To have seat was not even thinkable inside the bus). So bus started at around 5PM.
Only we three are on bus-roof.. these two friends knew that my Father's school (A govt. school teacher at Amchura, near Kajha kothi) comes in between Purnia and Dhamdaha, and he travels everyday from Kajha to Barhara (via Dhamdaha, and many a times, he gets down to Dhamdaha to meet me, and then goes to home). Mxx jokes that, what if your father sees u on top of the bus at Kajha kothi? I said, no way.. We will reach Kajha kothi by 5.45 and my Papa leaves by 4-4.30 PM... so no chance and that too we are on top ..right? And miracle happens.. When we reached Kajha kothi, I see my Papa standing near bus stop. He didn't see up to me.. but these friends are making fun of me, that I will tell to uncle that Ashish is here.. Somehow I begged them not to shout, as My father may recognize them as well..I was hiding On top.. My Father got into the same bus.. I thought that Papa had come to meet me few days back only, so He will not get down near Dhamdaha, and I can quickly get down and go to hostel. When we reached Dhamdaha, I got down from bus, and as soon as I have put my feet on road, my Papa calls me up .."What are you doing here? this is the study time in ur hostel?" It was around 7PM now.. I had no words .. stunned.. Somehow I managed and said, I had come to take some vegetables (like Onion, which we used to use for evening snacks, evening snacks was not provided by hostel, we had to manage ourselves).. He looked on me .. had suspicion, but bus started to move, and He go into the bus, and said me to go to hostel immediately.

Oh my God!! .. Anyways, now moved towards hostel..we had missed the evening attendance.. At 8PM, dinner bell was rang.. before dinner, we used to gather at temple and we used to sing a prayer (Bhaye pragat kripala deen dayalaa) followed by one chaupayee of Ramayan every day. Let me mention that, there was no electricity in hostel (and in most parts of Dhamdaha), and we used to have our Kerosene lantern in order to study. Though, we knew we are not entitled for dinner today, we went considering, we will keep hiding from
hostel warden.. We started our dinner.. suddenly Warden Mr Shxx shouts on me, Where u had been the whole day? U bunked the class, you missed the attendance, You were not present when I came to round (he used to come very silently and vigil the students, and used to punish if we are not studying.. we were also very intelligent, we had made small holes in all rooms, If some room fellow sees the warden, he used to inform through this little hole not to play or talk, as warden is on rounds.. ).. So we didn't speak anything .. He asked several times .. threatened to tell to our Parents.. But we didn't speak.. He knew we three had been somewhere.. May be he say us somewhere while coming to hostel.. Anyways, we were not speaking.. He calls Muxxx's younger brother Suxxx (who was in 8th) near to him, and asks tell me, where your brother had been? He said, I don't know.. On this Warden became very angry and said, Oh trying to save brother.. let me see how much u can tolerate for him and he puts lantern glass on Suxxx' leg, Suxxx started
crying, within few seconds, Muxxx stood up, ran to warden, threw the lantern away by snatching from warden's hand.. He started shouting on Warden, that how dare you punish my brother for my fault..  By now other teachers also gathered there and asked us to have dinner.. They also scolded the warden..
Possibly, warden also got fear that we may complain to Principal that he burnt Suxxx with lantern, He didn't say anything on that day.. Though I was in constant fear that He will say this to my Father.. next morning, I went to his room and apologized (Said, we were watching movie in Ashish talkies Dhamdaha 2-5, and then roaming around.. ).. I am sure He never said this to my Father .. :)

2. When I was preparing for Engineering entrance tests, after 10+2
I used to stay in a single room in Kankarbagh, Patna after my 10+2 and was preparing for IIT/Roorkee etc.. Here on 1st floor, thee was one more student, who was in 10+2, from Nawadah, named IrXXX. He became very close to me like my younger brother. Later I left that house and came to Musallahpur area and IrXXX shifted to Kolkata for his higher Commerce related study. Time passed.. We were in contact through letters.. There was no mobile phone those days.. somewhere in 1999.. There was a phone in my house owner's home, on which sometimes
parents can call and they used to call us inside their home and one could talk. Another communication medium was "Tele-post (Taar)", which used to be per word 50 paise and it was very fast i.e in 1-2 days the message used to reach to intended person. One day, I got a letter from IrXXX that you come to kolkata for Durgapooja. Here in kolkata, there is huge celebration. Stay here for a week and then return back to Purnia.
Well, I got interested. But every year, I used to go to home for durga pooja. This time also, I was supposed to go home. I forgot the exact date, but say 1st pooja was on 1st November and 10th pooja was on 10th November.. My mother had already asked me to come home max by 6-7.. In fact, one day in October, Papaji called me on phone and asked to me to come home, but I had other plans!!, I said, I won't be able to come to home this time.. I will come in deewali.. As I will miss my tuition classes (Generally all tuition
classes will be closed in Patna during DurgaPooja.. But I lied :( ). Papa said its OK .. u concentrate on studies.. I had already sent the letter to IrXX that I am coming on 2nd November.. and after that IrXX had sent me the plans on how will I come to Kolkata.. He didn't send his exact address (I used to send letter at his Uncle's kolkata address, and I knew he stays nearby only).. He had informed me that you come by poorva express (Its 550 KMs from Patna to Howrah) to Howrah (I had never been to Kolkata, in fact I had never been outside Bihar till now). I will be there on platform. You do not go anywhere, we will search you.
Ok then.. All set .. I didn't even though to reserve a seat .. I went to Patna station , got the general ticket, and got into Poorva express.. There was huge rush in general compartment, but somehow I got a seat. In between, I didn't move from my seat, as there was chances of losing the seat. I reached howrah at around 5PM. I waited at the platform for 30 minutes. I didn't see my friend. Later I got worried, now what to do.. One option was to go to his uncle's home directly.. after searching for another 30 minutes on platform, when I didn,t find my friend, I came out .. Had to asked many times to people around to reach to Park street and then to locate his uncle's house, but some how I reached at right place.. They knew me.. but Uncle said, He along with one more friend has gone to Howrah to pick you up.. Waiting waiting there till 9PM.. IrXXX came with sad mood to his uncle's house (He had not thought that I will reach here, rather he had thought that I didn't come).. When he saw me, He was so happy that I can't describe .. Says, Bhaisaab, I and my friend (Gave him your photo) and I was standing near engine and my friend was standing near last bogie, we searched you 2 hrs there .. we lost hope to find u and then came here .. wow .. too happy .. I went to Irxxx house, where He used to stay with his friend .. Don;t know when he ordered the cold drinks, As soon as we reached his room, cold drink came.. Later we went to a restaurant for Dinner..
Next day, we went to some ghaat, and some other places .. next day we went to Nikko park.. and then another day we went to Science museum.. We had great fun.. Full masti.. and no one knows in my family where I am.. I had got my Canon (Prima DX2, with roll) with me, and everywhere we took some snaps. I didn't know that there is a train named HaateBazare express from Sealdah (In kolkata only) to Katihar (Katihar is 40 Kms from Purnia, 1 hr journey then 2-3 hrs to reach my home). Some body asked my home, and when I said Purnia, then he said, you go by HaateBazaare express? I thought why not go to home only from here (Its like triangle, having one point as Patna, one as Kolkata and one as Katihar). So I decided to go to home on 6th evening, so that I will be at my home on 7th. On 6th noon, I had two finished camera rolls. IrXXX said, its possible to get the photo printed in 1 Hr. I said ,, really? Then we went to studio, and we got two sets of photo printed for these two rolls .. Like 70+ photos in two Konicka albums ..  IrXXX
came to drop me to Sealdah (8PM).. I had taken general ticket. There was so much rush in train,, that I almost gave up, and said I won;t be able to go home .. I remember IrXXX had said, you think this is your IIT exam and somehow get into the train.. once you get in you will reach home.. I tried my hard to get in and was succeeded with constant push by Irxxx.

Next day morning, I reached Katihar. Outside the station, there was a mini bus for Purnia. I got into that. As soon as I sit, I see my Maternal Uncle (Mama) is entering into same bus. He asked me, how come you are here? I had no words .. I can;t say that I am coming from Kolkata.. I said, I am coming from Patna (There are many trains from Patna to katihar).. I said I came by Capitol express. He exclaimed, Capitol reached before time? Then he says without me asking him, I had some work in Kolkata, just now came by Haate-
Bazaare express.. Well you know how I might have felt.. I reached home by 12PM on 7th.. Parents are amazed that, I had said that I will not come, but came.. I said, tuition was closed for last few days, so I came..

In evening times, my sister got the photo albums from my bag.. I was talking to my cousin MaXXX, and my sis came with the album, whose album is this? We started seeing this album, and I said, these pics are from Patna. My cousin says, I didn't know if there is any Nikko park in Patna? where is this ..I said, its newly opened in Baily road.. Somehow managed .. Till this date no one knows that I had been to Kolkata ..

3. When I was in 7th sem of engineering
I joined VEC bellary on 27th August 2001. My room number 54 (along with Rxxx and Bxxx) was most famous room for all masti and noises made by around 20 North Indian guys in our batch. One of my classmate G.Aditya Kalyan was very multi talented person. He could speak good English, had become friends with even seniors very quickly.. Though he was not very good in studies, He was one of the good friends in our group. I remember, One day he said, I can do anything for friends.. I asked am I ur friend, he said yes.. Can u do anything what I say? He said yes.. I don't know why, but I said can u break ur watch now (He had a nice golden color watch), I didn't even complete my sentence, and he threw the watch on wall in front of me .. watch was broken .. though I think, it was repaired later.. I personally had many differences with him as well, But missing you man .. Where r u..? I lost all contact with him .. Anyways, It was merely 1 month in campus, One day he came up with idea to do some one-act play (drama) for VTU youth fest 2001, to be held in KLES Belgaum for 3 days. It was going to be nice time .. no classes.. hotel stay .. good food.. So many events including singing, dance etc .. 120+ colleges to participate..

I got interested.. Pulled in Rxxx also.. But there was condition that only 25 students can participate from one college at max And there were many students who wanted to have this fun.. all free of cost.. So there was a selection process.. We had to parctice for the drama and show to lecturers (Who will come with us to Belgaum). Also, they wanted every candidate to try to participate in at least two events. Hence we three (Me, Aditya, and Rxxx) took part in Mime (In which whole body is covered in black, hands and face is
painted white and lips and eyes are painted red, and we need to demonstrate something meaningful story type, without touching anything, anybody Else's body and not even touching our two hands and do not open mouth). Well we gave our names.. Aditya came up with some script, wherein a drug dealer is trying to make students habituated of drugs, and then later using them for illegal activities.. The two students who gets involved heavily in these, one tries to stop using drugs, but other friend did not .. what happens to them .. there were other family members etc.. and what role I got was .. Drug dealer.. I did quite OK, and I heard some claps on my dialogues.. but we were not even in competitions.. There were so much better One-act plays done by other colleges.. Similarly I did mime, in which I was a thief (Not sure if audience understood that I am thief, but I knew that I am acting as thief.. He he .. ) Anyways, even this was not in race for the top three prizes.. We used to roam around and see various events and whenever our college was participating, we being fresher were making lot of noise.. One day there was small fight also with host college guys over one song "Who let the dogs out.." So after full 3 days of masti, we returned back to college.. Later I could not go to VTU youth fest, as I was not interested to go and also didn't wanted to spent time on practice. In
4th year (7th sem), we were the seniors.. Most of the classmates, Many juniors, lecturers knew us by now.. I don't remember exact date, but I think it was December 2004, There was another VTU youth fest in Bapuji college, Davangere. I and Rxx (yes same Rxxx, Aditya was not there in Bellary by then) saw the notice regarding this. Once while on the way to college we met Dxxx sir (Who is in-charge of the youth fest along with Sxxx sir), we said to Dxx sir, We heard this time fest is in Davangere.. We also want to go in that (It
was some 1 month before actual event). Sir said that, If you want to come, give your application with which event u want to come, form a group, do practice, show to us on a fixed date, and then we will see whether we can take u to fest or no .. I said, What sir, even for seniors, do we have to go through all these process, he had said yes.. That evening, we came to know our two class junior (close to us), Abxxx is taking part in the youth fest.. We said him, that we are also coming.. when he asked, which event, I said no idea.. This was 1 month back .. I had to go to various interviews outside bellary at times and was busy with studies.. Completely forgot about this event..

One fine day, We were celebrating birthday party of one of our friend Sxxx in some restaurant near Royal circle Bellary. I was present there along with Rxx, Mxx, Jxx and few others.. We had ordered lot of items for main course and many starters .. Starters were about to come, I got a call from Abxxx. He says, bus is about to lave from girsl hostel (fort area), where r u guys? U had said u r coming for VTU youth fest.. ? I saw Raxx, We both saw others, and said, we are going to Davangere.. Others said what about so much
orders.. We didn't listen anything and immediately we came to hostel (some 5 KMs). Fortunately we had NiXX's bike. I and Rxx came to room (We were roommates for all 4 years in college, and most of the times we stayed only two in triple bed room .. :) ) .. anyways, we didn't had a minute.. We were in chappals, Saw in cub-bard, there were few washed (unironed) clothes, put that in a bag, shouted to Pxxx (he has scooter) and DiXX (NiXX's bike) to drop us wherever we say. Now on bike, called to Abxxx, where are you, He said, we just now crossed Cantonment (almost outside bellary), we said to drive fast, and We almost did race with our college bus and stopped our Bikes close to bus. Bus driver knew us (Manju). He stopped the bus. We got into the bus, said thanks to Pxx and Dxx for dropping us..
Now we were in bus and we were going to Dvangere.. Both our lecturers didn't say anything.. Our names was nowhere mentioned (A list had to be sent to Bapuji with names of student, so that they can arrange the logistics accordingly).. Entire bus having 20+ students were stunned for quite some time ..They were thinking, we never saw these two guys practicing, how come they came directly.. No one is talking .. We only had to push to play antakshari.. Asked Driver to play loud music.. we did little bit dance as well.. It
was around 200+ KM drive. We reached Bapuji college at around 9.30 PM. When we reached, we were getting down with others.. Dxx sir stopped us. He said, Look I think you guys wanted to see the youth fest on your own, this was our college bus, and there is not a big deal if u used this to come here.. Now you need to make your own way.. you both can not come with us.. This was expected.. isn't it? I said, sir, we came in hurry, and we missed to take money with us. we thought we will take part in some event. Sir was not
agreeing and were very angry. We said, sir let us stay with you people at least for today night, tomorrow we will see. No No .. its not possible, He said. We were really not having much money (may be 100+ rs, Though we could have asked to other students).. We followed the group, sir is seeing us, but didn't say anything. Bapuji 's volunteer said, We were expecting your college to be here tomorrow morning (Some communication gap there), hence we can arrange the accommodation in our hostel dormitory, but we have noarrangements for dinner. You need to manage by your own. We were very hungry (Remember, we had missed the lunch party also). Our group went to one small restaurant. There, Sir ordered veg fried rice for everybody (Only this).. We went inside, took some other stuffs like some some Manchurian  cold drinks etc .. and said to the person there to count in the group.. When sir saw us having cold drinks, He thought we will pay for our bill, but we didn't .. Sir saw the bill asked about cold drinks.. saw us.. but paid the bill ..
We were silent .. Came to Bapuji's hostel.. we were front runners in choosing nice bed to sleep.. and slept nicely ..

Morning there was nice breakfast arranged by Bapuji college .. We also had along with the group.. After this we reached to Dxx sir.. We said, sir please see, if we can be accommodated in any event. As we had good (studious) reputation otherwise in from of Dxx sir, He said, Ok let me see .. but you guys should have told us earlier.. Anyways, there was two teams in quiz possible, and we had only one team. So we formed another team of three and wrote our name in the list. Also Raxxx was given role in dance (side artists, who picks if some props are thrown by dancers on stage).. Later, we went to registration counter, we managed to convince to enter our names in their already printed list.. and we were given an Identity card ..

We didn't had any event for our college on that day .. we roamed  bit .. had lunch (For lunch, for all students, coupon was given to sir. In place of giving all three days of coupon at once, he used to give one day's coupon in morning. He said, If I give all coupons to u guys, u will not even meet me in coming three days..) We were given stay at another hostel, which has 3 beds in each room. Each room's two keys were given to sir. Sir later distributed the keys, 3 person in each room. I and Rxx were in same room, but there was this third person. We asked him to adjust with another room (why he asked? because, we will be coming late in night and also u have ur friends in other room..) He took the bed, put on floor in another room (4 guys in one room) and we both got one room.. Now we were free.. had got food coupons for one day, no need to worry about roommate.. We were roaming all over Davangere.. We got our clothes pressed..
next day, we had our quiz.. I tried my best, but was disqualified in qualifying round itself..both our college teams were disqualified.. Now it was the debate competition.. From each college two participants were selected.. One had to talk for the topic for 5 mins and other had to speak against the topic.. Our college code was 44 (No one knew which college is which code, and it was kept anonymous till award ceremony on last day) Also, in I cards, in place of names, a,b,c,d were mentioned for a college. We got to know that our classmates Pxx and Jxx were participants.. but I heard both these guys having hot discussions . Due to some communication gap both of them had prepared in favor of the topic. and the topic was "Violence is not the solution for terrorism in Kashmir".. Both of them in favor of this, saying yes, there should not be any violence and peaceful talks are the only solution.. Now one is saying to other that, you talk against the topic. but no one is ready.. and suddenly Jxx says, I am leaving, you do whatever you want.. We tried to stop him, but he didn't stop and went outside the venue.. And it was announced that, next college is 44, be ready. So it meant we had 10 mins. First thing I did was, went to organizer and said, Sir, one of the participant is on the way, he will be here in 20 mins, could you please move our college code  44 by one. He agreed.
I said to Rxx, Bhaijee, you are good in English, why don't you go and say something for 5 mins, saying violence is the real solution.. Rxx says, you only go no.. We tried to push each other for 5 mins, and then I agreed to play the role of other participant, who as to speak agaist the motion. I took a paper and pen and jotted down few things like Ramayana-Ravan, Mahabharat-Kouravas, Indira Gandhi- operation blue star etc .. many things came in mind.. When our college turn cam, One Pxx said in favor.. Later I went on stage .. in front of me there are 100+ participants, 3 judges and many other people.. I forgot what all I had written on paper.. Started with "Lets say I don't understand French and you do not understand English, can we communicate, No .. These terrorists are like that only.. they do not understand the language of peace, they only know language of bombs and bullets.. They must be asked to surrender in a day, If not kill them all.. kashmir is ours and will remain ours .. I talked in high pitch and there were many applauds in the room.. When it was warning ring at 5 mins, then I remembered what I had written. But I concluded.. Though we didn't get any prize, my initiative was appreciated by all including lecturers. Later we had lots of another two days .. While coming back, we didn't had our college bus, so we had to go by public transport.. I and Rxx took charge of booking the tickets/seats in bus. We all came back to college happily..

Wow!! what a trip .. so many twists and turns.. It felt good to share these journey details.. Hope you enjoyed the journey along with me.. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My stint with interviews and my first job ..

In our college (VEC Bellary, now renamed to RYMEC Bellary), mostly, there was no On-Campus interviews, but we were called to other college for a combined off-campus selection. The first ever campus for which, our college was called was Infosys (@PDACE Gulbarga), and I was not eligible (I had 56% in 10th).. In that campus, 7 of my friends got selected .. There after, In most of the off-campus, I was eligible and I attended all of them .. remembering those days ..
Note : Some of the dates/happenings may be slightly incorrect, as its been almost 8 years now ..

1. Subex @ BVB Hubli (July 2004) : I along with many friends reached BVB Hubli (from Bellary) in early morning.. Place was bit crowded, so where do I take some rest?.. I got an idea.. I went to boys hostel, and asked someone, is there anyone from Bihar? And got referred to Sxxx and I rested sometime in his room.. and guess what? He knew one of my brother in Patna :) and Now He is friend of one of my colleague as well .. Well, I didn't know much about Pointers in C, and that is what was was asked in first round.. I was not selected, but one of my friend Rxx was selected there ..

2. iGate @ BVB Hubli (August 2004) : Was selected in aptitude test but later got rejected in interview. I think, no one from my college was selected...

3. Polaris @ Bapuji Davangere (October 2004) : Many of our friends went there .. Three of us were selected in 1st round.. later 2 of us got selected in GD .. and I was rejected in last round (interview) .. Interviewer asked, you are from ECE branch so why do you want to join software company? I had said, sir, actually there are not much job in hardware/vlsi/embedded domain, hence I am trying in software industry as well :) Sxx was selected there ...

4. Mascon @ Bapuji Davangere (November 2004) : I was selected in first two rounds along with one of my friend .. In interview round got rejected .. I thought I did very good .. my friend (Pxx) got selected.. I later talked to interview panel, and said, I answered all the question, but then why did you rejected me?.. I said, there is partiality going on between Bapuji students and VEC Bellary students..They considered and said, actually there was a tie between you an another student from Bapuji, and as he has better academics, he was selected, But let us take one more round for you both .. And that guy was called back, and was asked to go for another round.. To me, interviewer asked very tough questions on Java (He had complete reference in Java handy and was asking questions from book).. I was not selected .. The HR person gave me his business card and said, you come to Bangalore and meet me.. let me see If I can do something .. and for doing these all process, I had to stay one more night in Davangere..

5. Mistral @ Bapuji Davangere (December 2004) : I was selected in first two rounds (I think I was only one selected from my college), but again got rejected in interview.. I remember one funny thing happened during interview.. He asked me about some law, for which I said the overview (round about answer) and then added, sir actually, it was one year back I had studied this subject, hence forgot the statement.. He said, boss you studied this subject in 6th sem ..few months back .. :)

6. Integra micro @ BEC Bagalkot (December 2004) : This was interesting .. There was 5 day state level VLSI training workshop by Sandeepani/Xilinx in my college, and I was active volunteer (Arranging the stay for various faculties from various engineering colleges across Karnataka and other help required). Along with volunteering, I was also taking the course as well.. On 4th day around 12 PM, I got this info that there is campus in BEC bagalkot (Had no idea how to go there) tomorrow morning .. I rushed to bus stand, and somehow reached to Bagalkot .. I was selected in first round along with one of my senior (Sxx) .. It was late evening, when I had second round, where in I could choose between Java and C++, and had to write 1 big program..I selected C++ and it was gone .. both of us were not selected ..

7. Sutherland @ VEC Bellary (Jan 2005) .. Yes!! this was in campus .. I was selected in 1st round.. second round was to give speech for few minutes on some topic .. I was rejected.. I think my friend Hxx was selected ..

On 19th feb 2005, I came to Bangalore along with Tilak.. searched room in one day, and next day my other project mate (and room mate and my best buddies Rajesh and Dinakar) also came.. We had to do project in BHEL bangalore, and also one more project on VHDL/CPLD in BCE(?) consultancy in Mathekere, Bangalore .. And here comes few more interview failures ..
I do not remember, If I gave 1-2 interview till my engineering got over on June 10, 2005 ... We used to travel to Bellary in between for few days for various assignments, seminar, project, internals and main exams.. I joined NIIT Vijaynagar for J2EE course .. and the classes were started on 14th June 2005.. I met here with Ramesh and Fatima .. Also, few other friends like Vishwas, Rohit, Vijay were doing course here, but in different batches.. I had to change two bus from Srinagar to reach Vijaynagar..
There was a south India C++ competition (for NIIT students only) and I was second !! (Wow C++ ? ..). There was another competition to design two Java projects 1. Calculator 2. sql query analyzer .. I got second prize in that also.. I remember working whole night for this project (Yes!! whole night and then next day class ..) .. My course got over in August 2005, and as promised, NIIT had provided few campus interviews.. In between I wrote few other PSU exams.. I don't exactly remember which interview was provided through NIIT

8. NTPC @ Bangalore (March 2005) - Was not selected in written test..

9. UPSC (IES) @ Bangalore (June 2005) - Was not selected in prelims...

10. ISRO @ Bangalore (June 2005) - Got selected in written test (for Scientist post) and there was only one interview, which if selected I could have been a scientist and could have been part of Chandrayan !! but alas!! There was something very interesting here also ..

I had my interview in ISRO office (in August 2005) @ Airport road Bangalore at around 11 AM.. In morning I had prepared all the documents in a file folder and I had kept interview call letter in my pocket .. When I reached the venue (@9.30 AM), I realized I forgot the file in home only .. fortunately, my friend Rajesh was at home .. I called him and asked to bring the file ASAP (It takes 1 Hr+ to reach airport road from Srinagar) .. He reached in 1 hr.. and then when I was about to enter for interview, I was told I need to submit few document photocopy, (which I didn't have!). I got it from ISRO office only (You can imagine how hard it would have been to convince and get a photocopy in so secured ISRO office !!) .. Earlier, I had inquired and found one of my distant relative's relative working in ISRO bangalore, I had got his number and had asked him about interview format .. But still, when I saw 10+ people in big interview room, I was probably frightened by the bombardment of questions and could not answer satisfactorily .. and I was not selected here also ..

11. Sonata @ Bangalore (July 2005) - I think I was rejected in second round here ..

12. HP @ Bangalore (August 2005) - Was rejected in interview round..

13. Texas @ Bangalore (August 2005) - Was rejected in second round .. I vaguely remember, they had offered Free Lunch @ Texas, Bagmane tech park cafeteria ..

14. iFlex @ Bangalore (August 2005) - Was rejected in first round (Don't remember exactly If I was selected in first round here)

15. AztecSoft @ Bangalore (September 2005)- Was rejected in second round ..

16. IBM @ MVJ college, whitefield (was provided by NIIT) (October 2005) -- Was selected in written test along with Bishwas, but I was rejected in interview round, and Bishwas got selected ..

I am missing two other companies for which I wrote the test .. then there was 19th Campus interview by NIIT @ Richmond road for Afila Tech .. Before this something very important .. just to understand my situation and context ..
It was in Feb 2004, I had gone to my home (Purnia, Bihar), after 5th sem exam. and because off-campus was supposed to happen between the semesters, I didn't go to home till October 2005.. It was very very frustrating period (I being one of the top 3 student @ my college, and doing so much hard work in Java/J2EE, is not getting job and that too getting rejected in last round..)
My family asked me to come home for Deewali (on 1 Nov 2005) and I had taken ticket to go to home on 26th October .. I was sad, that I will be going to home after 1.8 years without a job .. and then suddenly, there was this off campus from Afila on 22nd October..

19. Afila @ Bangalore (provided by NIIT on 22nd October 2005) : I cleared written test .. and then was called fro GD (It was next day!! I remember arguing with Mahesh - who also got selected later on the topic given "Should the compiler fix the errors as well in place of just reporting it?)" and you know what was my argument "No... somethings should be left for humans to do .. If everything will be done by computer then what software engineers will do !! .. and also added, computer can never be as intelligent as human.. whereas most of the candidates were supporting it, by saying it can be done ..its benefit and how it can be achieved.. One more funny thing happened .. our CEO Amar mutt (I didn't know that) had announced the successful candidates name (Of course, I was one of them, You know that!!).. and after that, I asked him, Sir, May I know your name.. He said Amar, I asked, May I know your designation, and He said He is CEO of this company with big smile :) ..
Well, offer was not made on 23rd, as HR round was left .. HR round happened on 24th Where Rxx (HR Manager) took my interview and offered me ... I simply took the offer letter and went to bath room and cried a lot .. I didn't bother about salary offered as 8500 (stipend for 2 months), didn't bother that its testing role in networking field, didn't bother that joining date is 26th October (When I had to go home after 1.8 Years!!) .. Came out, called my mom and informed .. called Vineet and Rajesh and informed .. when I reached room, I see Vineet has already come to my room with sweets.. I was very happy .. But then suddenly I realized, I want to go home now.. I was fearing that, If I will ask to extend the joining date (I was scheduled to come back in Bangalore on 13th November), they may hire someone else and I might get rejected .. But somehow I called to HR (Rxx) and said this story .. she said, not a big deal . but don't delay it by mid Nov, you join on 7th November .. I said Fine .. And luckily I got the return ticket, so that I could reach Bangalore on 6th Nov.. and then I joined Afila on 7th November 2005 ..
It was a great day !! Thanks Amar .. Thanks Afila .. Without you, I have not been here, where I am today!!