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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sanskriti Durga Puja, 2012

Experimenting with fonts. The Autumn Goddess

I got acquainted with in Feb 2012 while attending Natya Mela in Pleasanton, CA. One of the organizers, RB, had a good chat with us before the play 'Tiktiki' (by Re-Act, Durgabari-Houston) began and I offered to volunteer if they needed any help for their events. I was away in Portland during their Indian Classical Music and Dance Festival in July, but did what I could to promote it in the social media. I was told the event was a success and the event tickets were sold out. That made me very happy.

Soon, it was that time of the year that makes every Bengali miss home- Sharadiya (Autumnal, in the months of Sept -Oct) Durga Puja .Each year Goddess Durga descends on Earth from her heavenly abode to visit her father. It is a time of going home, visiting your folks. It is nostalgia in the most excruciating form for what you have left behind. At least, I used to feel very homesick around that time of the year, though I have learned to call someplace else as my ‘home’ now. 

This year, RB contacted us for the purpose of their annual Durga Puja (Venue: Centerville Junior High School, Fremont, CA). SG volunteered for the decorations on Fri, I was supposed to help PDB with the cultural events on Sat. We stayed home on Sun for a prior commitment. On Fri, however, I accompanied SG to see if I could be of any use. I arranged chairs in front of the stage, and helped with decorating the pandal.

Setting up on Fri

I have had several experiences organizing events before- at school, college, job, university- in that order. However, when we performed as kids, our teachers took care of us. My first stage performance was a Japanese dance in kindergarten at Town Hall. I was sad because my Dad couldn’t make it. I still feel the same when my parents aren’t around to see me do something I find great joy in.  When I mediated an Inter-school quiz in +2, my other classmates had taken care of most of the other stuff. It has always been a team effort- like the way it is supposed to be.

Undergrads was different, it was enough if we could get to practice for culturals between class schedules. During my first job, however, department parties were a piece of cake. I knew everyone, they knew me. It was a close group and they forgave the outrageous party games I devised when they all had a good time. During my tenure as the VP Marketing for Graduate Business Association in my B-school, all I had to do was introduce myself during the orientation of a new graduate class, answer their questions, and represent GBA on events the President was unable to attend. The easiest part of the job was creating an event and promoting it. Social media is a blessing and it is a good time to be a marketer.

This event was new for me- because it was the first Durga Puja I had volunteered for. The decorations for the pandal, seeing the green room behind the stage after what feels like ages, dancing to the beat of dhaak, sorting certificates of appreciation, queuing up the kids in order of their performances, compering for the guest artists- it became a very eventful event. I felt like turmeric in Bengali cuisine- omnipresent. But I was also glad that I still have so much to learn. And I met such wonderful people.

 Interestingly, the priest(Purohit) is an IIT KGP alumnus

 Jamini Roy inspired decor

 SG playing Dhaak. Video here
Dhunuchi naach video here

Dancing during Sandya Aarati


 A Kathak recital

Pallavi- a rhythmic pure dance form . Choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra 

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people with similar interests, while doing what you like to do. Volunteer.

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