Why I mention Ramadan or is it Ramzan, is because I have been always very impressed with the fasting, the rigors of sacrifice and self-control involved in that month of intense heat and scorch. When we were little and barely knew to spell "religion" our parents uttered the word "Ramzan" with hushed reverence. Reverence for Maulbi Saab who shut the green doors of his store the entire afternoon for he fasted and went without water in the searing heat and needed rest. For my classmate's parents who worked through the day and dealt with three kids without a morsel of food to sustain them until sunset. The whole idea of abstinence from food and water seemed huge, looming large above anything they might have done during that period. In those times, Iftar or the fast-breaking meal was less glorified and it was the fasting during Ramadan that held all the attention.
Paryushana is a word I heard only recently from here. And this after we spent years being neighbor to a Jain Aunty who made the best stuffed red chili pickles in the Universe.If you are ignorant like me, it is a Jain festival when the laity take on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism.This is the time when the wandering monks take up residence for the monsoons and so the householders immerse themselves in an annual renewal of faith by meditation and self-control.The last day of the festival you ask for forgiveness from all living beings as I understand.
Very apt and fulfilling it seems, to come together for a purpose, to live a few days trying the body and mind to strict submissiveness, channeling thoughts for a greater purpose maybe.On the aside, two of my fellow bloggers a hiker and a yoga-er have already tried their body and mind in greater ways, and so it does not necessarily have to do anything with religion or festivals.
When I mulled over these two festivals from two very different religions it is the self-control that they profess to practice for a few days every year fascinated me. I do not come from a fasting household. My Mother does have her quota of vratas and fasts but none of them ask to go without food for the entire day or for a consecutive period of days.If I try to go 12 hours without food, my Mother thinks I have become weak.Mr.Hazare is clearly not her type.
As an adult on my own I have never practiced total abstinence from food or anything else willingly. Here we will ignore severe bouts of stomach flu when one eats Phuchka and egg roll on their Calcutta jaunt. This year I wanted to spend a few days practicing to eat one meal a day, to spend my day not thinking of food(my usual hobby) and cooking but something beyond myself.Sure sign that I am fast approaching the age for Vanaprastha.
DebiPoksho begun yesterday on Mahalaya. The Goddess is packing her last sari in the suitcase and checking to see if the door locks are working properly, after all she will be away for all five days and that husband, Shiva of hers is hardly trustworthy with such things. The countdown to her arrival has begun. It is a moment of anticipation and joy in the heart of the many Bengalis around the globe.On my part I will try to eat only one meal a day for these four days till Panchami. No one has asked me to do this, there is no set rule and I don't know why I am doing this at all. Heck, I might not be even able to do it and succumb to that bar of chocolate mid morning.
I have no intention to achieve anything but I hope this period will make me appreciate food and everything else that is easily available to me more.
Since it is that time of the year when the heart sings a tune even though there is no swaying kashful in sight or damp sheuli their face upturned waiting for me on the wet morning grass, I want to share the song with you. For you alone my Blog Readers who have always been with me all these years, I have a humble gift.
For the simple reason that I do not have enough riches (ha, ha), there can be only one winner and the winner of this Giveaway gets a choice to pick a
CorningWare SimplyLite 1-1/2-Quart Casserole with Glass and Plastic Lids (this I have and love) from here
OR a Le Creuset Stoneware 16-Ounce French Onion Soup Bowl, Kiwi (This I would love to have) from here
** This is if Amazon ships to where you live
If you do not want the above gifts and you are a winner, you will get the equivalent amount in Amazon Gift Card.
For those in India, I have a gift of a much loved book. I will send it from Flipkart so you have to be where they can ship.
Garlic And Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise(Paperback) by Ruth Reichl
If you do not want this book you will get a Flipkart e-voucher for the equivalent amount.
The winner of the giveaway also has a responsibility. He/She gets to pick a charity they support and I will contribute $50 towards that charity (given that it is valid and all). It is okay if you at least like the work of a certain charity and would like me to contribute towards it.
So to be part of this giveaway you need to do the following
1.Leave a comment on this post along with your e-mail id
2.Tell me since when you read this blog and a charity you think does good work
Go ahead now and do your part. If you follow me on OR , you have to leave a comment right here to be considered for the Giveaway
And as they say over the Loudspeaker दुर्गा पूजा की हार्दिक शुभ कामना or দূর্গা পুজোর অনেক শুভেচ্ছা or tepid as it sounds in English Happy Durga Pujo
*** And oh yeah, No one has sponsored these gifts and all of them are paid by me because I love you so***