Saturday, November 27, 2010

~The Extended Family~!!!

Attending and blogging about the session(In my company) of Dr.Pawan on The Mumbai Dabbawala's reminded me of our very own Dabbawala back in Bhilai and the extended family.

Yep, you read right - Extended Family!

Starting with Dabbawala, am sure most of you would have been impressed by the way the Mumbai Dabbawala's are functioning. Awed by the details of their routine etc and how they work it out as an organization and equally wondering why they don't expand their service beyond Mumbai!

From the day I have been in Chennai, I never saw a Dabbawala here. Somehow I had always assumed that there would be Dabbawala's in every city just like we had in Bhilai. I came to Chennai and made this observation even before Prince Charles visited India and the Mumbai Dabbawala's and they became famous!

So the general talks about Dr.Pawan about the Dabbawala's didn't surprise me as I have seen many like them in action. The only difference would be that in Mumbai, its an organization and in Bhilai, we had 3-4 Dabbawala's covering certain regions. One more difference would be that in Mumbai they depended on Public transport(mainly local trains) and in Bhilai, it was their own cycles.

Many people wonder why the Mumbai Dabbawala's don't expand! Well to my best knowledge - the way things work in Mumbai can never be found in any other city for them to suit their way of working and certainly if they expand, the same charm and effect of their work would reduce! Another thing is that there are Dabbawala's in many places in India, especially in North India.

The Extended Family -

The bell rings at 11.30 AM sharp coinciding with the sound of clatterings of spoons from the kitchen. Mother is furiously packing the lunch and keeping it in Dabba when the Dabbawala rang his bicycle bell, indicating his arrival. He would come near the doorstep with his smiling face as my mother would rush to give the dabba to him and he would leave to resume his 10 kms stretch which had to be covered with 20 more halts in between to ensure that those Dabba's reached the hands of the rightful owner by Lunchtime. Then he would take a break before resuming his return journey to give back those dabba's back to its respective houses.

As I attended the Dabbawala session, I was reminded of this Dabbawala's whose name I have never known and from the Day I know, he had been collecting the dabba from my house and had the same cycle and used to come without fail, be it summer,rainy or winter season. He hardly took leave and whenever he took, he would inform us earlier!

He was a simple guy who earned very less but never complained or showed any kind of feelings. He would always have a smile in his face.

He is a part of the Extended family!

Dabbawala, Milkman, Postman, Dhobi, The vegetable vendor, The grocery shopkeeper, medical guy store and last but not the least Maid of the house.

They all are a part of the extended family who are not related to you but are a prt of your life who know whats happening in your life and are always loyal to you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Land of Festivities! :)

"Ma, What is a festival?" - asked a eleven year old boy to his mother as she finished puting rangoli.

She looked at him with warm eyes and said - "Festival means Celebration".

Son looked at his mother and asked - "What is celebrated?"

She smiles at him and says "Different things"

He asks her - "What different things?"

She makes him sit next to her and asks him - "Pongal,Diwali,Holi etc"

He immediately asks - "Christmas?"

She looks at him bewildered. Then immediately smiles and nods her head saying - "Yes, Christmas too".

He again asks - "Then Eid?Why don't we celebrate it? Anwar celebrates!"

She looks at him lovingly and tells - "We celebrate Eid too by wishing Anwar and his family and many others"

But he is not convinced - "Why doesn't Anwar celebrate diwali?"

She replies - "Anwar also celebrates holi by playing wth colors and diwali by bursting crackers along with us. Everyone celebrates everything, my son."

He thinks for a moment and asks - "But why do we celebrate all this?"

She looks at him and smiles at his infinite Why questions.
She replies - "Beta, Each festival has its own significance. Anwar is muslim. Joseph is Christian and You are Hindu. Each of these religions have a set of celebrations based on some reason."

He stares at her.

She smiles and gives him a sweet.

He asks - "Why different festivals for all 3 of us"

She patiently replies - "Because you are born in different families with different religions".

He asks - "What different festivals, Anwar celebrates?"

She replies - "Beta, he celebrates Bakriid,Eid-ul-fitr, Muharram etc. Each of them have significance in their religion. For example - Bakriid is a day celebrated for sacrifices, Eid-ul-fitr is for the last day of Ramzaan which is an auspicious month in Muslim Calendar. They have rituals for these festivals and for others like this.

"Joseph celebrates Christmas,Birth of Jesus Christ.Easter, feast of Resurrection ie Jesus returns back to life. Good Friday is to observe the death of Jesus."

"We celebrate various festivals. Among us also, people have different ways to celebrate different festivals". For Example - Diwali is festival of lights, Holi is festival of colrs, Rakshabandhan is festival for siblings. Durga Pooja/Navrathri is for Goddess Durga. Pongal is celebrated in South during harvesting season. Many more festivals like these are celebrated in various parts of India."

He keeps staring at her and shrugs.

She smiles at him and tells him - "As you grow up you will understand. Keep listening to stories what your grand parents tell"

He snatches another sweet from her and starts running towards the door saying - "Google is there na :P"

She could hear him shouting Anwar's name to play.

She walks into her room and hears the news on in TV. Reports on Bomb blast by terrorist. Reports on honor killing. Reports on communal tensions at some place.
She thinks back at what she told her son.Despite all this still we Indians celebrate everything with each other!

She hears a sound outside. Cracker bursting has started again! She gets prepared to distribute Diwali sweets in her neighbourhood starting with Joseph and Anwar's house!

India is a diverse land. A land of Unity.
Truly, A Land of Festivities!
P.S - this is post written for a competition is internal blog
P.P.S - If we start reading about the different festivals, you will be amazed by the significance of each and every one of them and the belief with which they are celebrated. If you want to know and don't know yet, Go and google ;) Else ask elders :D