Having been born and brought up in Allahabad in UP , I have always been a Probashi Bangali, a term used to refer to Bengalis who live outside Bengal. Though I do have friends and relatives in and around Kolkata. ..I have never stayed there myself. My bangla may not compare with those staying in the heart of Bengal …nonetheless I consider myself to be a diehard Bengali.
My connection and love for the rich culture and language grew while as a five year old we settled down in the oldest bangali paras (residential colony) in Allahabad ie Colonelganj which had a huge bengali population. To top it my mamar badi (maternal uncles along with a host of dadus and didas) stayed in another Bengali dominated para ie Lukerganj. I grew up taking part in Bengali dance dramas organised on the occasion of Durga poojo…taking part in various competitions organised for the kids of the colony on Saraswati poojo…attending Poila Boisakh (bangali new year) functions. ..Kobi Gurus death and birth anniversary functions etc. The icing on the cake was when Ma took me to Swapna pishi ….one of the stalwarts in music in our para for music lessons. ..it was there that I picked up Rabindra sangeet and it was she who taught us to read and write Bangla. Once she saw us writing down the lyrics of a Tagore song in Hindi and from that day on she asked us to come half an hour early for Bangla lessons as well. Those were the days and such were the gurus. She not only took pains to teach us the language .she used to make us write essays from home and checked the correctness of spelling and grammar.
This saree is a tribute to her soul as she recently left for her heavenly abode. I picked it up from Kolkata. It epitomises the quintessential bengali soul and their love for music and literature. The saree has musical keys which remind me of my music classes where Swapna pishi played the harmonium and the letters in Bangla remind me of her bangla lessons. May her soul rest in peace . This is a tribute to one of my Gurus just before Gurupurnima. I wish my daughters could get a guru like her.
PC: Jhilik and Rhea. Both of them wanted me to post their respective clicks