New Jersey Durga Puja 2009 : A Review

Durga Protima Kallol of New JerseyFinally the annual Durga Puja celebrations are over. I was mostly present at the Kallol pujo but also paid (no pun intended) short visits at the Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Anandamandir. Kallol, just like the previous year, had a full house and had to turn away several people. In one of my previous blogs I had requested, rather wished, that Kallol provide a daily ticket for people who would like to come in for a day. However, for whatever reasons, Kallol decided on the contrary and the result was that I had to listen to complaints from several disappointed friends and family.  Well, rules are rules – that’s what I said.

This year I did something which I never did before. I dropped in on Thursday evening – and it was real fun. There was no pressure of showing the badge, no parking tags, no stress about reserving seats with shawls and jackets and no celebrities on stage to pay attention to. While the volunteers were busy setting up the idol and the kids busy rehearsing on the stage, I had a good time chatting with  friends. For once, after a long time, I had the pleasure of pure Pujo adda – completly unadultered fun. I think we should, at least informally, start the festivities from Thursday – just to prolong the enjoyment for few more hours. Continue reading

Gas and Us

Couple of years ago, I wrote an article on how to save gasoline by changing some of our driving habits. I have republished the article again with the faint hope that it may help us again. I say “faint hope” because whatever we could have saved has been wiped out by this record price increase. These days I am taking a more philosophical approach towards this disaster, and this resulted in a new play “Baad Protibaad”. Well, don’t be scared, since “Baad Protibaad” is not a philosophical play at all (unless you really try hard to dig out the trace amounts from deep within the characters). It is just a humorous take on the effects of the gas price increase on us, the Bengalees.
The word “Gas” has some special connotation to us the Bengalees. But now, it almost means our life blood. And when this important part of our existence in this country is threatened, how do we react?
“Baad Protibaad” is a short play, produced in an audio play format. The play will be broadcast on EBC Radio, 1170 AM on Sunday, June 22nd, in the Bengali program air slot – “Probaha” hosted by Abhijit Sanyal at 10am in the morning. The play is produced by ECTA Inc. Following are the detailed credits:

“Baad Protibad”
A Hilarious Play in Bengali by Sudipta Bhawmik

Produced by ECTA Inc.
Directed by Indranil Mukherjee
Subhodev Das as Ashok
Aparajita Das as Kakoli
Indranil Mukherjee as Soumen
Anisha Das as Jhimli

Recorded and mixed at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra, NJ, Studio by Partha Sarathi Mukherjee
Edited by Partha Sarathi Mukherjee and Indranil Mukherjee
Music and effects by Partha Sarathi Mukherjee.

And please remember to come to ECTA’s mini theater festival on June 28th and 29th at the Edison Valley Playhouse, in Edison, NJ. If you like the above play, I am sure you’ll love the plays at the festival.

Saving Gas

One of the key advantages of living in the United States was cheap gasoline and the joy of driving. But it seems that it will soon become a luxury of the past. Gas prices are going through the roof, and we are all suffering. The trouble is, the fundamental requirement to live in the suburbs is to be able to drive a car. We do not have a rickshaw stand nearby where we can walk to and hop into a human driven (absolutely green) vehicle and merrily coast to the local grocery store. It will be a major human rights issue if someone even dreams of such an entrepreneurial venture. Hence we have no other option other than trying to save on gasoline costs. Continue reading