BENGALURU: For most Bengalis in the city, homesickness might hit hard the coming week. While most professionals avail leave for Durga Puja, they are left with none for other special occasions, one of which is Poila Baishakh. The new year falls on April 15 and in order to help Bengalis feel more at home, Samhati Bhattacharjya founded Ananda Mela, a group that celebrates Bengali festivals in the city. “The celebration will have a cultural programme, a drama and specialities, including Roshogolla and Malai Chomchom, sourced from popular outlets,” said Bhattacharjya.
Even as Bengaluru celebrates Ugadi today, other communities here are gearing up to bring in their new year with equal pomp. Like android developer Priyam Saikia, who came to the city from Assam at the end of 2015, knew her new year celebrations would be incomplete without finding a dance troupe that performs the traditional dance for Bihu. An internet search led her to the Assam Society of Bangalore. “I hail from Sivasagar, where the Bihu dance originates from. When I celebrate with them, I forget that I’m not in Assam,” says Saikia.
For Supriya Ghorpade, who runs House of Ghorpade, a gourmet catering service, Gudi Padwa is incomplete without heirloom dishes that have stayed in the family for generations. This year, she will take on the task of cooking mutton biryani, pork pickle and prawn pickle for her family. While her grandmother used to take charge of the preparations, Ghorpade is glad she has the recipes collected by her to rely on. “My parents have grown up eating the mutton biryani. The meat has to be slow-cooked for an hour,” she explains, adding that since the masalas are ground at home, the flavour is unique to her family.
Stroke of luck
Vishu on April 15 will begin with looking at a mirror in the puja room first thing in the morning, for Aarathi Ajit, which is said to bring good luck. But what Ajit is looking forward to most is the ritual where older members of the family hand over money to younger members. “It always contains a coin too for good luck,” she says.
Reviving good old days
Shobha Kalro, president of the Bangalore Ladies Chapter of the Sindhi Council of India, says Cheti Chand celebrations focus on bringing everyone together to preserve the culture. The programme will be held at Sindhi High School, Hebbal. Interestingly, since Sindhis worship a water god, instead of a regular cake, a fish shaped cake filled with mawa (a dairy product) will be made.
Kalro and other senior members of the council fear the loss of the language and are trying their best to prevent it. “Most youngsters converse in Hindi or English. So we made sure to incorporate a dance-drama that has a mix of Sindhi music and Bollywood songs to appeal to them,” she says.