Friday, August 20, 2010


I came here 7 days back. Technically a part of my 'sasural'. I was a bit jittery before I landed. I met Susmita (Lizoo) on the Raipur airport. We had taken flights ten minutes apart. She is my sis-in-law Niharika's close friend. We were both headed to Niharika's house in Mahasamund. It is a district with a population of around 10 lac people in the state of Chhattisgarh. Almost an hour's drive from the state capital Raipur.

We were pretty excited about attending the 15th August Independence day parade here. Having grown up in small towns, we instantly connected to the place and each other. For the next two days there would be no 2 idle minutes. We talked so much!

On 15th Aug we got up and started getting ready. I realised I had put on too much weight and was in no condition to do justice to the blouse, let alone the Saree. Lizoo and Niharika geared up in their finery. They carry Sarees with so much ease and elan that it's no mystery why they started the 'Magic of Sarees' group on FB. If you get a chance do join in. It's fab!

The parade started with Mantri ji taking 'Salami' in a Jeep. Niharika stood to his left. The children would look up to her...literally! After the Salami, started the cultural show. Students doing PET, dancing, took us all back to our own childhood. It had been a very very long time since I saw the Parade in a small town. The do-it-yourself costumes, an assorted songs tape being played, the dancing...everything took me back to my school days. And then the National Anthem. Nothing can be as overwhelming as 'Jana Gana Mana'. (Never mind the fact that it was written for King George). It epitomises all the patriotic sentiments that make the sum total of us at this moment.

There were march pasts. They are my favourite. May it be the Republich Day Parade on Raj Path in Delhi or a Scouts & Guides drill, march pasts fill one up with pride for the different services that make up this huge fabric of uniformed personnel. It's a pity when people out rightly belittle them for the faults of a fraudulent few. Sometimes one needs to be in the system to clean the system. Sitting on the fence and throwing stones is no good sense.

The evening was even more fun. There was a colony
tree plantation drive. Everyone was invited and given teak saplings. Withing an hour, plain flat land looked like it had magically sprouted soooooo many trees. In Anagha & Niharika's words 'This is Hope!'.

We went to attend a cultural programme put together by local talent after the plantation. There were quite a few memorable ones but the best were a rock band called 'Rythm Divine'. They sang so well. Their lead singer Shubham Sarkar had even made it to the Indian Idol! The Chhatisgarhi dance was put together very well too. The girls belonged to a village near Sirpur. They looked so strong and well tones! I remembered my mom saying " घर का काम करो, gym जाने की क्या ज़रुरत है? " They danced with joyous abandonment only the super confident possess.

I had met Maahira once, last November. She is my niece. She was a quiet, observant little toddler. This time was a total transformation! Patar patar non stop fun things she utters. For the first time someone called me 'Mami'. I like it :) She goes 'Mami Mami....' and then says whatever she has to. I told her I was leaving in 3 days time. She insisted I stay for a few more days....and then suddenly as if remembering something she said " ok you go in 3 days....deepu mamu will get bored otherwise....he will have to watch television all alone on saturday & Sunday".
I leave in three days. How time flies!
I don't want to leave but I must. I had come here to meet relatives. In these 8 days...didn't know how they turned into friends. Relatives you can leave behind, but with friends - you leave behind a bit of you and carry a bit of them with you.



  1. "Relatives you can leave behind, but with friends - you leave behind a bit of you and carry a bit of them with you."

    Very well said, Vandana :)

    Thank u for letting us know about your stay in Chattisgarh

  2. Vandu, I want to know more about your sister-in-law! You told me that she is the District Collector there. Right? I am so proud of her! So tell tell....?

  3. miharika madam i miss you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Hiiiiiiiiii Niharika mam aap kaha ho... aap ke bina msmd suna ho gaya hai.. We are missing u...


  5. Hiiiiiiiiii Niharika mam kaha ho aap aapke bina msmd suna ho gaya hai.. we are very missing u..



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