Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Domestic Violence- An act of disgrace

In this world of rapid growth, modernization and development, the question is, are we really progressing? Can any civilization grow without an open mind, without equality of sexes? The growth that we are witnessing is it pseudo? Frankly, I believe this so called perpetual growth that the world is rejoiced to witness, is nothing but virtual. The human civilization which had started off on the basis equal status of the sexes, has boiled down to an ugly society where household is the most unsafe place for a woman. We talk of rape, acid attacks and other heinous crimes against woman but what about domestic violence? When a girl returns within the secured walls of her house is she secured? Is anybody to be trusted? I guess the answer is NO. Atrocities on women are more within the walls than outside. And scarily the stats speak so only on the basis of the ones reported; while many others go unreported, unseen and un-sympathized. A disturbing toll indicated that the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012, was only half the number of American women murdered by their male partners during that time. This gruesomeness is not limited to any particular stratum of the society, who is unaware of the infamous case of Chris Brown’s domestic brutality against Rihanna. Like all other countries of the world, this loathsome crime in India is a roaring reality. But the difference here is the social stigma attached. A major number of cases go unreported due to the fear of loosing social status. It is said, that for every woman who complains there is a one who suffers in silence. There is a culture of silence that surrounds it, like parents pushing their daughters back to abusive husbands on the name of compromise.

Niti came to see her ailing mother in her village; it was seven months since she was married away to Rishabh, a Mumbai based businessman. She was once a bubbly girl, but the girl that came was very strangely different. Her smile was pale and evidently fake. Her eyes were lifeless. Rishabh was rich and was bearing the expense for her mother’s treatment. She was indebted to him. If he would not have extended his hand in aid, her mother would have died.  But nothing comes free. Niti had marks here and there on her body. Her mother was not alien to those, but she preferred to be blind. The drugs reduced her pain and she feared it might come back again.

Rajiv returned from office drunk and doped, he opened the bedroom door, turned on the music and what followed next was a series of blows. His belt was tired hitting the young girl sitting helplessly on the floor, who hoped for an iota of mercy. But Rajiv was not, the alcohol and drugs gave him extra strength, strength to make her suffer. She took the cruel blows for months, but eventually Sunita revolted and seeked law. Thankfully her parents cared more for her pain rather than societal status and stood by her. Now she leads a decent life, with her head held high.

The above stories and characters are fictitious but the situations are not. In India the toll of reported domestic violence has increased drastically, which is good and bad alike. The surrounding cloud of silence has slowly evaporated and at the same time it is alarming to come to terms with the hard reality.
Taken from Wikipedia on Domestic violence in India National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutesThis all occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act ."
With a world full of opportunities, there is no place for a woman to save her honour. How long will the naked dance of destruction, destruction of body and soul continue? Neither I know the answer nor you. When Salman Khan abuses Katrina Kaif, that is news. But after a few words of sympathy, Salman is again worshipped by millions. It shows neither we have symapthy for the victim nor anger for the abuser. Then again there are million of Katrina's taking the abuse of more violent Salmans every day. Where is the end? No one will bring transformation, if we women don't act judiously and keep on enduring. It is important to know that your partner is a abuser, read the following article: Know the pattern, Recognise the abuser and later take steps to save your dignity and life. The society does not make us, we make the society, don't give in to bourgeoisie. Live with your head held high. STOP THIS SHIT!
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Saturday, 28 March 2015


Make My Trip, 
a name I thought was apt for a travel planner. Why? Because in today's fiercely fast lives, vacations are much more than mere travel to exotic locales round the globe. Besides monetary investments, humongous amount of emotions are invested to making a trip. Hence it is paramount to make the trip and make it large. Such that the memories created are etched for a life time and preserved with care.

Beautiful Ladakh

My first trip with Make My Trip (MMT) was to nature’s magnum opus Ladakh. The cold desert is bestowed with beauty enough to be called epitome of natural extravagance. However it is a tough travel destination especially for the older. Due to exorbitant height, asphyxiation or breathlessness is a common problem. Besides availability of food and other consumer goods is sparse in the region. In winters the temperature is too low for tourists and the place remains mostly devoid of human.

The first noticeable part of Make My Trip is the tour itinerary provided as you open their site with every tour plan. It creates of vivid picture of what is in store. It was their team who emailed us the pros and cons of the Ladakh trip, including probable issues of health. As Ladakh is a cold desert, all sorts of luxury are not expected to be available there. But team MMT provided us with details of what will be and what will not be. Hence we could judge how the vacation was going to turn out to be.

We at Delhi Airport

Starting right from Delhi airport, team MMT was doing their job just right. When we reached Leh airport a driver was waiting for us and two other couples. We are indebted to MMT for introducing us to them, as today they are amongst the best of our buddies and people we count upon. It is commendable that MMT did not make random groups. They teamed people of similar age and apparently or supposedly similar tastes too. This is crucial, because I firmly believe that great vacation recipes is hugely impacted by the like mindedness of co travelers and hence congratulate MMT for keeping this is mind.

View from Flight

Our Group with our assigned Driver Phunsuk Wangdu

A lazy moment

The rest of the vacation was well spent with the magnificence of Himalayan and Karakoram ranges in the vicinity. With the outlandish and un-imaginable landscape of Nubra valley and camping experience, travelling on the highest motorable road in the world in Khardungla Pass and witnessing the sublime and tranquil beauty of the majestic blues of Pangong Lake, worthy memories were ought to be etched. The stay at Zambala Inn, the travel with our torch bearing local driver Phunsuk Wangdu who had many intimidating tales to share, the hygienic food and other amenities, were comfortable and enjoyable. I thought MMT provided us enough facilities for the remoteness of the location.

For my other blogposts on Ladakh click on the links below:

Camping at Nubra

Nubra Valley

We at Khardungla pass

A serene Monastery

The majestic blues of Pangong

Our resort

Tea and leisure

MMT I think is a great and affordable travel partner. However if thought judiciously the prices though not exorbitant yet, does not suit the pocket of many. But travelling is a dream for all. And I think 27coupons, is doing a great work by providing added discounts on travel, hotel bookings etc through MMT. This increases the approachability of the facility to the masses. This added facility is attractive and helps fit travel plan into the pocket of many more. For details please click on the link below:

27coupons is unique in ways more than one, because it is not restricted to MMT, it extends to many other companies and services that make our lives easier and prettier. For eg. brands like Jabong, Myntra, Amazon get the whole idea of shopping to our mean machine's (like laptops, desktops etc) screen and 27coupons brings them to us with added lucrative offers. And if you really introspect and conglomerate the offers, on different brands and services that 27coupons offer, it will be overwhelming to appreciate its massive monetary impact. Infact I as a buyer have lost a lot money because of my lack of knowledge on the awesomeness of this service. And now that I know and now that I understand, I want all my readers to know of 27coupons and acknowledge its vastness, uniqueness and application and draw utmost benefits. From vacations to eating, from shopping to cab hire, 27coupons brings to us everything, but with impressive offers. So why not get impressed? So why not join hands to this revolutionary idea of getting more value out of our hard earned money?  

Lastly, going back to where I had started from! I am an ardent traveller, and aspire to travel a lot. But money is not always with you and hence small to big discounts on each booking can eventually sum up to a considerable amount soothing our pockets. Hence 27coupons which is a online store is doing it just right, for travel and also others spheres in giving added benefits to their customers.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

The grandeur of Indian Weddings- A Bengali Wedding

India is a country of colors and festivities. There is inherent beauty in its diversity. From snow-capped mountains in Kashmir to the deserts of Rajasthan, from the sun kissed beaches of Goa to the Back waters of Kerala, it is elaborately granted with natural beauty. Besides that the different cultures in different parts of it, make a dough kneaded with multitude of hues. This very thing had always attracted my attention. I wanted to feel the beat of every bit of my India.  Speaking of cultures, I think wedding functions can be safely termed as the best platforms to get enlightened about it. From the loud and pompous North-Indian Wedding to the Soft Temple weddings down south, each showcase  eloquently the cultural heritage, taste and economy of a region. I personally have a dream of attending each type, but it is yet to come to true. So I planned to narrate the grandeur, tradition and beauty of a Bengali Wedding. Me being a Bengali, this seemed to be easy to start with. And what could be better than to use my very own wedding pictures for the purpose.

Used in a Ritual

It’s been four years since I tied the knot with my then college beau and now best buddy for life Avishek. Truly time flies, even while I narrate I can feel the butterflies in my stomach which had appeared on the day. Frankly I was not too much into dressing that time, and now I regret the mistakes I had made. Yet the memories, the pictures will be cherished till I breathe my last. Both of us had talked over the phone a night before and shared our excitement and fears, it is warm to remember those moments.

The rituals start very early, before the crow starts to caw announcing the beginning of a new day. The bride and the groom, both are supposed to fast and hence this ritual of feeding them with  a strange yet tasty mix of puffed rice, sweet curd (Bengal special Misti Doi), jaggery etc. 

Ready for the morning rituals

A candid moment with MA

As the morning starts to unfold, the rituals of paying homage to our ancestors start and ends with the Haldi (meaning turmeric) ceremony. The groom is supposed to have the ceremony first and the turmeric paste that is used by him is sent to the bride. 

Avishek during Haldi Ceremony

The Haldi Ceremony at my place

The holy Bath

With my sisters and brother-in-laws

A moment of fun, when my sister put turmeric on my friends

Along with that comes, a bunch of gifts that the groom's family sends to the bride and her family. It is called Tattoh. No Bengali function can be complete without fish and besides it being an indispensable part of menu, it also forms a part of the Tattoh.

The decorated Fish with the Tattoh

The bunch of gifts

The ceremony with turmeric, comes from the belief that it's a great beauty product and enhances the look of the couple on their day. Though today, most of us go through a strict beauty regime months before the day, to look our best.

Unlike North Indian weddings, Bong weddings are quite and subtle. Even the dressing of the people and the bride are not as loud. Typically dressed in Banarasi Saree in hues of pink, orange, red or maroon the bride sits pretty with her net veil and gold jewellery. 

Me on my D-Day

I chose my favorite color pink.

The Bindi enhances her look to a great extent. The groom dressed in kurta and dhoti comes to woo his lady, but not with loud bursting of crackers. He silently comes and conquers (wink). 

Avishek for the evening

Blessing from Ma (Ashirwad ceremony)

The evening is a task for the groom, as most of the rituals are to be performed by him. 

Avishek busy with  the rituals

The bride appears only during "Subho Dristi" meaning the first time they see each other. But off-course it is not the case today. In a wooden plank and her face covered with betel leaves the beautiful bride arrives. 

Subho Dristi


What follows is a set of rituals, ending with "Havan" (meaning holy fire) and lastly "Sindur Daan" (meaning the ritual of the groom putting vermilion to the bride). 

Togetherness forever

Caught in different expressions

Caught in different expressions

Caught in different expressions

Caught in different expressions

Almost done

With both moms

The Holy Fire

Caught in different expressions

Caught in different expressions

The seven rounds around Holy Fire
(the seven promises)
Sindur Daan

An emotional moment for any bride

And eventually they are tied in the holy knot of marriage. Seeking blessings from their elders they start to traverse a path of love, respect and friendship. Talking about food, bongs cannot live without non-veg and hence the dinner spread always has fish, chicken and mutton cuisines besides the normal vegetarian items. A mouth- smacking Bengali spread, always ends with irresistible sweets.
A foodie affair

Dinner time

Generally the next day, the groom takes away his bride to her new home. A ritual I hate to remember, "Bidai" (meaning Bidding Adieu). 

Starting a new life
In Bengalis the reception at the groom place called "Bou-Bhat" is the next day after Bidai, when the bride's family sends the Tattoh to the groom's.  It is mostly a way of introducing the new family member to the world, besides few rituals.

Me on our Reception

Together we
Walking together

The food counters

And in this way, two individuals are brought together to spend the rest of their life hand in hand. To grow old together! India is a land of outlandish wedding ceremonies, and every way of celebrating this holy union is beautiful. As I get the chance to experience more of it, I shall share the cherished and colorful moments.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta