Starry – rikki (9)


A cool air blew across a small village in Europe, stars shown in the eerie moonlit night.  Wolves howled on a peak and then there was silence.  Three hours later a poor man named Jacques Singer stepped out of his bakery shop wearing a shaggy brown sweater.  He wiped his rose colored nose with his finger and walked into the sunlight.  Trees swayed in the tan and pink light, shaking their green leaves.

As he walked a small stray dog silently followed him. Jacques turned around and saw the dog, it whimpered and edged forward.  Jacques smiled and slid his wrinkled hand across the stray’s cold fur.  The dog nudged Jacques’ leg and scurried away.

The next morning he set out for his three o’clock a.m. walk, this time carrying biscuits for the stray dog.  The dog was hiding behind an earthen pot waiting to pounce on Jacques.  Once he walked past the pot, the stray playfully jumped at him.  He dropped the biscuits and the dog ate the buttery snacks.

Jacques was having a nicer life and began to love the dog more and more. He named the dog Starry.

One afternoon Jacques sat on his bed and heard a shattering of glass and an odd whimper.  He ran to the door and saw two men stealing food from his bakery and Starry on the floor bleeding.  On seeing Jacques, the two men ran out of the shop but Jacques ran to Starry.  Starry was breathing slowly and tears were pouring out of Jacques’ eyes.

Starry whimpered and then there was silence….


Memories – ronny (13)

Durga Puja is coming, and so are the memories of my grandfather. I lost him to a brain tumor this year.  In 2004, I had visited India and stayed with him during Durga Puja and it was a fantastic experience.

My Dadun was a forgetful, yet loving, man, but he never forgot about us. He would get up early in the morning for a walk. He did this every day, to stay healthy. On his way back, he would purchase many sweetmeats and mangoes from the local bazaar, because my brother and I love Indian mangoes. He would also invite us to lie down with him a little before bedtime, and tell us many stories in Bangla. I never felt more content than that, lying at his side and hearing his soft voice narrate.
Dadun was a man of great talents. By profession, he was an aeronautical engineer. At heart, though, he was an artist. He became more festive during Durga Puja. I remember, the first day of the puja was loud! There were many drums and loud pop music playing, and the smell of Dhunochi hung in the air. Even though it was sweltering hot, all the children in the apartment (for my grandparents lived in a flat in Kolkata) were running about playing active games. The local caterer prepared delectable meals for all, while the temple gave out free Prasad. And everyone danced, including my Dadun! One of my newfound acquaintances, affectionately called Bittu, danced until his socks were worn through. Even I, a profound lazybones, could not help but join in.

This year’s Puja will be a bit tamer for me, the foremost reason being that most Americans would not like to be awakened at 6:00 in the morning by foreign drums, to see crowds of Desis celebrating in the streets. Yet I will still remember the queer, knee shaking dance of my Dadun in the morning light, as the drums and music play. He will also be remembered in the music, singing and fine arts…

I have a grandfather.
His name is Asesh. Asesh Dasgupta.
He makes jokes. He likes dill pickles. He likes to sleep.

One day, he had a brain tumor. He went to the hospital.

I talked with him before the surgery, and played him some piano. He liked it. Then, he had the operation.

He was fine, after.
Then, one day, I find out
I had a grandfather.
His name was Asesh. Asesh Dasgupta.
He made jokes. He liked dill pickles. He liked to sleep. One day, he got to sleep forever.

I wonder if there are pickles in heaven.

Durga puja – rikki (9)

A smoky scent fills the crisp air and the muffled drumming sound gets louder and louder as you walk towards the Puja tent. As you enter, people in beautiful saris and kurtas crowd around the idol of the goddess Ma Durga. A priest walks around giving each person flowers to offer to the great goddess. The tent immediately silences once the priest starts the prayers. He speaks the prayers. The crowd copies him, closing their eyes and clasping fresh flowers. After the prayers, young men start to play dhaak, and everyone is dancing or giving sincere offerings to the goddess to thank her for giving everybody a nice year. After the ceremony, the kids gather with their friends and play. Their parents smile and eat the prasad given in the back of the tent while chatting with each other. Everybody has a great time playing and watching dramatic plays.

As the morning turns to afternoon, kids find benches and wait while until their parents buy hot lunch and bring it back to the bench. They all eat tasty khichuri and crunchy papad with delight. Everybody relaxes till evening when the sun goes down and the glistening moon replaces it. When that happens the drum’s beat motivates you to dance and dance. All of the kids seize their chance and rush to the lush field of grass to play tag, football, and soccer. Parents dance to the beat of the music while others pray. As evening turns to night people rush to the food stalls and buy fresh mutter samosa with sweet and spicy chutney. Kids locate their mothers and fathers and eat.

Later they go to the tent to pray to Ma Durga, Ganesh, Lakshmi, Kartik and Saraswati. The are embellished in shining gold and the glistening jewels look marvellous. All of the gods have a different personality and by looking at them you can tell what kind of personality they have. India has a beautiful personality so let us let our personality show as well as the gods do.


Have an awesome puja.