Our Journey

our experiences

This can only happen in small towns

Written By: ruchi - May• 09•16
The camera story

We were on a site seeing trip of Sikkim and drove around 150 km every day. It took us anywhere from 5 to 6 hours because the roads were really bad. We took a 10 minute break every 1 hour to stretch our legs and also to rotate the seating.

In one such break while going from Gangtok to Lachung, we were just chatting and taking pictures, when suddenly the traffic started to pile up on the highway because of our parked cab. The driver called us to cut short the break because of the jam. We agreed and hurriedly came back and drove away.
Driver stopped the cab some 30 minutes away at Mangan, a small town. He showed us a restaurant where we could eat and relax so we had a leisurely one hour lunch and walked back to the cab. As we were getting in, one of our friends realized that he didn’t have his camera. We all searched the cab and the restaurant and there was no sign of it. And then we realized that perhaps we left it at the last break point because we hurriedly got into the car.
We were depressed. Not only the camera was lost but a lot of pictures in it were lost too. We started thinking if we should go back or call someone coming in that direction to check etc. The taxi driver said that someone must have definitely picked up the camera by now because it had already been one and a half hours. Interestingly he also said that everyone on that highway was going to Lachung and Lachung is a small place so we will get it back there. We didn’t believe him for a second, we thought that he was saying it just because he did not want to go back.
As we were discussing our options, some more cabs started to come from the same direction and our driver started to ask them if they had the camera and lone behold the third taxi he asked actually had it. We were ecstatic.
The Koreans travelling in that cab were getting out when we were hurriedly getting into the cab on the last break point. They saw us leaving the camera behind and picked it up. Their taxiwala told them that all cabs on this highway were going to Lachung so they will find the right owner there. They checked the pictures in the camera to ensure that they deliver it to the right owner and the moment they saw us some 2 hours later, they knew that it was our camera.
Coming from Delhi, this was a refreshing experience. I could not have imagined this scenario even in my dreams. The people in small town still live simple and clean lives. May God bless them and bestow some of that in big cities also.

Coincidence or Power of Mind

Written By: ruchi - May• 09•16
Fire Flies

I have been watching a TV serial called “Siya Ke Ram” based on the epic Ramayana for the last few months. On Ram Navami in April, they showed an episode in which Sita wishes Ram a Happy Birthday by releasing the Jugnus or Fireflies in the air from her aanchal. It was mesmerizing. Evoked a lot of childhood memories when we used to see Jugnus every single day in the summers. Unfortunately the urbanization of the whole land has pushed them away and for the last 35 years I haven’t seen any of them.

Anyways, the episode was soon forgotten. A few days after the episode, out of the blue, one of our friends roped us in for a Sikkim trip and we left the following week. We flew into the Baghdogra airport and drove to Sukna cantonment area, where our friends had arranged for a night halt. After settling in, all of us were taking a leisurely stroll in the evening when I mentioned the Jugnu episode to my friends. We were all telling stories of how we used to capture Jugnus and put them in a jar or how sometimes they got into our mosquito net at night while sleeping outside etc. We must have walked a few more steps and we were dumb stuck. There was a grassland full of Jugnus right in front of us.
I hadn’t seen Jugnus in 35 years, then I see the Siya Ke Ram episode, out of the blue I get roped into a trip, our friends arrange for a night halt in the cantonment area near a dense forest, I mention this to my friends and there they are, right in front of us. How did this happen? Was it just a coincidence? I highly doubt it.
Was it that I wanted to see it so badly that the situation presented accordingly? But if that’s the case then how come it does not happen for everything else we desire? What was different in this wish from all other wishes that we have in our lives? Is it that most our wishes normally have some side effects, which we are unable to comprehend and cosmos helps us by not fulfilling them and this wish was an innocent one which cosmos had no objection to?

Ghur Charhi

Written By: Ruchi - Apr• 04•15

Ghur Charhi ceremony takes place only at the groom’s place. The tradition is to send the groom off on a horse to get the bride. He cannot come back home without the bride.

Ghur Charhi
How is it performed

Whether the wedding is local or Baarat has to go to some other city, Ghur Charhi is done just before Baaraat leaves for the bride’s place. A decorated horse is brought. The groom wears a pink dupatta and a pagdi with a kalgi. The groom climbs on the horse and then all the women in the family do Tilak to the groom. These days the Tilak is done before the groom climbs the horse.

Groom’s Bhabhi puts kaajal in groom’s eyes and she gets a gift (generally money) from the mother. Then the groom is taken to the temple. Groom’s Jija holds the reins of the horse and the Mother gives him gift (generally money) for that. The horse is fed gud and chana.
Baarat goes to the bride’s place with a band in a procession. Near the bride’s place, baarati dance a lot. Bride’s family welcomes the Baaratis. Everyone is given a flower or a garland. Fathers, Chachas and Mamas from both sides hug each other.

Groom is taken to a center stage. Bride’s Bhabhi or elder sister does Aarti of the groom. Then she performs Tilak and feeds him sweets.
Then the bride comes to the stage with her friends. Both Groom and Bride exchange flower garlands, which is called Jaymala. After that all the guests congratulate the couple and give gift to them. It’s customary for the guests of groom to give gifts to groom’s side and the guests of bride to give gifts to the bride side. Lot of pictures are taken with everyone and in parallel the food is served. After all this Phere are done in a mandap and a priest takes care of all the rituals of the pheras.
Mandap

Madha

Written By: Ruchi - Apr• 04•15

Madha signifies the beginning of the wedding ceremonies.

Madha
What is needed?

A few dry bamboos, earthen bowls, sweets and mathri and kalava.

How is it performed?
Madha is tied before any wedding ceremonies begin. The bamboo sticks are tied together and earthen bowls are hung on each side of the bamboo with sweets and mathri between the bowls. Then it is tied at the entrance of the wedding house. Generally a priest recites some mantras before it can be tied to the door.

Thape & Halad

Written By: Ruchi - Apr• 04•15

Thape is the ceremony of groom’s and bride’s mothers making palm impressions on the wall. Halad is about grinding the spices and the grains.

Thape
What is needed?

Big white plain paper, ghee, roli paste, 4 vessels, dry turmeric (not the powder), Rock salt (not the powder), Dhaan, Jau (barley), a vessel in which these will be ground, rice in a steel vessel and a saree for Bua.

Halad
When is this done?
Thape are made after the Madha ceremony generally in the mornings. This is done in the main room, where all other ceremonies are performed.
How is it performed?
This is performed both at the groom’s and bride’s house. A big plain white paper is stuck on the wall. Gayatri Mantra or Ramokar Mantra is written on the paper with the help of roli paste. The mother rubs ghee on her hands and makes the hand prints on the paper. She needs to fast for this. Bride’s/Groom’s Aunties also help the mother and they need to fast too. All of them need to wear new clothes.
The four vessels are filled with turmeric, salt, dhaan and jau respectively. The rice vessel is placed in front of the paperand the saree is placed on top of it. All this is given to the Bua after the wedding.A pair of married women puts all the 4 things – turmeric, salt, jau and dhaan in the 4 vessels and then they grind it 7 times each alternatively. This process is repeated by 6 more pairs of married women.
Halad
What is the reason behind Halad?
In the old days, all the spices and grains were ground at home. Since the wedding required the food preparations for a lot of people, the grinding of spices and grains started a month before the wedding. Generally all the ladies in the family got together to help. So Halad symbolizes the preparation of spices and grains.

In today’s context, it’s pretty much useless except that it brings everyone in the family together in the same room and keeps them busy otherwise they will all sit in small groups in different corners of the house and gossip.