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Bengali Culture - Shipra Chaudhury


I believe ………

I believe in a whole lot of things-----the serenity of the rising sun, the scorching rays of the mid-day sun, and finally the soothing hues of the sinking sun.

I believe in the hassle-free simper of a new-born baby, the naughty and boisterous laughter of a young teenager, and finally the tooth-less grin of an old man.

I believe in the strength of the mighty Himalayas, the roaring waves of the Indian Ocean and the vast expanse of the tropical rain forest.

I believe in the teeming Indian population, the numerous political problems of the country and its various solutions provided!

In other words, I believe in my roots!

Roots are actually the anchor of our life, the culture, tradition, inheritance of our entire being. No matter how far we are from our roots, how assimilated we are in a different cultural world, how engrossed we are in our surrounding foreign ambiance --we can never be broken free from the shackles of our roots.

Having lived in Toronto, Canada for the past decade has really changed my perspective. I have observed numerous things, like how young toddlers learn to wear their winter boots and jackets at school recess time, how nine and ten year olds cross the roads on their own to go to school, how early teens manage their assignments all by themselves without much parental help, how young university-goers grow up into positive personalities………the ‘how’ list is endless. Together with all this, the county has to offer so much in terms of its ethnicity. A multicultural hub, Toronto has a community where people of all caste, creed or rank can grow equally. The smell of ‘pani-puri’ at a road-side snack-bar at Gerrard Street, also known as ‘Little India,’ the many Indian channels keeping us abreast of recent news and developments, the video and cinema halls housing an immense collection of Bollywood movies, various schools and universities that boasts of producing capable and competent individualizes, all have never made me feel away from home.

In other words, Toronto, an immigrant magnet that attracts tens of thousands from around the globe has been “a home, away from home.” It has not uprooted me, but rather implanted in me the feelings of a true citizen, of an Indian citizen rooted in the Canadian soil.  Of a proud Bengali, out of Bengal!

Speaking of being a Bengali, who can forget the most important festival of our lives? Yes, it is indeed our Durga Puja! This five-day socio-cultural carnival that comes with the religious observance is the time when all Bengalis get together with their home and family. Back in India, the city of Kolkata gets decked up and every Kolkatan is geared to usher Ma Durga. Here in Toronto, we too will indulge in a weekend festivity celebration with fun, frolic, food and entertainment. And this year, the Puja coinciding with the October-Thanksgiving long weekend, all Bengalis are thrilled to celebrate this joyous occasion at the Kalibari. The icing to the cake is the celebration of it once again at the next weekend, dated October 19-20 at Amar Pujo! Hope to see all of you there! It will indeed be “a home, away from home” affair.

About Shipra:

My name is Shipra Chaudhury.  Born and raised in Kolkata, I began my professional career by graduating with masters from Jadavpur University, which led me to numerous teaching opportunities. Soon I moved to Dubai, to start my freelancing career for Gulf News, one of the leading newspaper in the Gulf. In 2001, I moved to Toronto with my family and have made this lovely city my home!

Besides teaching in the private sector, I have continued to be a freelancing journalist, writing for community newspapers and magazines here.

I love to read in my free time as that broadens my horizon. Dancing is also my hobby as I love to be fit and healthy. Another hobby that I enjoy pursuing is helps me to be one with Mother Nature. 


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