Bhai Dooj celebrates siblings

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The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes. It is a day of celebrating sibling relationship when the brother visits his married sister with his family and shares a meal with her  extended family.




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NewYear defines new beginnings

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The day after Diwali is celebrated as the New Year and also as Giovardhan puja in the villages and in the small towns where they worship the cows with a special offering.  It is a day of good conquering over evil and rising from darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds which brings us closer to divinity.


During these four days, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. The illumination of our courtyards and our homes is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.



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Deepawali celebrates victory

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Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or ‘Deepawali.’ Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.


In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana.

19.10.17 iiDiwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sitaand Lakshman from his long exile and vanquishing the demon-kingRavana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.


It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon granted to him by Lord Vishnu.




Movie Review: Secret Superstar creates Dangal

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Film: Secret SuperstarRelease: 18.10.2017

Producer: Aamir Khan

Director: Advait Chandan

Cast: Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Aamir Khan

Music: Amit Trivedi

Insiya/ Zaira Wasim lives in a lower middle class colony in Baroda with her parents, younger brother and grand aunt. She studies in a co-ed school and also attends a coaching class even though her parents cannot afford the additional expense.

When home, Insiya is either surfing music channels on television or playing guitar composing new melodies.

Insiya’s mother/ Meher Vij sells her jewelry to gift her daughter a laptop and a whole new world opens up for the 15 year old. Insiya uploads her album on the YouTube and becomes an overnight sensation praised by superstars on social media and contacted by top music director Shakti Kumar/ Aamir Khan inviting her for a recording to Mumbai.

Secret Superstar is a story of Insiya’s singing aspirations but also her rage towards a patriarchal society discriminating between men and women. In some ways the film is reminiscent of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee’s middle of the road cinema during the 70s and 80s that focused on everyday happenings and awakened our conscience.

Insiya’s story begins with abuse and oppression at home and travels the by-lanes of religion, custom and law to question our dormant society.

What works in favor of the film is essentially the story, the emotional narrative, natural dialogues and remarkable characters. All the performances are effective. Mona Ambekar as a lawyer stands out in a cameo, Aaamir Khan as the obnoxious music director is a riot, Zaira Wasim of Dangal proves yet again that she is special and the surprise packet of the film Meher Vij cast as Insiya’s adorable Ammi.

There are sparkling moments in the film, sparkling lines, a lot of heart and pathos. Amit Trivedi’s music is refreshing and new voice Meghana Mishra excels as alter ego.

On the downslide, Insiya’s success is over simplified; the climax over exaggerated and the journey a forgone conclusion but all this can be overlooked because the narrative is emotionally powerful and addresses multiple issues ranging from marital abuse, gender discrimination, minority and show business!

 Secret Superstar is devoid of big budget, big stars, lavish sets, entertaining choreography and glamorous costumes but it has a soul, it has the flight of a courageous daughter and even a more courageous mother and their precious dreams.

In the closing of the film Aamir Khan looks into the camera and states: If you approve of the film like it and if you don’t, change your taste.

 I like the film and rate Secret Superstar with 4 stars.




Chaudas marks destruction of evil

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Kali Chaudas or Amavasya or Pehli Diwali as is popularly called is the day before the festival of lights. Actually all the four days of the festival has a legendary story and myth asociated with it. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.

Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his incarnation of a dwarf vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.



Dhanteras is worship of Money

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Dhanteras is the first of the five-day Diwali Festival celebrated all over India. The festival is also known as Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanvantari Trayodashi. The word ‘Dhana’ means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day as per Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwayuja.


On Dhanteras, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and wellbeing. Dhanteras holds special significance for the business community due to the customary purchases of precious metals on this day. Lord Kubera, the God of assets and wealth is also worshiped on this day.


The tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend. It is said that Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity and the Dhanteras is derived from dhan/ wealth won on the teras/13th two days prior to the festival of lights.