Sunday, October 5, 2008

#8 Arms: Durga Puja


Durga is a Hindu goddess celebrated in many different ways across India and the Hindu world. For Gujaratis it may be a garba dance on the last day of Navaratri; for Bengalis a four day long festival during which people finally stop talking about "literature.". No matter from where in India you hail, however, one thing is for sure for Indians in the United States. Different communities celebrate Durga in different ways but everyone who's held observance in her name has had that familiar experience of temple life outside India.

Our younger readers may not realize that there was a time in the U.S. when there were very few Hindu temples outside of New Jersey, LA or Chicago. Small Indian communities around the country usually rented out Church basements on Friday or Sunday nights to host their religious festivals. This made for awkward moments like performing Puja on a stage with busts of Ganesh crowded next to crucifixes of Jesus. Or community members strolling casually into their local Church to find a group of Indian kids playing freeze tag in the gym.

One thing that's surely carried over from yesteryear to today, however, is the cultural show portion of any temple function. No matter if you're gathered with family and friends to commemorate the legacy of Durga or your buddy Chirantan's Brahmin Sweet 16 at some point the stage will transform from dais to dance floor. Neepa and Soma will rhythmically reenact the battle between Ram and Ravana; Ricky's mom will perform a solo folk routine to remind everyone there is culture in India beyond Bhangra and Baratnatyam; and Sanmay's parents will force him to take the stage to awkwardly stumble through a rendition of the Star Wars theme on a Cassio keyboard. Yeah man, maybe you should have used the beat bank.

There is also temple parking lot football and the kid whom you only see once a year who tries to stop the game so that everyone can go inside to watch his dance. There are, as always, buffet lines and the mean uncle who manages to blame everything that goes wrong on the eldest leader of the kids whom he may or may not single out for being Muslim. There are Styrofoam cups of lukewarm soda and paper plates of veg-only meals. There are long folding tables, metal chairs and endless games of paper football. Oh yeah, I guess there's some religious shtuff too.

After the rasmalai and coffee it's finally time to go home. It's well past 11:30 and everyone wades through the piles of Floorsheims and Reeboks in the "shoe room". It's good-bye to your Indian friends for another few months as you head back to your life of being "the only Indian kid" in your neighborhood. We know that's not true but you keep on pretending like it is. It's Durga Puja and though we all celebrate in our own ways there are still some things that are undeniably Indian; and you know that's some stuff you like.

13 comments:

Jen Huang said...

I actually have some really great photos from a durga pooja! http://jenhuangphotography.blogspot.com (must scroll down) you're welcome to use if you credit me. thx!

Travel Destination said...

Happy Durga Puja Festivals

www.hindufestivals.org
Thanks

Travel Destination said...

Hiiiiiii, Hurry Up
Special Puja Festival Air Ticket
www.yatratravellers.com

Fangyaya said...

christian louboutin wedges
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet
timberlands
jordan 3s
coach outlet
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet online
coach factory outlet
air jordan shoes
michael kors bags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses wholesale
ray ban outlet
cheap ray ban sunglasses
toms shoes
ralph lauren outlet
oakley vault
timberland boots
jordan 6s
cheap oakley sunglasses
gucci handbags
michael kors handbags
air jordan 8
jordan retro 8
ralph lauren polo shirts
rolex watches
adidas originals store
juicy couture
cheap ray ban sunglasses
supra footwear
ray ban sunglasses outlet
adidas originals
louis vuitton outlet stores
oakley sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton outlet
christian louboutin pas cher
polo ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet online
20168.5chenjinyan

Pengobatan Untuk Sinusitis Kronis said...

Very Good Article ;)

Suplemen Untuk Infeksi Pencernaan
Cara Sembuhkan Sakit Ginjal Pria
Obat Kulit Herpes
Tips Pengobatan Demam Tifoid
Tips Untuk Penderita Parkinson
Menurunkan Kolesterol Jahat Secara Alami

Jian Zhuo said...

adidas superstar trainers
cardinals jerseys
coach outlet online
pandora charms sale clearance
longchamp bag
nike air max
nike sneakers
coach outlet online
nike sneakers
polo ralph lauren
170621yueqin

nuy herbal said...

thank you very useful information admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here may help

Obat pengapuran tulang
Obat hipertiroid
Obat flu tulang

Ayu Martina said...

may be useful for all, helpful article once and pardon me permission to share also here

Obat cacar air herbal
Obat angin duduk tradisional
Obat untuk mengencangkan kulit wajah

Ayu Martina said...

may be useful for all, helpful article once and pardon me permission to share also here

Obat untuk melangsingkan badan
Cara mengecilkan perut buncit
Cara mengatasi kanker payudara

Deden Hidayat said...

thank you very useful information admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here may help

Obat paru paru terendam cairan
Cara menyembuhkan cacar air
Obat epilepsi

Deden Hidayat said...

may be useful for all, helpful article once and pardon me permission to share also here

Cara menyembuhkan gerd
Obat radang lambung
Obat tulang retak

Love Kpop said...

I'm puzzled with lots of exercises. I was afraid I could not do the right time despite my hard work. I need a support person.
http://run3play.com

Nurhasanah Nuy said...

thank you very useful information admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here may help :

Obat tulang keropos
Obat gagal ginjal
Obat liver bengkak