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Know your roots

Anju Poddar’s new book Our Festivals Our Traditions helps you stay connected to your roots

PHOTO: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

Telling tales Anju Poddar

It all began a year-and-half ago when Anju Poddar went to a wedding.

She was stunned with the ‘knowledge’ youngsters had about our traditions. “The bride did not know how to create a swastik and when she asked her NRI husband, he asked her to ‘draw a plus sign and go all around it,” recounts Anju.

And, when her Marvari friend, married outside her community and wanted to observe Karva Chauth, she could not find a reference book in English.

A ready reference

Anju Poddar was determined to present a complete guide on festivals and traditions to bring an awareness among youngsters,. She decided to pen it all down in the form of a book.

The tome, a bi-lingual released recently and titled Our Festivals Our Traditions is a fascinating journey into our rich and colourful festivals, rituals, the importance of fasting, simple recipes of dishes to be cooked while you fast, rahu kalam and the importance of colours.

“There will soon be an entire generation of people who will have absolutely no idea about how to do even simple rituals and the significance attached to them. It is upon us, elders to help the younger generation discover how rich Indian tradition is,” asserts Anju.

Simple language

Her earlier books include A Journey to the Heavens (a trip to Mansarovar) and A Wedding in the House.

The purpose, she says, was not only to present the book in simple language but also make God look cool! “My niece suggested that I make God look cool, like them so that they can relate to Him better. I tried my best and I hope I have succeeded,” laughs Anju.

Our Festivals Our Traditions is not an exhaustive treatise but a practical handbook written in a simple language with even small details, which Anju has painstakingly collected from an older generation.

Another handbook titled Baarah mahinon ka tyohaar in Marwari also helped her in reference. She dismisses the remark that the book deals mainly with North Indian festivals.

“Today, we see so many mixed marriages happening and there is nothing like a south Indian or north Indian festival. Diwali, Holi and Sankranti are happy celebrations enjoyed by all.”

Visually pleasant

Priced at Rs. 1,095, the 400-page book is a visual treat and is illustrated with paintings by artists Chippa Sudhakar, Laxman Aelay, Chintala Jagdish and Giridhar Goud among others.

Next time, your little one wonders about the significance of a tilak, you know where to look.

NEERAJA MURTHY

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