With Diwali festivities taking over the country, we had a chat with the young scion of the Bera family to know about how the family celebrates the festival in the Jawai region of Jodhpur. From there we travelled to Indore, in the heartland of India, to talk to the zamindars and the oldest royal family of the city. Then on to Odisha, where Meenal Singh Deo shared how their puja centres on Goddess Kali.
YADUVEER SINGH BERA
Diwali is an extremely auspicious time of the year for us, as we prepare by deep cleaning and decorating our heritage home, which we also run as a home stay. Hence, it makes our role as conservationists even more essential. We are responsibly impacting the community and our guests, simply so that they can value and understand the special connection that Rajput families like us create between the past and the present. We illuminate the interior and exterior of our Rawla (castle) with diyas and beautify with rangolis, and perform Lakshmi Puja for the goddess of prosperity and wealth.
For us, it is typically a five-day-long festival, with Dhanteras marking the first day. Bringing in the New Year, we partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared with friends, family and locals. Diwali is also a major cultural event for us as we are devotees of Shri Ramji Bavji and Bhavan Shri Krishna and Radha Raniji. On Dhanteras, it is customary to purchase gold and utensils.
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi. But the main day of Diwali is on the third day, the day of Lakshmi Puja and the darkest night of the month of Kartik. The family Brahmin performs the puja according to the auspicious time. Daan punya (charity) in the form of food grains and clothes is also done. The day of Lakshmi Puja is a day to be home with family. The day after is marked as the last. For us, it is the day of “Rama Shyama”. The male members of the family wear turbans and are seated in a baithak, waiting to personally receive each person from the village who comes to wish us a happy new year.
Gowardhan Puja is done by first worshipping and then holding the tail of a cow and crossing a little customary river made only for this puja. Annakut occurs on the first lunar day (bright fortnight) of our Hindu calendar month of Kartik, which is the next day of Deepawali.
It is a very big celebration for us as we offer a huge variety of vegetarian delights to Shri Ramji Bavji and Bhavan Krishna and Radha Raniji. We have a large gathering as it is a special day and a tribute to our gods (masters).
We also celebrate Bhai Dooj on this auspicious day. We perform the Vishwakarma Puja by carrying out maintenance work in our workspaces and offering prayers. As you are aware of our safaris, equipment like cameras, jeeps and binoculars all bring home a fortune, hence, maintenance and care are important. On this day, we fix things and prepare for the season.
The history of Bera begins with the worship of Lord Vishnu followed by Krishna Bhavan and then Ramji Bavji. There have been different eras of incarnation worship. Culture, religion, faith and warm hospitality are natural for us and they are at a peak during Diwali. Maa Lakshmiji blesses our home with loads of happiness, wealth, good health and new connections.
Traditionally, we have Diwali celebrations starting from Dhanteras. We have a small room in the Rawala, which is only opened for Diwali pujan. We worship a Shri Yantra, which is taken out only on Dhanteras. Two chowmukhi diyas are placed for the puja. The older couple in the Rawala performs puja. No kapur puja is done as the puja starts on this day and continues till Diwali. Diyas are lit and their numbers keep on increasing till Bhai Dooj. Sweets are made by the ladies of the house to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi. Every day, new sweets and savouries are offered, especially on Nark Chaturdashi. On Diwali, we do puja in the Radha Krishna Mandir in the Rawala.
Ghee diyas are lit after the puja performed by the Rao Sahab. Diyas are then placed in a straw ‘supdi’. These diyas are carried around and placed at special places in the Rawala by the Rani Sahiba. The Lakshmi Pujan is then performed by the Rao Sahab at the Gadi in the Darbar Hall.
The next day is Annakoot. On this day, the ladies of the house make chhappan bhog for the deity and the entire food is carried to the mandir after sprinkling water on the way to make it shuddha (pure). Meanwhile, the cattle in our village are decorated with mor-pankha and mehndi designs. After bhog is offered to the lord, the gopujan is done. The cows are given poori and imarti, and the cowherds are also fed. The Rawala gate has traditional gowardhan made outside by ladies, who come especially for this purpose every year and to do leepan with cow dung. Since this day is also suhag padwa, younger people come to take blessings.
The festival is completed by observing Bhai Dooj the next day.
MEENAL SINGH DEO
Our Diwali has three important rituals. We invite our ancestors down to bless us on Mahalaya before Dusshera. It is on Diwali evening, and we have a havan to pay homage to them and see them off. It is ritualistically done by lighting jute stalks as mashaals and holding it up towards the sky.
On Diwali, we also perform a Kali puja, which is common in Eastern India (especially in Bengal), to destroy evil and egoism and pray that justice may prevail.
We also perform the ‘Alakshmi’ puja, in which misfortune, bad luck and evil are removed from the house symbolically by throwing out broken earthenware, worn out baskets and other broken utensils and objects. After that, a cracker or two are burst with a bang. This is done on the day after Diwali to ward any other evil.
Our Diwali celebrations, like most other places, also have a rangoli or chiita, which is made using rice flour batter. The house is lit with lights and oil lamps. Odisha is also famous for its crackers, made locally using palm leaves and terracotta.
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KATRINA AND VICKY WEDDING IS TURNING OUT TO BE A NIGHTMARE FOR GUESTS
MUMBAI: The big Bollywood wedding of the year – Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif wedding is turning out to be a never seen or heard before affair. It is true that there has been no confirmation from the stars themselves that they are a couple or that they are so much in love that they have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. While fans wait for VicKat to come out in the open, it may not happen until they do get married on December 9. In fact, they are laying down so many conditions for their guests that it is turning out to be a nightmare.
An industry insider who is on the guest list has revealed that every day there is a new condition or a rule that is sent their way by the team coordinating Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s wedding. “I don’t know if it is their team that is hyperventilating about it all of it is the couple themselves who are getting a little too private with their wedding. Each new day brings a brand new condition that makes you fit to attend the wedding. It is a wedding for God’s sake, not a State secret that needs so much guarding,” rues the guests.
The guest further revealed that some of the conditions are downright offensive and insulting. “If you cannot trust your guests enough, and what them to abide by this and that, why even invite them?,” the guest questions. Sources say that mobile phones are not allowed beyond a point at the venue and guests are barred from taking any pictures and videos at the main venue. They are not allowed to post anything on social media without prior approval from VicKat’s teams.
PRIYANKA NARRATES HOW AMID ‘TOUGH’ SCHEDULES SHE AND NICK MADE THEIR MARRIAGE WORK
WASHINGTON: Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas during a recent podcast opened up about having a long-distance relationship with husband Nick Jonas, amid their busy work schedules. According to People magazine, the ‘Matrix Resurrections’ actor said, “This year has been really, really tough. It was really, really tough to be away from home for an entire year, especially at a time when you can’t travel to see your family.”
“Just the uncertainty of my mom and my brother being in India, my husband being in America while I was in the U.K. It just was so much uncertainty and that, to me, was terrifying of not being able to just get on a flight and travel, just in case something went wrong or something happened. But thankfully, you know, everyone was okay,” she continued.
The pair got engaged in July 2018 just two months after publicizing their relationship. They wed later that year in two separate ceremonies. Priyanka said being alone and away from her husband has been very challenging. But they have been making long-distance work the best way they could. She said, “We didn’t have a dramatic separation but because he was in and out, we had to be really careful. He had to quarantine, I had to quarantine whenever we saw each other at that time. And that’s usually not conducive to a production schedule because you don’t really have much time. You have, like, two days off.”
NUSHRRATT GETS MASSIVE RESPONSE TO HER FILM, CHHORII
NEW DELHI: Nushrratt Bharuccha’s recent outing as a pregnant woman in her first solo lead film, ‘Chhorii’, has been receiving massive applause and praises from the audiences and the critics alike. The performance of the actress is being touted as her career best till date.
Nushraatt chose to venture into a new genre and her bold career choice paid off as Chhori truly proves her prowess as a performer.
Opening up about the overwhelming response to the film, Nushrratt says, “Chhorii is indeed one of the most important films of my career, and the kind of love the film is receiving is super encouraging. I’m really glad that with Chhorii, I could put out a responsible message that is the need of the hour. It’s not just any another horror film, it’s a film with a perspective — one that brings to light a social evil, provoking thoughts that inspire us all to take responsibility in a manner that we move towards bringing about a change.”
Opening about her Chhorii being her first solo lead film, Nushrratt says, “It was equally daunting and enriching experience to single-handedly headline such a film. It will always remain one of the most difficult films I’ve done so far.”
Nushraatt shines bright in every frame, giving audiences thrills and chills as you can’t help but empathize with her fear and helplessness as she finds herself pitted against evil.
Unanimously hailed as her career’s best performance, it’s a new era for the actress who will next be seen in content-driven films like Janhit Mein Jaari, which she headlines, Ram Setu, Hurdang and many others in the pipeline.
SUNNY DEOL, AMEESHA PATEL’S LOOK FROM ‘GADAR 2’ REVEALED
MUMBAI : All thanks to Ameesha Patel for giving fans a glimpse of her and actor Sunny Deol’s look from their upcoming film ‘Gadar 2’.
In the image, Sunny can be seen donning a turban and red kurta, while Ameesha looks graceful in an orange patiala suit with dupatta covering her head. Their look made fans extremely nostalgic and made them recall the iconic characters Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) and Sakeena (Ameesha Patel) from the hit film ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’.
“GADAR2..muhurat shot,” she captioned the post. The film went on floors today only in Himachal Pradesh. Director Anil Sharma’s son Utkarsh Sharma also expressed his happiness about the commencement of the shoot. “Lo ek aur safar shuru ho gaya, filled with excitement at the muhurat of #Gadar2. Aap sab ki blessings and pyaar chayiye,” he tweeted.
For the unversed, Utkarsh had played the role of Sunny and Ameesha’s son in the first part, which is a period-action drama set in 1947, the time of partition in India. The first film mainly revolves around Tara Singh (portrayed by Sunny), a Sikh truck driver from Amritsar, who falls in love with Sakina (portrayed by Ameesha), a Muslim girl hailing from a political family in Lahore, Pakistan. Late Amrish Puri was also a part of the first installment.
JAYA BACHCHAN TO PLAY A HALWAI IN KARAN JOHAR’S ROCKY AUR RANI KI PREM KAHANI
NEW DELHI: For the first time in her career, the versatile Jaya Bachchan will be attempting comedy in Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions’ Ranveer Singh – Alia Bhatt starrer Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.
Jaya plays Ranveer Singh’s grandmother and her role has distinct shades of comedy in it. Says a source very close to the project, “Jayaji plays a halwai (mithai maker). She plays a loud earthy outspoken woman who loves a good laugh, at her own expense or at the expense of others. It is her most fun-filled role to date. She loves Karan Johar for giving her a role that didn’t require her to be serious all the time. She is enjoying just letting down her hair.”
Sources from the location in Delhi say that the fun Jayaji is having on camera is spilling over to her real life. “She has never been such a fun person. She keeps joking on the sets that Karan Johar couldn’t get Johnny Lever’s dates, so he signed Jayaji instead,” informs a source.
As for the film, Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani is being directed by Karan Johar. Produced under the Dharma Productions banner, the film stars Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, and Dharmendra. Announced in July 2021, the film is being readied for release on February 10, 2023.
TOM HOLLAND TO RETURN FOR ANOTHER ‘SPIDER-MAN’ TRILOGY
WASHINGTON: It seems like the upcoming film ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ will not be actor Tom Holland’s last outing as Marvel’s neighbourhood web-slinger. According to Variety, longtime ‘Spider-Man’ producer Amy Pascal has stated that Holland is expected to return as Spider-Man for at least three more movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “This is not the last movie that we are going to make with Marvel — [this is not] the last Spider-Man movie,” she told movie ticketing site Fandango on Monday. Pascal added, “We are getting ready to make the next SpiderMan movie with Tom Holland and Marvel, it just isn’t part of… we’re thinking of this as three films, and now we’re going to go onto the next three.”
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