Festival of Colors – Holi

Celebrating the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’, this colorful festival falls on Phalgun Purnima.

Bright colored powders, known as ‘Gulal’ are smeared on everyone’s faces accompanied by splashing of colored water. These bright colors are believed to signify energy, life and joy. While everyone is indulged in intoxicating drinks and mouthwatering delicacies, sharing some memorable and motivating quotes to add to the essence of the occasion.

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Navratri – A festival of Nine Days, Colors & Food

With the season of onset of Navratri festival, people worship goddess Durga till nine sacred days and in the nine forms of Maa Shakti.  Navratri festival comes twice a year one is called as Chaitra Navratri and the other one is known as Sharad Navratri.

The word Nav’ means nine and ‘Ratri’ means night in Sanskrit, which accounts to nine days of celebrations. Durga Puja and Navratri festival is celebrated by worshiping Goddess Durga and her glorified 9 different avatars.

The dates of Navratri changes as it follows the Lunar calendar. Nine glorified forms of Goddess Maa Durga – Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri are worshipped on these days by devotees.

Indian Festival not just celebrate festival but you cannot forget the varied food delicacies it bring along.

Talk about food, Here is what we (me and my husband had on our first day of Navratre) –

#navratriFood On the first day of Navratre, my husband's appetite took us to a Roadside lunch treat. Indeed, a great way to fill your hungry appetite #rajmachawal #roadside @noidagram #sector18 #noida #foodhabits #happytummy
On the first day of #navratri – you can never get away from the traditional food plate of kuttu-roti, aloo-sabzi, sabutdana papad and of course, these laddoo for the sweet bites. On the first day of Navratre, my husband’s appetite took us to a Roadside lunch treat. Indeed, a great way to fill your hungry appetite with these sumptuous Rajma Chawal

Our food plates on Second Day of Navratre

secondDay While I fast during navratre, why will my dearest husband stop splurge his appetite habits. Having this paneer parantha right here, right now..
Second day calls for kebabs from
kuttu atta, mashed potato, roasted peanuts, salt (sendha namak) and green chilly.Don’t miss on the sabutdana papad tacos stuffed with leftover fried stuffing & chilled Curd.
While I fast during navratre, why will my dearest husband stop splurge his appetite habits. Having this paneer parantha right here, right now..

Did I kept you wondering our third day attempts treating food palate, here it is..

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Third day of navratre and I had to
switch my sweet tooth on – I enjoyed my plate of Sabudana Kheer, with gooey-juicy mausmi. To balance the sweetness, I served myself with chops of Sweet Potato sprinkled with lemon juice.
To satiate the hunger strike of his dearest tummy, presenting – paneer bhurji clubbed with parantha made in desi ghee . Ahhh, his #YummyInTummy look..

Love is sharing and on our Fourth Day of Navarate, we had the same food.

That is our common food, served on two different plates - but obvious stir fried #pumpkin, with samak (samo) rice and mashed Paneer (hint of lemon) and he had his #gheepawn chappatti (roti) ..
That is our common food, served on two different plates – but obvious stir fried #pumpkin, with samak (samo) rice and mashed Paneer (hint of lemon) and he had his #gheepawn chappatti (roti) ..

I had my evening fill of mausami juice today and wanted to have a light snack for dinner so I made this Poha from Samak (Samo) rice..

FifthDayNavratre
Samak Chawal Poha was my dinner today. Excuse me for I do not have His plate today – he was too hungry to let me take a snap today.. BTW – he had his meal of Bhindi (Lady Finger) and Chappati..

On the blessed fifth day of Navratri Pooja, Skanda mata is worshipped. Being the mother of powerful deity Kumar Kartikey, mother Parvati is glorified with name ‘Skanda Mata’. She is the true Goddess of endurance. Here what our plate looked liked

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I pan fried Sabudana mixed with boiled potato, green chilly and roasted peanuts for these amazing kebab experience. No indian food find its completion unless, a spoon full of desi ghee is served with this plate of rajma chawal..

Shashthi – According to Hindu mythology, venerated Kata performed several austerities to accept the Goddess in the form of a daughter. Impressed with the devotion, the Goddess accepted his boon. She is highly generous toward her worshippers and devotees.

It is also believed that while worshipping Devi Katyayini on the Shashti (sixth day) of Durga Pooja, devotees feel presence of Agya Chakra in their mind and soul.

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Treating myself is like feeling awesome – I made dosas from kuttu ka atta with pumpkin + boiled potato as filling, and the left over potato chips.

You cannot, cannot miss the sweet-tooth desires which resulted in makhane ki kheer piled up with dry fruits. Ahh – I be blessed..

How can we miss him, my dearest husband and his food desires…

he sum himself for cheese toast filled with tomato, onion placed neatly with sandwich spread. And that is suji (semolina) kheer for his taste buds..

umm.. Why should i have all the fun afterall..

The seventh day of Navaratri is dedicated to Maa Kalratri – the seventh avtaar of Maa Durga. Kaal means time and death and Kaalratri means the One who is the Death of Kaal. Maa Kalratri destroys ignorance and brings light into the dark.

We enlightened our stomach with delicious food served hot with lots of love

SeventhDaySeventhDay SeventhDay

 

The satisfaction is beyond when you dearest tummy savors food, after a full day fast – I made one – pot spicy soup  from boiled potato, boiled arbi (colocasia), roasted peanuts

For sweets savory – I treated myself to delicious malpuas from kuttu aata…

 

That grilled sandwich does the good-fill-tummy job, and he had his fill and being the partner in crime for every dinner date through these nine days of fasting.

 

Ashtami , the eighth day of the Navaratra is celebrated with traditional rituals and religious fervour. The significance of ‘Kanya Pujan’ is maximum on Ashtani, as only after it, people observing fast can break it. This day is also known for ‘Astra Puja'(Worshiping Weapons) as on this day the weapons of goddess Durga are worshiped.

Goddess Kali appeared on this day from the forehead of Mother Durga and annihilated Chanda, Munda and Rakthabija (the demons who were associate of Mahishasura).

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As per popular legends, demon Mahishasura started killing people to win all the three lokas, after attaining power of eternity from Lord Shiva. The Gods pleaded to Lord Shiva to bring an end to the atrocities of Mahishasura. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva united their powers and created Goddess Durga, to fight the evil.The battle continued for nine nights at the end of which Durga beheaded Mahishasura.

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On the 9th day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine girls represent the nine forms of the Goddess Durga or Divine Mother. Their feet are washed, tilak is applied to their foreheads, and they partake in a feast of pooris, halwa, and black gram. They are offered new clothes and fruits by those who perform this ceremony. At times, a token of money is also given as blessings.

Another legend from the Hindu mythology, King Daksha of Himalayas was blessed with a beautiful and virtuous daughter, named Uma who wished to marry Lord Shiva. Uma worshipped him and pleased Lord Shiva who married her.  Later, Lord Shiva refused Uma to witness the Yagna conducted by her father. She  rather turned up at the Yagna and insulted Lord Shiva. Unable to withstand the insult, the angry Uma decided to end her life by jumping into the agni kund and was united with the eternity. Therefore, Uma came to be known as Sati. Sati was reborn again. In the second birth, Sati married Lord Shiva and the divine couple lived happily, thereafter. It is believed that Sati comes to stay with her parents for nine days, every year.

The final day is known Dussehra, when day long prayers are offered to Goddess Durga.  It is also called as Navami and Vijayadashami.

Happy Navratri 2016 to everyone out there! Celebrate the festival and spread happiness, hope the Goddess showers her divine blessings and fulfills your wishes.

Photographer is a customer; But this customer is no longer king.

Dear Hoteliers, Resorts and to whomsoever this may concern

With five years of experience, I have managed to learn how to handle most daily situations encountered as a photographer at SplendidFotos and NitinGuptaPhotoworks
At the beginning, I would react more, starting stupid, endless and useless fights. But with time, I have learned the art to be self-controlled and self- contained and at peace with myself, especially during every wedding projects.  Thankfully, my camera kits and gears never got stolen or broken and I never got insulted or beat-up.

But just in the last six months, I have managed to stumble twice into incomprehensible situations, in Delhi – NCR. For your information, during both of these events, I was the official photographer and a guest to one of the wedding events. That these places are one of the finest of all times and the reasons for every celebrations nowadays. Sadly, mine were never special nor shall be –

The First Experience

During a wedding event at Mahagun Sarovar Portico (owned by Mahagun) – This manager in charge of the valet parking refused our car to be parked in the hotel premises, let alone the comfort of valet service. Why, because the car belonged to a team of photographers. It seems like all the staff were given special training on how to ridicule the photographer’s team and not to welcome them as any other guest (if not customers). Within a minute, we were showed our way to the exit and to park our vehicle in Mall Parking. We confirmed to be one of the invited guest as well the official photographer’s – they paid no heed.

Well, I politely ended the conversation and left the venue and went to mall parking lot. #SuchIsPhotographerLife

– Sadly, the experienced staff has no courtesy in their behavior.

The Second Experience

Post we wrapped up our today’s shoot at Shangri La – Eros, New Delhi, I was in a hurry to pack my camera equipment and gears. To be precise it took me hardly a minute to completely pack my bag. But then, #SuchIsPhotographerLife – That this staff on duty, almost shoved me off my place (Thankfully, no damage to the equipment) and asked me to leave. I decided to stay calm and seek permission of approx. 1 min to zip my bag and that off, I go.

Much to my amusement, this man – who is part of a world class customer service hotels and resort has no ethics whatsoever nor does he has the sense of customer service. As arrogant that you can think him to be, he was. He had the audacity to question my presence in the hotels’ premises and that he fails to understand that every person in the premises of the hotel is supposed to be treated as a guest if not customer. #ShameOnYourService

The first time, I decided to laugh at the situation and ignore it. But being honest, the second time has been rough on me.

It’s not first time that someone said something about my status or said strong things about me being a photographer. I just feel sorry for them and will carry on, eventually. And for one bad interaction, I often experience a thousand great interactions with welcoming, cheerful and supportive people – but they make no effects.

Having said that,  Every staff in your restaurants, bars and hotels and resorts are somehow your own brand ambassador. How they behave speaks a lot about you brand.

Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities, will not just ruin your image in the market but will eventually make people hate coming to you as well. It’s time, every service industry pay heed to such experience and educate their well dressed, amiable looking yet egotistic staff about customer service.

I believe that in both cases, those people did not see the harm in what they said and did. Unfortunately!!

Nitin Gupta