By Kasturika Mishra
Urban Odia women in Delhi celebrate their karttika purnima with equal fervor as the navaratris of North India. Their ambitionless life as devoted wives to their better Odia husbands is not as rewarding as their lives they leave behind at Odisha to migrate into their metropolitan lives. Some of them definitely shed their inhibitions to settle on dominantly male professions like automation industries, secretarial desks in hotels, hospitality, travel outlets or administrative staff in schools all over Delhi NCR. The demands of Odia festivals and rituals allow them little space to give vent to their emotions specially their cooking rituals.
A khechedi dalma, badichuda dahi baigana is a must in the daily dose of food items. Why should one keep a good amount of khiri poori kakra and nadia pachedi behind? However hard they try to keep their lives wired to the latest in fashion, their lives are centering on Jagannath temple Prasad seva and khaja bhoga, chenapoda. Nothing is more important than wearing Sambalpuri silk and cotton in official or non official functions. Why should we not take pride in living our roots? Wherever we go we should put our best Oriya step ahead of spirituality associated with Lord Jagannatha, our softness and compassion for elders, neighbors, young and old alike. Our love of bettle-nut culture, endless melees of khati or gupsup, gossip in popular parlance tie our ladies together even if they belong to many different parts of Orissa.
Once you reach an Odia group your mere survival changes to worthy meeting all. Even the endless mundane discussions turn into a revelry of emotions and exchange. Who is attaching how much importance to their stay in Delhi and nostalgic forays to aaima, gaam katha, regional politics, mushrooming interests in real estate investments, job pressures and parental responsibilities all are a given topic of discussion. So is listening and watching Oriya films, soaps and song contestants. When you will compromise on quality time in your villages where your older generations are doing their daily chores with so much difficulty because they are still struggling with people and resources to do their work, you will realize in juxtaposition even you are doing the same thing as their next in kin. Your life is an extension of their rustic living and religious rigmarole.
Your struggle doesn’t end in luxury nor does theirs. Both are different in background yet the same in context. The raja doli of three days raja sankranti and endure pitha has changed to new clothes and visit to malls in festival days but the camaraderie is to feel not to be described. Even in Odisha the festivities of raja doli, paana khia, dahi bara alu chop, guguni chaat has taken a backseat with puja pandal pizza and popcorn points.
Prabhu Jagannatha may please guide our Odia jati to preserve its tradition and live on.
By Kasturika Mishra