Time to bond & pray

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 8.11.13

Long fasts, painstaking preparations and tough rituals notwithstanding, very few Biharis give Chhath a miss. It is one occasion when everyone — rich and poor, old and young, man and woman — comes together to invoke the Sun God, bound by piety and obeisance.

As the steel city celebrates the four-day festival, The Telegraph visits some prominent families to get an inside view of the rituals and the revelry

JIGYASHA SINHA, PG student of paediatrics in Mumbai and elder daughter of industrialist R.K. Sinha

Jigyasha is a first-time vrati this time and her entire family is excited that she is fasting and will offer arghya on Friday evening

“I am pleased that my eldest daughter Jigyasha has decided to follow her mother Vidyawati in observing the rigorous rituals of Chhath from this year. She will offer prayers at the artificial reservoir of our house,” said doting dad Sinha

What Chhath means to me

“I have come all the way from Mumbai to take part in the festivities with my entire family,” came the pat reply from the pretty lady

SITA PANDEY, better half of Rakeshwar Pandey, veteran trade union leader

It’s tradition with a twist for Sita, who confesses with a twinkle that her eldest daughter Jyoti inspired her to observe Chhath

“My eldest daughter Jyoti inspired me 10 years ago to start observing Chhath rituals. My younger daughters Priti and Riti also help me in every possible way. I feel blessed. This year, we won’t go to the swollen Kharkai, but offer prayers at an artificial reservoir at our Bistupur home,” says the mother

What Chhath means to me

“The occasion holds a lot of importance for me. It is believed that if we are able to please the Sun God, we will get lots of blessings from him,” said the devout believer

Nutan Verma, wife of Prabhat Verma, head of the psychiatric department at Tata Main Hospital

Nutan loves the bonding and discipline this festival demands. She stresses on the fact that all family members are equally involved in rituals. She will offer prayers at her Northern Town home

What Chhath means to me

I pray for the well being of my nearest and dearest ones,” she says

Kumud Sahay, deputy secretary, rural works department

Inspired by her mother-in-law, Sahay started celebrating Chhath four years ago. This year too, she will stick to tradition and perform puja with her family members.

“I have come to Lohardaga, where my husband is posted, to celebrate Chhath. My sister-in-law and other family members are also here and I am looking forward to have a great time,” she said.

What Chhath means to me

“I believe Sun God is very powerful, he showers his blessings on all,” came the pat reply from the government servant,” she said

Suman Diwedy, better half of H.N. Diwedy, deputy director of state fishery department

Suman has been carrying forward the family tradition of observing Chhath with ease for the past 15 years.

“In our family, there is this tradition that daughters-in-law start doing Chhath puja only after giving birth. As soon as I delivered twins, my mother-in-law handed me this responsibility and I have been doing it for several years now,” she said, adding that this year, she was celebrating the festival at Motihari along with her children and family

What Chhath means to me

“The occasion holds a lot of importance for me. It is believed that if we are able to please the Sun God, we will get lots of blessings from him.”

Tandra Prasad, wife of Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC) chairman Anand Bhushan

No body asked or forced Tandra to observe Chhath. It was on her own wish that she started observing the rituals two years ago. “Yes, it was I who approached my mother-in-law and expressed my wish to observe Chhath. But I don’t go to any water body and prefer to offer prayers on the terrace,” she said

What Chhath means to me

It’s one of the most important events in our family. My husband and children help me observe all the rituals

No puja for Lalu

Rabri Devi may be missing husband Lalu Prasad while observing Chhath in Bihar, but the RJD leader, who is now in Ranchi jail after being indicted in a fodder scam case, has decided to give the puja a miss behind bars. Jail officials confirmed that the former Bihar chief minister would not perform Chhath puja even though he is sticking to a strict non-garlic, non-onion diet.

If Lalu decides to change his mind, he can always join the nine-odd women prisoners who are observing the rituals in a small water body inside the jail. The authorities have provided them all items required for performing the festival