Author: shuktara

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari - Guria and Prity

Visiting Lula Bari on Kali Puja

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari - Guria and Prity

Guria and Prity

Kali Puja is the holiday after Durga Puja, celebrated right before Diwali, the festival of lights. The exterior of Bengali houses are lit up with dozens, sometimes hundreds of little candles and fireworks start going off as soon as the sun goes down.

A visit to the girls' home, Lula Bari, was a wonderful way to celebrate the festival of Kali, the goddess of Kolkata. A few visitors from abroad were invited to meet the girls and young women of shuktara, sharing sweets and laughter.

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Muniya

Muniya

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Louise and Muniya

Tamina

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Moni

Moni

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Alison and Muniya

Muniya

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Guria, Pappu and Lali

Guria & Lali

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Guria, Pappu and Lali

Guria & Lali

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Guria

Guria

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Guria

Guria

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Louise, Muniya and Christi

Muniya

2015 Kali Puja - shuktara Lula Bari  - Lali

Lali
shuktara 2015 Durga Puja - Sunil

Celebrate Durga Puja 2015 with shuktara!

Durga Puja is the biggest and most extravagant festival in Kolkata. For weeks everyone watches the pandals (temporary, fabricated structures) being slowly constructed. The one aspect common to all of them is a huge elaborate sculpture of the Hindu goddess Durga. During this Puja everyone at shuktara goes "pandal hopping" to view and enjoy the creative depictions of the goddess and her temporary home.

Sunil is never happier than when there is puja going on – and the biggest and best puja of all is DURGA PUJA!

Ashok
Pappu and Ashok
Pappu with Bapi, Ipshita and Rajesh
Ashok and friends
Lali with Minudi and Tamina
Prity
Ramesh, Sunil and Tamina with two of our mashis - Minu and Sabita
Ashok
Ramesh
Ashok
Rajesh
Lali
shuktara - Guria, new girl at Lula Bari

Guria – new girl at Lula Bari!

Learning to expect the unexpected…

29th September 2015
After Pappu's visit to Childline and his agreement to bring the new girl to Lula Bari, we were all ready and today at lunchtime, we were brought someone completely different.

Meet Guria...

Clearly she needs love, care, attention and a home right now, so even though they brought someone we weren't expecting, we are sure she is right and we are all really happy to welcome her.

Her paperwork from The Kolkata Police say that she was found "lying on the road" on 17th August at 7:05 pm and has since been in a night shelter. Her medical report states that she is "mentally ill", but we can inform you right now, that this little one is as bright as a button and really ready to communicate. She is hearing, but non verbal and already seems to be settled into her new home and very happy after a chicken and rice lunch.

Watch our Facebook page for more photos and news from Pappu about what happened to the other girl.

shuktara - Ramesh helps with Vishwakarma Puja

Vishwakarma Puja on the roof

shuktara - Ramesh helps with Vishwakarma Puja

Vishwakarma Puja is usually celebrated in the workplace and always on the roof of the shuktara boys house in Kolkata. Essentially this is a Puja where workers have their tools blessed. This is what Wikipedia says about this festival:
It is generally celebrated on 17 or 18 September in Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Tripura. The festival is observed primarily in factories and industrial areas, often on the shop floor. As a mark of reverence the day of worship is marked not only by the engineering and architectural community but by artisans, craftsmen, mechanics, smiths, welders, industrial workers, factory workers and others. They pray for a better future, safe working conditions and, above all, success in their respective fields. Workers also pray for the smooth functioning of various machines. It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in his name, refraining from using the tools while doing so. Modern electronic servers are also worshipped for their smooth functioning.

Special statues and pictures of Vishwakarma are normally installed in every workplace and factory. All workers gather in one common place and perform the puja .

Below are more photos from shuktara's rooftop celebration...

shuktara - Sanjay and Ratan

Sanjay and Ratan

shuktara - Sanjay and Ratan
Ratan needs full time care and attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For this we have a full time carer. When he goes to see his family, we all help.

This means washing him, feeding him, changing his nappies and sitting with him holding his hand.

He wakes up smiling every morning and his giggles can be heard throughout the day, unless he needs a bowel movement – then the laughing stops, until that’s done. Then it starts again.

If you feel that you would like to be part of helping us to help him, visit our “DONATE” page, where there are lots of options to help not only Ratan, but all the boys, girls and young people who live in our homes.
THANK YOU
shuktara.org/donate/

Rakhi at shuktara

Every year in August the 'sisters' of shuktara come to the boys home and tie rakhi on the wrists of their 'brothers' to show their affection. Across most of India the same thing happens - with brothers and sisters who are related by blood but also when that strong family bond is felt between unrelated people. It is a celebration that everyone at shuktara can participate in, and everyone enjoys this festival immensely.

[from Wikipedia] Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit literally means "the tie or knot of protection". The word Raksha means protection, whilst Bandhan is the verb to tie. It is an ancient Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters. The sister performs a Rakhi ceremony, then prays to express her love and her wish for the well being of her brother; in return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances.

The festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother-sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, sometimes between biologically unrelated men and women. To many, the festival transcends biological family, brings together men and women across religions, diverse ethnic groups and ritually emphasizes harmony and love. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of ลšrฤvaแน‡a, and typically falls in August every year.

shuktara - Anna, Sunil and Bablu Lal 2006

Anna, Sunil and Bablu Lal in 2006

shuktara - Anna, Sunil and Bablu Lal 2006

Hard to believe this photo of Anna, Sunil and Bablu Lal was taken in 2006. Both Anna and Sunil had been with shuktara for seven years, since 1999; Bablu came later.

We thought it was a photo worth sharing with you - these three young men have more serious disabilities and would not be able to live on their own. They will always have a home at shuktara.