Everyone knows that Holi is the festival of colours, and probably the most fun you can have in India. The boys of shuktara and their friends always meet at Anna Bari to throw paint powder at each other and put it on each others faces. We all laugh – a lot. This festival is a wonderful beginning to spring and a welcome break from work and studies.
Thanks to your generous donations to shuktara we have been able to fund a tutor for Anna Bari.
He will be working with Aakash (here), Subhash, Bappa, Bablu and Sumon. But already we can’t keep some of the other boys away!
We were able to find Joydeb through Priyanka who is the girls’ tutor at Lula Bari.
He will come to Anna Bari three times a week on the days the boys don’t have physiotherapy.
Vishwakarma is considered to be the divine architect and creator of the world. On this day workers ask him to bless their tools (from a simple hammer to a more complex machine like a computer) and give them safe working conditions, success in their work and a better future.
At shuktara this is usually a small celebration however this year Sunil decided that the statue representing Vishwakarma could be bigger. You can see Sunil in the first video below joyfully banging with a pair of scissors during the ceremony to honour Vishwakarma.
If you follow shuktara you know that Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the year in Kolkata. All over the city elaborate handmade pandals are created to house clay statues of the goddess Durga and her family who come down once a year from their heavenly abode for a five day holiday.
This year the young people of shuktara visited the pandals on the 1st day of Pujas which was Shashti and 3rd day which was Ashtami. Everyone dressed up in their new clothes, piled in the cars and went pandal-hopping.
(thank you Raegan Hodge for all the fabulous photos!)
Belinda Carlisle has been a longtime supporter of shuktara and she is a frequent visitor to both homes in Kolkata. While in Atlanta she kindly gave some of her time to Yep! Films International and talked about her experiences with shuktara.
To help support the new shuktara documentary click here:
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between brother and sister. Traditionally sisters tie a "rakhi" (thread or ornamental bracelet) around the right wrist of their brothers.
Every year a few women associated with shuktara go to the boys' home and tie rakhis on all of the boys and young men - as you can see they are absolutely delighted to participate in this celebration of the bond between siblings.
According to Wikipedia this "transformed tradition" also happens outside the shuktara homes:
"Among women and men who are not blood relatives, there is also a transformed tradition of voluntary kin relations, achieved through the tying of rakhi amulets, which have cut across caste and class lines, and Hindu and Muslim divisions."
At the end of April we posted about a new physiotherapist who started coming to shuktara. The twice-weekly sessions are going really well at the boys' house with Aakash, Subhash and Sumon, and at Lula Bari with Prity, Guria and Moni.
Yesterday he took the three boys to RCFC (Rehabilitation Centre For Children) close by here in Behala to see how we can improve their mobility. Next week he is taking the girls.
They made casts for splints and gave us some good ideas on how to improve and assist mobility within our homes. Looking forward to sharing our next trip when we take the girls!
Holi is an Indian spring festival also known as the "festival of colours". As Wikipedia says: "It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh."
As you can see from the photos, this is a favorite festival at shuktara, celebrated by everyone.
Happy Holi from all of us at shuktara!