Odisha: Memories Recollected





When I thought to pen down something for the Kalinga Samaj e-magazine, I was puzzled while selecting a topic, because many years have passed, I would have written anything in odia. Then I  remembered about my school days and my odia lessons. I just could not just control myself to stop laughing for number of incidents relating to my subject odia in my school days- our odia teacher, the handwritings, the essay competitions, the odia idioms, story writing assignments, punishments, examinations days, daddy’s practise sessions and lots more. Childhood days are amazing in classroom, but a little tough for an English medium student in the odia class. With time, the love for the mother tongue grows, the tough subject seems a treasure to the heart and life.
No one in this world, who are born and brought up in Odisha, would have forgotten the childhood day’s lullaby sang by their mother. Every night before we sleep, we hear “aa janha mamun sarada shashi; mo kahnu hatha re padhe tu khasi; mo khanu tate kariba gela; khaibaku daba labani sara; khaiki tu hoibu khusi” from our mother. Sometimes we ask our mother to sing for us, “dho re baiya dho jeun kiari re gahala mandia sei kiyari re so” or “aa aa re bai chadhei; to maa jaichi gai charei; gahira bila ru aniba bela; kole basei kariba gela” to be little more pampered and loved by her. Even though, we are taught various rhymes, like twinkle twinkle little star, humpty dumpy sat on a wall, pussy pussy little cat, one two three buckle my shoe in our schools, we are taught by our mother our favourite odia rhyme “chaka chaka bhaunri mamu ghara chanuri, mamu mate marile main mate dhaile, dhudha bhata kholile, suna pila muhin re, mo parai kehi nahi re”
During examination days, life was like a tug of war for me. Remembering each and every odia lessons was like trial and horror with lots of errors. The percentage of errors was more than the percentage of words in one page of my copy. No class would have gone when I would not have been caned for spelling mistakes. Copy was full of red ink marks than my sentences in odia written by pencil.  But for one reason I loved the odia class was stories. I loved to listen them in the class, even though literary ornamental words went out of my head. During the day before exam, mom would read the stories for me, and I would write my exam. This was the odia exam preparation strategy.
We had an option to choose between hindi or odia from 8th standard. I was very much interested to take hindi as a subjects. But my parents suggested choosing odia, being a mother tongue. That time, I was so much worried if I could even pass the exam. But not only I passed the exam, but came with good marks. Well, I think from that time only I had got some kind of affinity for the subject. I remember, for an essay competition, I practised the same essay for month, every day “Adarsha Chatra Jevana” I won first prize in it. It was really a shocking surprise for me. Thanks to my mother, as she made me a point to love the subject.
I liked the odia idioms very much may be because sentence may be something but meaning different. That time i had memorised all the odia idioms and its meaning, not only for exam but out of interest. Our morning prayer was in English but in home the sandya prathana was in odia taught by mother, the famous one- “ahe dayamay biswa bihari, ghena dayabahi mora guhari”. She taught us each and every line of the song of which i could remember my favourite lines like “mora kamaku karao sarasa, mora mukhe dia chira harasa” or “sata kahibaku kian daribi, sata kahi pache male maribi”or “mote atiki sikhaa sain hai, mora dhana jana loda nahin hai”. How much it is really practised by us is yet to click, but yes, this is how culture and tradition and good values are taught in every single home in Odisha. I love Odisha being the land of culture. I therefore feel, people of Odisha have a kind heart than the other side of the country.
Recollecting how grand maa used to sit and read the odia barnobodha. Don’t remember the exact lines, little blur memories with few lines that are “Aaita ama rosei ghara, eeithi maa besara bate, pariba kate, jai ragade, saga kharade”. It was something related to family, family values, family members. Well written lines, even if life is dominated by domino pizzas or Italian pasatas, charmed by Chinese chowmeins, but what caught to our eye is homemade desi tadka of the odia foods even our Lord Jaganath takes 56 varieties of food then how we can’t be food crazies for odia dishes. Be it the authentic flavours like dalma, badi chura, baigana poda, chungdi poi curry, dahi pakhala or exotic varieties of sweets like chena poda, aarisha pitha, manda pitha so much and so more.
The story behind Konark temple was one my favourite chapter. I don’t remember the exact class in which I have read, and what the chapter name was, but I remember the story and its main characters -the king Langula Narasimha Dev and the chief architect Bishnu Maharana’s 12 year old son Dharmapada, who sacrificed his life for saving the life of twelve thousand craftsmen. The history behind each and every historical monument taught us something. This story must have grown many children to respect their parents and to have brave heart.
Our odia lessons were not limited inside the four walls of our class but pyramid of picnics spots. Being Odisha the centre and heart of culture, it has many places like Puri Jananath temple, Ram Chandi, Konark temple, Lingaraj temple, Dhauli, chillika lake, bhitarakanika national park. All thses makes me feel proud with its historical significance and beauty of nature.  I am proud to born in a state where we had poets like Upendra Bhanja, Sarala Dasa; have sand artist like Sudarshan Pattnaik; have dancer like Krishna Mohan Reddy (Prince Dance Group); had freedom fighter like Veer Surendra Sai, Rama Devi, Sarala Devi, Gopabandhu Das, Madhusudan Das and many more. I am proud that I am a Kalinga Basi. All the memories recollected in mind within few minutes and felt the love for oriya and odisha.

Two small poems i will dedicate to our mother land as below: 

Odisha, Kalinga or Utkal
By whatever name one may call
Inside each Odia love for mother land will always grow
Honour and respect they will continuously show
For the land of temples, cultures, traditions
For the land with Infinite hopes and visions
Let us unite and march together
And prove those who say our state is poor
Let some part of our life be devoted to our mother land
Then among all, in the top we will stand

Odisha mati ra ame Santana
Rahi thau maa pakhare mana
Odisha kahi munda tekibi munhi
Jou dese pache thaye mun  jai

 -N.M.Leepsa

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