Poila Baisakh – It’s All about Macch, Mishti, Halkhata and Notun Posakh
- by Sumana Bhattacharya
“এসো হে বৈশাখ এসো এসো।“
Yes, that is what strikes our mind on the eve of 14th or 15th April morning as soon as we get up from the bed. It is yet another Bengali New year – we call it Poila Baisakh. The first month of the Hindu calendar, Known as Baisakh marks new beginnings for every Hindu and for Bengalis it is amazingly a different scenario altogether. The “amej” what you call as the mood starts setting with the onset of “Chaitra” – the last month of Bengali calendar. This is the only day when you can actually see a true Bengali with all those traditional “Punjabi”, “Kurti” and “Athpoure Saree”.
This song, which I have mentioned at the beginning of my article, is something that we start to hum as soon as the Poila Baisakh sets. The traditional theme and culture that runs in the blood of a Bengali cannot give a miss in the eve of Poila Baisakh. Just as this song has entwined in our blood it is same with the happenings that take place in Poila Baisakh. Well, let me take a quick dig and share you with some Poila Baisakh memories that are always locked at the back of the mind. We love to cherish it as soon as the Bengali New Year sets in.
Let us see what makes the D-Day so special!
The Chaitra Sale
Gosh, a fever that you cannot give up when the Poila Baisakh sets in, it is the Chaitra Sale. Haggling with the shopkeepers takes a speed break at this month and you get all factory price products, ready to sale like hotcakes. No not just the old and the misfit or may be one last product that comes in this Chaitra sale category, the shopkeeper do sell some of the fresh and new products, but with the wrap cover of “Well, it is one Chaitra Sale”. Funny is not it, but Bengalis just love it.
Wearing a New “Jama” is a Must
It’s already Poila Boisakh and you have not got your new pair of saree or salwar or Punjabi. Trust me, you will have some eyes rolling on you. From mashi, pishi, kakima to jethimas – all have that biggest query in life –“poila baisakh” is here what will you wear? Parents do used to buy some umbrella cut frocks or those pretty cotton half pants, but as we grow up beautiful cotton sarees, lightweight and easy to carry and khadi Punjabi or batik Punjabis soon came to fill up our wardrobes. I think many can relate back to those times.
Charak and Gajan
Very few Bengalis are unknown to it, but to the distant lands of Bengal and in the rural areas, this is one of the most common sights to watch. Bengal celebrate the year-end or 'Chaitra Sankranti' with exciting fairs and festivals, such as Gajan and Charak. Traditional Charak Mela, includes extreme spiritual acrobatics, held in small and big towns in West Bengal, and one in Latu Babu-Chhatu Babur Bazar in North Kolkata on the last day of the year, and a day later at Konnagar, the location of Bengal's only 'Basi Charaker Mela'.
For Bengali traders and shop owners, Poila Boisakh is the haalkhata time – the auspicious day to open the ledger. From visiting a saree shop to a jewellery store, Bengalis hardly give a miss to collect those Mithai boxes and eat too-many glasses of sherbet in this onset of summer months. Regular customers who attend the party might not always get return gifts, but it also denotes the payment of the residue or debts left of the last year and you need to solemnize to start fresh.
The Bengali Cuisine
We know that the Bengali penchant to enjoy good food, just not comes in Durga Puja, it is also in Poila Baisakh. If you start smelling or pass by a Bengali kitchen in this day, you will get the fragrance of elaichi, dalchini, labang, jaifal, jayitri. Yes, literally the Bengali is all set to prepare any dish that is so authentic that you have to utter the word yummy at the end. Along with the lunch over fish, mutton, with evening snacks over kabiraji and night ending with luchi and cholar dal traditional sweets like Rosogolla, Payesh is just too perfect.
Shopping spree has just started
Just as we have started to count days as we move towards the Poila Baisakh – I think most of us have prepared a bucket list of what to buy and what not. Keeping the taste of my patrons in mind this year I have handpicked some of the rarest saree in my treasure. I have launched an exclusive new Silk Mark Collection, some red-hot handloom collection (directly from the house of Tantis) and finally some rare Jamdani Collection that is worthy enough to occupy a little space in your wardrobe.
Among the Silk mark collection, which is sure to steal your heart, is some of the finest Bishnupuri Silk, Tussar Silk and Katan Banarasi Silk and a lot more. As for handloom, you have some rare varieties Sitara, Zari weaving or linen. Another showstopper is my latest full-body Kantha Stitch that is already an Insta sensation.
To keep a tab on the #sotd (saree of the day) follow me at Instagram. You will get the classically chosen sarees on Instagram profile of mine in case you do not get time to visit my website. Just DM to know the price and just purchase the saree you want. Loads of #sareelove to spread even if you have less time, but for those who wants to buy with all details known – my website is always open – www.indyvogue.com – know the price in INR, US$ or Euros instantly and book if it is in your budget. To mark the beginning of the celebration and to know what’s hot, keep an eye on your email every Tuesday and grab amazing discounts, surprises, gifts and freebies.
Whether it’s Poila Baiskha or Durga Puja, we count on your smile more than anything else. Signing off!
Sumana is one of the fashion-buff who has cherished her fashion goal ever since a long time. Her passion took her to open an exclusive boutique called IndyVogue that introduces every woman to traditional Indian attires mainly sarees, skirts and salwar. She is no hardcore businesswomen, but a homemaker who keeps on giving fashion goals that will never fade.