2013 in review

Posted: 31 December 2013 by hithertododos in Moricienneries

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Although our general perception of Ugadi is that it is the Telegu new year, it actually marks the start of a new Hindu lunar calendar. The word Ugadi is composed of ‘Yuga‘ meaning era and ‘Adi‘ meaning beginning. The festival is also known as ‘Gudipadva’ in Maharashtra, ‘Thapna’ in Rajasthan and ‘Cheti Chand’ in Sindh. It marks the new year day for all and it is believed to be the day when the Lord Brahma created the Universe.

Traditionally, houses’ entrance are decorated with garlands of fresh mango leaves – a symbol of general well-being. This actually originated from a legend which relates how much the two sons of Shiva (Kartikeya and Ganesha) as well as his wife Parvati were very fond of mangoes and Kartikeya had told his disciples that having mango leaves at their entrance would welcome good crop and welfare. Ugadi decorations also include beautiful rangolis made on the floor, once again to symbolise well-being and also enliven the atmosphere and spirits.

Rangoli being made on Ugadi

Another crucial tradition of the Ugadi festival is the Panchangam Sravanam which means the recitation of the religious almanac which shall reveal the predictions for the new year. It is either priests or elders who would be reading this out in an informal social gathering.

Like many festivals, Ugadi is also marked with special food. The Ugadi Pachadi , is a mixture of six flavours namely bitterness (neem flowers), tanginess (raw mangoes), sourness (tamarind juice), sweetness (jaggery), saltiness (salt) and heat (chilli/pepper). It is prepared specially for Ugadi as it symbolises the fundamental experiences one has to face and accept in life with equanimity. They actually represent sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise.

Ugadi Pachadi – mixture of six flavours

In our paradise island, Ugadi is mostly celebrated by the Telegus with a gradually increasing number of people of the Hindu faith. The festival is marked by prayers, astrological forecasts and cultural programmes throughout the country. It is actually celebrated on National level by being a public holiday and having several functions organised by different cultural or religious entities in the island.

Ugadi is therefore a festival of renewal and an auspicious occasion for rejoicing while welcoming the new Hindu lunar calendar!


Mauritius celebrates its 45th Independence and the 21st Republic Anniversaries today, 12th March 2013.  Quite a feat for one of the smallest, if not smallest, countries in Africa but what is also one of the most, if not the most, successful.  Let us leave Economics behind today and focus on the Moricienneries aspect of Independence, more particularly within school compounds where numerous children eagerly celebrate it on the eve!  How does it happen there?

Throughout all classes from Standards 1 to 6, preparations begin many days before the 12th March (or 11th March, when schools typically celebrate as the 12th is a public holiday).  Balloons and miscellaneous four-coloured decorations are hung and plastered in classes.  Rehearsals are done everyday starting at least a week before so that all hundreds of school children know where they should stand in the school yard and when (and how) to sing the National Anthem.  They are all typically arranged in lines (alphabetically? or by whoever the teacher likes best? no idea).  The rehearsal will also include the flag hoisting to give a ‘real’ feel to it.

On the 11th, the atmosphere is ebullient as children don’t bring their 20kg-school bags filled with books and copybooks on that day and party mood is in the air! Mommies around the island do not prepare lunches for their children either (no early fish finger or burger frying today) as there will be snacks at school to celebrate Independence! Every student also normally receives a small National flag and for special landmark occasions, even a commemorative pin like on the occasion of the proclamation of the Republic in 1992.

Ecstatic school children who love their country

Before the eagerly-anticipated snacks, all the students and teachers have to line up outside in the yard all together to welcome the Guest of Honour (typically a Minister or very high ranked official).  The latter has a speech planned, usually including a message from the Prime Minister.  Right after that, some male teacher with a tough attitude and a deep voice will yell “ATTENTION!” and everyone will stand up straight to sing the National Anthem just like they have rehearsed for at least a week before that.  After the stressful execution, the man will yell “AT EASE!” and everybody will relax.  Everybody except for teachers, as having to get hordes of school children back into their respective classes in an orderly fashion can be harder than simply walking into Mordor.

Afterwards, when the Guest of Honour has departed, everybody goes (or is dragged) back to their respective classes where they are all served a small (and getting smaller every passing year) cake such as feuilleté, puits d’amour, maspin, tarte banane, napolitaine, and the like and a boxed juice or fizzy drink (pepsi or coca…in small 25cl plastic bottles – they used to be glass before).  All of those come in boxes of 40 or 50 for one class, with little if no leftovers at all or even missing some occasionally.  If ever there are any leftovers, usually they are shared among the teachers who bring it back home for their children who had the same thing at school.

School ends early on the 11th and all children rush t0 get to their school vans to go home so that they do not miss the cartoons on TV.

Thus ends a memorable day for many a small child who goes to school to celebrate Independence Day with his/her friends.

Happy 45th Independence and 21st Republic Anniversaries Mauritius!


Feedback is something of a rarity in many instances, be it at work, after an artistic performance, when something you have taken time to create has been read or seen, etc.  What is feedback? Simply offering your thoughts and perceptions on what you just read/saw/experienced/etc., thus giving the person some sort of ‘reward’, through encouragement or information on ways to improve.

Feedback can be in various forms – words like ‘thank you’ or ‘I liked it’, gestures like a pat on the back or a rub of the shoulder, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, laughs, smiles, money, gifts, etc.  Feedback is important because it gives the otherwise-clueless person an idea of how s/he is doing something.  If they are doing a good job, they will be encouraged and if they are not doing so well, they will have an idea where to improve via the feedback received.  All in all, feedback is the objective and constructive improvement mechanism of reality.

“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.”

In the online ‘creative’ world, feedback is the equivalent of money in the real world, if not even more valuable.  When people share what they write or draw, pictures they take, songs they wrote or music they composed, they need to know what others think of it so that they can get some encouragement or know how to create something better.

Feedback has a ‘feel-good’ effect for all parties.  The person leaving feedback feels good about showing their appreciation for someone’s work and the person receiving the feedback is happy that all the time and energy they invested in creating something made someone happy.  Feedback not only connects the people on both sides of the computer screen but it also ensures that both sides will be happy: the content creator will be happy to create more content and the person seeing the content will be happy to see more content.  In other words, feedback is what keeps the new and better contents flowing.

Is something as simple as a comment, a ‘like’, a ‘share’, a content rating, a thank you, a smile, a laugh, etc. really that powerful?

Yes, it is.  And so much more that that.

Diwali – Moricienneries Style

Posted: 31 October 2012 by prerrnamirchi in Special Contributions
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With Diwali only two weeks away I believe that the preparations have already started in many homes. After the usual cleaning, dusting and scrubbing, people invade shopping malls in search of new clothes, household items, gifts and other trinkets. While the most important event remains the lighting of lamps [and fireworks] to symbolize the victory of good over evil, we all tend to focus more on the sweeter side of the festival. The very mention of Diwali gets us thinking about the wide array Indian sweets that are painstakenly made at home and shared with family, neighbours and friends.

It starts with the family coming together to decide on the list of sweets to be prepared followed by the purchase of ingredients needed for their confection. This is usually done in supermarkets where the raw materials are prominently displayed as being ‘On Sale’ at their regular prices to the delight of customers. While men get busy shopping for sugar, ghee, flour, milk, besan, oil and sweet spices, the womenfolk actively engage in recipe sharing over the phone or by email. Some bring out their vintage collection of newspaper clippings while the more adventurous ones come up with creations of their own which do not always work out the way they had originally intended.

Even the simplest of sweets take time if dozens have to be prepared simultaneously by amateur hands. Many prefer to begin on the eve or few days before; the ones with more money and less time and/or skill will settle for store bought quality from Bombay Sweets, Anand Sweets, Ashoka Sweets, Milan Sweets, etc. In either case, the final choice will usually be from the following:

1. Besan/Boondi Laddoo – The universal sweet present at every joyous occasion, this delicious morsel is made out of droplets of deep fried chickpea flour. Make sure that you have enough helping hands to assist you in shaping these into golf sized balls

2. [Mauritian] Gulab Jamun – Shaped like a small sausage, it is [again] deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup. Can be stored for days but you may find yourself with empty containers mere hours after you carefully packed everything for distribution

3. Barfi – Comes in all shapes and flavours, some with exotic names, it is a milk-based delight prepared by different method. The best results are undeniably those made out of paneer/homemade cheese but it takes patience and skill to acheive the perfect texture

4. Khaja – Our Indian feuilleté, made by layering thin sheets of dough with oil-flour paste to give that distinctive flakiness

5. Nankhatai – A dainty vegeterian cookie that melts in the mouth due to the liberal amount of ghee that goes in its making

6. Tekwa- Also a nickname for someone on the heavy side, this soft pillow-like dessert is traditionally filled with ground split peas/dal, very much like a sweet version of our ‘staple’ food – the dal puri

7. [Mauritian] Rasgulla – Similar to the gulab jamun except that it is round and spongier in consistency. Tends to absorb a lot of syrup, diabetics nanis, beware!

8. Gato Coco – The simplest of all, the rustic gato coco is made by cooking a mixture of sugar and grated coconut to a thick sticky mass and leaving it to crystalise to room temperature. Some add powdered milk to give it a creamy texture.

9. Gato Zinzli – Deep fried dough balls coated with sesame seeds, probably stems from a fusion of indo-chinese cuisine

10. Gato Patate – Another sweet responsible for the admission of many diabetic patients post-diwali, this is a genuine ‘Made in Mauritius’ delicacy. Roughly described as a sweet potato dumpling stuffed with sweetened coconut, it remains the number 1 favorite in most households.

Buy them or make them yourself, Diwali sweets are but an excuse to share our joy with others. The Moricienneries team wishes all group members, page subscribers, contributors and well wishers a very happy Diwali and hopes that it brings luck, wealth and prosperity to everyone. And no matter how you choose to fill your box of sweets, do spare a thought for those who won’t be celebrating with us this year.


Contrary to what it seems, being an island girl does not literally mean being in shorts or miniskirts and flip fops, hitting the beach every day. Unfortunately, no… Actually, ironically, I can count how many times I’ve been to the beach this year – my finger’s count is just too much!

So what’s the big deal about being an island girl? The challenge comes when you grow up with the aim of one day being self-dependent. Consequently, I spent almost 18 years of my life studying, to reach a masters level. Meanwhile, I succeeded in starting my career and recently I’ve bought my own car.

“Great, so what’s the problem girl?” – I bet you’d ask me that. The problem is that I live in a very traditional country, where the freedom of a girl is very limited. I seek no such freedom where I can go out indulge in alcohol, drugs, get laid and come back all wasted! No, I only wish to actually appreciate those small moments of life as much as I can since I now feel free of all burdens of studying…

However, if I follow society’s norm, it is now supposedly time to get married. OK agreed that I’m of age but still, when do I actually live for myself? This would simply mean for example waking up with that feeling of hitting the beach (since am an island girl) with my friends on a Sunday and not having to feel like I ‘ll be totally submerged by my parents’ questions – who is coming, why are you going, at what time will you be back etc…

As I mentioned earlier, all efforts I’ve put till now in becoming who I am, I wish to enjoy it for myself, not to make it as a real great package for a potential husband and his family. No offence to anyone here. It is just how it feels when you come across people who ask you questions like you’re at an interview and finally deduce that you’re the perfect marriage prospect for their son/grandson/nephew… How did they actually determine it, it remains quite elusive to me – my salary? my career? my smile? my innocent look? my family name? my car? my traditional clothes maybe…

Contrary to what you may think, I’m not against marriage at all. I simply hate that ‘pattern’ people have set to one’s life – studies, job, marriage, kids… Has anyone thought about LIVING? Believe me just mentioning it, especially when you’re a girl, you feel like you’ll soon be marginalized.

Life is a gift, being an island girl makes it a double gift (as far as I see it) so I wish deeply to be able to state one day that “Yes, I am an island girl and yes life is supeeerb here!!! “. We live only once so why follow a trend blindly? Why would anyone strive in life if it is to abide to norms only and never stop one minute to make it enjoyable first and foremost for oneself?

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, I’ve learnt to make the most of the limited freedom I have and at least, at the end of the day, feel satisfied of having lived it up yet another day in Paradise Island…

I finished my studies… (satire)

Posted: 25 October 2012 by hithertododos in Satire
Tags: , , , , , , ,

6000 days…200 months…17 years……20% of my life…1 ceremony … at last! That’s it! No more reading, writing, rewriting, memorising, or learning ever ever EVER again! I finally did it! I completed my studies! With my shiny degree in hand, I have made my parents proud by achieving what they always wanted me to; I can now go back home with my head held high.

I am sure my parents will be very happy for me; they encouraged me all the time when I got a good college after C.P.E., when I passed my HSC, when I got admitted to university, and told me it was their dream to see me get my degree, to see me get a job in the Government and found my own family.

I have to start looking for a job soon.  They say working for the Government is best.  The pay is not much but at least there will be job security.  They told me that after I work for some years and save money, I can buy a plot of land and build a house.  I don’t want an apartment as they say it is not good.  I want to have a mango tree.  People say it is good to have it.  I don’t know why but it has to be true because my 2 neighbours have mango trees.  I already have the image of my house in my head, what it will look like and what colour it will be.

When my house will be built, my parents will look for a nice girl for me.  She will have to be from a good family, and be beautiful too.   It is OK if she works if she does not stay too late, otherwise I will not have dinner at the time I am used to.  Working as a teacher is best because she will finish early and can take care of our children.  It will also be good as she will have holidays at the same time as our children later.  If not, my parents would have to look after them while we work.

But I am still too young to think of all this now.  I have to enjoy my life and have fun as now is the only time I can do this! I will watch all new Bollywood movies and stay on the internet all night!  I can even go to malls everyday to meet my friends.  I will only call those who are not married yet as those who are married always stay with their wives all the time and forget friends.

HSC – check.  University – check.  Government job – not yet.  Marriage – not yet.  Children – not yet.


Just like every darkest night is followed by one bright morning, the festival of Navratri (also known as Doorga Pooja) comes as a time of full celebrations after the fortnight of Pitri Paksh (a period where ancestors are remembered and no auspicious task is undertaken). Hindus around the world are currently observing the Navratri fast for nine consecutive nights representing the nine forms of the Goddess Doorga.

In order to put you into the context, Doorga is the Hindu Goddess representing the feminine form of the Supreme. She is a form of Shakti (personification of the Holy Mother) both gracious and powerful. She represents Divine energy and her worship bestows devotees with courage and strength so as to proceed in life and never give up…

The festival usually occurs twice a year. The first one takes place in March-April and is known as the Vasant Navratri (coincides with Ram Nawmi). The second one occurs in September-October and is called the Sharad Navratri. The very word Navratri means nine (Nav) nights (ratri).

Each night, a specific form of the Goddess is worshipped. These forms are, as per scriptures, the nine avatars in which the Goddess physically appeared. These avatars are also referred to as Nav Doorga. The picture below illustrates these nine forms and the celebrations occur in the order, starting with the Shailaputri avatar until the Siddhidhatri one (in an anticlockwise direction).

This festival is very popular among Mauritian devotees as it brings in happy tidings where clay statues of the Goddess are adorned and worshiped throughout the nine nights. Bhajans (religious songs) are sang all night through, in glory of the Holy Mother. All temples resound with chants glorifying the Goddess while devotees keep coming to see the deity and seek for her blessings. The whole atmosphere vibrates with pure holiness where one can experience the energy that emanates in concentrating and praying to the Goddess. Some fast by eating only sweet dishes during this festival while others fast by eating only fruits. It is said that during this auspicious period, prayers made with true devotion are answered and obstacles in one’s life are completely removed.

While the festival goes on, devotees also organise Doorga Poojas at their own place where relatives, neighbours as well as friends are warmly invited to attend the prayers.  The ceremony usually ends in Maha Prasad being served – food which has been blessed during the prayers. These nine nights of celebrations are therefore a time to rejoice in the grace of the Goddess who stands as the Supreme Mother and therefore exhibits all the qualities of a woman as a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. It comes as an occasion to renew one’s devotion and faith in the Supreme and seek for those positive vibrations that prevail during this period. The Navratri is therefore not only a moment of intense devotion but also the time of the year to rejoice and celebrate. It brings about a crowd of devotees who together sing special mantras which in turn purify the atmosphere and generate positive vibrations.

The tenth day of the festival, called Dusshera or Vijaya Dashami, marks the end of the celebrations where the victory of the Goddess Doorga over demons called Shumbh, Nishumbh is remembered. At the same time, the clay statues mentioned earlier are brought to the sea or river for immersion. Devotees come in mass to assist to this last ritual. It is a special way to conclude this holy period in apotheosis where processions towards the seaside or riverside are highly vibrant with holy songs being sung all the way through or loudspeakers from vehicles blasting with holy chants in glory of the Goddess. Navratri, in Mauritius, is thus celebrated with much devotion and happiness among devotees who await this festival with much eagerness, every year…


bon banne zenesse, ene lot ti topic kine passe dan mo latete lot zour la. dan moris, si to prend 10 familles “de la meme communaute”, to sire pu ena at least 8-9 noms ki commun dan tou sa banne famille la.banker sa. to pu ena to raj, sanjay, ajay,vijay,ene lot jay, ram, bane zenfan…garcon to pu gagne to banne “ish” la, zisse toi to bizin azoute 2-3 lettre devant “ish” la lerla li vine ene nom. tou combinaisons acceptable sa.
bane mausi etc, to pu gagne to banne classik…hahha sarvesh to kapav elabore lor sanla. mai bane tipti tifi, to pu gagne “isha”, zisse azoute devant enkor. apre, les classik…BHAVNA, POOJA, PRIYA etc etc. haha. enfin sa ti dan mo lepok, aster pa konne ki bane nouvo combinaison p tande dan moris c zour si…
PS. eh wai, ti ena ene lepok kot boukou moricien ti p nomme zot zenfan dapre bane footballer moricien (Monsieur Ashley mocude par example…). mai sa topic football moricien la merite ene discussion tousel sa. hahaha.

The Mauritius dictionary letter by letter: H is for…

 

Hart, Robert Edward – Mauritian poet who famously owned a house made from corals in Souillac, which was made a museum after his death

Hauvillard, Montagne d’ – Mountain Peak near Midlands that peaks at around 531m, 17th highest (out of 76) in the island

He-man – Cartoon hero who was a normal guy who had a cat but who could transform into He-man and one helluva tiger respectively thanks to his magic sword; Rocked the late 80s/early 90s and had the tremendously-named (evil) Skeletor as sworn enemy

Heero, Gavin – Mauritian football player who used to be at Crystal Palace; not much more known about him.

Henrietta – Name of an area in Upper Vacoas, known for being an access point to Tamarin Falls and for its famous NTC 141 buses that seem to ‘fly’ on the road (due to their usually high speed)

Helvetia – Village in Moka District; Relatively unknown until the creation of yet another ‘utopic neighbourhood’ which its promoters promise will be ‘just like the neighbourhoods in the Hollywood movies’

Helvetia, Les Allées d’ – Latest ‘luxury’ neighbourhood project to hit the island

Hey – The equivalent greeting of ‘Hey’ in probably every other language (or ‘ehi’ in Italian); also used by some to express different feelings like annoyance, appreciation, etc.  See also Eeehhhhhh

Hilux – Brand of vans that can be seen filling the roads in sooty smoke due to poor maintenance; used to be considered the Mercedes of vans until the arrival of actual Mercedes vans on Mauritian roads

Hinterland – Famous racehorse which graced the turf of Champ de Mars

hithertododos – someone who tries to bring you Moricienneries on WordPress

 

Additional material from contributors (Your own suggestions can be added in the comments or, if mailed to the admin (moricienneries@gmail.com), will appear here).