Crisis at Milon Mancha — searching for innovative ideas.

For last 20 years Milon Mancha is catering to the Bengali elites living in Mumbai. Thus far, entire burden in terms of labour and money, to arrange for cultural events, are borne by two dedicated souls—Shri Rudra and his wife Sharmistha. Immediate last two such events, which we enjoyed and still ringing in our mind, were an evening with Jatileswar on 22.10.2017, and Vijaya Sanmilani on14. 10. 2017, respectively. Both were very good. Before these immediate two, there were many such events arranged successfully, during last 20 years. It is a platform where Prabasi Bengali elites come together.

Milon Mancha by virtue of its commendable performance, earned several hundred elite friends in face book , many of them are real life friends also. At  the time of writing this article, they are sharing their concern about  the burden of Sri Rudra and Sharmistha bear on their shoulder to arrange those events, and weighing various options sorting out as to how to reduce their burden. It is because Shri Rudra and Sharmistha, although highly motivated, but undeniably, are past their youth, no longer command that endless strength and energy of youth.

It is a senior stage of life– Rudra at 60 plus.  Shifting  heavy plank of wood, to mount and dismantle the  make-shift stage for the artists, bringing and returning the chairs, and arranging other many accessories, are not an easy job, a colossal amount of labour, time, energy and sweat, are required. Anytime this may cause injury of back, waist and spine. God forbid, if in the process they get any injury, there is no third person at home to take care of them. To arrange for an event spanning three hours, they have to work for three days.

These all reminds me of preparing a house for marriage of a girl, and then sending her off next morning before the advent of present day Marriage halls. The deserted house after marriage, would take  a lot of work to set back in right order. Many of us have experienced this back home. The house of Milon Mancha requires similar amount of labour for arranging an event.

Milon Mancha is very badly in search of an innovative do-able idea, so that their burden of labour and cost are greatly reduced in holding such event. Breaking point has reached, until any innovation is discovered, it is almost impossible to sustain the activities being maintained for last twenty years.

Milon Mancha where it is presently housed, was originally bought and  used for purely living purpose. But the owners were committed to cultural activities, and needed some permanent place to hold that. Arranging another independent accommodation only for cultural matter, was and is provocatively costly in Mumbai. Owners then decided to make double use of their own flat for using it as an  effective venue for cultural events.  Then its owner Rudra and Sharmistha renovated it, created the present set-up in their home, so that it may serve as a make-shift auditorium for the audience. The set-up has a raised platform, special powerful lighting for stage, and large screens, etc etc. Elite Bengali audiences of Mumbai  have been visiting this venue for last 20 years. But we cannot forget that essentially it is a living place as you and me have, for our resting, sleeping, cooking, caring/loving  etc etc …. before each event, the living space is converted into a full purpose auditorium  and after the event, it is again brought back to the original living place. Huge labour, time and money is involved in effecting the changes.

An innovative idea is required to use their home for daily living for most of the time, and  to use it as an auditorium as well, with least shifting of articles/ furniture so that it will do away with the requirement of space to hold articles not in use. Milon Mancha’s  need of the hour is an easy convertibility between two forms of above said use of the residential flat.

Some might suggest to collect donation from members to conduct cultural events in an outside auditorium, but members of Milon Mancha do not think that it will be equally enjoyable outside the house of Milon Manha, further, there is an emotional attatchment of the founders to it, there is a holiness associated with it. It is entirely the opinion of this blog writer that as soon as you collect donation from others, somewhere your independence is compromised.

Artists like, Shova sen, Sunil Gangopadhaya,  Subodh Dey, Milon chakraborty, Jatileswar ( twice)  and many other came at Milon Mancha in response to invitation. A function was organised in memory of Kalikaprasad Bhattacharya which was attended by a large audience.

We are lucky Milon Mancha has a reservoir of talents. We have distinguished people from different fields who are highly educated,  influential , served in different high positions, changed many similar things in their work places  for improvement. I think somebody who worked in industrial engineering can deliver the present requirement.

What I want to stress here is that we have all required talent among us. All we need that some of us to think hard to produce an innovative workable idea that can make necessary changes in the house of Milon Mancha so that labour and cost involved as of now can be brought down drastically so that present stress/strain of Rudra and Sharmistha can be minimised.  There is a crisis in Milon Mancha,  Milon Mancha’s existence is threatened. Treat this as an SOS.


An evening with Jatileswar Mukhopadhya at Milon Mancha


Just back from a felicitation today ( 22.10.2017) where Milon Mancha honoured multifaceted singer, writer, poet , Music Director  Sri Jatileswar Mukhopadhay. The event started at 6.30 pm and continued till 10.00 pm in the make-shift private auditorium of Milon Mancha. The background of the stage was prepared by two renowned artists, one of them is Aurobinda samanta ( at this young age, his paintings are displayed in the museums of many European countries ).

It was a wonderful evening altogether. It will be cherished for the whole life by me and wife. On our request Amalendu Sil  photographed us with Jatileswar, and the photograph will be preserved by  us for our whole life as an asset, a memento indeed. My wife, Tripti Chakraborty, although not a singer at a professional level, loves singing from her school days, and is dedicated to it in her small way.  She loves and lives music, With her song she keeps all of us in high spirits at home, and dispels any bad mood. Being influenced by her, our only son Anirban Chakraborty, took to  singing as a profession.  Jatileswar is her hero from childhood, never could imagine that she ever could make an access to this multifaceted legendary personality.

As to her, she was not  lucky enough  to learn music direct from Jatileswar as two young  and talented artists Tamasru chanda and Mahuya Bose of Milan Mancha, learnt it from his beloved student Anit Das, in our home town, Konnagar.  She is emotionally attatched to the words of his song , tunes and meaning. It is only yesterday, that her long cherished dream to go near her cherished Guru, and also being photographed with the Guru, was realised. Without Milon Mancha, it could not be thought of , a thousand thanks to Milon Mancha and  Rudra Monadal and Sharmista.

The singer appeared at the right time in our place. He was looking smart for his age at 85 ( her daughter corrected to 84), and was in great mood. About 60 members of Milon Mancha, none of them was ordinary, those present are famous from different fields. It is  simply a treat to be there and , believe me , we were there really !!!.  We were elated!!. The poet and singer was in a great mood to speak. He was accompanied by his worthy daughter, Shubhaa Mukherjee, and grandson, Anurag.  Shubhaa looks to have inherited all the musical qualities of his illustrious father, she lives in Mumbai with her family, and formed her musical group ‘ TIN KANYA’ which has the blessings of her father. She sang many songs of her father and we were enthralled.  His talented students –singers Tamosree and Mahua, supported by the table player, Basudev Saha,  prepared the right beginning for what all followed in this Jatileswar-evening.

As I told already, the poet was in a great mood, and luckily, we got  Sri Tapas Maity, a well established anchor in Mumbai ( a disciple of Devdulal Bandyopadhaya!!! ), to aid the singer to go  through the memoirs of his life during this event.  Singer himself was in the best of mood, narrated us how he was initiated into music in his home town Chinsurah, and moved through his course of musical journey from one guru to another, from one milestone to next. He considers himself lucky that he was loved by all –by his teachers, friends and of course, his worldwide audience. His simplicity is noticeable when he breaks into childlike smile in between his words and phrases. Who can afford to dislike such a loving man ?  His wife who was sitting with us also is very simple.

Tapas Maity, our anchor, successfully conducted the event to make the most of it. The singer In his reminiscences, narrated  how he got his Talim from eminent singer Satinath Mukhopadhay for ten years, learnt Classical singing from Chinmoy Lahiri and Sudhin Dasgupta.  ‘Badhua Aamar Chokhe’ was the first hit song which he wrote , tuned and sang in 1968. His first recorded song was “Ekti Rangin Phool” in 1963. He worked with many eminent music personalities like, Sudhin Dasgupta, Salil Dasgupta, Dilip Mukherjee, Subhas Mukherjee, Shanti Chatterjee. From mid-seventy he became an eminent music director and singer.

E kone sakal rater cheyeo andhakar, Keu bole falgun, Tomar songee dekha na hole, amar sapan kinte pare- were hit songs which he sang and tuned. Many eminent singers sang under his tunes like Banasree Sengupta, Pintu Bhattacharya, Sreeradha Bandopadhay, Sandhya Mukherjee, Ajoy Chakraborty. Near about 1300 songs he tuned and directed. He also composed shyama sangit, bhajan, and folk songs.

He received best music director award for the film Damu, Nilkantha, Nati Binodini. He has many promising students, among those one is Anit Das who taught my wife-Tripti Chakraborty, at this moment he is visiting Canada in connection with his programs for his fans. I hope he reads this article.

In his jolly mood and full of humour—he cut jokes on himself and others, he narrated the funs which he often made with his friend while staying in a lodge in Mahatma Gandhi Road. He lodged in a non-spacious room with only bare necessities of life. Once Devdulal Bandopadhaya, another fellow singer, a tall and healthy man could not be accommodated in his wooden cot, his leg hit the only earthen pot of water while sleeping and broke it .   He and his friends, would be immersed in music  so much so that, living even in this environment did not deter them  singing full throated, till the dead of night , oblivious of the fact that, this would disturb his neighbours. When neighbours objected, they would not shrink from playing mischiefs to them by throwing water, of course ultimately making peace.

He told us how much observant and live he is when he moves about in the society. A simple word/ phrase he heard on the way which has no use for others, pushed him to compose new songs, and new tunes, one was ‘ jeta bazi herechi’.  He composed and sang some songs which carry a streak of sadness. On being asked about this, the great artist replied that it is not necessary that artists should suffer the sadness personally,  it is sufficient that he understands others’ sadness and pain intensely, and as I remember Bertrand Russel called this an abstract feeling.  It is very much understandable. In this connection, I remember an incident from the life of Sri Ramkrishna, once he was filling water in the ‘ghara’ for Kalipuja in Dakshineswar bathing ghat, then he saw two boatmen quarreling in the mid-Ganges, and one slapped the other and the mark of slap landed on Ramakrishna’s  cheek. This exactly, is the abstract feeling.

He was candid to admit that he borrowed tune from others, one was Mehdi Hassan. But what he borrowed and was added to his own, to create another original which charmed us, as the end-product was another original or better than the original . It needs a huge amount of courage to admit openly in public that a tune was borrowed. The poet in the course of his talk reminded us not to be impulsive to make a show of our all learning in  one-go, and not to overdo anything, and also advised to sing a song in a manner as if you are talking to your audience.  Both are educative to our young artists.

He is the idol of all, he is simple, honest and frank, wants to be a man of the masses, He does not  want to live in an ivory tower. When anchor asked his comment on the fact that singers of today earns much more than  yester years, that too by singing his own songs, Jatileswar did not have any consternation. Here, I want to have my own observation, we are living in a society full of  egos  and jealousy; as soon as we master a little wealth and fame, our ego goes through the roof, totally devoid of any humility. We have an obvious lesson to learn. Milon Mancha prays a long and healthy life for this living legend!!!!

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My wife  Srimati Tripti chakraborty sitting with her Maha Guru Sri Jatileswar Mukhopadhaya , at Milon Mancha handing over a bouquet as a mark of her respect and adoration on 22.10.17 evening.

Diwali Festival

Diwali is one the most important festivals of Hindus . It is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout India. It is a festival of lights. It falls on the Amavasya of the month of Kartik every year. This year it was celebrated yesterday only ie on 19th day of October.

Many legends are associated with this festival. According to most popular one, it marks the victory of Ram over Ravana. As a matter of fact, Diwali is the symbol of the victory of the forces of good, over evil.

According to popular legend, on this day Lord Ram reached Ayodhya along with Sita and Lakshman. The villagers of Ayodhya welcomed Ram, Lakshman and Sita on their home coming, by decorating and illuminating their village with diyas. According to Jains  this is the day when Lord Mahavira attained “moksha or salvation”.

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It is a festival of light and fireworks. It comes after Durga Puja in West Bengal and some other places in North India . As the lights keep away the darkness, Goddess Kali drives away the evil forces in our world.

Famous Kali temples are at Dakshineswar, Tarapith, Kalighat, Kamakhya, Bakreswar. In Dakshineswar, Sri Ramakrishna would worshiped Kali, he conversed with goddess Kali, as you and me talk. Sri Ramkrishna’s great disciple Swami Vivekananda was initiated in his spiritual journey here, later he went to Shikago in America to win over the world. He taught us not to discriminate people on the basis of caste, creed and religion, which many of us forgotten today. True he was a religious leader, more, he was a social reformer.

Great preprations are made for this festival. Everyone starts making arrangement well before  Diwali, houses are cleaned and decorated with lights, flowers etc. On this festival, sweets are made and distributed among friends and relatives. People indulge in fun and frolic on the day of Diwali. At the same time during night, fire-works and crackers are also set-off. The bright flames of the fire-work present an exquisite sight in the darkness of night. Although it is primarily a Hindu festival, I have seen many people from Muslim communities in Mumbai burn and display fireworks and they love it. There is no complex in their mind which many of our Hindu brothers will never believe, perhaps do not want. This and many other daily experiences in Mumbai  makes me feel that the religious divide is not so much as is made out to be by our news reporters. My Muslim family friends brought many gifts for us on this occasion of Diwali, I am grateful to them.

The festival wears a lovely look. Everyone is  gay and mirthful, some celebrate it in the most enthusiastic way, someother indulge in gambling. According to gamblers, if he wins gamble in this day he will make profit in his business throughout the year, it is a great omen for the year. At night people illuminate their houses, walls and terraces with earthen diyas. The glittering lights in the darkness of night present a beautiful spectacle.

Many worship Lakshmi; the Goddess of wealth on this day. They pray so that Goddess Lakshmi may visit their homes. Lakshmi Puja is the Puja of Lakshmi  and is performed generally at  night during Diwali.

Hinduism is a very complex religion, hundreds of Gods and Goddesses are in the pantheon. One God is popular in one corner, another is popular in another corner.  Only celebration of Diwali is widely popular and celebrated throughout the country, no other festival has so much reach. Thus the festival of Diwali, is more or less a celebration of Indian identity.

In this holy day I would request all Indians, not to hate any other religion, learn to respect others. Unless we know to respect other religion, followers of other religion will not respect ours.

Vijaya Sanmilani of Milon Mancha at JED Garden, Bandra East

As is customery in Bengali culture, After Vijaya Dasami, all friends meets in a get together in a vijaya sanmilani to exchange good wills. All embrace each other and partake of sweets. Every locality celebrates it in their own way world over. And where Bengalese are there no occasion is complete without sangeet and rosogolla. So it happened in our vijaya sanmilani in JED Garden, Bandra East, this sanmilani was arranged by Milon Mancha on the evening of 14.10.2017. It was a grand occasion.

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A disciple of Manna Dey, Sri Surjya Bhattacharjee , a professional artist of great acclaim , supporting my wife, Tripti chakraborty, to sing in this cultural evening.

Milon Mancha is a cultural organisation, has many members. The beauty of Milon Mancha is that here you can meet many people who are very important in their respective fields. This vijaya sanmilani was great such occasion. It was attended by members who are singers, composers, actors of no mean importance, they generally tour worldwide on invitation of their fans. When such stars are present you can imagine the quality of enjoyment, and all these we enjoyed.

Shri Padmasree awardee  music composer-singer-lyricist Shekhar Sen, Chairman of Sangeet Natak Academy, Great Singer Shurjo Bhattacharya and her little daughter ‘ Jhilik’, Painter and artist Aurobindo samanta and his wife, among others, enthralled the audience.  Supriya Mukherjee fondly known in close circle as Mana Di—a model and voice over artist, played her role also in a shruti natak;  you hear every day her voice in the aquaguard advertisement in your TV.

We reported there at JED Garden at 6.30 pm in the evening. Since morning weather was very bad, but pull of the occasion was so strong that defying the weather all were present at the right time. We started with narkel naru, nimki and ghugni. Then followed light snacks and tea, and it continued with different snacks items throughout, till the great dinner. Cultural program was continuous without any break.

Apart from the artists, there were many who like me were not professionals, but Milon Mancha was careful, so that every non-professional also got the opportunity to the stage and perform, and did not feel left-out from the limelight. Some sang, others danced, read poems etc etc…it was the day when every non professionals among members also, were heard and seen, on the stage. Me and my wife are very grateful that we got an opportunity to be introduced to many talented people whom we would not have made access to otherwise. Sri Aurobindo Samanta is a young artist, whose paintings have been bought and displayed in many museums of European countries, I requested him to guide my grand daughter, naturally it was an opportunity to mingle with many greats, and potentially great people. Shivaji Sanyal–an actor, writer and a reformist poet–all rolled into one, very popular in face book, displayed the fireworks of his multifaceted talents , Thanks to Milon Mancha for showcasing the talents of its members.

At the end there was sumptuous dinner. Individual items I won’t explain here as you may be repenting why you missed it. Food was tasty, items were cooked well. We left the venue at around 11-00 PM in the night with a sweet memory.

Last and by no means least, there are some heroes who talk less to work more— without mentioning their names my article will remain incomplete. First Renu swami, her husband, and Lucky Da had a good contribution.  The other two were—Rudra Mondal and his wife Sharmistha, worked hard in the background. Their basic philosophy in life is SIMPLICITY, AND LIVING FOR OTHERS. They live their philosophy, may GOD multiply their breed, in this selfish , complex , and dangerous world full of egos, LONG LIVE MILON MANCHA AND ITS HIGH IDEAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

__________________________________________Mahatma GandhiThe best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others–Mahatma Gandhi.


In praise of idleness

If you want to be creative, instead of doing hard work only, you  must learn to be lazy as well, to dream and  doze. Otherwise, you won’t be creative and have to remain content with producing stereotyped work, doing the same thing over and over again, cannot come out of the groove and the daily grind out of it. Constant hard work, and no rest steals the creativity. You must take time off from hard work to doze, dream and be leisurely, otherwise creativity within you will die.

In your personal life, you must have had some experience like mine, when you have a problem to solve, and scratch your head, without sight of a solution. Then suddenly a time comes when you are on a toilet seat, or taking bath in cold water on a hot summer day, or relaxing half awake half sleep, suddenly the solution pop up without your actively and consciously working at it, and when you  have forgotten the issue completely. First clue of many works of great literature or scientific discovery was revealed in a dream or  idleness or while  its creator was resting.

Inventor of sewing machine was stuck at a point badly and was wondering where to put the hole in the needle, for until then, hole of the needle was at the base of a needle. Making hole  at the tip of a needle , was never thought of , and was beyond human  imagination in this context. The would-be-inventor, was sleeping,  saw a dream at the dead of night, that a group of savages lighting a fire attacked him with a rod like weapon that had the hole at the head of rod. Inventor jumped out of bed as he got the answer to  his problem–that his needle of machine would have the hole at the tip only, so far unknown. Thus came the new invention.

Archimedes suddenly called out Eureka, Eureka to announce that he  found the principle to find the impurities in the Gold crown  while he was relaxing  taking bath in cold water in a bath- tub. A new discovery.

There are many example where great work of literature was inspired in a dream, later those became worldwide best sellers. The famous  poem  ‘Kubla Khan’ appeared to Coleridge while he was  in a sort of reverie,  he did  only  put down the ready made poem found in dream on a piece of  paper. There are many other outstanding work of literature which were inspired while the author was relaxing in a dream, and those are namely—‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer, ‘Misery’ by Stephen King, ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley, ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach.

A creative brain needs time to think and here he requires freedom and ample time to dream and doze. The culture of only hard work, and nothing else, kills the creativity in man. Our first work of literature –Rig veda, were written when the hard working hunter gatherers learned agriculture, and began to settle in the fertile Gangetic plains. At this period of history they no more required to wander about , settled at a place permanently, did get ample time to rest and think. Our vedas were written in this period of history.



At this age of mine, it is a time for stock-taking. As I look back I see that the basic philosophy of my life, has been that the ‘ best is the enemy of good’. Generally, I never strove for the best in any field, made-do with whatever came my way. True, I have not been a big man, not made a tower in Mumbai, nor amassed wealth, but have enough to enjoy my humble life, enjoying good health by the grace of my doctors. Raised my family honourably, enjoyed people’s recognition and acceptance in society. Looking back now, I have no sense of remarkable failure, led a reasonably happy life all through. I have no regret not having been the best/garlanded ever, remained satisfied with ‘ all that is good rather than the best-only’.

For me, life has to be lived in its entirity, many things are involved in life. Nature gave me only a  limited time and energy, if all my energy is devoted in one direction, that is, say to learn mathematics only, to ensure cent percent marks, I would not have time and energy to read science, geography, history OR take time to make friends, visit cinemas, take part in sports or adventures OR read literatures/ghost stories……..innumerable aspects. Getting 99% marks in maths and failing all other subjects/aspects is failing in life itself,  it is thousands times better to get simple pass marks in all subjects but enjoy life as a whole, and mature. Nobody will accept me but I have been like this and I have no sense of loss.

Only way to balance the demand of all above aspects of life, is to divide time and energy . I took interest in many subjects. I played football, cricket, swam in Ganges several hours a day, many times survived several dangerous situations in water. Very few know the thrill of jumping in the mouth of rising high tide in the un-silted Ganges of those days, or steal a climb from the rear side of the barges in the middle of the  river and quickly dive back into the river splashing water to the surprise of the boatman, and many other things. Tried my hand in enjoying  the excitement of participating in student politics of those days also.

Never stood first in any class, always a mediocre student going by the exam mark sheets, but enjoyed life in its full. I know something about many things, and not much about anything. I can take part in discussion on any topics from many academic subjects and sides of life, in an adda with learned people. True, if  like our academically shining  friends if I devoted all my energy to limited academic subjects, I would have no time  to pursue other interests which could deprive me unlimited joy that I enjoyed in life.

I firmly believe, all of us come from this universe—I am made of the same material what the universe is made of. I feel the universal power lying dormant in me. Everything is within me, and me in everything. I am in you and you are in me. By this logic, real meaning of life is to extend the self to everything around, and for that we should try our hand in learning and participating in everything along the whole spread of  life , which comes our way. Instead of trying to be best in a limited things, it is better to be good in many things and be always available, to enjoy life the most. If I have to complete  ten jobs in a day which do not have far reaching consequences, and if there is situational difficulty, I shall not hesitate to compromise with the perfection to complete the ten jobs–initially undertaken, within the day itself repeat within the day itself. Time is the key.  There are girls who could not be married off as they would not settle less than a prince, and the prince never appeared.

My life story says that the best is the enemy of good. This philosophy does not look smart, and will not sell well to the business like people—true, but many lives are lost in the endeavour just to look smart in the estimation of others, being quite oblivious of what would quench the thirst of  their soul.

Kojagari Lakshmi Puja

Lakshmi Puja is a Bengali festival that is celebrated in every household. Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth is worshipped just after Durga Puja. Lakshmi is one of the daughters of Durga who symbolizes wealth, peace and prosperity.

On a full moon night people worship her at their homes and pray for her bessings. All the rites performed during the Lakshmi Puja are followed with utmost care and devotion.

Delicious Bengali Recipes on Lakshmi Puja night are cooked and are then given to Goddess Laxmi as an offering. It is considered that Goddess Lakshmi visits homes of the devotees and blesses them with wealth.


Goddess Lakshmi is generally represented as a beautiful golden woman, usually sitting or standing on a lotus, her symbol. She is also known as Sri and attained importance as the consort of Vishnu. Goddess Lakshmi has generally been thought to have existed first as the daughter of the sage Bhrigu and to have taken refuge in the ocean of milk during a period when the gods were exiled from their kingdom as a result of a rishi’s curse. She was reborn during the churning of the milk ocean as Lakshmi, one of the fourteen precious things. The Goddess of Wealth, emerged from the ocean forth fully grown and radiant, bearing a lotus in her hand.

Goddess Lakshmi was then married to Vishnu and has a clear share in Vishnu’s activities as preserver, and this reinforces her earlier character as goddess of fortune and giver of wealth.

Lakshmi Puja is a Bengali festival that is celebrated in every household. Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth is worshipped just after Durga Puja. Lakshmi is one of the daughters of Durga who symbolizes wealth, peace and prosperity.

On a full moon night people worship her at their homes and pray for her bessings. All the rites performed during the Lakshmi Puja are followed with utmost care and devotion.

Delicious Bengali Recipes on Lakshmi Puja night are cooked and are then given to Goddess Laxmi as an offering. It is considered that Goddess Lakshmi visits homes of the devotees and blesses them with wealth.