Colleague1: Why are you cribbing over not being able to go home? And isn’t Durga Puja still far away ?(said on the Panchami day)
Colleague2: Why are you wearing a new shirt?
What should I answer to these people? How can I explain what Durga Puja means to me? How can a person who has never lived in
I have spent most of my childhood in
The next few days would be spent in packing, and finally we would land up in
My father’s house is in
Our colony Puja is very much like a home Puja. Everything is handled by the colony people. The work progresses very much like when there’s a function at home (I believe that is the case for any colony Puja). The flowers for Ma durga go from our gardens, the work is done by us. We, the colony people supply the cassettes that are played on the loudspeakers. Some kid is handed the mike and asked to make announcements,
“Omuk barir kakima, apni apnar bado thalata niye chole asun, amader proyojon ache. Tomuk barir didu, apni chatpat asun, bhog rannar samay hoye gechhe. Edike amader handi bhanga competition kichhukkhoner modhyei shuru hobe. Jara angshogrohon korte ichchhuk
tarachat pat chole eso.”
[Lost in translation: It's a call to different people of the colony, by their names, to bring things needed at the Pandel. Also, an announcement is made about the pot-breaking competion starting soon.]
Then we would have the running commentary of the handi bhanga competition on mike by a slightly older guy. It is a game where a blindfolded person is told to walk a little and then break an earthen pot with a stick. Most people fail, of course, and end up doing hilarious things. Reproduction of that commentary here is beyond my literary abilities, I hope you have understood the situation well enough to imagine what it is like. In the evening the kids and not-so-kids would be told to perform on a stage in front of the idol. Extempore. We would see nice song, dance and poetry recitation performances.
One of the most eagerly awaited things about Durga Puja is the sound of dhaak. A dhaak is a large drum that is hung on the player’s body and played in a particular rhythm during the Puja. Again, it’s not just another musical instrument. It creates magic in the air. The atmosphere created during arati is truly electric, with the incense fumes and dhaak sound shutting out everything else from the mind.
On Nabami we would have bhog in our pandal. That is, we would eat prasad for lunch, sitting in front of Ma Durga. On Dashami we would go to my uncle’s house in Chinsurah, the neighbouring town to
After the Adhyas’ idol was carried away, our Bijoya used to start. We went to the relatives’ and neighbours’ houses and touched the feet of the elders, and got nice things to eat in return. The same thing happened once we went to
Today is Nabami. Another Puja is almost over. I tried to enjoy it here in
“Do blog about it…”, said Greatbong, who prefers to ignore the Puja to prevent feeling depressed. I couldn’t. With so many fond memories associated with this festival, I simply couldn’t write a sad post about how miserable Durga Puja feels here in