Monday, October 15, 2012

Durga Puja

For the last 6 years I have not seen the famous Durga Puja in Kolkata.I was born there and have never missed the festival , whether I liked it or I did'nt..
Infact when I was around in Bengal I think I took this festival for granted somewhere within me .... and as such did not realize the sheer cherishment of being subjected to the unique experience of the festival.
So many Pandals were erected in a matter of time .... unique designs , mammooth effort , millions of rupees all spent for a mere four days.Some of the pandals are worth being referred as national monuments .... the elegance of the craftsmanship is worth mentioning and makes one believe we people can just do anything if the will is there.
To be very honest I have never missed this festival till.... today.A strange sense of nostalgia seems to have gripped me today as I crave to be part of the celebration of the Devi's return.I am running after a career, running after money but wonder if I am actually losing out something in this run.
Days are rolling by, weeks are becoming months and months years and in a quest for a better livelihood we in IT have been staying away from our family folk.
As a kid , I remember we used to go to the behala Post office Durga Puja pandal early morning on Saptami to give Anjali. Decked up in new attire as we walked through the street, we would have certain onlookers gazing at us or even some uncles and aunts asking us how many new dresses we had been gifted this time.The higher the count you have managed , the better.Five days of puja would have meant , at least five dresses.If anything less , you would be considered a black leg.Pandal hopping at night with my parents was another occassion to wear your new stuff.
The meaning of Puja again changed when I reached my teens as I found it very awkward going with my sisters or parents to visit the pandals, parading in my new dress all the way to pandal. Somehow the idea was all by itself embaressing , especially when people gazed at all of us top to bottom and looked at my companions.
After I got a little more older , Puja had a new defination...going around to a selected few pandals with the 'special friend'.
Times have now changed and now I am a married man.... Wish I could hold my wife's hand and take her through the unique experience of Pujas which one can never experience in any part of the world.Wish I could once again go for the Anjali , wish I could once again walk through the streets pandal hopping .....and experience the sheer joy and enthusiasm of the five year old who waited year long for this impending festivity to arrive yet took it for granted.