Like the Tomatina festival which is known in Spain or the famous Ganesh Chaturthi festive which is celebrated in Maharashtra India , the Durga Puja festive is of a similar nature which is celebrated in all its grandeur all across West Bengal, Kolkata!
And I’m not saying this because I belong from Kolkata but because during this time of the year people travel to see this festivity from all across the globe…
And everyone is welcome equally nobody is seen and discredited by caste,colour or creed.
Being a bengoli my heart bleeds to stay away from Kolkata especially this time of the year but I guess this year is going to be very different for everyone due to the Covid situation!
However,keeping the current situation in mind and people’s well being The Calcutta High Court has passed a rule; That the pandal will be no entry zones for visitors. The organisers are going to be the only people that are going to be allowed inside the pandals, limiting the number to 25 for big pandals and 15 for the smaller ones in view of the Covid19 outbreak! The court said all pandals will have to erect barricades at their entrances-the distance is five meters for small pandals and double of that for the big ones!
Non bengoli’s celebrate this auspicious festival as Navratri whereas bengoli’s celebrate it as Durga Pujo
All the grand and beautiful manmade pandals will be under lock and key this year to name a few Royalties would be- Bagbazar,Kumartuli Park,Mohammad Ali Park,Suruchi Sangha,Ekdalia Evergreen and there’s an endless list ahead!
However we often forget to give the devil it’s due,I mean the people behind it who come up with such magnificent concepts and people who actually carve them with their own hands Whoof!That definitely owes a bow…
There are still many Jamidar Bari’s across West Bengal who hold this auspicious festivity for more than 100years that are a delight to watch by itself!
Waking upto all these Instruments‐ Dhaak,Kashor,Shankha the sound of Ullu The smell of Dhuno,Kaash phool and Sheili phool,Rosogolla and many such sumptuous food we know Durga Pujo is here
My childhood and adulting years were all about
sleep ,taking a back seat during those 6 days starting from Panchami-Dashami only undying enthusiasm and energy takes place!Be it from dressing up,staying up all night long and again starting an early day next day,Midnight street food cravings,To wait for hours at a pandal and make your way amidst more than 100people to see a little glimpse of the great godess,From picking up nick nacks from the stalls and it’s an unending feel and emotion that I could ever Penn down!
However it’s been a while, I dont live in Kolkata and am not so fortunate enough to visit Kolkata every year during Durga Puja I think my last visit during Puja’s was in 2018 to be precise!But i learnt that every city has a bengoli association which holds durga puja.Either you can choose to be a visitor or an active member of it like I was back in Pune Oikyotan Bangiya Parishad where you are on the stage just 3/4 inches from the Beautiful and powerful idol. All the visitors that come along help with the offerings and prayers which makes me feel equally happy,excited and alive!
And all of this comes to an end with the final rites on dashami Sindur Khela,Dhuncochi Naach and the Bhashan Naach we all groove and dance while the idol is taken to the truck for her final immersion by the ganges…
And we all keep our heart in our hands with moist eyes and say Ashche Bochor Abar Hobe=Next Year it shall happen again We never really felt the essence of this line until this year where life taught us this-in the most literal sense. Usually this was said on a lighter note but this year we must say it in hope that next year it will be better,bigger and grander like before.
My heartfelt good wishes to all my fellow readers and their families may goddess Durga bless you all with good health and everlasting happiness forever to come!