At the end of every Durga Puja season, we Bengalis have a chant which goes like this "Asche Bocchor Abar Hobei" which is roughly translates into "We'll celebrate the same way again next year " .
Another year has gone by and it is "that time of the year" again . For me, it is the days leading upto the actual Puja festival which hold a special place in my heart as I feel the excitement in the air and all talks lead to the " Pujos" ...
" Will it rain this year during the Pujos ? ",
" Who will have the best pandal this year ? "
" Have you finished your Pujo shopping ? "
" We are meeting na during the Pujos?"
For me the feeling began as soon as I saw the Kashphool grwoing beside the runways at Dum Dum when my flight landed. I felt a tug at mt heart strings as I realised how much I was going to miss my hubby during the holidays but I decided to go with the flow.
Inspite of the undertones of crass commercialsim I purposely walk through the crowded Gariahat market on my way back from work so that I can smell the new clothes on display and watch the glow of excitement on the faces of the not-so-welloff shoppers as they buy clothes for which they have been saving almost the whole year. For once, they forget all their problems and wants and adjustments and suppressd dreams as they look forward to the days of festivities ahead.
The colours may be garish and the material may be cheap...but they are going to have busy days ahead planning their "look" and setting out their accessories with a light feeling in their hearts. For once they'll feel "beautiful".
I love hearing my nieces and nephews count out their dresses for the Pujas as they squable for the additional gifts of chocolates and toys which ususally accompany the clothes sent by relatives.
I love walking past pandals under construction and gaze in awe as I watch works of art being wrought out of humble bamboo poles, tarpaulin and paint. I try to guess what each pandal is going to depict and I feel humbled seeing the nimble fingers of a bare-bodied artisan clad in a lungi as he crafts out a majestic decoration on a pandal...thanking the goddess for the blessing of his skill by putting forward his finest creation for her. My plush job in an MNC pales in comparison to the sheer passion with which he executes his art.
The actual days of the Puja come and go in a flash...most of our time is spent in "planning " what we are going to do...but the real excitement of the Pujas lie in the days that lead to it.