After months of planning, the hubby and I with the mother-in-low in tow finally landed in Kolkata last Friday. We decided to arrive a week before the Pujas becuase we wanted to soak in the "Pujo Ascheii" (The Pujas are Comming) atmosphere at Kolkata. As the final countdown begins with the arrival of Mahalaya, we have our own Bengali version of the "Adven" which loosely translates into making plans for speanding the four days of the Pujas and crowding the nearest markets.
I haven't had much time to actually do what I came here to do i.e. soak in the pre-puja excitement in Kolkata (something towards which I had a Scrooge-like attitude when I was living here)due to various social engagements(treading on egg-shells if you ask me nowhere does taking one sweetmeat less gives the cause for such hair-splitting analysis to the elderly hostesses as in Kolkata).
Anyway, coming back to the point, the pre-puja excitement, what I really enjoy is seeing the glow of excitement and expectancy on the faces of those for whom this is the one time of the year when the purse strings are loosened (after months of saving) and the annual purchase of new clothes is undertaken with a lot fanfare. They usually set out for shopping in loud groups and visit several shops before zeroing in on their purchase. It is irritating when one is in a hurry and is caught up by one such "family buying group" but if one looks beyond the immediate and reflect on the amount of significance that this simple activity has for so many people...the true spirit of the Pujas gradually seeps into your soul.
I plan to visit Gariahat tomorrow and I won't carry a handbag not because I don't want to spend money but because the crowds will be such that I won't need to move any part of my body the push and shove of the crowd will propel me forward.
More on this later.