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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumnal Hues

Durga Pujo marks the beginning of the autumnal festive season in Bengal.
It is the time for celebration and togetherness.
It is the time to rejoice and seek the blessings of the divine deity, Maa Durga.
Even for those of us who aren't high on religion and rituals of the Hindu calendar, this time of the year is synonymous with family reunions, and get-together with friends & loved ones.
It is the time to deck up in best clothes and go pandal-hopping especially in and around Kolkata.
It is the time for revelries of the other kind too - like feasting on good food, feasting on the literary treats that are released in form of the annual supplements of magazines & periodicals, feasting on the movies in Bangla (or other languages), and feasting on the music albums released by all the major audio labels,
The festive revelry typically includes even the spinning of real-life love stories,
egged on by the wisp of freshness in the air,
especially during the four days of Durga Pujo.
I can never think of being someplace else during this time.
Only twice in my life I have had to miss out on the celebrations in my favorite city, Kolkata, and, needless to say that I missed my city and its typical sights & sounds a lot.

From Mahalaya to Bijaya Dashami, to Lakshmi Pujo, KaliPujo/Diwali and BhaaiPhonta,
it is a series of festivities. It is much more than the pomp & show, or the Brahminical rituals; for most of us Kolkatans in means basking in the blend of tradition & modernity, of savoring the delectable mix of religious, neo-religious & non-religious sentiments.
It is a time to be nostalgic as well - as if the season itself conspires to evoke nostalgia in us all.
For me, things that I do during the festive days have changed, or rather evolved with time. I hate the excesses. I abhor the noise pollution. I detest the recklessness exhibited by the maddening crowd in the evenings.
I still wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world, during the Pujas.
I wouldn't want to catch the unmistakable autumnal hues, the serene morning air, and the vibrant spirit that is the hallmark of the Pujas in Kolkata.


Arunima said...

yes..i completely agree with you that this is the time for nostalgia, this is the time for "magic in the air"...notwithstanding the excesses of the consumerism of today's world,there is something special somewhere..above all the frills and feathers..may be that special something is in our minds!!!may be that is what is called magic..i dont know..but i too feel it..:)

Pratyush Mukhopadhyaya said...

The month of october-when the sky is clear,
And the days go on gayer,
The land gets filled with 'Kash' flower;
Nothing's left out from joy- mountains, lakes and bower.

The puja is felt from the day of Mahalaya,
The Bengalis remain busy making pandals of ' Mahamaya ';
A good crowd throngs the clothes' shop and shopping mals
There's a good demand there for shirts, sarees and shawls.

The clubs in the town
Busy in building Puja gowns
To put other pandals down;
The Chaturthi, Panchami, and Sasthi prepare us for the enjoyment
The day of Saptami provides the joy basement.
Asthami and Nabami pass in freshness
Just as a stick of incense.
The fourth day closes the joy shell
Still Dashami is celebrated quite well
Dancing and merry making follows the last journey

Oh! The crackers make the night so sunny
Down casted hearts return from water
But a thing makes our hearts better-
The thought of Diwali that follows soon after.

Anirban Halder said...

A brief reckoner of Puja, more for the less initiated around the world.

Being a Pujo freak like you I can't agree more. If it's Pujo, it's got to be Kolkata.

Satyaki said...

Durga Pujo is, indeed, the most happening festival of the Bengalis and where else can be enjoyed better than in Kolkata, where one can soak in the spurt of fanfare on all the four days of the festival. The autumnal festival of Durga Puja recalls the power of female Shakti symbolized by the Goddess Durga who slays asura to re-establish peace and sanctity on earth again.
But more than that the entire season is earmarked for celebrations galore, be it Navaratri, Dusshera, or Diwali.

People of Kolkata, of all communities & faiths, rejoice to their heart's content reconnecting with friends and relatives, and that's what makes this time of the year so special for me too.

Mary said...

It is really wonderful to be here in Kolkata/Calcutta to enjoy the festivities. The people are definitely at their colorful & vibrant best!

Krishh said...

I would say that keeping with the spirit of the times, the Puja scenario has changed a lot in Kolkata over the years.

Yet, alongside the theme-based community pujas, the homely alternative of traditional pujas of the erstwhile royal families
provide us with a taste of the traditional stuff and that's a great feel.