PC: Google Image
Pujo aasche”, “Pujor Bajar” these terms are very often used in every bong’s conversation during this festive time. Being a bengali-girl-born-in-Delhi makes the north Indians wonder what exactly I do in Durga Puja, why it is one of my favourite times, what is so special about it. I don’t know, if it is the fun I live, or the food I relish, or the new folds I release in my dress, the places I go, the laughs I share, the beats of dhaak I enjoy, or getting enamored by the beautiful face of Durga idol and decorated Pandals, the bhog proshad I taste… it becomes very difficult for me then to express the feel I sense each moment during the Pujo festive season.

Shopping Fever
Halter to heels, we buy it all. At this festive season, we help many clothing business to increase their market turnovers. We believe Pujo is the only time where we can flaunt the best clothing collection we have. And, this is the only time when your mom will never mind you buying even sarees, because we believe how cheongsam is to Chinese, saree is to Bengalis, and I personally do not find anything graceful than an ethnic sharee (That’s how we pronounce). Bottom line is, yes! we do shop a lot.


Rehearsals
Be it Robindro nrityo and shongeet, Abritti, Natok, Agomini, people with talents get a chance to showcase their forte on a mini platform of Durga Pujo. Even though if we are working, we do keep ourselves free from any schedule or business appointments during rehearsals. But before putting it on-live, we rehearse, and believe me we just don’t rehearse but we live each moments with laughs, dinning together, planning, ribbing each other, debating a lot (bongs are very good at that). All in all, a healthy congregate to cherish all life.

Mohaloya
Then comes the Mahaloya, the onset of countdown to Pujo. The day, when you can hear early morning chants in every home television. And the fisrt sound of dhaak, oh that lingers in my ears. The torpon performed by my father to give tribute to our ancestors. Finally, the arrival of the days we longed-for every year.


…And it begins
Newly dressed people, entering to the Pandal, greeting each other with smiles, the aroma of dhuno, seeking blessing from Durga maa idol, the chants in air, this is how it starts on Shashti evening. Then comes the Anondomela, where the home master-chefs, our mother, participates and earn pride and praises by selling their cooked meal in a mini food stall arranged in Pandal. This followed by some or other interesting activities throughout the 4 days: Shaptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami.

Mornings are mainly occupied with pujo rituals, anjoli, bhog and evenings with people thronging the pandals, flaunting dresses, relishing foods, tuning with the performances and late night chats and laughs. Along with these, different fun activities are organised where the age does not have any bar, from drawing competition to haadhi-bhaanga…you name it, we play it. How can someone miss the pulse of Durga Pujo, the Dhunochi naach and stunts done using the earthen pot. Believe me, the pujo is no less than a college fest, where you can even check out fresh crowd including both hot and cool crows and birds, hope u know what I mean. ;)
    
       
                          PC: Mukul Banerjee
PC: Mukul Banerjee






      













On second last day, navami, we hire a vehicle and start exploring other pandals all over Delhi. Mainly, CR Park [D Block, Matri mondir, mela ground], Kashmiri gate (which is supposed to have the oldest pujo), Timar Pur, Aram Bagh, Karol Bagh, Kali Bari  are in our list. Chitranjan park, called mini bengal, has the best Pandals ever and the street food as Moghlayi, Birynai, Chop, Puchka, jhaal-moori, Eggroll, fish-kalmayi, and other Bengali delicacies which we do not get opportunity to eat otherwise ( that’s something we Delhites bongs miss a lot, Kolkata street foods).

PC: Mukul Banerjee


On this very day, the crowded place does not bother us, walking for long does not pain our legs, even the new shoe bites are not something that can never stop us from having fun, and we do not leave any poses unturned and almost take shots everywhere…lol. We really do talk, walk, sing, laugh, eat, rib whole day. Even after screwing our each muscle, we are still left with energy, which will then be utilised for playing dandiya at night.



Time to bid good bye
The day, when married women, wearing saree in hues of red and white, apply vermillion to each other in order to celebrate the occasion, this is called as shidoor khela. And, the youngsters become actual Mawali, and keep tapping their feet with dhaak while moving towards the Yamuna to immerse the Durga idol.

 
PC: Mukul Banerjee
Believe me, this is the time that actually fill our eyes with tears, because we all come, meet, laugh all for one cause, to celebrate Maa Durga’s arrival to earth. So while immersing the Idol means you are again introducing her to the universe, this is Doshomi Bishorjon.  But still we end up our note with a feeling in our heart as “aasche bochor abar hobe” that means it is not yet over, will again happen next year. Then comes celebration of bijoya doshomi, when we grace blessings from our elders and hug our loved ones, and end up having mutton curry and rice, the most delicious savor ever.

PC: Mukul Banerjee


Well, after the all hectic days, finally I fall ill, either with stomach upset, or with throat and body pain. Having said that, there is no fun without these after-effects of Pujo, isn’t? :D I hope by now u must have realized how important and fun-filled durga pujo is in one bong’s life, in my life.


I rest my write-up here, time to breath a little… phewww.

Now, let the world know your Durga Puja festive experiences as well, please leave your experiences below. J
One day...
I want to be just a man again
not branded as anything but a human being.

One day...
I want to be free of the prejudices
of religion, caste, color, status, language...

One day...
I want not to be judged
on my name, the brand I wear, the car I drive or my last drawn salary.

One day...
I want not be called a stupid,
for helping someone in need,
for being polite and humble at all times,
for being kind to everyone I meet,
for thinking more of you than me.

One day...
I want trust not be dependent
on a piece of signed paper attested by law.
When honesty would be acknowledged,
when words would be undeniable,
and hearts would be crossed.

One day...
when relationships would only be tested with love
and happiness (and not pleasure) would be the ultimate pursuit.

One day...
when people wont be afraid to be ridiculed,
to be mocked and to be hit with resistance,
to do the right thing and say the right words.
When courage would be drawn from hearts,
when blood would again be thicker than water,
when fights will only be fought for the right reasons
and peace would be the final cause.

One day...
when everyone would decide their own course of life
and dictated only by their conscience.
When relationships would again hold some meaning than material.
When love and compassion alone would be able to bind people together.
That day O' lord, I would be free and alive again.

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PS: Written by someone, who wishes to remain behind the curtains. 
Why the great Mughal emperor Shahjahan couldn’t make a “Begham Mahal” for his princess Mumtaz, Why did he make a “Maqbara” instead? Why he couldn’t make her feel special in her presence, why he did when she died? Then the Taj Mahal would have been a real symbol of eternal LOVE. But still, people go with the crowd flow, and couples still hold their hand in hand and click their photos, and come back. But how come a Maqbara becomes a symbol of love?

This thought made me write this. Often in our life, we fail to appreciate the importance of our loved one’s presence.

You are busy at work; you don’t call your parents. Your friends complain that you don’t give much time to them. You are unable to do the things you love, because again you are so called BUSY. But y do we just forget to do the most important thing in our life?  Taking out little time for our loved ones, who makes our life worth living. They are the people, who know you better than your office colleagues or business partners; than your 2 months old girlfriend or boyfriend. They are the ones with whom you share your good and bad, who knew you when you were nothing- your school and college friends. They are the ones who were there, when you needed a shoulder- your siblings. They are the ones, who pampered you and tried to fulfill all your desires in childhood – your grandparents. They are the ones, who do not need your introduction- your parents.

Then why not taking out time for them? If not an hour at least minutes?

So folks, take out some time from your so-called busy schedule and make them feel special in their presence, not when they are not there to sense or appreciate your love. Trust me, it will make your life worth living, else you are just moving towards the grave with empty hands. Step forward to the end with smiles, love, and satisfaction but not with any regrets.

Life is not future or the Past. It is just the Moment.