After all the years of growing up mostly in the eastern part of the country, I have been witness to many Durga Puja celebrations. All the time they said, "If you want to experience the 'real Puja' go to Calcutta"; and finally I (can someone tell if I/i has to be written in capitals or not coz in the past few editions of 'The Sunday Times', the editorials are using 'i' instead of 'I') get a chance to experience the 'real puja'.
No doubt the Bongs have become hyper active and are bubbling with energy which reaches a crescendo with the deafening yet hypnotising and magical beats of the dhaak. All the bongs have bought ethnic wears to look good while they hop from one pandal to another, ya that's of course leaving Samik aside. Yesterday we'd Samik visit a pandal in a short & he was just 'pure & clean' at heart, that's it, no bath I mean. Well what was all purpose behind it, actually we went for the prasadi for breakfast!!
Talking of the Bongs, most of them in our office had completed their tasks well ahead of the pujas & have taken leaves untill next monday. So the office now-a-days wears a deserted look as if really hit by the recent economic downturn. Talking of my puja experience in Kolkata, it has really burnt a hole in my pocket. The prices//fares//rents of everything has gone up, all in the name of puja bakshish or bonus. Some of my friends are paying their maids as much as thousand bucks as bonus. Someone should understand our situation, we are not getting any extra perks courtesy the recent global economic crisis. The other day we went to a popular Bengali Cuisine restaurant and we'd to shell out Rs 350 per plate. No doubt the food was great but the quantity so meagre, we well almost said like Oliver Twist, "Please sir, I want some more".
Last night we went to Gariahat area, essentially to visit the all-hyped-about Maddox Square. No doubt the crowd was young, stylish & noisy. Essentially Puja being a time for devotion and a time for family, it's also about the 'magnificence' of the pandals, but at Maddox square I personally think they could have done a lot better. Still we'd a good time there. It is said at Maddox, you can come across long forgotten friends. It almost came true for me, I met a college junior from the 'Baby's week out' event of LDS. Luckily for me I was at the right times in the morning as well as in the evening, just at the time of giving pushpanjali//aarti, normally I always miss these. I am all charged up with the blessings of Maa Durga.
May Maa Durga bring prosperity and peace to everyone.