Something that I wrote in Oct last year after an amazing trip to Kolaktta with phull family !
Our trip to Kolkatta was definitely a trip down memory lane and I know after reading this piece Asha / Chandra akka / Ramani athimbar will want to be in Cal sooon!!
Eight of us landed in the City of Joy to experience the four day affair with Maa Durgaa!! What greeted us of course …something that has and will not change and it was yes u guessed it right the perennial JAMMM of Kolkotta! Thanks to my anna, we had this amazing guest house in New Alipore and after settling down we were all ready to start Pandal Hopping !! (settling down to be read as giving the cooks there a long list of all that we wanted to taste in the next 4 days !!)
Amidst crowds and never ending queues, we braved our way into every gali, mohalla, nukkad which true to the Bong culture has to have a PANDAL! As they say ….one Bengali is a poet, two Bengalis form a political party and 3 Bengalis mean 2 PUJO Committees!!
4 days – The world became a heady rush of sound, perfume, bright lights, friends and festivity all wrapped in a warm feeling of togetherness even among complete strangers!
At this point I must praise the hyper enthusiasm of my MIL Seetha athai (approaching the 80 mark ) who with her never say die attitude made sure we went to every crowded place including Dakshineswar and BelurMutt !!!
As we moved from one Pandal to another one could not help but just admire the decoration, the elaborate arrangements – the objective was to ensure the maximum no of visitors , maximum coverage on the media. And it’s all about the labour of love as the visitors are not charged a penny!! The rituals were comforting , nostalgic….the Prasad bhog, the stalls that led us to the Pandal, nothing has changed …..Like Sabesh & Anna commented Calcutta has just stood still……
Maa Durga’s face some of them depicting anger , some victorious, some very very calm….Gosh! can her beauty ever be put into words ?? It has to be experienced!!
Something I read….. these idols are sent to all parts of the world almost 6 weeks before the Pujo…like Seattle , Singapore & Saigon…There has been a regular Puja in Switzerland since 2004 J
Varieties of sandesh, Mishti Doi, Bhaiguni Bhaja, Egg rolls in Park Street, Puchkas in Haldiram…baap re baap…have hid the weighing scale LOL !!! As I sign off….leave you with a quote …
“Deep down we Bengalis know that our Pujo is only incidentally about prayer…It is in the deepest sense, a celebration of our Identity”
Aschey Bochor Abhar hobe – Once again next year!