The days are becoming cooler, a wind is blowing away the heat. Nature itself points towards the fact that Durga Puja’s around the corner. The excitement has started building…all your new clothes are ready, gifts to others are being given and vice versa and Mahalaya has come and gone. It was actually on Mahalaya that I really felt that I could not wait any longer for the 5 day-long festival to start! And this time, it got me thinking. Why do I love this time of the year so much?
People would say, “You’re a Bengali! What else do you expect? This is your favourite time of the year by default”. But still, why so? I would have agreed to this reasoning had I been a resident of Kolkata or some other city with a majority of Bengalis. But I’m not. I’ve lived in New Delhi ever since I was born and have attended only one Durga Puja in Kolkata. Even then, I like the Pujas here better than I did in Kolkata somehow. So what is it that makes me love this festival even though this city isn’t as much involved?
I think it’s because it maintains a certain continuity in my life.
Every single year of my life has had a week taken away from it for these Pujas. In the beginning, it was my parents who introduced me to the concept. Bodily dragging me out of bed in the slightly chilly early mornings to be able to go to the pandals and give pushpanjali (offering of prayers using flowers i.e. pushpa), taking me to the cultural programs in the evening even as I grumbled away and eventually fell asleep on either parent’s shoulder, introducing me to acquaintances in the neighbourhoods where my parents earlier lived and attended Pujas in, walking all over Chittaranjan Park to visit the many pandals even though I complained that my short, 6 year old legs hurt. They still continued. No, my parents weren’t really torturing me. They were socializing me into a world which they knew would become an integral, inseparable part of me. And I’m grateful to them for that. Because I really can’t think of life now without this one week every year.
The Pujas keep reminding me of my childhood I guess. All the fun times, all the family get-togethers and then going to visit far-off pandals together as well, all the innumerable rolls, cutlets, chops, biryanis, soft-drinks and ice-creams consumed and most importantly all the new people I met.
It’s not like the Pujas themselves have a lot of fabulously fun things happening. Living away from C.R. Park means that you don’t really get the feel of Durga Pujo. So I’ve unfortunately never experienced roaming around the colony with a group of friends, hardly attended the pre-Puja events which start much before the Pujas themselves and a lot of other things. But it’s just the fact that this festival evokes such strong feelings in me. It sort of assures me…life will go on. And everything is fine with life. All is well.
Oh well. It’s almost here! Two more days!
Have a happy Durga Puja everyone!