Have you ever been to out of Kolkata during Durga Puja? If you have, you must know how terribly bad it feels.
Being a Bengali, our entire year’s excitement is stored for the time of Durga Puja. It’s not just a festival for us, but something way more. And it’s definitely the most favorite festival for all Bengalis.
The five days of the Puja passes so quickly that we do not even realize that we have already crossed the most favorite time of the year. And the wait for the next year’s Puja starts from the very next day of Dashami when we bid Adieus do our Maa Durga.
I was out of my Home in Durga Puja for the first time of my life last year. I got relocated to Gurgaon for my job and could not take leave because of the work pressure that time. I initially thought it won’t be that bad to miss the Puja just for a single year. But I proved myself wrong on the day of Sasthi itself. No sight of Durga pandals, no sound of Dhaak. I got literally frustrated by Saptami morning and decided to visit C.R. Park in Delhi which is a Bengali colony in Delhi and I was sure to the fact that Durga Puja will be celebrated there.
So in the evening of Saptami after office, I went to C.R. Park with my friends and not to my surprise, I really got my breath back there. The smell of the ‘Pujo’, the enchanted sound of Dhaak made me so happy again. I finally could feel the Durga Puja. Though the pandals and the level of celebration was no match of Kolkata, but I was still so excited to finally get to see Maa Durga, the ‘Dhunuchi’ dance, the food stalls, the crowd, the madness of Puja in the people over there.
Then I wondered how people must feel who has to stay out of Kolkata or even India during this time. Not much of you would understand the emotions. This you can say is a typical Bengali feeling. A Bengali, whose entire year’s planning are made around the Puja. What to wear, where to shop, where to eat, what to eat, where all for pandal hopping and so many other things. It’s a perfect time of the year for celebration. People start visiting the pandals from the second or third day only now-a-days to avoid the crowd in the main days of the Puja. It’s a cultural gathering and a big reason to celebrate and to have fun for us. So to miss all of this is a terrible thing for a Bengali (Kolkatans). Because, may be you will find one or two Pujas happening in other cities also, but the same feeling what you get in Kolkata that time, is unmatchable.
No need to say we simply love this Puja and we are obsessed about it. And the best days are those before the start of the Puja. The ‘Pujo asche’ (Puja is coming) feeling is enough to give us butterflies in stomach. When the pandal makers arrive to start making the pandal, our excitement also increases.
The sight of Kashful/Kans Grass (a special kind of a grass flower that is seen along the riverbanks especially in the season of autumn) and the clear blue autumn sky becomes a reason to smile. Then when you hear the chaos of people bringing the idol of Maa Durga and you run straight to the balcony or terrace to get the first sight of Maa, is no match with the other things in the world. Then finally comes the day of Sasthi, the first official day of Durga Puja. All our new clothes are out and we start to decide which one to wear on which days. And it is needless to say it to be a very important discussion, especially for girls 😉
Then we spend the next four days hopping pandals, eating out (any possible food that we get and loads of junk food :P), having fun and doing all the enjoyments possible with our friends and family as this is possibly the only chance in the entire year to get all of your near and dear ones together and you get to spend time with them. And the last day arrives when we bid Goodbye to Maa Durga with a wish in our hearts for her to come back soon next year.
We end this festival with a celebration called Sindoor khela, when generally the married women put Sindoor to each other and to Maa Durga. And again our wait starts for the next year’s Puja. I think we really miss out on these things when we cannot stay in Kolkata during Durga Puja. But not everything is in our hands. But Durga Puja will always be there in a very special corner of heart. We will keep enjoying and loving this festival with our family and friends. So keep saying ‘Asche Bochhor abaar hobe!!!!!’ (We will rock next year too!!) 🙂 🙂