The week, starting from Mahalaya to Dashmi is a phase that touches the lives of millions. It is grand in its own colour, enticing in its own flavour with a long-lasting lingering effect, soaking every inch of Bengal, Bengalis and other communities in the spirit of the autumnal celebration.
This festival is one of the biggest carnivals of the world, marking the victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura, epitomising the victory of good over evil.
As a child, most of us would get the yearly stock of apparel and footwear on the occasion of Puja.
A dedicated day for “puja marketing” was a ring of heaven for our ears. In my IXth standard, a school friend had questioned me about why I called it puja marketing? “It’s Puja shopping”, she said.
Years later, that conversation brings in nostalgia.
How I yearn to rewind life back to those days. The good old days of simplicity! Those were days when simple shops stood happily catering to every customer’s need… Those were days when malls existed only in our imagination and were days when small joys meant the world.
The definition of enjoyment and bliss is ever changing. As years get added to life, we are now more curious to collect moments.
The happiest moments of the year are usually around this festive season. Plans of pandal hopping, quintessential addas, catching up with friends, parar bhog and gorging on delicious food are few of the must-dos for every puja lover. The insomniac city glows with the new generation LED lights, reflecting the undying spirit of Pujo.
Romance is also perhaps an integral part of the festival. There are chapters that begin and bend. Love fills the air of festivity. Single souls become aspirational about relationships which, however, do not come with any guarantee or consistency.
The aura of this time of the year engulfs everybody in every possible way. Even families with limited economic strength would buy their choice of new clothing and set out on foot to explore the occasion.
The beauty of the season is its ability to unify the masses and blur the division of class.
Looking back, the scenario of the autumnal celebration has gone through series of changes. With the inclusion of sponsorships, the buzz of the puja is filled with an air of competition too.
Pandals get awarded for their look, décor and idols, adding to the scenario of these decked-up pujas. We as onlookers, get to appreciate the beauty of art assembled from across the world.
With the increasing number of pandals, for any Kolkatan even a week of gallivanting isn’t enough. Too much to watch, explore and enjoy!
We are at the threshold of Durga Puja 2016 and ready to collect moments and memories. May this festival collage be filled with smiles and peace. Dugga Dugga!