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Durga Puja themes: From Gulliver's Travels to recreation of city's old-world charm

Kolkata: Characters of Liliputs and Gulliver from a popular novel and the old-world charm of Kolkata of yesteryears are the main attractions of two big- budget Durga Pujas in the city, that are drawing huge crowds.

At the FD Block Puja in Salt Lake, scenes from 'Gulliver's Travels', a novel by Jonathan Swift, have been recreated with a giant model of Gulliver lying on the ground and surrounded by dwarf-sized installations.

"We have themed the Puja with the catchline 'Elem Notun Deshe' (We have arrived at a new land) where the miniature models are in stark contrast with that of giant- sized Gulliver.

"The scene seems to be straight out of the pages of the novel and both children and parents are enjoying it," puja committee secretary Pradip Kumar Tarafdar told PTI on Saturday.

A 25ft Gulliver is shown landing in the world of Liliputs where the houses are about his waist high. But once he falls asleep, a little further into the pandal, he is tied to the ground by the little people standing all over his body.

About seven of them carry off his cigarette which he had lit. A fire truck had arrived to douse the burning stick and stands parked close by. Gullivers hand and mouth move, so do some of the Liliputs.

"We had always chosen themes which are liked by people of all ages," Tarafdar said.

'Chetla Agrani', another crowd-puller, takes the visitors to an era of hand-pulled rickshaws, type writers, red letter boxes and LP (long playing) records.

Kaushik Das, a puja committee member said, "We have narrated a story tinged with nostalgia about a city bereft of modern gadgets, when typewriters were not replaced by desktops and laptops, when cassettes and pen drives had not taken the place of LP records and post boxes were used to drop letters.

"We may not get back that era (from 50s to 90s) but by visiting the pandal the young generation will get to know what they must have heard from their elders, and the elders will get a nostalgic feeling."

West Bengal minister and Mayor Firhad Hakim, who is the chief organiser of 'Chetla Agrani Durga Puja Committee' said, "Our tagline is "Kolkata Choliayachhe Norite Norite" (Kolkata keeps moving from past to future).

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