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Millennium Post

It never ends...

For some, the end of Durga Puja will only be the beginning of a long wait for the next year’s grand festival.

Teary eyed devotees bade an emotional farewell to the idols of Goddess Durga along with all her ornaments, weapons and her four children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik, as they were immersed in the waters of the Hooghly River. Married women were decked up in the ritualistic red and white sarees and their faces were red with smeared vermillion. The entire area was lit up with bright lights, and loud rhythmic sounds of drums (Dhak), increased the festive spirit of the crowd to its heights.
I was happy today… very happy. Durga Puja was going to end today with the customary immersion of the idols. My body was tired and fatigued with the exhaustion of the four days and four nights of work. I have been reporting on behalf of my channel all these days, hour by hour – relentlessly, with all my sincerity. My energy was at its lowest today. The last bit of reporting would be completed today and I will thank Goddess Durga for her return.
I was standing at the Outram Ghat with my cameraman. The festivity, the lights, the sound, the fun and the enjoyment of the people filled the place.
I kept watching at the idols as they slowly and steadily got sucked in by the dark waters of the river. I thought what a shameful waste of money. ASSOCHAM (Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India) has estimated West Bengal's Durga Puja as an industry worth Rs 40,000 crore in 2015. This money could have easily done so much good to the society if spent in a thoughtful way. But see – now everything was going into water…
I concentrated on my work, and then through the camera lens I saw the bright and happy faces of a couple – an old man with a 'dhak' on his shoulder and a little girl. Their smile tempted me to call them for an interview, which gave me a realisation to change the perspective of the entire festival.
There were thousands of people for whom the fun and festivity of these four days were all they look for all around the year… who have their only source of income in these four days. The end of Puja will be only the beginning of a long wait for them for the next year's Puja.
My work was over. I saved the file – 'The Puja Never Ends' and emailed it to my boss with a small note at the bottom –
'The end is never the end. It is always the beginning of something.'
(Send your questions to roopshashotm@gmail.com)

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