Pujo and perceptions

The title sounds like an academic paper but I have nothing to footnote about other than what Prof. Dhanda would have termed as aboriginal research. Or may be if we can consider adda on ashatmi night while pandal hopping as an authentic source for mapping the changing face of the bengali milieu most evident during what else but durga pujo, then why not?
Frankly speaking, I am overjoyed. ‘Happy’ will be an understatement to convey my feelings at this point of time. The reason? Isn’t it quite obvious? A bong writing a blogpost about pujo and being overjoyed after she is done with sending most of her “Shubho Bijoya” sms es- yes! I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to run back home this time. To tell the truth for me pujo and home are synonymous. I don’t understand the concept of probashi pujos even after staying almost five years away from home. I missed a few in between and only a bong far away from home can understand what it feels like- those four days. Trust me- you feel cheated! no less.
But this post is not about cribbing and what you miss in probashi pujos- the feel and beat of it. Nope! even with two seminar paper submissions due in some four days and end semester exams around the corner- I can still bet, right now am rejuvenated and replenished. You know how unplanned trips work for some- same happened with me this time. I booked my tickets at the eleventh hour, it cost me a bomb but then again who cares? I got to be home. And once home, it meant choc a bloc plans with old friends, few who have kept in touch and been there since primary school. Friends who are for real and with whom it’s always unadulterated fun. Thank you everyone for being there and to tell you the truth, this was one of my best pujos ever. My facebook album already bears testimony to that. It may be because, it was after so long, may be it is because we are slowly but gradually getting used to the ugly side of life- bitching, backbiting et. al. And that obviously includes the unnecessary interest that some people take in my life. of course I feel like a celeb when they. I have absolutely no issues with that.

Ok! I didn’t digress. This post is supposed to be somewhat close to heart rant types. I don’t know if the bits and pieces here are relevant but this pujo made me realise what it is like having fun. And by fun I don’t mean the usual dancing on DJ night like crazy or for that matter the usual crazy stuff like playing hide and seek, water fights etc. that we keep on doing round the year in hostel or NALSAR- I mean the old world stuff. May be it has been long enough, but I rediscovered the pleasure of pandal hopping or fighting with Dactar babu over where to go- Selimpur/Jodhpur Park belt or Bosepukur at around 9 in the night in fornt of Gariahat more. It was just like those 9-10 days in Nava Nalanda when Saibal used to take out a scale an measure up the bench while dividing it into three parts….and while me and aparajita laughed over his idiosyncrasies while sitting in the next bench, he would turn around and protest. Just like he did this time- “uff!! tui rakhto ingreji”. Or for that matter the one hour hide and seek game he playe dinfront of shibmondir while we stage managed….uff!!! puro pagol. or for that matter while mickey announced- “tora saibal er theke ekta chlormint o aday kor, ami toder khawabo”…those pleasures of Rupees four bus rides and the squabble over the cab fare. Good ole’ days. That reminds me, this pujo also made me and aparajita realise that our midas touch (the great pairing I mean) remian intact…..those were the days when we used to bakraofy people for that alukabli treta, this year ankur volunteered while we coaxed him to treat us at a upmarket South Calcutta restaurant on Ashtami. Or those silly moments remembered with our man eater while cabbing it back home when Apo and me were busy taking his trip. Thank you Deblin for those VIP passes and Agni for the guest appearance. Thank you everyone. And Saibal- even if we make fun of everything you do, you hold our group together. Thank you for everything and organinsing our meets.
And before I forget to mention, the jhari standards have gone down drastically…or may be we are growing too old, but I didn’t enjoy Maddox that much this year..went for some half an hour on Ashtami, but the crowd was so so. The highlight obviously was spotting an old geeky classmate having papri chaat with his girlfriend. That and his spiked hair tempted us to go and take his trip…but obviously he looked at us, spotted us and gave a glance of non recognition. I also realised that my para pujo has changed….lots of new faces…no jhaari type remains (sigh!) and of course none of my friends- masume or pamela were there. But then again Ashtami morning is meant for para pujo- anjali and bhog. Nothing changes that or for that matter the polite conversations we have every year in my posh south Calcutta neighbourhood every year. This year the congratulatory messages were an added attraction, more so because of the stiff upper lip kind of brand name that I got in may be. Duly savoured 😀 And nobomi of course was meant for old stuff – get together of our brother and sister gang with Tups joining us this time but Mam didibhai sadly missing from the scene. And our ‘chiroporichito’ jadavpur eating out place was the preferred destination this year too.
Baba didn’t do his famous dhunuchi naach this year because of the death of many a patrons of our parar pujo.  His silent way of commemorating the lost souls. Though the festivities continued, his gesture was duly appreciated from the sensible quarters. Doshomi made me cry, but then again which bong at heart doesn’t cry on Doshomi. I had to come back. But then again no worries…Ashche bochhor abar hobe…or may be I have to save my leaves for a very special occasion that I am really looking forward to.

P.S.- I must say, Bengali women have become more open to choices across the world while dressing up. While Laal paar taant or tusshar remains my favourite on Ashtami and nothing beats that, I was surprised to spot women sporting halter necks with their saris. But please, next time you wear that, just bother to gym a bit and lose some weight. Also, another new entrant was the dress- floral, cocktail or classic evening wear, trust bong women to bring the supposed pub hopping gear or the classy party wear range to maddox, obviously sometimes with disastrous consequences. But at least they tried. Shame on you men- you stuck around with your trousers and the only experimentation was in the form of coloured dhuti- keu dhakka parer dhuti try koro next year, bujhley??

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6 thoughts on “Pujo and perceptions

  1. Ah! Nice! I am doing a crash course in learning all about the pujo. This post is as brilliant as the pictures I saw everywhere of the festivities, full of action!

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  2. @Debosmita, thank you..tomar mukhey toblerone/ dairy milk poruk :P. Btw, tumio ekta lekho ebar…and also your comments on the halter necks and the coloured dhutis 😀
    @Debby, You must visit Calcutta during Durga pujo. the city is decekd up and you must see the creativity that goes into making each pujo pandal a success story. Apart from the religious and the familial bonding stories, it's a fact that Durga pujo each year revives and sustains many a cottage industries across India. 🙂

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  3. ei je ankur the maneater, tor biyete dhakka parer dhuti porish bujhli..tor 2nd biye actually 😛
    and btw, sedinke treat tar jonyo thanks bola hoyni…onek onek dhonyobad 🙂

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