The Pujas are finally over. A pall of gloom has descended over Calcutta as people have just finished bidding adieu to their favorite Goddess and pandals are being razed to the ground ruthlessly. No wonder the craftsmen who erected the pandals choose to stay away while they're being demolished.
This was my first Durga Puja in Calcutta. When people told me Pujo in Calcutta is crazy, I did not quite know what they meant. Now I do.
The past one week has been a whirlwind of activity. Hanging out till 4 in the morning every single day, sleepless mornings thanks to the 'dhaak' (drum) that is beaten at pandals during aarti, gallivanting in the sun all day, messed up meal times, gorging on street food etc. have left me with a strained foot, an upset stomach and temperature from all that over-exertion. Phew!!
Having spent 5 years in Mumbai, I can’t help but compare Durga Puja with Ganpati. They are drastically different. In Mumbai, there is only one section of society that is enthusiastic about Ganpati. The rest limit themselves to darshan. Durga Puja however, is the favorite festival of Bengalis. It is to Bongs what Diwali is to Mumbai. The festival is preceded by one month of shopping for family, friends & relatives. People must have at least 5 new outfits, one for every day of the Pujo. They spend lavishly & they love to eat! They just don’t tire of it!! People swarm the street like ants & you just can't understand where they came from!!
Hopefully, I’ll be able to recover over the weekend. Y’all have a good weekend!!