Monday April 6, 2020

Bengali prep for Durga Puja knows no frugality


By Sreyashi Mazumdar

We have often heard of big fat Indian weddings but have you, especially the Bengalis, ever pondered upon big fat Durga Puja? The occasion exudes ostentation, pomposity and exuberance. Bengalis across the country take to a spendthrift mode with their pockets flooded with wads of notes and their minds excogitating upon plans for the grand affair. The hubbub riddling the shops throughout the state of Bengal explicates the excitement breeding the city.

durga puja

“I have saved a hefty amount for Puja shopping. This time, the occasion will be all the more special as I will be meeting my long lost friends. We have planned on four different themes for the four days of the grand occasion,” voiced a 30-years-old devout Roopankar Chatterjee.

From a toddler to a grey-haired devotee, each and every Bengali awaits the grandeur in the balmy month of October. Branded shops and malls testify teeming crowds and serpentine queues before their counters. Honking horns and cluttered streets are some of the most common excerpts testified in Kolkata.

“We generally start our shopping a month before the oncoming of Durga Puja. We do not shop throughout the year. Further, I ensure that I get hold of best of the apparels. Durga Puja is not all about pandal hopping; you get to meet a lot of people. Friends who might not be in touch for a long time but might bump into you in any one of the pandals (makeshift tent). You need to look good and all decked up,” said one 24-years-old garrulous Aditi Banerjee.

“I wouldn’t mind spending a considerable amount on shopping especially when an occasion like Durga Puja is knocking at the door. I am a shopaholic and I spend around 50K during this month of the year. I mean…c’mon it’s Durga Puja after all (she giggles). This is what we bongs wait for,” said Rhea Niyogi, while having a toothsome meal in Park Street’s Peter Cat.

A Bengali’s wallet seems to be on fire during Durga Puja. Unlike a typical Kolkatan, 52-years-old Shuvamoy Mazumdar mocked the idiosyncratic hysteria of Bengalis during Durga Puja. “I feel like laughing at people who tend to lavishly spend their entire salary on shopping. I mean that here people on streets find it hard to make both ends meet. And, my Bengali friends are pouring money on useless stuff as if the world is going to end and therefore shop as much as you can for the last time.”

Taking off their frugal disposition, Bengalis tend to don a lavish lifestyle during the festive season of Durga Puja. They might try to sew their pocket-holes otherwise but during to the time of the aforementioned festival, they tend to burn deep holes in their pockets.

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Communal Harmony, Anti-terrorism Highlight of Kolkata’s Durga Puja Immersion Carnival

Durga Puja 2015 katakhali Dhosomi
Durga Puja 2015 katakhali Dhosomi. Wikimedia

Kolkata, Oct 4, 2017: Highlighting communal harmony, railing against terrorism and bringing diverse themes like the intricacies of human mind and the spirit of freedom to the fore, 68 community Durga puja organisers paraded their award-winning idols in the West Bengal government organised carnival here on Tuesday ahead of the immersion in the Hooghly river.

The carnival, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in its second year, showcased the prominent idols from the city and the adjoining districts in a colourful road show at the iconic Red Road here, amid tight security.

The three hour long event saw the puja organisers also exhibiting samples of various artistic creations used in their puja marquees on vibrantly decorated tableaux.

All the community pujas selected for the road show, were winners of Bengal’s ‘Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman’ award in various categories.

Banerjee and her lieutenants attended the event along with several celebrities from the city and foreign delegates. Representatives from England and Chile football team, who are in the city to participate in the FIFA U17 World Cup to be kicked off from Friday, were also present.

Also Read: Celebration of the Devi Shakti: Maha Navmi | Worship Goddess Siddhidhatri on the Ninth Day of Navratri 

According to the organisers, apart from the 20,000 spectators gathered on both sides of the road on occasion of the event, more than 50 lakh people all over the globe witnessed the one of a kind Durga Puja immersion carnival through live streaming in the social media.

Many of the age-old community puja organisers came up with tableaux aligned with various current affairs topics. Their floats in the parade also reflected those themes.

The Sree Bhumi Sporting Club, a major crowd puller in city’s eastern fringes, was the first off the block having won the award of ‘Serar sera’ (best of the best). With the marquee resembling the palace from blockbuster “Babubali”, the organisers decorated the immersion procession in tune with the theme.

South Kolkata’s Rajdanga Nabodoy Sangha emphasised the concept of communal harmony by portraying the peaceful co-existence of six different religions. The organisers put six people, dressed in the traditional attire of six different communities together on a tableau to emphasise that the different paths of religion actually leads to the same destination.

Yuba Moitri Kalighat, another south Kolkata puja that won the award for best branding this year, highlighted their stand against terrorism and celebrated the well being of mankind through their procession.

Tala Park Pratyay themed their tableau on the intricacies of the human mind. Beautiful fireworks marked their procession.

Meanwhile, a number of pujas headed by the representatives from the government and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, focused on highlighting various state government initiatives.

For instance, the Samaj Sebi Sangha celebrated the the crusade of green in their procession and rallied singing school students who represent the exuberance of youth. They also hailed Bengal government’s ‘Sabuj Sathi’ initiative that presents a girl child with the sprout of a costly plant during her birth.

Pujas like Ekdalia Evergreen and Tala Park Pratyay showcased Banerjee’s award winning ‘Kanyasree Prakalpa’ meant for the girl students.

Celebrating the natural beauty of Bengal, the puja in Salt Lake’s FD block depicted a piece of rural Bengal amid the jungle of concrete. The singers in their tableau presented the diverse folk music of Bengal.

The special lighting installation from West Bengal’s Chandannagar made the Red Road look like a land of fairy tale. Several celebrities from the Bengali film fraternity, were also seen walking with various puja processions. (IANS)