Monday, September 22, 2014

Durga Pujo in Kolkata- 5 days of Life :)

When I got this request of writing something on Durgapujo it made me nostalgic as always. They say life changes with time but when it comes to Durgapujo in the City of Joy- nothing really have changed in last couple of decades. Yeah, then I used to hop from one pandal to another holding my Mom’s hand and with family and now there is the loved one and friends but the essence of Kolkata has remained just the same. Junk food, chitchat, new dresses, excitement, pandal hopping and forgetting worries for those five days- this quite sums up the feeling.

Last year I made a promise to myself that no matter what this DurgaPujo I will be there in Kolkata. Checked the calendar by the end of last year and set the reminders so that we could book the tickets successfully for the festival and yes, we are going to city of joy to enjoy the festival of all festivals this year.


When you stay outside of the "city of joy" what you do not get is how involved we feel with the whole festival and not just any one pujo. It is not just pandal hopping or meeting new people but it is something that makes us look forward to those five days. From the poor to the rich everyone feels happy and connected and at the end everyone feel sad to bid adieu the Goddess and her family.

It is not sentimental or foolish of us when some people cry on “Vijaya Dasami”, it just shows how much they loved these few days and how much they look forward to this festival.


DurgaPuja is the extravagant festival but in other sense it is the epitome of “Hope”.

It is easy to criticize it by calling it extravaganza or pandal hopping but it is not really tough to feel the essence inside. All you need is to open up your heart a bit.

The bhog, the sound of dhak, the late night pandal hopping, the junkfood, balloons, and lighting- everything makes Durgapuja a magical affair. Outside Kolkata in many places Durgapuja happens but there the essence is often missing. It is not dancing and singing that makes this festival so special but the feeling of joy that makes us laugh and cry both. It is not how many new dresses we have but how many moments of happiness we get in the end.

It is about eating bhog with everyone, sharing a few moments of laugh with everyone and just feeling happy from inside.


Do you feel irritated of crowd? Let me ask you a question aren't you a part of the crowd? Crowd is made of people like you and me and the fun is there when you just feel how everyone is happy about the festival. You don’t know them while standing in the crowded street but you overhear a few lines and realize how they reflect your feelings.


You think Kolkata DurgaPujo is all about pandal hopping? Then you just do not get it and can never get it. It is about the madness in Maddox square and the different colors of the coconut trees and asking friends to come there and have long chit chat sessions. It is about meeting new people and making new friends without being judgmental or shrewd. It is about giving the street children a few extra rupees so that they can also feel a moment of happiness.


It is just five days, short lived but long enough to spur some hope inside everyone to look forward to something.
Close your eyes, feel the smell in the air- can you? Yes, that is the smell of DurgaPuja we all have grown up with and away from the city of joy that is the smell I sometimes miss amidst the concrete jungle.



5 days of hope...
5 days of fun...
5 days of life...


Dear Goddess- we are coming home :)

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