Tuesday, September 30, 2008

She’s Here

With the Mahalaya over, it’s time to welcome the Goddess of Power. This fortnight is the time when the goddess is said to be visiting her parents’ house from her in-laws, residing in heaven. Calcutta is the place to be during the Durga Puja if you want to savor the flavor of this otherwise pan-cultural festival. I’m going to talk about the Puja and the impact it has on the lives of the people in the state in general, and the city in particular. But that will come only when we move deeply into the festivities. Let’s soak in the aura of autumn first.

Yesterday when I was going home, I could feel it in the air that She’s here. The decorative lights are slowly being put up. In some places they are hanging down from the walls of the neighboring buildings, while in some places bamboo stands are being erected to frame the ornamental lights. There are hoarding and banners all over the city, announcing the name of the Puja club or community, along with a tag of the main sponsor. That is something that has crept in stealthily, but steadily. Funds collected from the neighborhood are not enough anymore, what with steep inflation and stiff competition.

There is a distinct feel in the air that is very familiar to the nose of every self-respecting Calcuttan. This sense of happiness is what permeates into your skin and grows on you until you feel positively charged. This sense of happiness is not commercial, though the Pujas are determinedly headed that way. This sense of happiness makes the prince and the pauper happy alike. Work at all places is getting slack with each passing day, as we inch closer to the four main days. There is a prevalent sense of procrastination. Schools are slowly closing shutters for a period and work at office is getting postponed in chunks. All the year we wait for these few days, the anticipation reaches fever-pitch and then after one fine day, all of it is undone. The routine returns.

No comments: