Kolkata is an old soul. It knows everything. She knows when to love when to celebrate when to accept bandh, when to get serious and when to not. Kolkata opens wide arms for strangers. Kolkata balances her personal and professional life like a pro. She has her break down moments too, but when Kolkata gets up, no one shines like her. She is unconquerable.
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The Grand Festival:
The festival, Durga puja, play Jenga with your emotions. Chatim phooler gandho works like a spell on your mind. Pizza, pasta, continental become things from different planets, vaat, daal, rui kalia, khashir mangsho,chaltar chutney become things you crave for, along with Chinese cuisine. I know I added Chinese in the Bengali cuisine list because chow-min and chilly chicken are very much Bengali. no debate on this. period.
We save money for Durga Puja. Celebrate the festival forgetting all the tension about the future. As a Kolkatans, the 5 days are meant to be enjoyed. This is our birthright. Like adda, gossiping, jhari mara, on Satyajit Roy, Rabindranath, gorer math. Sons and daughters are expected to fly down to Kolkata even it from hell. “Pujoy bari asbi nah, ma durga swargo theke morte baper bari chole alo, tui asbi nah”. This is our “abdar” and we are allowed to be spoiled. And this feels so good, this feels so right.
Durga Puja changes scenario in Kolkata:
In today’s apartment culture, we hardly know each other. While taking the same elevator ride, we look at the other person and try to remember “in which floor this person lives?” “have I seen this person?” “Is he eligible for my smile?”. Scenarios changes in Durga Puja. It gives a colourful sun-glass without any lens. We all are people who can feel the drum beats inside our veins 24/7- “dhikki chikki dhikki chikki”. We freely invite friends, relatives from outside, ” Tumi Durga Puja dekho ni, Durga pujoy chole aso Kolkatay. Thakar chinta ki, amar bari ache toh”.
The whole city becomes a joint family, a single home. We will hear random people giving you knowledge about when to visit which puja mandap to avoid the crowd. They are also concerned about the numbers of new clothes the other person received before Pujo. Our “hi”, “hello” changes to “pujoy kota jama holo”, “Pujoy ki plan”, “Pujoy kolkatay toh”…
A festival which unites:
Durga Puja meant to unite people. It comes back each and every year to remind people of the same lesson. And Kolkata knows this, that’s why she will cherish, welcome, flourish Durga Puja to the world as her inherited proud symbol.
Keeping in mind the current COVID 19 situation, I urge to everyone to be safe and keep safe during Puja.