Pujo is Here !!!!!!

The Amazing Great Bengali Festival is Back !!!!

So its that time of the year again !When the rich fragrance of the Harsingar lies heavy in the air , the humid ,wet rainy mornings giving way to slightly nippy dawns , of shorter days and of impending festivities ..The other day on our way back from the market , my husband suddenly remarked , “See that smell is back . This smell marks the advent of Pujo” .

My introduction to Pujo happened during my growing years in Bhopal .Every year for Pujo my parents & I would trudge to  The Local “Kali Bari ” to check out the Books at the Ramakrishna Mission stall & to buy “shiny- cellophane-wrapped bows & arrows , swords” and other such knick knacks . In the later years my Dance performances were the reason to visit the Pujo Pandal. Whatever be the reason Pujo was an annual feature in my calendar .

Now that I am married to a Bong , I know ,the Bong Pujo connect is way , way different . Bong Pujo is about unlimited food , new clothes , pandal-hopping , gift exchange ..The countdown to Pujo sends a frisson of excitement through them ..One month before Pujo , women ask each other whether they have started Pujo shopping . And mind you a month before Pujo is when “Shraddh” starts .Shraddh traditionally being the time to pay homage to one’s ancestors , a time of remembrance , of austerity . In North India , this is the time when people put off all shopping & avoid any auspicious activity . So if at this time , one does go shopping , one would encounter only Bongs of all ages , sizes , hues clammering away to seize the best deals , the best saris , the best of everything . CR-Park , the Bong oasis in Delhi also has the annual Pre-Pujo exhibition at this time . The exhibition showcasing the only other Bengali obsession, second only to food , “Saris ”.. Of wispy Dhakai Jamdanis , the painstakingly embroidered Kanthas , of the brilliant Ikkats & Bomkais of Orissa , Of Mahabharath Tales in the Balucharis …

This year both of us have applied for 1 week leave from our office for the whole of next week to celebrate Pujo .

1 day before the start of Navrathri is celebrated as Mahalaya . Mahalaya marks the start of the Devi’s journey to her paternal house . The Bong Pujo begins on Shashti and ends on Dashmi after the distribution of “Shanti Jal” . While the rest of India fasts on Navrathris , reads the Chandi Path , practices abstinence for the senses , for the Bongs this is a time of unfettered merriment & indulgence . Since no festivity is complete without Non-veg food , this also means unlimited mutton rolls , Dimer devil, Mutton ghugni , Mughlai Paratha , Fish fries … For me this is a time of conflict . Coming from an almost vegetarian household where everything auspicious is mandatorily vegetarian the dilemma of whether to have or not have is a killing one ..My husband is very understanding though ..He leaves it to my better judgment.. :)

Pandal Food
Dhanuchi Dance
Dhanuchi Dance

How can I forget the Cultural Aspect of the Pujo ..Blowing Conches , Dhaak & Dhanuchi Dance are  integral Pujo elements. The Highlight of the Pujo is the Adult Skit as per my Husband . Replete with raunchy dialogues & Double entendres  , leaving the audience gasping for breath & asking for more ..Of course there are other  events too catering to the interests of all ages , “Drawing , Singing , Music competitions for Kids & adults alike ..It is the one Annual phenomenon that’s brings all Bongs together ..Last Year my Little one also won “Solah-anna Bangali” tag for being dressed as the quintessential Bengali in the “Fan-type-Dhoti” with an Angarakha Kurta ..

4 days of gaiety & festivity come to an end on Dashmi . Durga receives a warm & sometimes a  tearful send off , with cries of “Aasche Bochor aabar Hobe” meaning “ Next Year again this shall repeat” ….

#Pujo ,#Durga Puja,#Navrathra ,#Bengalis,#CR Park ,#Pujo Pandal ,#Dhaak,#Dhanuchi



2 thoughts on “Pujo is Here !!!!!!

  1. Hey Maam,
    Hope you are doing well!
    May I have the pleasure to accuse you of abetting a crime?
    11.23 AM … I, with two of my colleagues, was engrossed in completing a most urgent and important assignment….. Ding Dong … here comes a notification from Nothing Much…. Open or open it not….open or open it not……….OPENED……. spent 10 minutes to finish.
    Another interesting read, effortlessly it could connect to the audience leaving the festivity in the air.
    Suddenly I found the duo staring at me………….. OH!! My laptop was connected to the display monitor of the meeting room… HHHAAA hha!! C’mon guys that was worth it. Even at this moment. Isn’t it?
    Then for the next 45 minutes it was a travel down the memory lane for the trio. Especially, of CR park where I had lived for two years …. After hectic law firm schedule….Late night Bullet rides wearing dhoti and kurta, with bong (girl) friends sitting behind..and in-lieu charging them with kilos of mohan bhog, malai cham-cham and suffering from severe tonsillitis post consuming n number of chilled bapa doi.
    If this is crime……… let it be!!
    Keep writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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