Friday, July 26, 2013

Pujo Diary

With the most awaited and auspicious festival being few months away from now, we the stubborn  Bengalis start planning holidays in advance. I recently joined an organization, precisely in the 2nd week of July, and have been trying to adjust in the new environment. However, not even once did I think before telling my reporting manager about my holiday plan for Pujo. I am sure she understood my sentiments, considering the majority of Bongs we have in office. No rebels with us please since we are a major workforce here, including our MD and faanctional category heads. Hah! Target achieved without blinking an eyelid. I feel proud of my achievement.

Irrespective the fact that I do not show my Bong traits at work, the real bong within me jumps out without fail for Pujo; an occasion that graces us once every year for four days.

Nothing can stop us from dreaming about the new clothes and delicacies we would indulge in during Durga Pujo, no matter the month we are sitting on. It’s July and most of us have started reserving train/flight seats from now, to make sure we don't miss the grand festival, which is the only opportunity to reunite with family and friends without restrictions or hard feelings; especially those who are away from their families, long for the grandeur to return quickly and spread joy around.

Pujo is the time when we forget the entire world and are focused on the grand celebration. Ladies flaunt their new crisp Taant silk sharee and the Dadas put their best foot forward in Dhuti Kurta, as wearing new clothes is a tradition during Pujo. As a child I found this to be the most exciting part of the four day occasion. I longed for, and still crave for mishti. Blame it on my sweet tooth. All right, that's a sweet jaw, as stated by my near & dear ones; nobody can beat me in sweetaholism. Like a hungry beast, I am imagining naadu after Bijoya.

The celebration begins right through the first day of Mahalaya, when Devi Durga arrives riding her
loyal baagh. The magnificence of Durga overshadows Trinity, as all eyes adore the deity in her red sharee and ten arms laden with weapons. The three rounds of morning Onjoli are offered to the symbol of shakti with due respect and love. The worshipers recite the montro after purohit moshaai and offer bel paata and flowers to the beautiful protima.

We literally stop cooking at home for four days and break our fast after Onjoli to gorge on fruits and proshaad. We eat khichuri bhog, laabda and payesh in noon at pujo baari. We"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die" is the motto of every Bengali and hence the foodie within us never dies. We eat everything, even liquid. Must have heard us saying jol khaabo (I will eat water). Enough to confuse you? But that's our mother tongue! So what if Bengali language is gender neutral, yet our hearts have rooms larger than Ambani mansion. Visit us during Pujo and witness a vibrant world full of life, love and enthusiasm. 

Not that Poschim Bongo is the only place for Pujo, yet it is the best place to be in during Pujo. Being a probashi Baangali, I too can vouch for the fact you see. The enormity of the festival engulfs all sorrow, worries and anxiety during the four days of the evergreen Durga Pujo.

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