Have you watched this year’s calendar for the month of October? This is that month when the Bengalis all over the world go gaga over what is arguably the greatest community festival on earth, the Durga Puja.
To be fair, Durga Puja is not Kolkata or Bengal’s alone. It is now celebrated in perhaps all major countries, not to speak of nearly all towns and cities in India. In that sense Durga Puja is a pan-India festival, may be not comparable with big brother Diwali, but much larger in scale and festivity.
In Kolkata, there is no sign yet to suggest that 10 Sundays are all that lay between now and the grand festival. The countdown doesn’t seem to have commenced. Pandals of big community pujas like Ekdalia Evergreen have not been started, and the fever of puja shopping hasn’t yet caught on.
The picture however is markedly different at clay modelers’ places where people are very busy to make the idols. A few idols meant for overseas buyers have been completed and they are set to be shipped or are being shipped shortly.
The idol for the London Durga Puja Dusserah Committee (LDDC) of which noted industrialist LN Mittal is a patron, is also in the making in Pradyut Pal’s studio in Kumortuli. When completed this idol will be airlifted to London. See my post, Clay Durga Idol For LDDC.
In the paras, marathon meetings are being held to form puja committees, fix budgets, and to find ways to collect funds. After the first phase of setting the puja-related actions in motion will come the next phase when cultural programs will be finalized and likely participants will start rehearsing.
While this blog will track puja news as the days come near, readers are welcome to tell their stories about Durga Puja wherever that may be. Do send me them at mahanagar [at] gmail [dot] com. Like to send pictures only? You’re welcome.
Meanwhile here are a couple of pictures of near-empty shops waiting to spring to life in a month’s time.