Once Viswakarma Puja passes, the tempo picks up, because Maa Durga has finally commenced her journey to come in our midst. This is what we used to be told by our seniors when we were small. Wide-mouthed and expectant, we felt unhappy when in some years her ‘journey’ used to be longer than others. “Perhaps she has more stopovers this year”, we’d console each other.
The enthusiasm has ebbed by several notches over years, yet there is no doubt that as Mahalaya finally comes and goes, the collective yearning will gradually reach crescendo. The great thing about Kolkata puja is without doubt the pandal hopping. How contagious is it? You bet it is something that is completely exceptional and incomparable. No community festival in India can ever come closer to Durga Puja. Indeed some years back I met a Brazilian couple during puja, who were overwhelmed by the scale of celebration and participation by people of all hues.
Well, to talk of Durga Puja and no matridarshan do not gel. Here then are some glimpses of last year taken from Ananda Bazar Patrika’s website, Ananda Utsav.
Badamtala Ashar Sangha