In my living memory this is perhaps the first time that Viswakarma, the God of creation, is being worshipped not on Sep 17. It appears that the 2 consecutive Bengali months, Ashar and Srabon, had 32 days this year, which meant that the last day of the ‘inauspicious’ Bhadro on which the Viswakarma Puja is celebrated has shifted by 24 hours.
There isn’t any complaint though. Life proceeds as usual. The fervor of Viswakarma Puja has ebbed over time. The schools do not declare a holiday. Kites fly much less. There is a curb on noise, and so you don’t get to hear the latest hit songs on loudspeakers, which would have reminded you of the puja.
The last day of Bhadro is also the occasion for ghoti-bangalis’ to celebrate Anna Puja, aka Monosa Puja. The Bengalis of the east worship Monosa, the Goddess of the snakes, in the month of Ashar. Anna Puja requires non-stop cooking at home for the entire night.
When there is cooking at a Bengali home for such a long time, obviously there will be a big list of delicacies that will be prepared. The next day, that is today, people will visit relatives’ homes and exchange pleasantries. There will be no cooking in the entire day today.
Viswakarma Puja also heralds the beginning of a long period of autumn festivity. Durga Puja is now just a month away. The signs of gradual revving up to celebrate the momentous puja days to the hilt are slowly coming to the fore.
People have readied their plans to stay in or away from the city to enjoy the Durga Puja. Just about 3 weeks separate now from Mahalaya when Maa will start her journey with her sons and daughters from the heavenly abode of soshurbari to be in time for Mahasoshthi’s bodhan to spend 4 days at baperbari.
While we look forward to the long-awaited yearly sojourn of Maa Durga, here are photos of 2 Viswakarma Puja in my locality – one by the rich bus workers union beside their CITU-affiliated office, and the other by poor rickshaw pullers.