While “Bajlo tomar alor benu….” resonated at our homes at the dawn of 17th September, Maa Durga got her official annual “invitation” from the people on Earth. Mahalaya marks the commencement of probably the biggest carnival of the World. Durga Pujo or Durgotsav isn’t a mere religious festival. It is universal in every aspect of it’s approach. People from round the globe, belonging to different religions or race, participate in this Utsav. It’s pomp and show takes longer leaps every year. No two years of Durga Puja festivity is similar.
Pujo during Corona
But, there lies the unwanted and unfortunate problem. 2020 is the only year which bears testimony to every existing mishappening in the World. Starting with the Corona virus and ending with probably something highly unimaginable. The spirit of Bangalis has been curtailed to the maximum this year. Post Mahalaya, people gear up for the last minute preparations of the almost ten days long Puja. With celebrations, comes new clothes, gifts, reunion of family and friends, lavish spreads and constant fun and laughter. But this year’s Pujo celebrations just seems to have vanished, just at the snap of the fingers. There’s no people roaming around with a relaxed head. No members of Puja Committees coming to collect ‘chanda’ or guys and girls prepping dance or skit performances for the ‘para r pujo’.
The Missing Factors
On my part, I am missing the times when Maa, my sister and I were roaming from one shopping mall to another for buying clothes. Not ‘buying’ always, trying some on, discarding some and dying to buy some others. And after tedious hours of shopping, the sumptuous lunches or dinners are literally calling me. It’s not that we aren’t shopping this year. The difference is 2020 is the year of anything and everything online.
I am already pondering over the thought of whether we four friends would be able to go out for our special Ashtami lunch. More than eating, what we look forward to is we four chilling at the Chaturanga Puja Ground, which we lovingly call our very own “Maddox Square”. Apart from chilling, our monstrously loud laughter and pandal hopping are a big part and parcel of our Pujo plans.
We might not be having the same events at this year’s Pujo but none can dominate our Bangali spirit. With mask fashion on point and sanitizers galore, we’ll welcome Maa Durga with open arms. Let no stone be unturned, but only in a safe way, for the Pujo celebrations!!