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পুজোর গল্প - Bidisha Ghosh

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The wait is almost over! Durga Pujo is just around the corner with the ‘Pujo-Pujo’ gondho even in this part of the world. We are only days away from our much-loved Ma Durga’s homecoming.

Every year, this time comes the overpowering feeling of nostalgia about Pujo, about family, friends and the childhood which was filled with excitement and happiness around Durga Pujo.  Nostalgia, memories, food and Pujo are inseparable I guess.

Memories of the fights over Pujobarshiki with my dada/didi to decide who will read it first... about my friends excitedly asking, “kota jama holo?” a question that immediately opens up the conversation about all the bargain places in the city to shop ‘Pujo specials’ at J, of the pandal coming up in  the neighborhood corner, of the magical bengali word ‘adda’ and of the smell of khichuri on the morning of ashtami made by my ma..I can go on and on..

 

Even after these many years, one cannot deny the powerful emotion.

Pujo can be defined in many ways - maybe it is the celebration of this ultimate victory of good over evil or maybe it’s about the daughter returning home to see her parents (who cares about Ravan dying when the family is together J) or maybe it’s just about taking a break from routine to re-bond with family and friends. But nevertheless for any true blue Bengali, Pujo will always remain a unique celebration that no pumpkin carvings during Halloween or the turkey roasting during Thanksgiving can ever compete with.  Even in ‘probas’ where we attempt to recreate a home away from home, Pujo transports us to a different era, to a city thousands of miles away, with the crowd and the noise,  in the city named Kolkata..

One thing at times I yearn for during ‘Probaser Pujo’ is that my son will never know Pujo as I know.  Notun jama and juto are bare necessities bought year round and does not mean anything special for him.. I remember when I was explaining Pujo to him for the first time, he couldn’t get over the fact that Ma Durga will not bring presents for him like Santa does J .. I can never pass on to him the pleasure of smelling the new pujo shankhya Anandomela or the goosebumps when the dhakis first begin to beat their dhak.

But then, maybe he will have his own special memories of Pujo. Not the same as mine but in his own way. Maybe he will one day look back with nostalgia and similar affection and will have his own ‘chotobalar pujor golpo’ to tell. 

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