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Fake Guns, Potka Competition & Bird Watching - Angshu Chatterjee


Durga Pujo, Dassera or whatever name it is given, it brings one thing above many other and that is the feeling of togetherness among seemingly disparate sets of people. Sure it has this insanely long mythological story with a religious connotation behind it, but that is not important. Don't believe me? Just ask the little boys who were complete strangers to each other 15 min ago and now running around in the pujo pandal wearing their new dresses and shooting their fake guns at each other and seemingly everyone who is paying even the slightest attention to their fantastic little world of good and evil.

A long long time ago when I was this teenage kid, I remember, my friends and I used to dress up, get on our bikes and make rounds of all the pujo pandals. Oh, those beautiful days. Days of no worries, no responsibilities, and no pressure to act like an adult. Anyway, before I drift into the bliss of teenage, the guys’ gang I am talking about wasn't really a gang of boys who knew each other from the get go. It was a gang of boys who just happened to come across each other in the middle of nowhere and just chose to scout the scenes together. Ah! "Together". That word again.

The thing is when I think about Durga Pujo, there is a whole lot of blur. Don't get me wrong. The blur is not because I don't remember anything, it’s rather quite the opposite. I remember so many things that I find it difficult to organize them in any given order. I remember going to mom's "gramer bari" as a kid. Besides the only available vehicle to travel the last few miles of the journey was a bullock cart, the village also until very recently didn't have any electricity or proper toilets. It had only one 200+ year old brick and mortar house and that was ours. All other were mud houses. Looking beyond all the minute details about the village, the most interesting part was that we all used to make the journey together and I mean all of us from my mom's side. That’s a convoy of 10 bullock carts. I can write a whole essay on those memorable journeys but let’s just stick to Durga Pujo for now. So going back to Durga Pujo, It’s not very subtle that we went through a lot of sweet pain to be there for those 5 days of Durga Pujo every year. Why did we go through all that pain? It took me a long time to come up with an acceptable answer. I realized that the importance of new dresses vs. meeting all the cousins in a god forsaken village or the inconvenience of being in such a village vs. the fun of inter-"para" "potka" competition or the importance of gathering around grandpa and listening to the age old stories of our ancestors vs. the overcoming of the fear of darkness to respond to nature's call late in the night is inconsequential. It’s like asking a kid to choose between a new pencil and a candy. Confused? That makes 3 of us. Yes 3. Don't forget the confused kid!

Life however cruel it is, it always gives us some moments which we want to hold on to till the end of time. I know I am being philosophical and stuff, but what the heck? It’s Durga Pujo. If I can’t even afford to sit down and share a little bit of those moments with others then what is it that makes Durga Pujo special for me? The thing is we don't make Durga Pujo special for ourselves, we make Durga Pujo special for all the people around us and our memories or moments are just a by-product of that togetherness.

That’s it. Signing off.

Angshu Chatterjee

About Angshu:

I am from a small town in West Bengal called Durgapur. I lived most of my life in hostels which means staying outside of the comforts of home. I am absolutely obsessed about technology in any form or shape but still like to use my right brain from time to time. I love photography, reading, traveling and, listening to music, Rock music. And oh! Did I tell you that I absolutely love adda! 



#3 Bidisha 2013-10-11 09:37
Loved it! This reminded me of all the cap fatano I did when I was a kid..:)
#2 Nandita 2013-10-08 21:41
Very well written.. inter-para "potka" competition -:) oi fake gun gulo ke "cap fatano" bola hoto, no idea why !
#1 Anasuya 2013-10-08 20:05
Angshu, I really enjoyed reading your collage of childhood memories!... I'm still laughing at the image of a convoy of 10 bullock carts!:)

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