This is my first blog entry here in GA, and I must tell you I am a lousy bloger. I have started three blogs in my online life and abandoned all three after a while because of lack things to post. Then, why am I doing this now? Do I have more things happening to me now? Well... for starters, I am indeed going through a period of change, no not Sex change, but a change regarding my career, my life, my surroundings and what not. More over, I have matured over the years to be able to find few stuff that I wanna write about and share with my friends. Especially so, since GA has provided me Safe Space to do that, where people are most non-judgemental and supporting in what I have encountered all over the internet. I am glad, I am a member of a proud effective community like GA, and am capable of giving a hands up to other members when they are in need, in turn. My life has changed dramatically since I had discovered GA early last year and ever since I have become an active member, it has become simply divine. I have all my GA friends and authors and admins and lurkers and posters and blogers to thank for that. GOD bless GA and its people.
So, the Durga Puja is here. For those uninitiated in Indian Culture, it is the biggest event of the Bengali calender and the festivities are celebrated in a larger than life level in all over Eastern India, especially Kolkata, my hometown. It is centered around the worship of Mother Goddess Durga Mahishasuramardini, the Slayer of Buffalo Demon. The people erect practically thousands of Pandals(makeshift temples) through out the city and eachone houses her idol and worship commences. In recent years, Theme Puja has taken place of traditional puja, and Themes can be as bizzare as Sugarcane Fiber to Tea Leaves to Glass to Bull shit. There are entire Pandals made out of this with intricate designing and decorations, sometimes even the Goddess idol. It is an awe inspiring experience to be in Kolkata during the festival. I term it the Carnival of Kolkata, quite adequately. There are amazing street food all over. Restaurents come up with great traditional and fusion delicasies in this period. People literary clog the streets, the night lights up amazing effulgence and people mostly opt for the whole night outings, which is a good idea if you think about the merciless autumn sun during the day, but becomes a less happy notion if you consider the horde of people in the streets at night. The puja traditionally starts from Shashthi and continues till Dashami, that is the sixth to the tenth of the current lunar cycle. But, the festivities start from last day of the lunar cycle, some places even earlier. And ends with Laxmi puja, coming full moon. Then another heavy dose of celebration comes along with Kali puja, Dewali, Bhai Fonta in another fortnight. So, in essence this is a time of many celebrations. For those in the western hemisphere, you may not know but this year the Eid ul Azha, the Eid of Sacrifice has also coincided with Durga puja. This makes it doublely celebratory, especially for our muslim brothers who work tirelessly in all those pandals and idol work shops to make our Puja special. It is impossible to catch puja in so few words, that has so many facets in our Bengali minds, in a single post. So, I am gonna write about it soon and more will come.
Durga Puja is when the Goddess comes back to her parents as per the traditional Bengali thought, long way from her in-law homes. It is the time when our daughters come to visit their parents' houses as well, with their husbands and children in tow just as Ma Durga comes with her sons, Kartik and Ganesh and her daughters, Lakkhi and Saraswati. It is a time of homecoming. I am gonna go home too a day before Shashthi and my married big sister gonna come stay with us for few days. In olden days, this used to be the only time the daughters were allowed to see their parents after marriage, even get out of their houses in most aristocratic homes. So has been the tradition for last thousand years. I guess you can understand why the flood gate of emotion just bursts around this time.
I am gonna take a bus from Dhaka, cross the border at Benapole and then straight to Kolkata. It's an almost 14 hours long ride and extremely exhausting. And on top it, I have a bad cold. Taking multiple meds to get it under control. Also, have a truckload of school work with me. But, anything is worth it, if I get to be with my family and friends during the puja. I will be happy.