Ya devi sarbabhuteshshu,
SAKTI rupena sanksthita
Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai
Very very soon, the radio is gonna go abuzz with these heavy words from an even heavier throat. That time of the year is here. The new clothes smell so good, so fresh and so pretty. We as a community are gearing up to welcome Ma Durga to come visit us for 5 days. Festivities would start. There will be songs and dances. There will be drama enactments. There will be a lot of nice things to eat. There will not be calorie consciousness. There will be 5 days of no flame in every bong household. This is pujo as we know. This is the pujo that we yearn for all year round.
A typical day during the pujo starts with Uposh/vrat/fast. We get up, bathe, don new day wear and off to the pandal to offer our prayers with utmost sincerity. Then comes pushpanjali. After the general prayer of wellbeing, we offer our deity fragrant flower and three leaves of wood apple tree, in hope that she blesses and accepts our prayers. Sheesh, even in prayers we offer bribes. But it’s a bribe that gives the nature a push to make it more beautiful. These plucked flowers and leaves, ensure that the tree produces more fragrance and more colour around us.
After pujo, the breakfast commences. Every pandal would host a couple of street food stalls from where, depending on the taste and temperament, we choose our breakfast. For me, my heart just desires a good plate of fresh puffy Radhaballabi with alur torkari (deep fried lentil stuffed flat breads with potato curry) or korai shutir kachori with alur torkari (deep fried green pea stuffed flat breads with potato curry). These fresh treats are really something of indulgence, but this is festive time, and it calls for indulgence. I did forget to mention that before breakfast, a simple proshad of fresh cut fruits which were offered to the deity, is passed around as well.
The lunch is just the bhog. That divine intervention in making that simple khichri just takes the dish to a new level of taste. Also its fun and frolic, you stand in a line with your friends, talking and chatting, while flaunting your beautiful day wear saree; that in itself is enough to notch up the taste parameters of a khichri which is made in bulk and served to everyone who comes in.
After lunch, it’s time to head home. The evening needs to be prepared for. The new night wear saree comes out. Home facials are done. Make up is selected. And off we go again in the finest of our glory. Everyone in the pandal would look party ready. It’s a beautiful place to be. The programmes start. The stalls light up. Friends catch up to a dinner of fish fry or Frankie’s with loads of cold drinks flowing about.
This is my fondest memory of pujo. All my life we have done this. And for the further years, we will continue to do this. Pujo is a celebration. A festival where we celebrate each of the five days. And today, we would love to tell you about it. A group of 4 bloggers have come together to make u feel at home in the festivities. 2 are coming straight from the heart of all merry festivities in Kolkata. I am trying to explore pujo in a new city- Gurgaon. And another blogger is coming all the way from Australia. We have planned many wonderful things for the coming days. So keep checking and keep clicking!! Cheers!! :)