Festive ring

Festive season does have a lovely ring to it – happy ring that breaks from the mundane, optimistic rhythm  of a new dawn, lingering melody of a world all decked up. There maybe nothing phenomenally different, yet everything looks unique. Or maybe it’s us looking at the world with happy, giddy gaze. And the pleasant October mornings with her dewy touch, the smell of shiuli phool, white clouds and cool breezy evenings add to the spirit.

For us Bongs festivities are ushered with Durga Pujo, worshipping and celebrating the prowess of Devi who visits her earthly abode with her children – two sons Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesh and, two daughters Goddess Lokkhi and Goddess Swaraswati. She spends four days with us breaking our monotony with her divine touch. But it’s not just these four days. We start preparing for her arrival months ahead. Right from making her idols to decorating pandals to buying new clothes to celebrate her coming.

As a little girl I wanted a new dress for each Pujo day with matchings clips to go with the frocks. Mom would start shopping well in advance, checking dress materials, grabbing the best deals. For there would be month long Pujo discounts. We would head out to the pandals every day to admire the lit up Goddess and show off our new clothes. Goddess was worshipped at our maternal grandfathers’ place and that made those four days even more special – sound of dhak, smell of dhunochi, the dancing, the taste of bhog. Durga Pujo is much more than a religious ceremony. It’s about celebration, it’s about connecting with friends and family, it’s about feeling special.

Every year Devi  arrives and departs in her own special vehicles. This year she arrived in Gaja or an elephant which according to Hindu mythology indicates good harvest. She departed in nouko or a boat on the day of Bijoya Dashami, which symbolizes heavy rain and flooding. Maybe the rainy October days have something to do with her departure.

The emptiness of Devi Durga’s parting is filled with the anticipation of arrival of her daughter – Devi Lokkhi, the Goddess of wealth. On the first full moon night after Dashami Bengalis worship Kojagari Lokkhi. So today evening we will welcome the golden Goddess in our homes and pray to her for peace and prosperity.

Prapti drawing alpona (rangoli) before the Goddess at her grandparent’s (Roy mashima) place

Pujo is not same in Gurgaon as it was back home in Agartala. I end up working on most days. But there’s still a special ring to those days. The sound of dhak though faint, happy murmurs of the breeze, those days are indeed special. Though I am away from my family, my friends make up for it. And having my friends’ parents next door is like an added bonus. Lokkhi pujo at Roy meshomoshi and mashima’s place takes me back to my childhood days.

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