Oct 7, 2006

Abar Pujo!

Pujo (Durga Puja for the uninitiated) is perhaps in the blood stream of every bengali. There is a natural buoyance and exhuberance during those four days of the puja's, between shosthi and doshomi i have a sneaky suspision that the bengali lives his entire year of joy.

This Pujo i went back to Jamshedpur, to visit my family and after ages (unlike a bengali...and don't you go by my surname here) i visited the pujor pandel. Its a sultry night and driving by the confluence of the Subarnarekha and Kharkhai rivers is a pleasure by itself. The half moon peeks in between the strips of clouds. Its minutes before i reach the Circuit House Area pandel, to the bleak strains of born free playing in the background. And suddenly its interrupted by racous bollywood's latest romantic numbers, as always overstated and explicit. Its a heady place, getting there well past eleven on the night of nobomi, the throng of people even at that hour is huge. The mix of incense and perfume and not to mention sweat, is distinctive and very pujo-like.

Ma Durga

Among others i guess the CH Area pandel has always been the hub of all activity. Bhog, which is the quinessential offering made to Goddess Durga and is one of the most scrumptious of foods. Apart from that well this place has been the launch pad of efforts of many a young fellow seeking that blingy girl, dressed up in her Pujo best.

The CH Area Pandel

And then the crux of it all, it isn't Pujo if there isn't enough to hog, the egg rolls with chicken or mutton and onions in the spicy red sauce, vegetable chops with the peculiarly tasty crust, devils, jhal-muri, phuchka and what not and before i miss it, masala cold-drinks...especially the one near Regal Grounds (Gopal Maidan now). Not to mention Ma'er hather ranna*, the chingri maach, eelish and kakra** and what not else.

Its a different feeling to be in Jamshedpur, the gray of the Dalma hills, the Subarnarekha meandering, the tree-lined avenues and the sparse traffic makes it very navigable and almost a pleasure to be perpetually on the road. The silence is permeating and well it gives a sense of solitude that is oft sought after hard but comes in a easy unrestrained package here. Even on the evening of Dashami, when you see the river flowing by with the remnants of the once magnificient idols and flowers, its an odd feeling of loss.

The idol before the bhashaan, smeared by the
vermillion of Sindoor-Khela (Married women smear each
other with vermillion signifying a long married life)

* Mom's cooking
** Shrimps, fish and Crabs


Anyesha said...

The new template is great.

Twisted DNA said...

Pandal hopping sounds cool. Even though I never did it myself. Nice photos as usual.

By the way, now officially, every Bong blogger wrote about Pujos :)