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Durga Puja during My Childhood

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Editor’s Note: If you are a Bengali, or if you have ever spent your days in Kolkata, you will know what it feels like to be present in the city during Durga Puja. The feel is that of euphoria, joy, family, new friendships. it is a feeling that goes way beyond festivities. And the pull that one feel deep inside the soul every time Durga Puja approaches nearer is indescribable. Our member shama146 shares her story. tell us about your childhood memories about Durga Puja here.

Autumn, my favorite season of the year. When the air becomes slightly chilled in the morning, when our lawns were planted by all winter vegetables, when refrigerated water wasn’t a necessity anymore and last but not the least, Durga Puja.

Those five days of the year, when fun, frolic and festivity was in the air. Those five days seemed to be the epicenter of our existence. Those were the days of late 80′s and early 90′s when social networking had a completely different definition. Durga Puja, as I remembered as a kid had nothing to do with religion. For us kids, it simply meant a celebration of life, an event which mesmerized us with its awe and glory.

Preparations started almost two months before Puja. Collection of money for the event was done by the elders and active members of our locality. After that the pandal makers would be called for the final negotiations. Each area wanted it’s pandal to be the showstopper for that year.

Durga Puja in Bengal starts with ‘Mahalaya’, the invocation. The next few days would be a flurry of activities, the last minute Puja shopping would be reaching it’s frenzied climax. The idol was installed in the pandal few days before ‘Shasti’, the sixth day of the month. Our (kids) joys knew no bounds. Our school had already closed for Puja vacations and much of our time was spent in the pandal. Those weren’t the days of laptops, internet, mobiles and round the clock tuition, so we had ample time for our indulgence.

During shashti and ashtami, we would gorge on bhog which was prepared for the entire community. It was a khichdi, whose taste still lingers on my taste buds. I bet none of the 5 stars chefs can replicate that wonderful aroma and taste. These four days would be a blur. Starting with the morning Anjali, to the programmes, competitions, quiz etc lined up for the evening, our calendar would be completely chock a block. In the midst of this, we kids would fire round after round of ‘cap pistols’, those small explosive strips of red dot. Some who don’t had the privilege of a gun, would rub them on the walls. Those small pleasures seem so much today. This time was also a good opportunity for the teens boys and girls, who otherwise never had enough opportunity to have a good time together. Countless romances blossomed during these soirees. And how can I forget those mouth watering stuffs like phuchka, chat, mughlai paratha, ghughni etc which we devoured like we haven’t eaten for days. But alas, the wonderful time ended so soon. The next few days after Puja was a sheer utter hell. The whole atmosphere seemed so gloomy as our days in paradise were over. The only silver line to the cloud for us kids was Diwali was round the corner.

Those memories of my childhood are still so fresh and crisp. As I was typing these letters I somewhat went back to those areas and lanes where some of my best memories of Durga Puja have taken place. I feel sorry for today’s children for whom social networking only means FACEBOOK.

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About shama146

shama146 is a contributing member of Indusladies. To see shama146's community profile, go here.

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Fasten your seat belts – this could be a bumpy day! Major changes are at work and all you can do is surrender. If you are in conflict with others, or frustrated about your work life, try not to make this the major focus of negative thinking. Find reasons to feel grateful.

Be patient if you feel that something is hopeless. When stressed, it’s wise to keep things as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Music and being around positive people can help ease strained feelings. Indulge yourself with a massage or other health treatment to improve your sense of well-being.

You might want to stay in and not speak to anyone today. If you decide to venture out, you’re apt to run into opposition almost everywhere you turn. Don’t see this as negative. Use it as incentive to work harder toward your goals. There are strong forces egging you on, so act confidently. Make sure you get your emotions out. Otherwise, they’ll fester and do more harm than good.

You, or someone close to you, may be in a relationship that appears romantic, but could be undermining self-confidence and true happiness. Any highly controlling relationship, where a person feels they are unworthy of better treatment, demands courage and change. Real love encourages the beloved and their dreams without domination or control.

You’re looking good and your social skills are at their peak. You’ll discover that social events and group activities that you may attend may prove to be surprisingly beneficial. You will easily impress people and also end up making a lot of new friends. If you aren’t romantically involved now, a new love could come your way.

This could be a very busy day and you will be wise to work from a list. You can be a wonderful influence on children and might want to make this a special time for them. Calls to people who are introverted can make a huge difference in their lives.

Are you getting hit with obstacles lately? Could it be that you simply need to allot yourself more time to complete the monumental tasks you take on? This might be difficult for you to tolerate. You don’t know how to deal with times like these when you must continue doing the same thing over and over until you get results. There’s a lesson here for you. Remember that patience is a virtue.

Romance should be going beautifully for you today. Your romantic partner looks especially attractive and probably is in a great mood. You might decide to attend a lecture together or plan a weekend getaway. Communication between you is open, honest, supportive, and loving. Don’t let this day pass you by. Make sure you get together. This could end up being a day to remember.

The best use of your time is to clean, sort, and toss out what is no longer needed. There can be complications or delays in legal and business matters. Be sure you can afford any extravagant purchase you are thinking about. Your intuition is very strong right now – trust your judgment.

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