Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pujo days

The Pujo days are passing in a frenzy of people, of culinary delights, of sharing, of getting ready and reaching the pandal(temporary temples built for the days of the Pujo with a life size clay model of the Goddess Durga) for the anjali(prayers chanted in sanskrit for the Goddess) followed by scalding hot khichuri bhog,
the queue for which is actually the penance part, if you consider the temperatures here now, hovering around 44 degrees, with at least a minimum of 30 people ahead of you, Your sins are definitely getting paid for here. The temple precincts do not allow footwear so we just about barely stand, most of us, me included are continuously doing a jig to help keep the feet in minimal contact to the burning marble floor, and inspite of this there is laughter every where, not much of spirituality beyond the anjali though.. its only then that we bow our heads and concentrate on the mantras, once that is through and the flowers we held in our hands have trajectorily reached the feet of the Goddess, we are back to watching who's wearing what, how deep are the blouses this year, or how wide, what's the latest in jewelery and who adorns the biggest shades, yah I know.. it sounds terrible when I put it down in words.. but believe me its great fun, its bonding too, when a group of us stand jiggling our burning feet, waiting for our turn to reach the end of the queue for the bhog. Entertainment is also found in the stream of announcements on the mike saying things like "Many of you have not yet paid the annual membership fees, please reach us at the main gate counter and pay your subscription', there are also announcements like,"Children please refrain from refills of the bhog, there are many waiting', the children I notice are really not very keen on the bhog anyways, they just want to go back to the air condition of their homes, its just the pull of their parents that has dragged most of these kids from school and brought them to the temple in the crazy heat of the afternoon. These announcements never go without a loud rejoinder, which is most of the times taken in good spirit. A lot of laughter, a bit of bitching, seeing new faces and missing ones that have left, is usually the synopsis of Durga Pujo days of an expat like me.

Away from home, I can hear the bells and the dhak only when I call up and my mother in law holds the mobile out for the dhaki's beat to travel all the way from Jhargram to Muscat, the beat makes my son dance and it brings to my mind the house, the people, the joy of those five days, the phone is snatched at times by a family member, urging us to return, to be there for the pujo, saying repeatedly that very few hands to work, the elders are really getting old again before a response the phone is filled with the aaroti mantra and the dhak beats the clanging of the cymbal and the mood just sets in like every passing year that I have stayed away from Jhargram, its a mix of sweet nostalgia, of pride, of belonging and of being away from it all.

Its Maha Ashtami today, the most looked upon day of the Pujo, the best Saree, the best jewellery, the best food, the best of everything is saved for this day, itsthe day when the Goddess is worshipped with 108 diyas and garlanded with 108 lotus flowers, for me this day, the Goddess comes to life, when I look at her eyes, I can feel her looking right back at mine, and the difference between time and space suddenly ceases.

Take a look at this video to get the feel of the Durga aaroti


48 comments:

Mustaf said...

First of all,thanks for the post but we want more:) For Nabami and Vijaya dashami, too :D

I loved that description "the flowers we held in our hands have trajectorily reached the feet of the Goddess", I could visualize that and I agree with you that Ashtami is the best among the 4 days and Nabami may be close second..

And what are those delicacies, the photos you have given.Not all of them look like Khichudi

SJ said...

I SO want to go home :(

The Holy Lama said...

So you did keep your word to give us another beautiful account of the pooja. And here in Kerala, today on asthami evening, the books are kept for saraswati pooja. These books are kept at the devi's feet for two days and taken on Vijayadashami. Kids between 2 and three are initiated into the world of learning on Vijayadashami. The festival is also known as Vidya arambham here.

Hopeless Romantic said...

happy durga pooja....and dusheera!

Amit

nsiyer said...

I enjoyed the video and it brought nostalgia. Well written.

Nazish Rahman said...

Nice post...n well described!!
Happy Durga Puja !

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Loved reading your expat Pujo experience. I have a cousin who has been living at Salalah for over a decade now, and she always makes it a point to spend the Puja at her Kolkata home. But that is not possible for everybody.

Loved the bhog queue and announcement to children. How typical! Trust Bengalis to fight over food, where ever they are.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Loved reading it, Sujata. Good that certain things never change. Best wishes for the pujo to you and your family. Enjoy.

sujata said...

@Mustaf you are welcome, the goodies are khichudi, bandhakopi r torkari, labda, chatni and payesh..awesome isnt it!!! You will get a post on Bisharjan for sure

@SJ where have you been you naughty girl, missing so unceremoniously? you have an award on my blog, and you have not come to this page for so long that I forgot the spelling of anadale!!!

@The Holy Lama what you say about keeping the books at the feet of the godess, happens with us too, on dashami, before visarjan, kids keep their books at the feet of the godess, and the initiation of writing is called haathe khori in bengali, translated it would mean, the first holding of a pen/pencil/chalk in hand and writing the first alphabet ona slate, this is a ceremony that happens in saraswati puja which we celebrate sometime end dec or jan every year, where kids of the age 2 or 3 have this, there is a lot of common ceremonies all across India, we just are not aware of it.

@Amit thanks,

@nsiyer thanks a lot

@NR thanks how was eid?

@Sucharita things never change, with that announcement came in the same tone,"1533 prado mondir er dorja aatke aache, jar gadi she please gadi take shoran, nahole amader police call korte hobe"

@Santanuda, thankyou I wish the same to you and your loved ones

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Mustaf said...

ei "labda" ta ki?..bengali khabar?..kono din nam sunini to?:(

Kavi said...

I can visualise every single word of what you have written here !

And it sure must be fantastic. I know that for a fact. I myself have been doing the rounds here !!

And what an atmosphere

sujata said...

@Mustaf labda naam shononi> seki? shob meshano torkari!!

@kavi hows it going? are you dressing up? no shorts please wear the grandest thing available!!

Nona said...

Have fun! Was smiling when I visualized the jig to escape the hot marble. :)

BK Chowla said...

Enjoyed reading this post and could see how much are you enjoying Durga Poja.
Hppy Durga Poja.

Aparna said...

Have been pandal hopping,eating and having a blast. Last night saw the Shondhi Pujo arati. It was so beautiful. And the bhog has been delicious as usual. Only one more day to go. Sigh.

R. Ramesh said...

su..how r U? how can u forget old friends like us yar? hey,went for the Durga puja function organised by bengali assn in dubai..with some close friends and my wife..your post reminded me of that...take care dear friend.best wishes always..

Mustaf said...

Sujatadi,

Subho Vijaya er Preeti and Subheccha roilo, ashche bachar abar hobe :)

Sumandebray said...

Puja puja puja and the puja is over... all that remains is the Hope...
Asche bochor abar hobe... bigger, better and brighter!
Do we only miss the puja or we miss the place, the people, those time, that age and those lovely momments from the past!

####s#h#a#n#K#Y####### said...

wonderful .....m mising my home :(

Babli said...

Khub sundor likhechho. Amra Muscat er pujo khub miss korlam. Townsville e to pujo hoyna tai kichhui bujhte parlam na. Tomra nischoi khub anondo korle. Shubho Bijoya.

Antarman said...

Lovely post and brought so many memories, my husband loved thta prasad of Khichdi, and that festivity. and all three four days new sarees.....and i really miss that inspite of living in kharagpur for 7-8 years i missed jhargram.

Bhavya.B said...

Nice post Sujatha....thanks for keeping your promise.

Spike said...

Sujata, Happy Vijaya Dashami to you and ur family...

Destiny's child... said...

A lovely account of the Pujo celebrations....:)

Gymnast said...

Nice account , sujatha. Sounds similar to the Onam celebrations we have in Kuwait.

Meira said...

:)
Happy Dusshera :)

Sumandebray said...

Subho Bijoya to all of you out there!

Double-Dolphin said...

Shubho Bijoya!

gaelikaa said...

Two fantastic posts about the Durga Puja season. I loved reading them. Thanks for your visit to mine too. Wish you a wonderful Puja season with your family, Sujata!

kavita said...

Just back after a tearful bidai to MA DURGA...loved your post,last nite had the most wonderful bhog ...the khichudi and labda was out of this world.

Aparna said...

Shubho Bijoya to you and all your readers. Expecting the post on Boron soon.

Butterfly Thoughts said...

Shubho Bijoya.Reading your post it made me think that its so right when you spoke about what others are wearing and doing and how we just sit and do TP and just keep looking at different people:-) The post was lovely reminded me of the pujo bhog and I am craving for it now:-)daarun post ekdom faatafaati.

sujata said...

@Nona thanks, it is funny doiing that jig..

@BK Chowla thank you, wish you and your family a happy Dusserah

@Aparna as Suman says here pujo pujo pujo..pujo shesh..its what we have heard throughout our lives and today I am feeling the same thing..

@Ramesh did you have a good time? Happy Dusserah to you and your family.

@Mustaf thank you so much tomar jonne o roilo onek preeti o shubhechha.

@SumanDebRay The last day of Pujo really is a bit sad, porer din ar sheje guje mondir jawa nei je!!

@Shanky welcome to this page, am glad you connected, such occasions do make us want to be close to home.

@Babli Shubho Bijoya r preeti o shubheccha tor ar Sanjoy er jonne roilo. Pujo Muscat e bhaloi joeche, jemon proti baar hoye temon i, tobe weekend na howae din e roj jete parini, shondhe belaye roj gechi.

@Antarman, know exactly what you are saying, esp about the new sarees, you are familiar with jhargram thats great, yes kharagpur is very close to jhargram.

@BhavyaB you are welcome, I try to keep my word as much as possible but at times I fail..

@Spike Happy Dusserah to you as well, dandiya ramya ke nai?

@Destiny's child thanks

@Gymnast thanks

@Meira A very happy dusserah to you as well, hope you had a great time(no cooking)

@Suman Shubho Bijoya r preeti o shubhechha to you and your family, lots of love to your baby girl.

@Double Dolphin shubho Bijoya to you too

@Gaelika thanks i love reading your posts, its just that I always lag behind..but I ensure I read all the previous ones I didnt earlier. I wish you and your family a great festive season together.

@Kavita thankyou i love the way the chatni mixes with the payesh..and of course the labda is out of the world, doesnt quite taste the same when made at home.

@Aparna how did your boron go this year?

@Butterfly thoughts hahhaa the fatafati made me laugh..pujo bepar tai to fatafati tai na?

Nikki said...

Beautifully written!

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

For the first five minutes I was all drooling staring at those delicacies. No idea what are they, but I guess they are all sweet in taste. I have a sweet tooth.

As usual, you’ve given us a taste of it with your beautiful description. And yeah, that’s what festivals are for, to check out who’s wearing what, to bitch, to bond…great that you had some quality time out there, though thousands of miles away from home.

Deeps said...

Shubha Bijoya to you and your family,Sujata!So how did you celebrate?you must be missing home,isnt it?
I so miss home during this time of the year.thers so much of festivities around! I just got back from Delhi and i'm already missing the feel of it even more!

R. Ramesh said...

hey thanks ya..and when is yr next post coming? keep your cheers :)

Gayathri said...

OMG its so big a festival over there na..we,at kerala don't give in ourselves to so much celebrations and festivities..Nice post!!

Sorry that i'm late..
Hey,m gonna be busy next week onwards..gonna be an earning citizen :D..so an advance sorry,in case i miss any of ur posts :D

nituscorner said...

nice sujata. all these days it was like pujo aelo pujo aelo...now its pujo gelo pujo gelo till next year. subho bijoya.

Rush said...

missing it all huh? the pujo aarti is great...i have never participated in durga puja thou one of my best friends in school was a bong...man, how much i wish now!!

The Things We Carried said...

Every day now I tell my husband, I must go to India! I am introduced to and captivated by the beauty of India, thanks to bloggers like you!

PURN!MA said...

I love the dazzle of durga pujas held here in Pune. They are awesome... as you sed a lot of colourful ladies and children add to the beautiful setup of durga devi. :)

and I understnd the jig on marble floor! :)

sujata said...

@Nikki thanks

@Arun Meethale Chirakal, actually all are not seet..only one is, the rest are kichdi, mixed veg, tomato chutney, which can qualify as sweet, and kheer which is sweet.:)

@Deeps so you are back, am sure you had loads of fun. Hows delhi, its been ages since I last went there, havent even seen the metro!!

@Ramesh really dont know whens the next post coming..am posting on Kavita's blog now as well did you notice?

@Gayathri congratulations!! No sorrys required, i know what you will be going through, it will emerge slowly whether you are good at multitasking or you suck like me!! have a great time at work and a career full of success, all the best dear.

@nitu's corner, yah I know..really sad, all the pre pujo days were full of getting the blouses stitched and make ready the jewellery and then the Pujo itself and now suddenly, its all empty.

@Rush yah missing home all the time..I am a whiney baby!! The times not gone yet you will get a pseudo pujo experience with all the glamour and the jig and the aaroti and those defying gravity blouses somewhere in your vicinity..is houston very far from utah? they have a huge pujo there.

@The Things we carried..please push a little harder..you must make the trip.

@Purnima when in Pune we frequented Khadki kalibari pujo and modern college pujo, it was lovely

Pesto Sauce said...

Good to learn that Indian festivals are celebrated in Oman with good splendour

Half India said...

You showed me another side of the world. Thank you!

Half Indian said...

You showed me another side of the world. Thank you!

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