Sunday, September 27, 2009

72. Durga Puja this year

Durga Puja is currently on.It is a beautiful festival with all ingredients of bliss thrown in - lovely statues of the goddess, well-decorated pandals, music, good food, colourful crowds and hawkers selling ‘jhal muri’,roasted ground-nuts/gram/pea-nuts.. The festival is neither too long to bore you nor too short to leave you un-satiated. The four-day festival culminates into ‘visarjan’ when the statue of the goddess is immersed in a pond or a river amidst great fanfare.

Every year, I wait for the Durga Puja and make it a point to visit at least a few pandals at least in the neighbourhood. Although Delhi is no match for the small-town Durga Puja that I have fond childhood memories of, the festival still has a lot to offer here. Large crowds, decorated pandals, music and delicious food- some elements of Durga Puja remain the same wherever you go.

This year, I went to a neighbourhood pandal on the ‘Ashtami’ day which is considered a very auspicious day and which therefore draws huge crowds. I could hear the sound of ‘aarti’ from a long distance. ‘Aarti’ time is the time when people prefer to visit pandals. I was expecting a huge crowd and was wondering whether I would get some place to park my car. But to my utter surprise, the pandal was deserted. There was no one except a couple of organizers. Playful children were nowhere in sight. There were no hawkers around. Why will hawkers come if there is no one to buy their stuff ?

I went to another pandal in the neighbourhood and the story was no different there. I returned home disappointed.

I wonder what is wrong this year. Is it the fear of swine flu? Or has the quality of evening TV serials improved ?


R. Ramesh said...

quality of serials improved???hahaha..good twist..never dream of such a thing..hey..thanks for yr consistent kind words buddy..

How Do said...

i think the no. of pandals itself has gone up drastically. I for one noticed there were at least 3 pandals within a 1 km radius.

kavita said...

I too wonder?Luckily we had a good crowd out here in spite of bomb scare and terrorist threats.

nituscorner said...

well we had good weather thankfully and very good crowd .

lala said...

well, you definitely went at the wrong time. people dont celebrate durga puja for the religious beliefs but to take time out and enjoy. i was very recently pointing out to my mother that the one basic requirement of being relegious is thatg one should know how to celebrate the puja with full fervour. my view may be cynical, but i think that is what happens.