Someone I know observed that it’s the build-up to the Durga Puja which is more exciting than the actual Puja. The actual Puja days pass so quickly, that often one can’t account for the four days. But then, this is no time to do boring stuff like accounting. This is the time to have fun, meet friends and family, eat food, and be happy. At least for four days of the year, all Bengalis are happy! Even after the end of Puja (Dashami or Dusshera), we go and visit relatives with mandatory sweets. This year though, our extended family made a change to this tradition and arranged a potluck instead. Needless to say, that was awesome fun; and healthy too :-)
Talking about change: A few environment friendly changes to Puja have been implemented in recent times. The tradition of releasing Nilkantha bird has been practically stopped since it is now a endangered specie. The idols (during Bisarjan – marking the end of celebrations) are immersed in the water, but immediately taken off to prevent pollution. These are welcome steps which will also spread awareness about environment.
I was in Kolkata during Pujas this time after a few years, and I had a hell of a time! Subho Bijoya / Happy Dusshera.