Calcutta (sorry but I prefer Calcutta..always!) and Pujo (the bengali way) are inseparable and contagious. This is that part of the year when India as a nation is immersed in festivities – names are different, customs are differentiated but commonalities are plenty – sweets, families, people, gatherings, crowded streets, traffic (its human traffic that supersedes the former), time of discounts and plenty of shopping. This is the time of the year when gods, goddesses and people are celebrated, with pomp and glory. For me, Calcutta’s flavour remains a stand out.
Let me be very blatant and poignant here. Calcutta’s Pujo aura is seldom understood unless you belong to the city of joy. For locals, its a celebration of life. From an outsider’s angle, its a gorgeous mess. Well, let me tell you why, sighs!.
Curatively, Calcutta is a featherbed for worshipping ladies (pun intended as the scenario today is quite frivolous) and ‘Maa’ is a given honorific for the elite and alas in what is synonymously known as the cultural capital of India. It does have dimensions but in the context of Durga Pujo, the statement holds large, and with oodles of glory.
The devout begins with Sashti, Sapthami gets you roaring, the madness reaches its zenith on Ashtami and Nabami, and Calcutta waits for yet another year as we bid the goddess a tearful adieu on Dashami. Like life, Calcutta doesn’t believe in goodbyes and the next Pujo is just around the corner.
For me, it’s a unique gulp from the normal Dusshera festival that engulfs rest of India. Honestly, I don’t expect mortals to understand the fervor of Calcutta Pujo. Yes, you need to be a Bangali (yes, it’s not Bengali) and a staunch Calcuttan to digest this crazy euphoria. And remember, this is the time of the year when Calcutta is a chaos of blessing.
One of these insane years, I urge you to plan and be in Calcutta during the festive season. Be it Mumbai’s Ganpati or Tirupati’s Perumal, Calcutta’s Durga Pujo remains India’s most adoring extravaganza.