[He not only forgives, he chooses to live in denial. God bless you, D.]
Completely crashed this afternoon, after having had next to no sleep in the past 72 hours.
There's something about Pujo that slinks up from behind you when you're least alert, and then overwhelms you entirely.
Had been so busy binge-drinking and eating out and staying over at friends' places and being generally hedonistic that there was no time for thakur dyakha, although we did catch some part of the shondhi pujo at Bosepukur early Ashtami morning on our way to Park Street for breakfast from Squee's. So we decided to take an early morning walk around South Kolkata pujos today. It happened at Ballygunge Cultural, and then once more at Mudiali.
As one climbs up the steps to the Ballygunge Cultural pandal, the protima gradually makes herself visible, misty in the billowing smoke emanating from the dhunuchi in the thakurmoshai's hand and the dizzying scent of incense sticks and fresh flowers. The dhakis at BC - 4 of them, play a synchronised beat, dancing quaintly all the time. They're not the weary dhakis we found at other pandals, having played the entire night through, even the early morning pujo found them full of zest- and not because they had an audience, there were hardly any people at the time. They were performing not for us, but for Ma, and were enjoying themselves and I think that enthusiasm rubbed off on everybody. The priest swayed to the beat that was being drummed to a crescendo, it was a maddening trance of devotion and we were all engulfed in it. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, Ma smiled indulgently. And that's when it hit me, this is almost over. And it wasn't the late nights and being wayward that would have to stop, it was the not being able to feel the Pujo air on a fresh morning that saddened.
They've recreated an Orissa temple at Mudiali. But they have the most beautiful protima, not anything frightfully creative, or even in keeping with the rest of the theme, like at most pandals. Ma comes alive when she looks at you and you want to be near Her, you want to forget about yourself and pray for peace. And you don't want Her to leave. She draws you to Her, and you can only stand there spell-bound and misty-eyed, and take in all Her beauty. Most pandals feel like pieces of art, Mudiali felt like a mondir.
I'm going to miss the sound of the dhaak, the ritual of the kola-bou snan and the anjali. I'm going to miss those friends I know I shall meet again probably only during next Pujo. I'm going to miss that feeling of gay abandon that makes every moment of Pujo so exciting and memorable.
Shubho Bijoya everybody.