Durga Puja Navami update from Bishnu Kumar Ganguram
Whenever I have tried to usual stuffs, unusual things have happened and the reverse is also true. This Durga puga, I thought that my pandal hopping will be very usual. But as you know, the unusual rainy clouds were all over our autumn sky. Anyway, on the day of Navami, I thought about going out without an umbrella. My reasoning was, since there was a downpour in the morning, it might not rain anymore. My intelligent hunch was hardly supported by the dull sky.
First at the bus stop, I had to board a bus. I was heading towards Dum Dum Park, where 4-5 pandals are crowd pullers. I stood at my usual bus stop with many others. Then one traffic guard came to us and said that bus won’t stop here. Either we need to move forward or backward to find the new bus stop. I was surprised. Our North 24 Pargana’s traffic changes the road map and traffic direction during pujas, that I was aware of. But they also shift the bus stops! That was something new for me.
I got the bus after walking a while. Meanwhile it was drizzling. You know, I don’t really dislike rain. In fact, I once thought to write a whole book of poetry on rain but unfortunately for me and fortunately for you, the plan got cancelled and the world of poetry was saved! Anyway, I was talking about my pandal visit on Navami evening.
The first club I visited was Tarun Sangha. The people were finding a path to enter but they could see it. The path is generally separated from the main road by bamboos. One husband was instructing his wife to bow her head down and enter inside that bamboo surrounded procession. She did so, although not willfully. After we moved a little forward, the row of bamboo was cut at a place, such that people can normally enter there. Then the wife shouted on her husband, “You idiot, couldn’t you find this normal entrance?”
Dum Dum Park - Tarun Sangha’s idol & interior decoration was truly awesome. While entering from there I wanted to ask someone the Theme of this year’s puja. There was a pump room on the exit side. Three people were sitting over there. I asked them, “Can you please tell me the theme for this year’s puja? One of them smiled at me and showed me a poster on the wall. The caption in that poster was, “We don’t know anything. Please don’t ask any question.” [Believe me, it was written!]
I asked the other puja visitors in which direction I should move to visit the next puja pandal? I got the the usual direction from many helpful people and I understood that I am just lost when walking for a while I again came back to Tarun Sangha’s entrance gate. Fortunately, after that, another group of helpful people gave me the right direction and I headed towards the next puja pandal, Bharat Chakra. As I have told you, our autumn sky did not have hangover of monsoon and the rain again started. Being very intelligent, I forgot my umbrella and I noticed that most of the visitors took it with them. I took a shelter to get rid of the rain water but after waiting for nearly waiting for 10 minutes, I saw that our romantic rain was showing no sign to stop. So, quite impatiently, I started walking towards the Bharat Chakra club. Within the pandal there, I could not see the Idol first. No, there was enough light, only my spectacle was covered by rain waters. Inside the mandap / pandal , there was a huge crowd gathering, partly because of the heavy downpour outside and partly because, Kolkata’s visitors love to exit from the door of entrance only but as half drenched people were continuously entering from Entrance door, there was a jam. I found the Exit door and got out of there.
When I reached the next club, Dum Dum Park Sarbajanin, I was feeling like I just came out of swimming pool. The Sarbajanin’s pandal was a mixture of Enthic Durga and Theme based modernism. The sculptures inside were finest art forms. I spent some time there. I was a bit surprised after seeing the Dhakis. instead of standing, they were sitting on the floor carpet and playing drums (not drums actually, Dhak is a completely different music instrument altogether). Obviously, it’s because of human tiredness of four successive days of playing drums.
When I got out of Dum Dum Park Sarbajonin pandal, rain stopped. I was the trend of rain. It was like playing a game with me and others. For five minutes it was raining heavily and then for next five minutes, there was no rain and then again in the next five minutes, there was heavy rain. So, in this game of playing “musical chair” with rain, my strategy was to walk, then take shelter, then walk again & then again take shelter and so on. Now I was not alone as the contestant. A family which was also heading towards VIP road like me was using the same path of proceeding. When for the second time, I met the family within a shelter, the old lady from the family said, “Here we meet again”. I smiled and other family members of her family laughed. Then after the rain just came down a little, they moved forward and I did not as I expected the rain to completely stop. Then after 2-3 minutes, I also strted moving. After 2-3 minutes of walking, it again started raining. I took nearest shelter and saw that very family has already reached there. The old lady just repeated, “Here we meet again”. The rain was again showing the signs of stopping and this time, I moved first. When for the fourth time, the old lady repeated the same words by standing beneath a car shed, I could not bear it anymore and told rain silently, “I quit from your game. I will rather in rain than playing this musical chair and hearing the same dialogue from this old lady.”
Before reading my returning the bus stop, I saw another pandal, perhaps, the finest among all the pandals, I saw. It was the pandal of Dum Dum Park Jubak Brindro. The interior and exterior decoration was truly unbelievable. I saw that loads of prizes the club has won. Finally, I reached near the VIP road bus stop of Dum Dum Park. I needed to cross the road. I saw that I was crossing the street with a crowd and plenty of motorbikes. Here, at Dum Dum Park & Baguihati region, motorbike and human being are close friends and may be that is why they cross streets with a so close distance. I wonder, why accidents can’t happen. May be because of goddess Durga’s blessings, who knows?
I finally reached Lake Town (my locality), after spending 45 minutes in a bus for crossing one and half kilometers for a massive traffic jam. And of, I forgot say, none of the bus tops of Lake Town & Dum Dum park got shifted like Manasa Mandir bus stop, so I got in at the right place. Fortunately rain had stopped by that time. But it did not matter for me by that time, or did it?