I have my own fond memories of Durga Puja in Kolkata
More or less a decade , we are living in Pune — and missing every time this festival at this particular time of the year. The preparation starts more than a month ago , with shopping , then mahalaya ( chandipath) , after that comes the cleaning of our homes, buying gifts for friends and relatives .
Numerous pandals crop up and then comes pandal hopping , accompanied by street foods — (kolkata egg roll , fish fry , phuchka , veg chop , chicken or mutton biryani , chicken chap , indianised chinese , invariably sweets like ( rosgulla , chamcham, ) . And don’t forget the bhog at lunch time ( which consisted of — khichuri, labra , one vegetable fritters , and payasam)
We used to hire a cab and also go on a night tour to avoid the crowd— it seems like an adventure to me as we were never allowed to go out at night other than these days ..
This festivity continues for 5 days from shasthi to dashami — and ohh the sound of dhaki — that I used to literally hear from my house —
Dashami is the last day comes with a tinge of sadness — when Goddess Durga is immersed in Ganga — and the atmosphere is filled with ” asche bochor abar hobe”
Today Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals all over India and not just in Kolkata , in Pune also there are more or less 15 puja pandals but nevertheless I miss kolkata puja —
I can go on endlessly with the memories and these need to be revisited sometimes to relive yourself —
No matter what memories of Puja you have from Kolkata or any other place , each memory of Puja have a special place for Bengalis —