Poojo is knocking at the door.
Maa is arriving on her annual visit.
The billboards have Maa’s beaitiful face looking down at us.
We dutifully bow our heads as we pass them.
All the shops are laden with festive collections luring the Bangalis to buy from them.
But amidst all the festive fever I wonder is there something missing? How has the celebration of the most important festival in the Bengali calender changed? Drastically. ..as has the celebration of any other in this land of festivals. When we were the age of our kids, poojo was the annual big four day event for which we prepared all the year round. Whatever money Ma saved she bought a dress for me every month so that when poojo arrived I would have enough to last us the five days of Poojo. Our kids also buy clothes all the year round but they wear them as soon as they can or they want. So there is no major excitement or realisation of wearing new clothes for the festival. We specially browsed through film magazines to get that exact dress which Neelam wore on the cover and pestered the tailor till he replicated the same for us. Now ,we step into a mall and buy readily available clothes. There is no uniqueness or ingenuity to it. Four or five other kids can be found wearing the same dress while pandal hopping. We would religiously stick to our friends and our para ( colony) poojas because we had a sense of belonging to them. We took part in cultural events and dance dramas and were involved in endless rehearsals till we knew by heart the lines of all the other participants. That was the poojo of my childhood. I know change is inevitable. ..but the nostalgia remains. Whatever might change…the enthusiasm of the Bongs and their vigour for this festival remains the same and will continue to be so.
As the countdown begins and we wait for Maa to arrive on Shoshti ..I have started unfolding the new clothes I have been collecting over a period of time. This is a leaf green and purple Matryoksha doll saree from the Queen of Hearts by Deepa Mehta. They are a set of dolls nestled within each other and signify motherhood and fertility. So to welcome Maa amongst us I wore this amazing creation by Deepa today. I am still as excited about the festival as I was when I was a child.
Aaye re chhute aaye poojor gondho esheche….