Just a post. - Sushmita Malakar Blog //]]>

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just a post.

Not even once in these 3 years, I mentioned about the pride of being a bong. And no, I’m not going to do that today. But then again, my blog would be somewhat incomplete if I don’t mention about the Durga Puja even once. This has been the only festival which I celebrate since the very beginning of my existence. The first five festival season ( now when I say the festive season, I mean the Durga puja season) were spent at my paternal grandparent’s house. The most vibrant celebration of all the times could be witnessed nowhere but in CR Park in Delhi. A bong hub, CR park hosts more than 10 pujas at a time. The celebration lasts there not for just three days, but a month or so. Those were apparently the best Durga pujas of my life, with all my cousins, enjoying every bit of it! I’m not being nostalgic, but yes, when I sit to compare of the celebrations with the present day, I feel sad for myself.

Unlike other posts, this post is a bit personal. No generalized opinion about someone, or something, but yes, this one is about my growing up years. When I turned 6, we shifted our house to a small dwelling area in North Delhi. This place was close to my school, had loads of my friends living in the locality and a very friendly neighborhood. Then came the festive season of that year, and I realized that the rest of the time we live here, I won’t be going to CR Park anymore, to celebrate the festival with my cousins. The simple reason was, this new place has its own bong societies, and own celebration of the puja, of which we are now a part.
 
Every Durga Puja Samiti in Delhi works on a simple concept- One Bengoli is a poet, two Bengolis are a trade union and three, a durga puja committee. A perfect example of politics, this is – whenever there is a clash of opinions, don’t sort it out, gather few gullible people and form a new group. Simple. I still don’t get it, in a locality where there are hardly 40-50 bengoli families, what is the point of conducting 3 pujas?

Anyhow, not getting into it again and presenting my opinion, let me get back to the point. A post won’t be complete without displaying my hatred. Attending to this particular puja has always been a torture to me. For the first few years I was happy participating in the various competitions. Who am I fooling; it was just the painting and the bengoli poetry recitation competition in which I participated(later on it was reduced to just the quiz competition, when I apparently crossed the age of being a part of painting and recitation competitions.), won prizes and waited for my chance to grab the attention. But alas, the last part never happened. People here were already so self-involved, that they won’t welcome any new member. By people here, I’m referring to the kids of my age group. Moms can always find another mom to gossip about. Dads can always get along with other dads. And elder sisters can always have their say, and not go where they don’t enjoy. I never had a choice. There would be autumn break in school, and mom would always prefer to take me along with her.

My friends often ask me why am I so patient. The answer is very simple. Apart from inheriting it from my mom, this particular puja played a significant role in helping me develop it. Sitting there idly, practically doing nothing is a unique way to meditate and collect your thoughts. It was a test of my patience, patience to stay still and quiet. Even today, when I’m out of the testing phase, it’s the maintenance phase of this particular feature of mine. I would still go there, sit there and come back without talking to anyone. The reasons are totally different now. My parents would like it if I be there, after all it’s the only festival and trust me, every bong is emotionally attached to it. Secondly, the food there is great. I have grown up, and found the reasons to like something that I hated(I still do though). And of course, it’s the festive time, I would not want to be left out of the celebration. It’s not that I’m shy or introvert or anything, but yes, I would try up to a certain level to start a conversation, after that, talk to my hand. I tried, I did my bit. But it was futile. But those three days of the year would leave a lasting impression on me every year. Even if I would like to forget the traumatizing experience of mine, it would be back in another 365 days.

It was not all-negative experience for me though. I found my first ever crush here, (who got married), I overcame my stage fright by a substantial amount and I learnt to be nice to people, no matter what. It’s not about being a double-faced personality or a hypocrite, it’s about maintaining your dignity, and yes, it taught me that. Moreover, it’s as much a festive season for me, as for anyone. So the ambiance of a typical puja pandal lets you feel the spirit. Moreover, after few years, my parents started taking me out to different pujas, so the travelling and admiring the decoration part helped me forget the unpleasant time of that year. The hatred is so much that I had to write about it. Though this year my festive season was good, one day spent at college, one day at this particular pandal, and the last day exploring the other pujas of Delhi.

Just for record, this has nothing to do with my atheism. I have always admired the way an artist puts the grace and glory of a lady in the Durga Ma’s idol. I’m in love with the positivism that can be sensed in the air during this time. Spell-bounding, indeed.

2 comments:

AzzArun said...

Welcome back!! :D
You know that it was not just a post. You have vent your hatred out. Against the things you don't want to do but have to do due to external pressure.
I am not convinced by the reason given by you for being so patient. The whole concept of learning patience by sitting idle and doing nothing against your wish is confusing.
P.S. I hope you won't take this much time for your next post. :)

Rose said...

@AzzArun
I'm tired of taking people's "welcome back" wishes. I promise to be regular and then I vanish. I don't like it though, but how lazy one can be, ask me! :D
Regarding the post-
Confusing, is it?? It was not totally against my wish. I would have enjoyed it, if the environment there was not this hostile. I mentioned that the festive spirit is fabulous. :)

I too hope that the next post doesn't take this much of time. :)