This time every year Bengalis look forward to going home to celebrate one of the most important festivals – the Durga puja. The festivities are a significant part of every Bengali’s life, in which ever part of the world they live in. It a time for prayers, togetherness, fun and for woman to feel beautiful in tant sarees, decked with flowers. The pujas are held over a ten-day period, which is traditionally viewed as the coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Himalaya’s home. Something all women identify with and feel wonderful about.
People of all ages come together, sing, paint, set up the puja arrangements and yes, pray for good health and happiness. Wherever Bengalis may be, they celebrate this festival in a big way. Their culture is to include all. Food is Bhog, a kind of khichdi which tastes amazing with chutney, payasam and mixed veggies.
I grew up in a beautiful town called Jamshedpur in Jharkhand which is bordered by the states of Odisha and West Bengal. It is home to the first private iron and steel company of India (Tata Steel or previously known as TISCO) and is maintained by the company who maintain the towns’ public utilities and take care of road maintenance, water and electricity supply, streetlights, healthcare, sanitation and more.
I have beautiful memories that I take with me wherever I go. Cycling, going for picnics along the beautiful river bed and dams. My home town is full of greenery and has a plethora of parks, playgrounds and tree-lined streets.
The Durga puja is a community festival and possibly the biggest celebration for people in Jamshedpur. Huge bonuses are given by Tatas so everyone can buy clothes and partake in the festivities. Massive pandals are set up and singing, dancing, sweets and fun are an integral part of the festivities. Every evening cultural events are held and the whole town is immersed in celebrations.
Bengalis out of state are called Probashi and they don’t forget their roots!
Happy puja to all. A time to pray for a mom and bid good bye to her. “Asche bochhor abar hobe” which means it’ll happen again next year!
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