My sister keeps on giving me all the updates about pujo over phone. She told me all about her shopping plans, the two tops she picked up from the new store near my house, the pandal that is yet to come up, the excitement in her class about the dabangg moves and how will it culminate during pujo. Yes! another year, another pujo which I am going to miss. I remember my 1st year in NALSAR when my parents came down to Hyderabad to celebrate the pujo with me. On Ashtami morning I visited one of those heavily sponsored Bengali Association Pujos in the city. To say the least, I was heartbroken. Pujo for me or for that matter for every one from Calcutta does have many more connotations of jhari mara, phuchka khawa, maddox, notun sari, hal fashiner juto, shoe bites, biriyani, chinese and many more attached to it than the very obvious religious rituals. I worship the goddess Durga through out the year (though it never assumes the ritualistic skyscraper levels which some of my friends indulge in), but for me pujo is special for it's never to be understood enigma. what do they call..ah! yes, pujor gondho. For the first time that year, I had cried in front of the idol. The emotions had the better of me because I missed Calcutta, home and everything that a nostalgic bong feels. My family was there to comfort me. and thanks to them I managed. Since then I have missed many more and this year will not be an exception. But for me during those 4 days- time comes to a stand still and moves to a time when the sky donned up a darker shade of blue- the time when shoshti mornings meant mapping up all the best idols in the city, lunch in china bowl while cracking sad jokes, navami nights meant baba's dhunuchi nach followed by the jog dance for which we gulped down biriyani at bedwin and ran twinkle toed to grab front row seats. The time when Ashtami mornings meant the grouping up of girls- me, didibhai, mam didibhai, masume, pamela to fight with the boys over the charge of the microphone.....To tell you the truth, I think am growing old. Pujo has put me in a time bubble out of which I am yet to come out. I doubt whether all my friends will be that free on a shoshti morning now. I am sure they wont be. Our half yearly get togethers (when I get home) are pushed back to that weekend when they are free from office.
Today I was having a conversation with a junior form 1st year (fresh blood you see!) and like every other conversation where two bongs are involved it gradually turned towards the revered topic of Durga Pujo. He was talking about Maddox Square, girls and the aura. That's when I realised, the grass had been really greener on that side. Only that the patch of green is long past me.
I so wish my NALSAR years do not end...this fifth year mirth continues. Eighteen till I die? what say? eh!