Thursday 6 October 2016

A much anticipated pandemonium

Shiuli, the flowers signifying the arrival of the festival season in the eastern state of West Bengal in India. The tree just outside my bedroom window has been blooming for a while, the fragrance of the tiny seasonal flowers floating in with the breeze as I go to bed every night, a pleasant reminder that Durga Puja isn't too far away.

The festival has finally arrived. I still have a couple of days to go to work before the holidays begin for me. (Un)fortunately, the world thinks otherwise. Started off for work in the morning, albeit reluctantly. The deity has already arrived in many of the pandals (temporary structures built as a shrine). Music blared on the loudspeakers, accompanied by the beats of the dhak (traditional drums).

I don't live in the city, and in these suburbs, the streets are narrow and not always suitable for sane driving even on a normal day, and today definitely wasn't one. The car had to be turned around a couple of times as the streets were closed down in preparation of the festivities. That the local municipality decides to get into the good books by starting to fix the roads, which have been lying broken for months, just before the festivals doesn't help the cause either. Eventually made it to the highway in twice the time it would normally take. Normally the ride gets smoother from here for the next 35 kms, but not today. Rather than gathering pace, was stopped behind a queue of vehicles ranging from cars, pick-ups, trucks, auto-rickshaws (or tuk-tuk), and other improvised vehicles that do not fall under the jurisdiction of any regulating body. The highway was choked up, probably more last minute road-works before the festival. Waited for a while till my already low conviction to get to work started to ebb. And I turned back. Called up my manager, and she was stuck in traffic too in a more civilised part of the city.

And so, the Puja has started. Complete mayhem rules. Festivities knows no bounds.
From tomorrow, day and night will merge into one. The year long effort of the Puja organisers tested as visitors throng in every night (and day), a mammoth challenge for the law enforcers to keep the millions moving through carefully planned traffic systems, restaurants will come up with the most daring twist to traditional cuisine to tempt in the discerning diners, months of hard gym-work to get into shape will be put into use as the revellers fit into the trendiest fashion of the year, bleary eyes after a night of pandal hopping trying to focus to join in the festive rituals of the morning. Oh yes, bring it on! Have been too busy with work but it's now time to soak in the atmosphere. Do stay tuned for more posts in the next few days, hopefully will stay sane enough.
Durga Puja - the biggest festival of the Bengalis.

Follow me on Facebook and on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment

A blog is not a blog without comments. So, please do leave your thoughts...thank you! :-)