This Durga puja everything seemed different, so I took a turn and travelled down the memory lane.
And I remember almost everything, the last working day in school before puja vacation, no classes, having fun and getting to see the ekdalia pandal giving its finishing touches through the taxi window. Those days there were fewer pandals with no theme pujas at all, the main attraction was obviously how beautiful Ma Durga looked.
It has moved on with time and so did we.
Years after I used to visit this same pandal with my college buddies and little did I know that this too shall pass one day, with college coming to an end. How I miss those days now.
And then I miss my old para, the dingy lane, that durga puja upstairs, those colorful balloons that an uncle used to buy for all the kids in the building, that attic where we used to spend the day playing and finally the Dashami evening- it was so different from nowadays. We used to have a sip of bhang, write ‘sri sri durga sahay namah’ on a betel leaf with red ink and later in the evening we used to watch the boys go mad with the sounds of dhak.
Long after, Durga puja added a whole new meaning to my life, going out with friends, adda at Maddox n Durga bari, holding hands and a lot more.
This year it is of course different with friends scattered all over the globe, going office on Nabami and spending times with strangers whom I started calling friends.
So this dashami as I see an eighty year old man dancing with a seven year old kid, I realize that these feelings never change, only that we move on. Under the glossy look, the heartaches throb deeply, and pain never parts as it used to be years back. Probably certain things can never change like the dhaker awaj, sindur khela, dhunuchi nach and that heavy feeling in every Bong.
Its not at all hyperbole when people claim that nothing beats durga puja in Kolkata, true that it has changed with years, we grew up and moved apart, true that I could never let certain moments go off my memory but whatever it is and how much we grow up, durga puja in Kolkata will live in moments, moments that could touch ones heart and yet leave bullet holes in once built conventions.