Describe a festival that you celebrate with great pomp and splendour
Durga Puja in Kolkata comes with great majesty. The main Puja lasts for 4 days, but throughout the Puja month all the people of Kolkata live in a festive mood. The entire city is adorned in a new form.People do their best to spend these few days the best way they can, to make it more special than that in the year gone by.
For me, the last few days before the Puja vacation are always special. To anticipate the joy and fun that I am going to experience during the Puja days makes me not only excited but also happy. The same happened last year too, I started planning one month before our vacation would start and my shopping continued till the first day of the Puja.
I had planned out everything meticulously. I was supposed to spend the first day, saptami, with some of my best friends. Everything being settled I got ready on time, but the Kolkata traffic pulled me behind and I reached the place late. To this my friends shouted and got the scope to pull my leg. We however went on for pandal hopping (that means touring the Puja pandals) and one of the main attractions were the food corners there, the best for us. One of my friends somehow got the weird idea of riding on a giant wheel in one of the Puja pandals. Though I was not ready initially as I was scared but when I got into it I really enjoyed it. I returned home late and I was somehow prepared to get the scolding from my mother but she said not a single word rather she asked me whether I want to go to our neighbourhood Puja. I was only too ready and went out happily, not caring for the tiredness in my legs. There we watched the cultural programe, chatted with neighbours, and had dinner. We finally came home at twelve.
The next day was the main and most important day of the Puja, Ashtami. I woke up early in the morning and the first thing I did was that I got ready for Puja. I wore a saree that day and so did all my friends in the locality. The rest of the day I spent with my family and my relatives. After the anjali (offering to the goddess) we all gathered in the community hall for the bhog. The whole day I was looking forward to my cousin who was supposed to visit us that day and when she finally arrived in the afternoon, we caught up on the latest happenings in our lives and finally went out to a much awaited dinner.
Nabami (the ninth day) never comes but with a tinge of sadness. It has a strange duality to it– the tingling sadness that the Puja is about to end, and an equally strong desire to celebrate the most, make the most of the festivity that is yet there in the atmosphere. Nabami sees the height of festivities and sees us in our gorgeous best. It is as much about celebration of the festive spirit as it is about spirituality. On this day every year there is huge family get-together in our house and there is a gathering of about fifty people. What a day it was! Time went by in a whirlwind and left me in a daze.
The last day of the Puja is Dashami, and is always very depressing for me I almost feel like crying. Why only me, it is depressing for everybody. These four days of the Puja my house was decorated with lights and flowers. In fact, all the streets of Kolkata are decorated with colourful lights as if the city is in a complete jovial mood forgetting all its miseries and griefs. Thus it becomes really difficult to the grind of daily life from this celebratory frame of mind. The day when I had to return back to my regular life was really so difficult! To see the pandals being taken down is very painful and disheartening.
But this happened every year so I knew that things must go on. But the very thought of another Puja in the coming year, waiting to usher in all the festivities once more, gave me the inspiration to move ahead, to do my duties as a daughter, as a student and as a special child of God blessed with great friends and a loving family.