The idol of Goddess Durga standing tall, mesmerizingly beautiful epitomising the divine; the sweet scent of flowers, pure and heavenly; burning incense; dhol-beats, children and grownups alike dancing with burning coconut coir in a clay pot; crowd dressed in finery, mouth watering dishes, pandal hopping with family and friends; wonderfully decorated lights and music- yes these are some of the memories that keep coming back to me every year around this time. These are the scenes that play out when I close my eyes and think about Durga Puja. Yes, four days of a year, every year, life would become a grand celebration when Maa came visiting us in autumn. But since the time I started living in a hostel everything related to the Puja became a distant dream. No matter how hard I tried, it seemed to slip away from me, further and further away.
New and fancy clothes, that too at least two for each day of the festival and special sojourns to the market just to buy shoes; yes these were the little joys in the guise of shopping sprees with lunches for the entire family and they started way before the heavenly fiesta did. However, the excitement and the holidays sadly are now a thing of the past.
Growing up may have its own perks but it also often takes us to a place where we need to let go of a lot of things close to our hearts. It begins with studies, college or exams; then comes the all-important cycle of earning a living and then marriage; in all that somewhere down the line a lot of things get phased out.
If I was still a child at my mother’s place with just a few weeks left before the Durga Puja, I would be looking forward in anticipation to weekends to pay visits to the tailor’s or just go shopping with Mom; I would be looking forward to a few days where it would all be about my kith and kin. I would be counting the dresses that I would have bought so far. My sister and I would be especially choosing hair bands and matching accessories. All in all, it would have been a time of fervour and enjoyment.
Today just three weeks before the festival, for many like me the weekends are all about getting that much-needed respite from the well known mad rush we all stay engrossed in throughout the week. Moreover, the attitude of employers from this country doesn’t help either for they do not believe festivals are remotely as important as the arse kissing of their clients. It makes me feel that what remains in society today are just a bunch of humans walking and running in a daze towards something as transient as money while everything else loses its relevance. Families in different cities, cramped schedule and fights for survival in the dog eat dog world of the present day somehow add to the stalemate in manifolds as well.
Sometimes it makes me wonder how our parents did it. How did they manage every aspect of life so superbly, be it the personal or the career aspect? How did they get the time for family and a life beyond office? Today if we try to take care if one the other suffers. It makes me wonder if life, as we know it today, remains just a mere formality or convention where real joys don’t figure at all.
Well, perhaps it’s never too late to get up and grab those things that were once a part of your life with open arms. Life, some say, is all about making the best of what you got. Nothing is perfect and today I might not get remotely close to feeling the level of anticipation and happiness that I once did as a child during Durga Puja. But I can try or rather yes I shall try and make up for all the lost Durga Pujas of the past years. This year I shall visit pandals, wear new clothes and celebrate Maa’s homecoming with delight and passion.
I know not how to get back the past,
For what is gone does never return.
The memories that within me do last,
Ensure I never cease to yearn.
But one day in the future I sure must,
The lost happiness in my heart upturn.