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Durga Puja Pandal
Lifestyle

A Non-Bong in Kolkata – Much more than a Durga Pujo Pandal

posted by Anupriya October 15, 2018 7 Comments

As a non-Bong living in Kolkata for almost 8 years now, the high point of Durga Puja for the likes of me is the prospect of 4 days of consecutive night outs hopping from one pandal to another, eating out and most importantly experiencing the largest street carnival that anyone can ever witnesses.

By tradition, every locality has a common community Durga Puja managed by the local Durga Puja managing committees who invite the local residents of that area to join them in the Durga Puja proceedings that start from the sixth day of the Navratri. These are the same people who make contribution for these puja pandals for the proceedings of the rituals and bhog during the five days of Durga Puja. But over the years, these donations have become exorbitant, especially owing to ridiculous amounts doled out by the local politicians meant to appease the residents in their territory. With huge amounts getting involved, the dynamics of Durga Puja Pandal has added multiple hues to the celebrations. I am sure you are tempted to ask – How? Here are a couple of pointers – Continue Reading

Durga Pujo Culture
Lifestyle

A Non Bong in Kolkata – Durga Puja Culture (Induction)

posted by Anupriya October 9, 2018 11 Comments

What would a 27 year old woman miffed with the slow life of the City of Joy know about Durga Pujo, within 3 months of being in the city? Yes, that’s me in 2010. Until then, all that I knew about Kolkata was that it’s the city of Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge and a lazy sect of people (please no offenses meant) for whom the afternoon siesta is as important as the post meal sweets at the dinner table. And mind you all these perceptions were passed on to me from the Bong colleagues from the city itself who I worked with in my various jobs.

I hardly had any idea about half a dozen other communities who had made Kolkata their home over the generations and played a prominent role in the economy of the city by living a happy but busy life, that too within a bubble they seemed to have created around themselves. Yes, that’s what I saw when I landed in this city and tried to settle down as the new bahu of a Marwari household. I saw the kids of the household and the extended family taking polarized stands in favor of their Marwari friends with remarks such as Woh toh Bengali hai!’ Frankly speaking it confused me loads. Having grown up in the pot-pouri culture of Chandigarh cross-cultural polarization actually came to me as shock. But what could a new bahu tell people about having lived in 5 different cities across the length and breadth of the country and never having been subject to such strong (hum Marwari hai, and aamra toh Bangali) communal stance specially among the regular middle class. Continue Reading