Pandal-hopping, new clothes, immersion and more
Any holiday is special but the Durga Puja holidays more so. Mid-term exams over, this is a time for students to enjoy the revelries and have fun. School students share their Puja vacation memories.
Durga Puja vacations are always a wonderful time -- full of fun, frolic and festivities. I love to visit our ancestral village Udaypur in Burdwan during Puja. The countryside with its lush green fields, fields full of kaashphool, cattle grazing and red soil are a welcome change from city life. Durga Puja in the Ghosh family is over 200 years old, one of the oldest in Burdwan district. The village was badly hit by the pandemic and my grandfather distributed clothes among villagers last Puja. It was so special seeing the happiness on their faces. All family members coming together and offering prayers to Maa Durga creates a totally different vibe and atmosphere. All of us cousins get to meet and we make the most of it by staying awake till late at night and chatting. The
Abhik Ghosh, Class VIII, St Lawrence High School
In February 2017, my parents decided to celebrate Durga Puja at home. My heart did a little dance, it was finally happening. On Poila Boishakh, we placed an order for an ekchala idol. When the idol was brought home from Howrah, I saw the face of Maa Durga while waiting by the garage door. It was the most beautiful idol I had ever seen. Her eyes were calm, yet had a beautiful sharpness. She was so graceful. On Saptami, the puja began. Helping with the rituals, serving food to the guests, and much more, I’ve never had this much fun before. Nabami was a delightful day as well because of Kumari Puja. On returning home after the idol immersion, the emptiness of the place was heart-wrenching and it was as if every light in the world had dimmed. So I reminded myself “aschhe bochhor abar hobe” and the wait began for another Puja.
Disha Chakravarty, Class VIII, Shri Shikshayatan School
I have always been fond of Durga Puja. The excitement would begin about 15-20 days ahead. The familiar sounds of the dhaak, the tangible excitement in the air and the perfect weather made it even better. Ironically, my favourite part of Puja has to be the bhashan. The mixture of joy and sadness in the air, the farewell which seems like one befitting a family member and the loud chants of “ashche bochor abar hobe” are what make it so very special. It is the one day of the festivities when everyone lets loose, from the young to the old. Then, with the immersion of the goddess, everything ends and the wait starts again.
Asmita Bhattasali, XI, The Future Foundation School
My best Puja memory would be from 2019. The same kind of lingering feeling, the white kaashphool by the roadside, waking up at 4am to hear Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s baritone narrating Mahishashur Mardini on Mahalaya. Calendars mark Puja vacation from Sashthi but for me, Puja starts right from Tritiya. WhatsApp groups flooded with puja plans - friends, family, relatives, everyone. I remember, more than anything, I wanted a packed plan from Choturthi. Chothurthi's half jeans and red top, Panchami's yellow kurti and palazzos, Sashthi’s white gown, Saptami's short dress, Ashtami's owned saree and Nabami's basanti kurti - I had my days planned. The first three days were about leg-breaking walking tours of north Kolkata. And the rest were spent in south Kolkata. If that's not pujo, then what is?
Kankana Manna, XII, St. Jude's High School