Today it’s Mahalaya, from today ‘Devipaksha’ starts and marks the end of ‘Pitri paksha’. 5 more days for the actual grandeur and exuberance to begin. If we look at the historical aspect, it was on this day (Mahalaya), the Gods and Goddesses woke up to prepare themselves for the Durga Puja.
Its an auspicious day. The typical way of spending the day is to get up early, when its still dark outside. Every member of the family joining to listen to ‘Mahalaya – Mahisasura Mardini’ by Birendra Krishna Bhadra broadcasted by All India Radio Program. Listening is not a culture though but it has been spurted as one. Without this early morning program, Durga Puja just doesnt seem to gain the momentum. And let me tell you that the festive fervour is on.
I have been a part of the city for the most part of my life, and there is absolutely no other festival that I look forward to with so much vehemence and enthusiasm. This week-long insignia is much more than religion or festival. Its more of a display of the bouyancy of the spirits, quivering mood of the people and the rippling of the bonhomie spirit. The creativity is at its peak, the artistic exuberance - including pandals, idols and lighting. This burst of creative energy is what makes Kolkata + Durga Puja so unique, the city has an audible attribute of its own. Togetherness is very much evident in this form of enjoyment, togetherness of family, binding together all class of people and ethinicity, everyone joins to be a part of the celebration. One small example of togetherness is where your entire ‘para’ (neighbour-hood) becomes your family and you have ‘bhog’ (prasad – usually a full course meal), you pray (anjali), and ‘adda’ (typical bong term for chitchat) together.
Durga Puja has so much to offer. Everytime it unfolds a new set of goodies -list of pandals that needs to be visited, the best dress to be worn on Maha-astami, food joints to conquer, which girl/boy to propose. Food, clothes, accessories, fashion statements are all the things that go along with the celebration. There is so much fashion and style involved that you may also fall in love with your next door neighbour, who looked less than average otherwise. The excitement is remarkable. The euphoria is infectious, it takes along everyone with its buzz. This joy of celebration is way beyond expression. It is definitely one big feast of sense and sensibility. A little walk in the city and its not hard to feel the eminence, and style of the city. This city takes everyone in its fold and without even your knowledge makes you a part of it.
Come let us celebrate together.
Note : Click on the hyperlink Mahisasura Mardini to know about the historical backdrop.