October is a special month for me, first because it is my birthday month and second because it is the month of festivals. Almost every year, festivals like Durga Puja, Laxmi Puja, Dusshera, Navratri, Eid, Kati Bihu and many more, unknown to me, fall on October and owing to this list, I declare the month of October as the month of festivals. May be I should include November as it beholds Diwali; however I am being bias to October, it being my favorite month. Also October green signals the festivity mood amidst people’s heart. Durga Puja usually falls on October (except on the rare years). Durga Puja is a festival majorly celebrated by Bengalis but being born and brought up amidst a neighborhood surrounded by Bengalis and Biharis, I celebrate Durga Puja as joyously as I do Bihu; at times even more.
Stepping few years behind in my memory, I can measure the difference of excitement of those days from today. Those were the years, when we used to get full week holiday for Durga Puja. I still remember, since the evening of Sasti (6th day) when Goddess Durga was brought to the Pandals from the artist’s place, a different sort of blood seems to run in our blood. Talking only about myself, I used to be extremely happy, singing songs become my favorite pastime for the days and dancing is always on my move. New puja dress, mouthwatering jalebis and samosas, the beats of dhol, heavenly khichdi (given as prasad) and most importantly holidays – what more do you need to be happy?
Today – things are little different. Though I start off October month with a wide smile, it gets over by 10th of the month. Living miles away from home and working in a corporate world in South India, I do not get luxury Durga Puja holidays. Actually I do not get any for Durga Puja holiday; we get a day off on Dusshera, the Dashami of Durga Puja. Other two days, sitting in front of the system I just recollect the memories of old days. I do wear new dress but I miss the mood of festivity in the air, the taste of Puja Khichdi, hot jalebis and the beating of dhol. I miss every bit of my childhood Durga Puja days. Sometimes, I am lucky enough and one of the days falls on weekends. I get a chance to visit the Durga Puja pandals organized by the Bengali and other communities here. Still my heart is not satisfied…but at least, I am content.
This year, things are even more difficult. For the first time I am alone in Durga Puja, no holidays and no company to visit Puja pandals. I miss every bit of Durga Puja festivity. The worst part is observing my friends celebrating Durga Puja grandly with families and friends. They are updating it fast on FB and along with each update my heart goes jealous and low. But days are not over, nor are years. I still have years to enjoy the festivity of Durga Puja. Maa Durga will come every year to fill our hearts with joy and I guess I needed to experience this year, to realize my fondness for this festival. Besides, there are two more days to go. May be there are secret happiness yet to be revealed.
Till I wait for my secret festive revelation, wishing everyone a very Happy Durga Puja!