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Pujo Holiday in Kolkata

The idols were absorbed into the water of Ganges, drawing an end to the celebrations called Durga Pujo in India, and in my native place - Kolkata. 
Part thanksgiving, part family get-together, part state fair, Durga Puja is a 5-day joyride ... from fasting to feasting, from prayer to getting dressed in new clothes to offer the prayer and undoubtedly romancing the crowd that throngs the pandals ... either clicking or getting clicked for the next social networking profile picture. 
I flew down to Kolkata from Mumbai on Mahashoshti and I realized that in this short span of time, I consumed just about two kilos of ananda naru, one of sondesh and tumblers full of (if not less) of chaler payesh to guarantee an early onset of Type 2 diabetes. 
I, like all conventional Bengalis, will urge you to visit Kolkata during this festivity. But, here is the thing, going to Kolkata during this time, if you are not from Kolkata, is like going to New York during Christmas. Yes, the people and the sweets are lovely but they are all humongously festive. If you, in fact, truly want to experience a Durga Pujo with all its soul unspoiled, you need to be either a Bengali, or marry a Bengali, and since I am the first category, I indisputably believe in the first one. 
If you have not done either of these, you can still take delight in Durga Pujo, but I bet you will miss many vital facets of the festival, including the fact that this pujo is really a pageant, well, a beauty pageant, to be precise. You will similarly miss out on the “adda”, a Bengali word that loosely decodes as gossip, but also carries undertones of intellectual conversation and is synonymous with plentiful of whisky drinking. If you and your liver survive, you will be reimbursed with a significant amount of food (fish, substantially) that will account for your entire carry-forward allowance on the flight home. And you will need it to sustain yourself later the week it will take you to recover. 
But, having said it all, the long queues of the curious onlookers and the huge pujo-special billboards distinctly portray that though the religious fervour may have taken a toss, the popularity and madness have made up for it. The puja is thus, still is a thriving survival story albeit with a soul-swing. 
Here are some of the finest photos of my Pujo holiday in kolkata clicked by my hubby:
 


































 

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