Awakening of the divine
"Jago tumi jago jago durga
Abhaya shakti bala'pradayini tumi jago"
Durga Puja is that time of the year when festivities flow in the form of blood through the veins of every Bengali. We are more than ecstatic to welcome the Goddess, as she comes all the way from her heavenly abode, to pay her annual visit to the earth with her children. It's that time of the year, when no work stress, personal distress or physical languid can keep us from overflowing with tangible gaiety and explosive enthusiasm. Keeping all ifs and buts aside we plunge into delectable celebration of precious life.
Durga Puja mesmerizes me for reasons more than one, for its just not rites and rituals. It is above the smell of incense sticks, the charm of the ringing bells and the rhythm of 'Dhak'. It is that festival where the presence of the divine is celebrated like a carnival. People completely indulge into pleasing their whims and pampering their needs. They do what they desire, decked up in their ethnic bests they drown into absolute happiness, raw and real.
For the last few years Durga Puja for me and my hubby has been synonymous to Spandan. And for people who doesn't know, Spandan is a sociocultural organisation based in Powai, Mumbai. Though a major percentage of its members are Bengalis, yet it will be unfair to call it a Bengali Association, for it embraces with love, people with different beliefs, castes and creeds. The organisation is associated with many social and cultural activities and celebrating Durga Puja is one of the major ones.
But the festivities at Spandan, besides being a compendium of colourful sarees, ethnic sagas and beguiling jewellery, it is a festival with a purpose. A purpose that outshines the glitz and glam quotient and the nutation of god fearing heads in front of the enormity of the goddess. Every year there is a different cause, this year we tried to hand hold children, orphaned, by adversities of life. Very thoughtfully the cause was named as "Amritasya Putra". A great cause indeed, when you strive hard to fetch smile, on innocent faces! What can be a better way to pay homage to the mother of creations? The idol, which was crafted by celebrated 'Murtikar' Dipankar Pal of Kumortuli, Kolkata and the unsung tenor of the pandal resonated the theme.
And then there is togetherness, kinship, friendship and more. Every morning the enormity of rituals, is followed by 'bhog' distribution, wherein everyone who comes to visit, is offered delicious lunch. Behind the enlightenment of the lightened 'diyas', the triumph of the conch shells and the insistent 'ulu dhwani', there is immense hard work, and the never dying spirit of Spandanites.
Every evening, there are cultural programs either in-house or by artists from outside the association. Spandan believes in upholding the colourful culture of our country and immense power of our literature, and also inculcating the same in the new gen kids.
As I wrap up my narrative on Durga Puja 2017, I thank the Spandan family for giving us a home away from home. Because festivities end very fast, but what remains is the enlightened core, where the colour of never ending celebrations continue to thrive.
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta