Beneath a veil of light

One of the other things I appreciate about the Pujas is that everyone is polite, accommodating and friendly. That makes the atmosphere inviting and constitutes what the Bengalis would proudly call the "Spirit of the Pujas." After paying homage to the Goddess, we headed off towards the South of Calcutta to meet our cousins and close relatives.

The evening was all about walking. In one of the Pandals, due to the enormous crowds, the Police had decided to take over. They were inside guiding the train of people. The decorations are intricate and very elaborate. I am sure the artists, if present there would have had a lot to say about what it all meant. Even to barely look at most things would take time. But the police ushered the crowds out the moment they entered the shrine. No chance for people to pray, or to watch and for photographers, absolutely nothing. The common practice would be to lift your hand higher than the crowd, pick up your cell phone camera and flash at the pandal far away. And that would be how photos are to be taken. All this, while one is walking of course.

What I felt is, the intrusion of the police, though perhaps necessary to control the huge numbers, spoilt the spirit that makes Durga Puja so special in these parts. The freedom and joy are lost under such circumstances.

Rest of the evening was spent quietly. It was a fine day.

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