S & I

After a four hour sleep, we woke up to make our way to the Shovabazar Rajbari which is a very old mansion that once belonged to a local king. They were one of the pioneers of the Durga Puja in Calcutta and have been celebrating it for over 250 years. There is strict adherence to tradition and the idols apparently are identical to those made centuries ago. The place is teeming with atmosphere. Importantly, the gregariousness of Calcutta that I often cast a less than positive eye upon, was at its best. Strangers were welcomed with open arms, and once the last Pujas were over, the married women were invited to participate in the event of Sindoor Khela where they smear each other's as well as the Durga's forehead with vermilion before distributing sweets and paying homage to the deity before it is moved away for immersion into the Ganges. (Can't find a good link on the subject though. I'll see if I can update this when I have time.)

S enjoyed participating in the event, while I shuffled amid a host of photographers with top of the line equipment ready to shoot what, in relative darkness is very challenging. There were a few reporters from television channels as well interviewing family members and capturing the event. It was quite special being a part of the event. I was in two minds though about this blip especially since I'll be off to watch the Visarjan or immersion of the idols soon.

Small evening edit -

I type this as the air fills with the sounds of crackers and the dhaks for the last time this year. The evening at the ghat was quite the spectacle. When I reached, a crowd had already gathered, there were trucks offloading the idols, there was hardly an inch to walk through, the women had their faces smeared with vermilion and everyone was dancing to the beats. It was hard to detect if the mood was one of joy or sadness for usually it is the latter after four days of celebrations where regular life comes to a halt, when time assumes a different meaning and most Bengalis become a bit younger.

Hundreds of cameramen lined the riverside - the ghat. The idols came in one by one, were circled around amid much shouting, then rushed down upon many shoulders to the river. The last 50 yards were muddy as in, if you put your shoes in, they'll stay behind when your legs are lifted. The police controlled the situation with much shouting, welcoming everyone to the occasion, there were policemen doing the rounds on boats too, making sure everyone was safe. First aid kits, food and water were available at their stations... It was a well organized event and so it should be, because little roadblocks and delays here can have a rippling effect and cripple the entire city's traffic.

There were some who came up from the river in tears, as the idol floated away.

Backblipped yesterday.

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