Sunday, October 17, 2010

Subho Bijoya.... Durga Mai ki Jai....

Today is Bijoya Dashami....& I realise that, this year, my Durga Pujo celebrations have been rather subdued.
No pandal hopping, no new dress, no anjali, no bhog.......OMG, am I going mad???...am I nuts???...I am being an utter disgrace to the traditions & heritage of Bengal. Cant remember any year, that I have done so !!!  Even when I have been in our Blore Ashram for Navratri Celebrations, I would still sneak into a Pujo pandal, at least one of the days to offer Pushpanjali & eat Bhog.
Maa would be so unhappy...Baba would be furious...every Bengali would be ashamed of me!!

Typical of any Bengali, across the world, these five days of celebrations ( Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami & Dashami) are synonimous to coming together in unison, celebrating the triumph of Good over Evil.
Durga Maa, comes to her paternal home, the Earth along with her children to celebrate & spread peace, prosperity, joy & laughter. Maa Durga, also known as Durgatinashini, kills Mahishasur, the demon, & the world rejoices Bijoya Dashami !! ( for details refer to my earlier posts last year, "Durga Pujo...the mythology...the rituals"). 

Across the world, bengalis, wait eagerly for these five days...plan their yearly holidays, save money for elaborate spendings. Its time to leave behind all worries, all troubles, ignore any official work et all & join in celebrations wit the gusto of a child. Kolkata, the epicentre of celebrations for all Bengalis, comes to a virtual standstill. You cannot imagine any office open for these days...its like sacrilege. Everyone has to be a part of the Durga Pujo celebrations !!!!!
A typical day starts, with Pujo, Arati & Pushpanjali,......the traditional drums beating in the background, in an unique rhythm. The Pondit Moshai ( the priest) is on the stage, chanting shlokas...Yaa Devi Sarva Bhuteshu, Shakti rupenu Shamastitha, Namastassai, Namastassai, Namastassai Namoh Namah..... 
People thronging the deity to offer Pushpanjali.......Kids, youth & old, all alike dressed in traditional outfits, coming together......
After Pushpanjali, everyone rushes towards food....The Bhog!!!.....the Prasad!!! in form of the afternoon lunch....The most delicious part of the celebrations. Hot khichuri( a traditional preparation from rice & mung dal), Labra(another traditional preparation from a mixture of vegetables), Alur Dom ( a pasty tasty preparation of potatoes), Begun Bhaja(bengali eggplant fry), Chatni & Payesh & Sondesh(sweet dishes). All of these very unique & traditional & extremely mouthwatering food. The content on everyone's face, while eating is so wonderful....one could just keep on eating & eating....the taste is such.....The food is served to one & all.....everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations, sit & eat !!!
As if Devi Annapurna has come down to feed her devotees. This goes on till late afternoon.
Evening becomes colourful with Dhunichi Naach ( a unique form of Aarti, where dried coconut cover burns slowly on an earthen pot, with traditional perfumed camphor), amidst the chanting of shlokas,...the pandals resplendent with sandal perfumed smoke. The drums beating in their unique rhythm adds to the momentum & mood. The whole environment becomes pious, poignant & Divine.
This is followed with various cultural programs, which are a reflection of our rich tradition & heritage.
By the time one is back home, its way past midnight.....
Through the day, people shout in unison, almost every minute .......Durga Maai ki Jai!!!!........

Wish all of you a very Happy Bijoya Dashami......may your life ahead be full of happiness & prosperity & solidarity.
For the next two weeks, Bengalis all over would visit each other's home & wish Shubho Bijoya. Elders will bless, while the youngers will take blessings by touching feet of elders.. traditional sweets(sondesh, rosogolla, chitrokut, golapjam, payesh, shorpuria, kanchagolla & so many more)& delicious eatables(ghugni, luchi-alurdom, chop, bhaja & so many more) would be distributed, as the celebrations continue...amazing culture & heritage India brings to the world.....
Durga Mai ki Jai....Asche bochor aabar hobe !!!!( Will come  back again next year)

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