As we grow up and slowly become busy in our lives, few things still remain close to our heart which can never fade away. Celebrating Durga Pujo is one such feeling which was always special and will remain so, forever. It is still so fresh in my mind, when during my childhood days, Ma used to wake me and my brother up in the dawn of Mahalaya to listen to Birendra Krishna Bhadra, reciting Mahisasuramardini, broadcasted at All India Radio Calcutta. Oh, it’s still gives me goosebumps to remember those chilled days in Shillong, when we used to sit under the quilt, rubbing our eyes, to hear his strong and excited voice reciting "Ya devi sarvabhuteshu vishnu- rupena samsthita, Namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namas tasyai namo namah"
We slowly made ourselves ready for Ma to come and bless us. As kids, our greatest love for this festival was mainly because of the number of new clothes we would get from parents and relatives. Cousins would discuss the number of clothes received and whoever got the maximum would treat the rest with Jalebi on Ashtami. May be the feeling cannot be expressed in mere words but I can still feel the same excitement as I write this.
The feeling was just so serene and pure to see Ma Durga's Pratima every year. The sound of the Dhaak and dancing with the Dhaakis, that excitement of wearing a new dress every day, going out to visit all the Pujos in the city, those long queues for Pushpanjali, those queues for getting seat in the first batch for eating khichuri and labra served at the Pujo Mandap, Dhunuchi Naach, meeting so many friends, and all the chaos of the Pujo Mandap; nothing has ever been more exciting and over whelming. Seeing all married ladies playing with Sindoor, the holy red powder depicting marriage, dancing in the "Bhashan" singing "Ashche bochor abar hobe" meaning "It will happen again next year" and " Ma go jeo na, Ma ke jete dio na" meaning " Oh Ma don't go, don't allow Ma to go", are still has so fresh in my mind.
Touching the feet of elders on the day of Vijaya Dashami and eating loads of sweets followed by writing letters to all relatives, staying away in other cities, to convey "Vijayar Pronam" makes me smile even today when I think of it.
We still try to remain as before and stay connected to Ma Durga, friends and family by whatever little or more we can do from our ends. We try to buy new clothes for ourselves, try to be happy and enjoy Durga Puja. In this era of mobile phones, Vijoyar Pronam is either conveyed by calls or messages, and letters seem to be long lost medium.
I just hope that our next generation also have such special things to remember from their childhood days and cherish the 4 days of Durga Pujo and the Pujor Gondho (The aroma of Durga Pujo) remains close to their hearts; as it is for us.
Jai Ma Durga.