Autumn is in the air! The wafting fragrance of sewali, the cheerful turn of the weather, the romance in the season all exhilarates us to no end as we eagerly await perhaps the grandest of celebrations in this time of the year. Yes, it’s time for Durga Puja and we can’t keep calm!
Festivals always usher in fun and frolic, gaiety and color and a ton of blessings and good wishes. And when it’s time to herald in a celebration of the Goddess Durga, the spirit and euphoria permeating the atmosphere is infectious, to say the least.
Like all other festivals and things, Durga Puja has also evolved over the years- from being simple instances of paying obeisance to the goddess in her yearly sojourn to being occasions of merry making to now being extravagant splurges of glam and glitter, the pace of time has found its way into the realm of celebrations.
There have been certain memories and things so ubiquitous to the essence of Durga Puja that for a certain class of the populace, Puja memories is essentially an amalgamation of such ingrained emotions.
BLACK TOY PISTOLS
For those of us who grew up in the later part of the 90s and the early 2000s, the black toy pistols perhaps heralded the advent of the autumn blessings more than the autumnal breeze. The bangs of the pistols as we used to fire mock shots seemed to resound in the surroundings and were as integral puja sounds as the rhythmic beat of the dhaks.
Durga Puja and balloons are synonymous. These bloated bubbles of air are perhaps the most recognisable of entities during the puja celebrations. Of course, modern day balloons come in all shapes and sizes- from Pokemons to fish shaped toy balloons, heart shaped balloons or the plump rotund ones that generate excitement and awe but the elongated yellow colored ‘snake’ balloons of ‘our times’ signified an altogether different emotion. It was as if puja celebrations were incomplete without these masses of yellow hues decorating the air!
OLD MIC SYSTEM
The blazing of the mic that used to scatter the chants evoking the blessings of Maa Durga were such music to the ears! It was as if #pujavibes in the earlier times was signified by such utterances of the priests lending a holy feel to the festive atmosphere.
Festivals have always been occasions for families and friends to meet up and revel in the gaiety of the festivities. Endless chit chats spruced up by essentially puja munchies like jalebis and namkeens, as near and dear ones grouped up together were so much of a delight. And the various board games as well as other fun stuff that strove to deliver the punch to these moments of bonding were so much of moments to cherish!
Festivals means all decked and dressed up as dainty beauties and obviously, as children, the charm of all things pretty and jeweled lured us endlessly. Flea jewelry used to be such a rage especially during puja festivities that the excitement of procuring these matching sets of ‘ornaments’ were one fond memory that occupied centrestage during our childhood puja celebrations.
PHOTOS IN STUDIOS
In this age of smartphones and digital cameras, the thrill encompassed by snaps and shots is only momentary and not something that is anticipated. But in those good old days of yore when digital prints were not easy to come by, festivals provided the perfect occasion to make and capture memories. Specially the annual rendezvous with the neighborhood studio was one much awaited moment of our Durga puja celebrations.