Sunday, October 01, 2006

Whose Puja is it?

I was attending a Durgapuja near our colony at Pune. As usual it was a typical Bengali crowd - chatting in Bengali, shouting in Bengali... As a Bengali I was feeling homely. I was not feeling alone, though I was sitting alone in a chair in front of the idol. This ambience is what we crave for during the Durga puja. Being alone gives you a golden opportuninty to watch others. Everybody dressed in ethnic dresses, men in panjabi and payjama or dhuti, ladies in cotton shaRis. Colorful children were running all around. You can distinguish two groups of children clearly. The younger group is of below ten years. They are jubiliant, careless, undivided and playing all around. The older one consists of several groups of children of preteen and adolescents. They are not as free as the younger group. They are mostly sitting and chatting in small small groups. Growing older robs the innocence of comradeship of childhood.
I rememberd my childhood days. We had a durgapuja just in front of our house. The four days puja used to be a constant playtime! Clad in new dresses we used to roam all around with toy pistols. The puja could be reflected in our bright, glowing, astonished face itself. That glow of face is what missing in the elder group of boys and girls. The younger group certainly had that glow, but I could not find the awestruck enjoyment that we used to have to savor the grandeur of the Puja in bright new dresses. It seemed to be just like a holiday for them. I know it is difficult to relate with the emotions of a child after you grow up; and this is the common mistake we make when we try to read the mind of a child.
Then I noticed few local Maharshtrian children, most probably of the bais and the caretakers who are cleaning the mess made by the crowd and keeping the place up. These children were moving in a group in ragged clothes in front of the idol gigling and running around here and there. They don't know who is Durga or what is the emotion of a Bengali's Durga puja. But they know its a grand festival, and you can realize that they are, as if, gobbling the grandeur of the festival. A girl in her teens came in fron fo dias to take a photo of the idol. This group of children gathered at her back eagerly trying to figure out how she is taking a photo in the display of her digital camera. The girl who was closer to our teenager had a triumphant look on her face for being the one having the most comprehensive look at the digital display.

And I found the emotion of awestruck enjoyment, which I was looking for. In a moment I realized who are enjoying the most out of the festival. And I felt gratified by them for making my Durgapuja complete!

No comments: