Sunday, September 12, 2010
Pujor Gondho Eshechhe ( The Fragrance of Puja is Here)
The other day, I was delighted to find a few 'shiuli' flowers underneath a tree near the mite's school. I had been eyeing the tree for sometime, it did look like a shiuli tree, but here, so far down south, so remote from West Bengal and even Delhi (which has its fair share of shiuli trees), I was not sure... Thereafter it sprouted massive buds...'no, no' I thought in my mind, it cannot be shiuli...But finally the tree got tired of all this speculation and deposited some flowers on the ground as the last and final proof, whereby it rested its case, leaving me both shocked and surprised and humbled too in good measure. As all Bengalis know, the shiuli flower blooms just before the Durga Puja festival and symbolically announces the arrival of the Goddess Durga in our midst. It has beautiful curved white petals on a quaint orange stalk and has a fragrance that is almost intoxicating if inhaled in great measure. Anyhow, I swooped down upon my find with great gusto while the mite stared cluelessly at me wondering what the fuss was all about. However, since he is used to the moronic and often eccentric behaviour of this parent of his, he let it pass. After slipping him in through the school gate, I returned to the shiuli tree and picked some more flowers and inhaled the beautiful and oh so familiar smell. I thanked the Goddess for sending her messenger here to me in such a remote land. Here in Bangalore there are so many pujas, the Varamahalshmi festival went by and the Gowri Ganesha festival took place a few days ago...we are invited to many houses in the building and the women offer the traditional haldi and kumkum and give us coconuts and betel leaves.I have just been attending one puja after another, but have not invited anyone for a puja in my house! The ladies have begun asking, "don't you have any pujas?" Well, I inform them that the only puja Bengalis are excited about is Durga Puja and all we have to do is wear new clothes and eat out!! Of all the communities in India, I feel, the Bengalis have the least ceremony and the most enjoyment during their grand festival! After all what is there in life other than eating, drinking and making merry, folks?!