The beats of the dhaak, blowing of shankh, aroma of bhog and colourful sindoor khela – Durga Puja is what everyone looks forward to all year. It is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety in eastern India. The Puja fever grips the heart of everyone and invokes an incomprehensible emotion of togetherness.
The festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga in her battle against the buffalo-demon, Mahisasura. The festival – Durgotsava or Sharadotsav – celebrates the power of women.
Durga Puja memories are close to one’s heart. Time8 catches up with people from different professional fields to find out what makes the festival special for them and how they celebrate it. While most of them will be working throughout the festival but they made sure to make time for friends and families.
Here’s what they had to say about their Durga Puja celebrations. Read on…
Adil Khan, Deputy Commissioner, Bongaigaon
For me, Durga Puja is a festival of spirituality. The air is filled with joy and happiness during the five-days of the festival. Though a religious festival, Durga Puja brings all communities of the society together and this is the beauty of the festival. The festival is also a good time to aware people on environment conservation. We should all discard plastic like Goddess Durga fought against evil forces and protect the natural assets.
K Lakshmi Priya, Deputy Commissioner, Sivasagar
Durga Puja festival signifies the victory of good over evil. The festival celebrates the female power. We all must join hands and fight against the evils in society.
Bhaskar Pegu, Deputy Commissioner, Baksa
Durga Puja is a nostalgic affair for me. Today, it reminds me of my childhood days. As a young boy, nothing could beat the joy and euphoria of buying and using a toy pistol and the innumerable rounds of ammunition packets. During college days, we group of friends used to hop from one pandal to another on foot or by bus.
Now, as the years have rolled by, the sombre atmosphere about worshipping the Goddess appears to be more overwhelming than the sheer glitter and glamour around the puja mandaps. But one thing is still there, the silent expectation of Maa Durga arriving once again, in all her majesty and all people getting immersed in a kind of unknown but unfathomable joie de vivre.
Anand Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Charaideo
The smell in the air changes with the arrival of Maa Durga. It stirs your soul. The festival is a celebration of life. The face of the pratima (face of the idol) gives you goosebumps. The entire set of idols, dramatic pandal…everything looks like a paused frame but in action. The energy is just infectious. The sound of the dhaak, mesmerizing dhunuchi naach, and sindoor khela…it just refreshes your mind and soul. The celebrations end with a positive note Asche bochor abar hobe (It will happen again next year). The festival is all about life, zeal and positivity.
Trinayan Bhuyan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dhubri
Durga Puja celebrates the victory of good over evil power; I find deepest meaning amidst the festivities. The dhak- dhol of Durga Puja not only signifies joy but I feel it also denotes energy, the positive energy. The mantras used in the puja signify devotedness and peace. In Durga Puja, I find greatest manifestation of ‘Women Power’. All these reasons make Durga Puja special for me. Above all, how can I forget it was one of the puja days when I got my first service pistol!
Prastuti Parashar, Actor
I grew up in Jorhat. Back in my childhood days, we had a Bajaj scooter. During puja days, my father used to take my mother and three of my siblings on pandal hopping tours on that scooter. I still wonder how we five used to fit into that scooter! For me, Durga Puja is a spiritual journey. But today, it has become a show of materialistic extravaganza.
Though I remain busy with shootings, theatres, I make sure to visit the simple pandals which are very particular about the rites and rituals.
Barsha Rani Bishaya, Actor
Durga puja is extremely special to me because I was born on Mahalaya. I was born in a family where Durga Puja is being organized annually for the four generations. This year it would be the 92nd celebration of our puja. Apart from religious belief, when I look at Maa Durga I derive power and inspiration as a woman. Durga Puja makes us believe that if we walk on the path of truth, we will win one day or the other.
Photo credit: anandmishra.ips, barsharani_bishaya_official, trinayan.bhuyan.94, deputycommissioner.bongaigaon.35 and @sushmitadey