Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Holiday Season, Ptb: My exp w/Durga Puja

Posted by Chris on October 22, 2007

Big pandal with a big mustache.Here’s part two, my experience during Durga Puja (DP). What is it?
Wednesday I didn’t do anything after an all-day trip on Tuesday. The main part of the DP starts on Thursday anywah.

Thursday I went to subran’s village. I guess this was a celebration of DP in the sense that he was going home for it, people had gathered. The traffic that morning was almost non-existent. it was the pleasantest drive i’ve been on yet. i really relaxed and meditate and worked on some scripture memory and had some peace. at night, we had a hard time getting through the small villages and markets because of foot traffic. then, it wasn’t that bad in the city, but a total nightmare at Behala market– worse traffic jam i’ve been in.

On Friday morning I visited pandals and had a couple of interactions with English speakers. they told me about the idols and who the priest was, what people were doing in giving offerings. they also invited me to go back for the major puja that night at 8:30. had someone been around to go with me, i may have gone. but by myself? too much trouble– this was same area of traffic jam the night before… too far to walk, worried about getting back into IITD that late, etc… plus the crowds and all that jazz i’m not big about.

Saturday. this has very little to do with puja, but i lost my key to the lock on my door. i had made up the word “Durgatory” a couple days before, and anticipated the moment i would use it– this was it (the first occasion). i could sort of blame the crowds and the hubbub. I was Invited to go see pandals at 5 am on Sunday morning with the IITD director and his family and some IITD staff. i was actually somewhat excited about this. Figure it will be nice to do for a couple hours while it’s not too hot. It was fun for awhile, but we ended up staying out a long time and I started not feeling too hot from sleep deprivation, heat, hunger, etc… Here’s a link to pictures.
Final thoughts: it’s too crazy for me. too long and crazy that is. I like anything for… half a day or so. That’s why I think I’m so tired of some parts of life here. Too much city for too long, etc…; the novelty wears off for me. the pandals are impressive. Most of those you see in pictures are the big ones that were bankrolled by groups and clubs and had sponsorship, but what you don’t see are all the smaller ones and pseudo ones set up that are much more frequent; every community or locale has at least one where it could worship and gather. DP has everything that is good and bad about life in West Bengal.
I have thought of and described it as a combination of things like the state fair, an amusement park, the traffic leaving a sporting event, and Christmas.

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