Shubho Shaptami to all my readers… the bong ones, and the pseudo bong ones too.
T and I proudly call ourselves the pseudo bongs. Although our parents are all kinds of bong, our “bongness” only emerges at the mention or sight of food. My brother and I grew up outside Cal and Pujos for us meant just holidays while growing up. We were never ever involved in the festivities. We did love the new clothes and the pandal hopping (between the three main ones here in vizag) that we did but that was it. Over the years, some of the enthusiasm oozing out of my bong friends swirled around me but that too directed me only to the food stalls. I was overjoyed when I realised T had the same interests. Till last year we went out with my parents to all the major pandals here and ate a lot of junk food.
This year however, they went back to Cal to be with my grandma and so we suddenly found ourselves without a shepherd. If we had been just the two of us we would have happily forgotten the pujos and gone with our usual routines. With Pickle around, things have changed… T wants him to have all the options around in case he wants to be more bong than we are. Ya we do get the fact that he can barely distinguish his finger from his toe and will probably not even register the “pujo”experience we are trying to give him, nevertheless, as dutiful parents, we are gonna do it!!!
So, we have decided to go to one pandal every evening to pay our respects. For Shoshti we went to the one in Steel Plant.
It was nice. The excitement and the whole pujo happiness kinda gets to you once you step into a pandal with Ma Durga silently gazing at you. It is definitely a different feeling altogether. Yesterday being just the first day, didn’t see throngs of devotees flocking around the pandal but the cultural shows were at a full swing. When the kids on the stage suddenly started singing a famous kiddie song by Antara Chowdhary, T smirked and said,”oh… so this is really a “real”song!!!”Now I understood his looks when I sang it to Pickle during his meal times. He used to think I was making it up… Duh!!!
I have had a little more exposure to the Bengali roots of mine and hence I can not only read the language but can also sing a lot many songs in it. Sadly, my spoken bengali remains “funny”. It is mostly due to the fact that I have spent my entire life trying to actively get rid of the typical bong accent that we get stuck with. I am just happy that when I speak english or hindi, I do not sound like a bong. T on the other hand can’t read or sing but manages to speak with some of the most beautiful and complex words of the language. And it is mostly due to his Dimmi’s influence.
Pickle was mostly fazed and awestruck at the fact that we took him out of home so late. Poor baby of mine fell asleep on the way there and was a little weirded out at being woken up. He was so sleepy that he didn’t even try to grab my ice cream cone even though I was happily waving it in front of his face. Anywho, we figured it is fine to take him out once in a while. The consequence of the trip was a little sad for me when he kept waking up at night and then didn’t want to sleep after 3 am… but since it is only for a few more days and for a good reason, I guess I can handle my share of sleeplessness.
Last night was overall good, the cultural programs ( that we made fun of ), the pandal ( which wasn’t as grand as last year) and the lack of crowd (which we were very happy about since we got parking right outside the gate). Unfortunately for our tummies, the food stalls weren’t really open last night so we are yet to have our fill of oily, lip smacking snacks. Tonight however we plan to change that. We have our eyes and tummies set on the pujo pandal at the Railway station Kaalibaari (don’t mind the references, it is just to show off that I do know Vizag) where they have good food stalls. I am just hoping they do not disappoint us.
Here’s wishing you all a very very happy pujo. May Ma durga shower you all with all the choicest blessings!!!