I have been away for nearly two weeks from the blogosphere. And I did miss it sometimes. And the reason was Durga Puja. That Madhatterish time that descends collectively on the Bengali consiousness. Every year is a rush-rush Puja. If you think you can plan such things you are so wrong!
All my Pujas have been spent in Madras: this Puja was no exception. I know that Calcutta Pujas are different. There is of course no pandel-hopping for us. The simple reason is that there are no pujas to pandel hop! I mean certainly not on the scale that Calcutta offers. So I spent all my time in one Puja pandel. It’s not that boring because we have certain responsiblities to handle. This time, even though the Puja was short by one day, the enthusiastic people from our Puja started the celebrations on Panchomi itself. Of course, I couldn’t attend. I was still running around for last minute shopping and making the quiz questions. From the next day onwards, I was at the Puja pandel: twice a day, for 5 days. Ain’t that grand? There was no food at home and we were supposed to eat the food stalls already there. But here is the irony, the food stalls make yummy food but getting into the queue is a Herculean task that the few who manage to get into end up missing all the action on the stage.
What I really missed this Puja was friends. All the friends have moved away in a steady trickle to different parts of the world. And without friends, it was so boring. The only day I really enjoyed was the day I hosted the Quiz program. I asked questions, people answered, I felt great. I didn’t know that I did like to be the center of attention and if comes with a mike, all the better! AquaM turned up for the Quiz braving the rains. (It rains here during the Puja.) The funniest part was that after the Quiz, what I call my Fan Club turned up to congratulate me. One guy stood out. He sauntered over to me (btw, I did expect him to do that!) and said, “Hi! I’m Siddharth.” Ordinarily, I would have said “Hi” in return. But no, I noticed this guy earlier and in my nervousness forgot to mention my name! What a stupid thing to do! Later, my cousin said that he was eyeing some kid. Sigh! Such is life! So, I spoke to him and then looked around and saw 5 or 6 huge guys towering over me. They first shook hands with me. And said it was a well-conducted etc etc. I loved it. Every bit of that attention – I glowed in it. Anyways, in the middle Siddharth slipped away. And I was left handling those guys who wanted:
1. To mention their institution’s name (yikes! I forgot what that was!) in which ever publication I wrote.
2. To know why my quiz questions were comics biased.
3. To ask why I didn’t have any sports questions.
4. To ask me to ask them a sports question. (Which I did.)
5. To congratulate me.
Phew! Now, you know why I call them the fan club!! Anyways, that was my moment of glory.
The rest of the days were spent eating, wearing saris, trying to walk in them, and trying to avoid the torrential rains. In the last day, we weren’t even sure if we could make it to the Besant Nagar pandal. But we did manage somehow. I missed Bhashan though: I had to go some place else.
All this Puja madness did take a toll. I fell sick promptly the day after.
I will put up the quiz questions so that you guys who couldn’t attend can take a go at it, what say?