Fun Time of Year

So its that time of year again. The time when my Dad uncovers the cassette player and digs out two cassettes of devotional songs in Bengali from the pile of cassettes which are now ignored in today’s world of Winamp and Channel V. He plays them every year on the first day of this time of year at an unholy hour of 7.00 am that too quite loudly. And we know by listening to “Mahishashur Mardini” that its Mahalaya i.e. the beginning of Durga Puja that day. You can listen to some songs at this link here.

Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja, and heralds the advent of Durga, the goddess of supreme power. It’s a kind of invocation or invitation to the mother goddess to descend on earth – “Jago Tumi Jago”. This is done through the chanting of mantras and singing devotional songs. Since the early 1930s, Mahalaya has come to associate itself with an early morning radio program called “Mahisasura Mardini” or “The Annihilation of the Demon.” This All India Radio (AIR) program is a beautiful audio montage of recitation from the scriptural verses of “Chandi Kavya”, Bengali devotional songs, classical music and a dash of acoustic melodrama. The program has also been translated into Hindi set to similar orchestration and is broadcast at the same time for a pan-Indian audience. This program has almost become synonymous with Mahalaya. For nearly six decades now, the whole of Bengal rises up in the chilly pre dawn hours, 4 am to be precise, of the Mahalaya day to tune in to the “Mahisasura Mardini” broadcast.

Its been two days since Mahalaya and Navratri has already begun. Durga Puja will begin from 5th Oct 2008. This time symbolizes shopping, eating and roaming for me. As there are lots of Bengalis in my city New clothes, new shoes, outings, eating Bhog and other non-veg items available at stalls at Puja Pandals. On the downside it also means meeting uncles and heavily bejeweled aunties and answering interrogative questions. Due to hectic life, I have not done the shopping part yet. Here are some videos taken by me of Durga Puja held last year. This year I’m planning to buy a digital camera in few days and I’ll be posting on this topic again with better videos and photos. I hope to capture the famous dhunuchi dance this year.

# The playing of dhaak in Durga Puja in sync with the aarti sets the festive mood and increases the excitement.

# The pandals of each area are made huge and usually a replica of some famous building. Even the idols are made on some theme usually the recent hot topic in politics or current affairs. I bet in Calcutta people will get to see some idols on the Singur issue.

Wish you all a very happy Durga Puja and Navratri. Enjoy!!!

34 thoughts on “Fun Time of Year

  1. lol am planning to write on navarathri too 😛 i hate meeting the uncles and aunties and the grannies …but thank fully they spare me now days … 😛 until a couple of years back i used to be dragged along everywhere 😛

    Reema: Waiting for your post!

  2. Wish u the same..
    i have always wanted to visit kolkatta at this time of the year..
    i have heard mahishasura marthini .,…. i dont know if it has many versions..the one they recite hear is good

    Reema: Thanks!!

  3. Wish you a very happy durga puja and navaratri.. we enjoy these days with night long dances (garba) and is it fun!! 🙂 My legs are still aching from yesterday’s dance 🙂

    Reema: Ohh take care! Dont get sprains.

  4. wish you too a happy durga puja! 😀
    i have always been fascinated by the bengali culture…it seems so warm and welcoming…….i wish i could be a part of the durga puja ! 😀

    Reema: Its the best thing that I like about my culture 🙂

  5. Hey Navratri ki hardik shubkamnayen 😀
    And Eid Mubarak…

    and njoy ur holiday tomorrow…

    and dont smoke in public places … 😉 LOL…. jus kidding 😀

    Reema: Thanks! Dont worry I dont smoke 😛

  6. The dhaak!! Oh, its awesome!! & pandal hopping!! Awesome creativity at display!! The entire city is in a frenzy..

    ooooohh.. I would love to go back there someday, for pujo..

    Happy Pujo! 😀

    Reema: Thanks!

  7. Happy Puja! May be one of us southies must do an entry on how Navarathri is here 🙂 I used to love visiting my friend Urmi during puja. Miss that. She is now in Mumbai.

    Reema: Thanks!! Visit some pandals over there and do the post 🙂

  8. Whoa! I just looked at my comment and felt it looked very sectarian…I am so not that…just felt that it would be interesting to see how Navarathri is celebrated here. 🙂 Sooo sorry if I had offended anyone. 🙂

    Reema: Its ok dear. No one is offended.

  9. October for me, means 2 weeks of holidays….the only days available to finish up all the pending work, assignments, etc etc….!! 😀
    Happy Navratri to you !!

    Reema: I too have to study 😦 Thanks!

  10. Hey reema,
    happy durga puja…this time i am keeping 9 days fast [:P]..let me see if i can do it!!!
    Have fun..

    Reema: Good luck! Thanks!

  11. Hey wish you the same! 🙂
    Down south, this coincides with Dussera, so schools and colleges are off. But offices work on! 😦

    Reema: Thanks!! I guess u will get leave on the day of Vijayadashmai i.e. Dusshera

  12. Wish you a very happy Durga Puja and Navratri too.
    Belated Eid Mubarack and Gandhi Jayanthi wishes too 😉

    It all sounds so so soooo much fun! Wanna be in Bengal next Durga Puja time at least! 😦 (read as: “Please invite”) 😀

    Reema: I would invite surely but dear I dont live in Bengal!! I live in a city in Chattisgarh.

  13. You reminded me of our days in Orissa.

    We used to go and visit all the pandals around and it was all such great fun…sigh!!! good old days….

    But yes I too love this phase of the year.

    And you know what? In Mumbai ladies decide a color cod for these 9 days and we all are supposed to follow the code and preferably wear a saree…it is such fun…:)

    Lovely post!

    Reema: Thanks!!

  14. Happy navratri! in south it is more popular as Dushera or dasara and a few more days like durgashtami vijayadashami and so on. my mom sings the ever so famous “Aigiri Nandini” song on every friday and i too manage to sing along if i’m at home.

    Reema: Thanks! So nice of you to accompany your mom in her worship.

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