That Durga Puja is the most awaited time of the year in Kolkata is nothing new. But the charm of an entire city counting days to an event is to be witnessed to be understood.
The flavour in the air, pandals getting ready aggressively, insane shopping, traffic on the rise and a smile on the face of one and all, the countdown to Pujo in Kolkata is like no other. Here we have a list of things that happen in Kolkata on the countdown to Pujo!
Social Media countdown to Pujo
Photo Courtesy: indiafestivaldiary.com
#MaaAshchen, #PujoPujoGondho, #PujoPujoBhab. If your newsfeed isn’t flooded with these hashtags, you’re either in Mars or your WiFi isn’t working!
If you ever lose track of the date and want to check how many days are left to Pujo, all you need to do is log in to your Facebook and check your friend’s wall. From a selfie every day to countdowns every night, the anxiety for Maa to come is clearly evident all across Facebook.
Crazy traffic around Gariahat
The proximity to Pujo is directly proportional to the crowd of shoppers at Gariahat. From last minute shopping for the matching accessory to bargaining like there’s no tomorrow, Gariahat is paradise for Pujo shopping and that coupled with lanes and by-lanes starting to get blocked because of Pandal construction results in the mother of all traffic jams near Gariahat, EVERYDAY!
Leaving office early to collect Chanda – Chanda Collector mode on!
Photo Courtesy: flickr-comphotosmdevdas
We’ve grown up seeing our favourite kakus do it. We’ve learnt the art from them and started applying it from a very early age. Yes, we’re talking about the skill of chanda tola!
And no Pujo is complete without some aggressive Chanda collection!
But hold up, what about office? Well, work can take a back seat!
The Chanda collectors leave office early and wait well-prepared for their prey to return, unaware of the Chanda collector!
Mahalaya te chokkudaan dekhte jawa (feeling like a BOSS photographer after that)
Photo Courtesy: Debtanu Akuli
You’re not a photographer if you haven’t visited Kumortoli with your new DSLR! Well, photographer or not, Mahalaya te Chokkudaan dekhta jawa is a must to curb your anxiety of Pujo!
And as the kaku at Kumortoli gives the final touch to Maa, right there, you get to know what beauty is!
Frantically arranging passes
Photo Courtesy: explara.com
You’ve learnt a life-lesson if you’ve waited in the endless queue to enter a Pandal. The struggle is real as all your illusions of being special are broken while standing like cattle in the queue.
Happiness is hearing dhak er awaj
Photo Courtesy: httpswww-flickr-comphotossoumyaroop_chatterjee
You know the countdown has approached an end when you can hear the dhak playing around the city!
Parar shob mile Thakur aante jawa
Photo Courtesy: wildfilmsindia.com
There’s no greater para-shokti feeling than going together to get the Thakur to the para. Crowding together in the TATA 407 truck, negotiating with the idol bearers, carefully placing the idol on the truck and feeling all victorious as you enter your para with the Thakur!
Kumartuli te dim pauruti khawa
Photo Courtesy: thetelegraph.com
Who can forget this important element! Thakur aante jawa at midnight is incomplete without endless servings of dim pauruti while all the purchases and negotiations are on!
Pujo Bonus pawar khushi
Photo Courtesy: palegacy.blogspot.in
If you’ve got the SMS on your phone “Dear Customer, your acxxxxxxxx is credited with…..” randomly, in the middle of the month, you know what the joy of a Pujo Bonus is!
No entry on many streets as pandals have started to be constructed
Photo Courtesy: Drhirenbhatt’sblog
Well, traffic management becomes partly the responsibility of the Para pujo volunteers as traffic starts getting increasingly out of control! From random No entry boards at almost every turn to cars/bikes parked at the weirdest of locations, you need to be prepared to tackle Pujo!
Excitement of seeing ‘the one’ in sari
Photo Courtesy: The Indian Breeze
Even though colleges are open after Mahalaya, there’s no studies happening!
If you’ve ever wondered what ‘Just for the heck of it’ means, you should visit any college in Kolkata after Mahalaya. The teachers are in a festive mood, the students can’t curb their excitement and yes, studies do take a back seat in the days between Mahalaya and Saptami!
Pujo special album/music
Picture Courtesy: Gulal.com
From albums, magazines and movies, everything gets a Pujo Special label as they are strategically released right at the time of Pujo to cash in on the Pujo frenzy!
Hoping to meet old friends randomly
Picture Courtesy: flickr-comphotos6164919515054656773
You know you don’t really need to make elaborate plans to meet certain friends as you’re sure you’ll invariably end up coming across each other at some Pujo pandal or the other.
The joy of randomly meeting an old friend during Pujo is a feeling like no other!
Seeing gigantic Sreeleather ads everywhere
Picture Courtesy: adsofbd.com
Well, you can’t be in Kolkata and NOT see huge Sreeleather footwear advertisements every day. From full page ads in the newspaper to mammoth hoardings outside and the typical TVC showing an endless queue outside their New Market showroom, Pujo is incomplete without being a victim to their strategic advertising!