The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puja dazzle with fashion & fast car
- Well-heeled set for trip to the hills and beaches to spend holidays

Jamshedpur, Oct. 17: Flaunting designer wear or a trip to the hills might be on the list of the rich this pujas.

And for the super-rich, rolling out an imported Mazda sportscar coincides with the festival season.

For the well heeled of the steel city, there is more to this pujas than a mere visit to the Circuit House puja pandal or a shopping splurge.

'The cosmopolitan texture of the city does keep you in sync with the festivities irrespective of your cultural background. Durga pujas and Navratras come by as huge celebrations for all of us,' said a-Bengali-at-heart Billoo Kapilla, proprietor, Dosa King and Hong Kong.

For the restaurateur, this is the peak season and his pujas are spent catering to his clientele. 'Despite the busy schedule I make it a point to take my family to the Circuit House puja pandal and diet on bhog the three days. It is more like a family get-together. It is great to see people clad in designer outfits even early in the morning,' Kapilla said.

Gian Taneja, proprietor, Tenth Milestone, has plans to a retreat to either the hills or the beaches.

'I have slogged enough for the festive season so I can afford to take a break with my family during the three days, preferably from Saptami or Ashtami. Since this was planned at a short notice, we have kept the destination close ' it will either be Darjeeling or Puri,' Taneja said.

Reiki master Roopa Mohanty might have flown to Mumbai to conduct classes but will have a big surprise in store for the city this pujas.

'The steel city's first sports car, Mazda MX 5 Miata, will be in the city within a couple of days and that will incidentally belong to Roopa. We are not much into puja celebrations, but then we might just have a nice time zipping around the city in our new car,' said Niroop Mohanty, senior vice-president, human resource, Tata Steel. Kalibari and Circuit house puja pandals happen to be the haunts for A.N Singh, deputy managing director (corporate), Tata Steel, and his spouse, Renu Singh.

'These are the most apt occasions for a social gathering. My children will also be returning. It is also a great time to meet old friends,' said Renu Singh. For the family of the senior vice-president of Tata Motors, A.P. Arya and Sneha Arya, it is an uncertain puja.

'Last-minute travel plans might pop up from somewhere. But, as of now, we will be going for the Nildih Durga puja celebrations,' said Sneha Arya.

B.L. Raina, the Tinplate Company chief, and his wife, Lata Raina, are also gearing up for the pujas. 'We go out for pandal-hopping but only in the evenings. This is a good time to meet up with friends, especially during open house on Bijoya,' Lata Raina said.

The Punwanis, fairly new entrants to the steel city, have no plans for puja this year.

'We have been mainly staying in Mumbai so we celebrate more of Ganesh Mahotsav than Durga puja,' said Desiree Punwani, wife of Nimo Punwani, CEO, Indian Steel and Wire Products.

Smita Parikh, director, Fortune Hotel Centre Point, has not only rolled out plans for Navratras she also plans to participate in them.

'This year, for the Navratras, it is just the two of us since my children have recently left for abroad. Like previous years, this year, too, we will participate in the garba and the dandiya-raas competition being held at the Gujarati Sanatan Samaj.

'I am fussy about eating food elsewhere but when it comes to the ashtami bhog, there is nothing that can stop me,' she said. For Rajan Kamani, however, things are different.

The Kamani family plans to keep the pujas a more family affair than go on a shopping spree. 'We are not too keen on puja shopping. But we will have Navratra celebrations. Children are rehearsing for the dandiya nights. All of us look forward to the 10 days, or rather the nights, because it adds up as a big social outing. Pandal-hopping will be mostly based on the reviews in the newspapers,' says Kamani senior. For the Eastern Travel chief, Darshan Taunk, too, it will be pujas at home this year.

'For Gujaratis, Navratras usher in loads of fun and socialising. We make it a point to go for the dandiyas,' Taunk said. It will be the Circuit House pandal for the top travel agent this year.

'It is not congested and, moreover, it has a personal touch to the whole thing. I rather prefer the idol and the puja than lavish pandals,' Taunk said.

Shifting focus to the corporate sector, it is just work with a bit of puja celebrations.

Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (Jusco) head, Sanjeev Paul has duty at hand and feels that puja pandals would be incidental.

'Life is normal but in the evenings I will have to go wherever my family takes me,' he said.

From saptami onwards, it is friends and relatives and loads of food and fun. The workload is not at its peak this season so it gives us a chance to spend time with the entire family. All of us go for the immersion. By evening there is an open house for Bijoya celebrations,' said Shubhra Mukherjee, wife of T. Mukherjee, deputy managing director (Steel), Tata Steel.

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