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True spirit shines through on stage of triumph

Award-winners were taking the CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja stage for their efforts to make Durga puja safer and happier when a young man, after accepting a Three Star prize, wanted to speak.

Sanjib Sarkar had come from Sonarpur with an appeal. His club Rajpur MN Roy Road Nabarun Sangha works to spread awareness about organ donation.

“Through the year, we had managed 211 signatures. But at our camp over the four Puja days, as many as 477 people pledged to donate their eyes. Why don’t all of us unite for this cause?” he urged fellow puja organisers.

The GD Birla Sabhagar auditorium broke into applause. Yet another True Spirit moment in a six-year journey.

A journey that had started with 80 pujas in 2003 saw 260 pujas coming forward in 2008. “It is heartening to see such standards of civic and humanitarian consciousness becoming ingrained in people through this movement,” said Probir K. Bose, the vice-president of customer relations at CESC.

Tridhara Sammilani, that was crowned True Spririt Model Puja

A movement in which size does not matter. If a team of 12 from Manicktalla Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durgapuja Committee with a budget of Rs 10 lakh made it to the stage to collect a cheque for Rs 25,000 as a Five Star puja, so did three teenagers in school uniform. “We save money from our tiffin allowance and organise a puja in our school,” the members of Interact Club of Chowringhee High School chorused, clutching on to the Two Star certificate. Their budget: a princely Rs 50,000.

“When we do duty on Puja nights, the joy on the faces of thousands gives us satisfaction. It is up to you to make their experience safer and more comfortable. Kudos to the organisers of the Award for giving you the encouragement to do so,” said police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti, the guest of honour on Saturday.

( From left)Top cop Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti, Probir K. Bose of CESC and US consul-general Beth A. Payne on the GD Birla Sabhagar stage on Saturday evening. Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta

The guitar strummed alongside the True Spirit dhaak beats as Anjan Dutt performed Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain, which thrilled US consul-general Beth A. Payne, a True Spirit judge.

The evening was also about the baton being shared by generations. If Tridhara Sammilani had representatives of three generations taking the stage for the Model Puja crown and a cheque for Rs 50,000, Anjan Dutt sung alongside son Neel. And a little boy kept pace on the bongo with father Prateek Choudhury’s songs. He was Deepraj, all of six years old, on his first True Spirit evening duty.

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