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Of prayers, feasts & adda

Jamshedpur, April 15: A visit to the temple in the morning, a sumptuous meal at home or at some restaurant in the afternoon, adda with relatives and friends in the evening and finally wrapping up with a party at night.

This is how a Bengali usually ushers in Nababarsha (New Year) and today was no different.

For most Bengalis in the city, Poila Baishak — the first day of the Bengali New Year — began with prayers. From early morning, devotees, especially women, lined up at Beldih Kalibari in Bistupur to seek the blessings of the goddess for an auspicious start of the year.

“What can be a better way to usher in Nababarsha than by taking the blessings of Kali. I have been offering prayers at this Kalibari on this day for the past 40 years. I prayed to the goddess to make this year more peaceful than the previous one,” said Anima Chatterjee, a homemaker.

Other temples of the city also witnessed a huge rush.

While the practice of cooking special Bengali delicacies at home is still followed by some families, many — especially the working couples — still prefer to dine out at restaurants to save time.

And restaurants take full care of their appetite, and taste too, by not only lining up a variety of dishes, but also trying to conjure up a homely ambience.

At Hotel Smita, diners gorged on delicacies such as sona moonger dal, kosha mangso, chicken kasha and machher kalia while the soulful strains of Rabindrasangeet played at the background.

“Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian, we have offered the best Bengali dishes. Non-vegetarian dishes are being preferred. The speciality this time is sona moonger dal, which we got from Calcutta.

Further, customers don’t have to pay taxes today,” said chef Haider of Hotel Smita.

While prayers and food set the mood of the celebrations, the show picked up pace in the evenings when along with adda sessions, many dropped in at the clubs to attend cultural programmes.

Banga Parishad, a cultural organisation, held a musical extravaganza at New Farm Area grounds in Kadma. Shohorey Baul, a Calcutta-based band, performed at the event, belting out popular songs such as Shadher lau. Indian Idol 4 contestant Rajdeep Chatterjee, who hails from the city, was felicitated at the programme. “They love such programmes. We had held shows during Durga Puja and the response was overwhelming,” said Swapan Das, a member of Banga Parishad.

Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan also organised a cultural programme at Aambagan School where Rabindrasangeet and Nazrul Geeti dominated the show.

However, the celebrations did not end today. Rather, it will continue till April 19 with many clubs lining up programmes during the weekend.

While the Bengal Club has scheduled a music and folk dance programme tomorrow, the United Club will celebrate Poila Baishak on April 19, which is a Sunday. The club has invited Bangla band Prithibi to perform at the event.

“We were not comfortable with organising events on weekdays as a lot of people do not have a holiday on Poila Baishak. So, we decided to hold the musical extravaganza on Sunday,” said S. Roy, the secretary of United Club.

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