I used to wonder why a sprawling metropolis had to virtually shut down during this period. And ask: “Is it necessary'”
I used to shake my head in disapproval and say stupid things like, “Imagine… So many man-days lost… What a colossal waste… Don’t they care about productivity' It must cost the government a few crores at least…”
Today, I realise how foolish my old reservations were. Puja in Calcutta is a life-transforming ritual. It represents all that the Bengalis value and treasure — tradition, poetry, beauty, art, romance, music, dance, food, community… even competition. What is four days or even a week in the life of a people' Absolutely nothing, when you think of the limitless joy these days (and long nights) bring to so very many homes.
By the time we were ready to leave for Mumbai, I had seen and felt something powerful and extraordinary. I had absorbed it, internalised it and understood it. It no longer matters whether I can make it to Calcutta again during puja. For Durga is now with me… an integral part of my life. And I feel blessed and comforted by that knowledge.
For now, it is enough. It is enough.
The state and city police have decided to deploy plainclothesmen on city roads during the Pujas. Chayan Mukherjee, inspector-general, law and order, said close-circuit televisions will be installed at all prominent puja pandals in Calcutta, Howrah and the 24-Paraganas (North and South). A special control room will remain operational round-the-clock at Writers’ Buildings till Tuesday.