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Since 1st March, 1999
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Cool adda over puja ardour

Cool adda over puja ardour

For many youngsters, the dandiya floor was the preferred destination during festive days. Picture by Pradip SanyalA student peace initiative PeaceWorks put up Peacewards on September 29 at Gyan Manch. The show, based on monologues by Manjula Padmanabhan and other writings, was directed by Jayant Kripalani. The proceeds were handed over to The Telegraph Education Foundation. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

To many, Durga Puja 2003 appeared to be the smoothest in recent memory. Traffic was flowing through the day, with only the most popular destinations hard to reach at night. And while full credit goes to the police for making mobility possible, this could also be an indication of dwindling crowds. Where have all the pandal-hoppers gone' Have they been lured away by exotic holiday destinations' Have they decided that four days of fun are better spent closer to home' A conclusive explanation cannot be reached, what students think is equally divided. Here was what Young Metro readers had to say when Time to Talk asked if the new trend was to pass up pandal-hopping in favour of indoor adda. Here are the final letters…

lDurga puja is the only festival that sets off a spark in young hearts. People from all over the world drift back to Calcutta to soak up the essence of the Pujas. But unfortunately, indoor adda seems to be preferred nowadays to pandal-hopping. The Pujas are a time for unity. Through the year, the spirit of oneness is missing, with everyone’s busy schedules keeping people apart. So the Pujas are often also the only time to have a chat with family.

Tanmoy Das Lala

lRoads blocked with crowds, traffic disorder and contaminated food are a few of the hazards seen during Durga puja. Most Calcuttans are sick and tired of lining up overnight for the sake of a glimpse of a pandal. The celebration of Durga puja cannot be confined to worshipping the Devi. It is also a festival brightening our lives. The young prefer indoor adda to pandal-hopping to reunite with old friends and relatives. This is in line with the spirit of the Pujas, which is to bring everyone happiness and love.

Sharmistha Dan,

Class XII, Shri Shikshayatan School

lModern existence is a daily repetition of meaningless acts. The Pujas are the only time when generally busy people can take time out, breaking the daily routine. So it is no surprise that some would quit pandal-hopping and sit back at home to relax and just hang around. Bengalis have always held adda in high esteem and it is an integral part of life. Gone are the days when the best pandals were the centre of attention and standing in long queues for a glimpse of the monument was enough. Now one can switch on the TV and channels will be beaming live the pujas into our homes.

Pravati Maulik Gupta,

IIIrd year, Shri Shikshayatan College

lWhy should we all feel compelled to do the rounds of the “happening” Pujas' There is often pressure from family and friends to spend all day and night roaming around the city. Why not use the time to reconnect at a personal level instead' The Pujas have largely become a commercial exercise which benefits a handful of people with no respect for the problems of others. How is viewing a pandal made of soap an expression of devotion' Isn’t it better to put an end to the hypocrisy by staying away'

Tanushree Mukherjee


United for peace

Two projects were taken up last week by the Interact clubs of Apeejay School and South Point, with a common theme of ‘Students Against Violence’. Apeejay School, which had taken the responsibility to give a new look to the tablet of Henry Vivian Derozio, inaugurated the tomb with a street play. This also marked an attempt to revive the Footpath Festival, pioneered by Badal Sircar’s group.

The Interactors from South Point organised the annual International Understanding project, Vibhinn IV. Both were designed and directed by Parnab Mukherjee, dedicated to the 70th birth anniversary of veteran Bengali actor Ajitesh Bandopadhyay and the birth centenary of Pablo Neruda.

At Vibhinn, held at Sunny Park, Parnab performed Tagore’s Muktadhara and Raktakarabi, supported by a presentation designed to help students explore the possibilities of international understanding. From Adolf Hitler to Walt Disney, Bob Dylan to Pablo Picasso, Sting to Mallika Sarabhai, the presentation touched on people and events that led to revolutionary movements.

At the Park Street cemetery on Tuesday, the students of Apeejay School along with their director, armed with guitars and drums, performed Just Look at Me… Keep Looking, a play reflecting the communal disturbances in Gujarat and appealing to the audience present — which mainly consisted of street children and passers-by — to maintain harmony, taking an example from the life of Henry Vivian Derozio. It also called into question the existence of the two parts of Park Street, one dotted with street-dwellers, the other with high-class hangouts.

— Sangeet Shirodkar,

Class XI, Apeejay School


Festive blast

Utsav ’03, a dandiya organised by the youth of Disha Creation, was held at The Park Sangam Hall. It started off on Saptami, with an aarti before the Devi. For three festive days, on October 2, 3 and 4, revellers of all ages had a blast, with prizes designed to encourage traditional dandiya and garba styles, including best kid dancer, best couple on the floor, best garba dancer, best traditional dress. A live band kept the dancers on their feet, sticks firmly in hand. A guest star, in the form of Shaina of Kahin Kissi Roz fame, otherwise known as Mouli Ganguly, added a touch of glam to the event.

— Harsh Vardhan Sonthalia,

St Xavier’s College


Golden oldies

Before taking a puja break, students of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy spent a day on campus with senior citizens from Tollygunge associated with HelpAge India. As part of the annual event, the students handed over gifts and diyas, after which the junior section put up a show, including dances and a play on the evolution of the Durga myth. Arm-bands with the words ‘I respect your security with dignity’ were given to the guests, as well as to the students to pass on to their own grandparents.

— Nihar Jain,

Class IX, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy


Welcome beat

To welcome the new batch of students at Asutosh College, on September 21, the student’s union of the college had a bash. Held at Nazrul Mancha, the event started at around 10 am with the principal and senior students saying a few words, followed by an antakshari. Then, Bangla rock band Fossils took the stage for a gig.

— Asif Salam,

Ist year, Asutosh College


Testing time

A new test preparation institute has opened its doors to aid students who wish to study in the US. Vaidik, in New Alipore, provides coaching in the SAT I and SAT II, with courses designed by academicians in the US.

Promising the latest tests and preparation materials incorporating the smallest changes in the SAT testing format, guidance is provided for TOEFL as well. The faculty also helps out with writing applications and selecting the most appropriate colleges.

nOrient Longman recently launched the revised edition of Modern School Arithmetic. The evening, attended mainly by mathematics teachers, featured a discussion on how students dreaded maths from the primary level and the ways in which “maths phobia” could be combated. How students can be taught to enjoy the subject and not dread it was the main topic of discussion amongst science educators.

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