The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Devi homoeo home eyes Guinness gloss
- ‘SHEER NUMBERS’ add to fame claim

Earthen cups or soap bars couldn’t do it, but tiny homoeopathy medicine bottles and their corks seem to have done the trick. Thanks to the idea of using homoeopathy bottles — over 620,000 of them —for their pandal, 41 Pally Club Sarbojanin Durgotsav may find pride of place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Representatives from Guinness have already made a couple of visits to the pandal in Haridevpur to check out whether the south Calcutta puja can make it to the prestige pages.

“First, they came on Saturday and inquired about the pandal. Before leaving, they said a team from Delhi would follow. At around 2 am today, three gentlemen came to our pandal and extensively filmed it from various angles for over one-and-a-half hours,” said club secretary Deepankar Chatterjee on Monday.

The Guinness team quizzed the organisers on how the idea of using homoeopathic bottles for the pandal struck them, who gave it shape, how long it took, etc. “They were very keen to know the percentage of waste. We told them the wastage rate was below 10 per cent, which they appreciated,” added Chatterjee.

Before leaving the pandal, the team-leader informed the anxious club members that their puja was being considered in the “numbers” category. “We wanted to know their names and contact details, but they declined to give us all that. They just told us that we would be notified within 15 days,” said Chatterjee.

The Guinness officials couldn’t be reached for their comments on why they selected 41 Pally and by what yardstick.

Sheer numbers and the unique idea behind the pandal — with plywood being used as a super-structure and multi-coloured tiny homoeopathy bottles, priced around 22 paise each, dotting it in various shapes and sizes — must have done the trick, feel the organisers, known for experimenting with their pandals. From depicting the Kandahar hijack drama to recreating Vidyasagar’s Birsingha village, theme plays a vital role in this 46-year-old puja.

“We didn’t inform them, they came on their own. Now, whether we can finally make it or not, we are happy that our effort has been recognised. There is a difference between puja prizes and recognition from Guinness,” smiled Chatterjee.

Conceived by art director Arun Saha, the pandal was decorated with glasswork — based on Indian mythology — by 25 under-privileged children, all in the age group of 14 to 22, who take free art classes from Saha at Chitranga, an art school run by the club.

“For over three-and-a-half months, the students worked day and night to create this marvel. It feels good when we see people appreciating the idea and its implementation,” added Chatterjee, hoping that the use of homoeopathy bottles would give a fresh fillip to this alternate form of medical science.

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