The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puja twist to four-day holiday plans

Ranchi, Oct. 7: The homecoming of the goddess also signifies homecoming for her disciples, but for every individual the meaning of home holds a different meaning. Some gladly give their homes a miss during Puja to get the ideal vacation or the extra moolah.

Jishnu Chandra, a student of metallurgical engineering of Benaras Hindu University, returned to the capital at the first chance he received, because he wished to be near his dear ones in this festive time. “It’s the time when I can stay at home and get to meet school friends,” he said.

Deepak Banerjee, on the other hand, has been calling Ranchi his home for quite some time now, but rushes to Bengal during the Puja.

“I always travel to my village in Purulia of Bengal. I have never missed a Puja there. It is a different feeling of togetherness, which I feel there. My wife and son also shares this feeling,” Banerjee said.

B.K. Ghosh’s plan for the festive days is different. Instead of visiting his hometown, he would be vacationing in north India and avoiding the rush in Bengal, especially in Calcutta. On his trip map figures Delhi, Shimla and Haridwar.

“We have been planning a trip for a long time now, but plans didn’t materialise, as my two children and their studies were more important. This time when opportunity knocked, we found a convenient time and gave Bengal a miss,” he said. Whatever he might be missing in Bengal he plans to make it up in Delhi or, better still, in Shimla.

Contrary to Ghosh, Chandra and Banerjee, there are people who come to the city with the express purpose of earning a few extra bucks, gladly giving their homes a miss.

The priests, dhakis and idol makers fall in this list. For them Durga Puja means a scope to earn something extra that the state offers.

“We have been coming to Ranchi during the Pujas for the past few years. We play dhak at three puja pandals here,” said Ajit Bag, a resident of Majhdiha village of Bankura (Bengal).

Not that Ranchi is a more lucrative place economically, but the people are better, he says.

“Our group comprising four musicians get Rs 4,000-5,000 in a pandal, but tips are better here. It is comforting to come to a place where we know the people and know them to be good.”

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