Kakoli Saha, DL Block
The annual ritual of making the Anandanaru is something that we, the women of DL Block, have always looked forward to.
Around 40-50 women of all ages used to gather at our community centre to make naru together since the first year when our puja started. The process began on Tritiya and continued right through Panchami. We bought 30-35 coconuts and sat together to peel and grate them. Then jaggery and ghee were used make Anandanaru. We did not make the chini naru which is usually white. We also made chhancher sandesh with coconut and khoya kheer.
But last year we had to break with tradition for the sake of health. So, we made Anandanaru at home and brought them to the puja mandap in containers on Chaturthi. That way we could both stay safe and offer naru to the goddess.
This year too we are continuing with this safety measure, though we all miss the community vibes that come with this naru utsab. Hopefully, if the situation improves we can get back to making naru together.
Usually community lunch is a huge affair in the block. Everyone comes down to sit and enjoy a meal together. Most women refuse to cook at home during the Pujas. But that didn’t happen last year. Even though each one of us missed the gathering, we realised that the person who suffered the maximum losses was our caterer.
Since that was the first year of the pandemic, he had not had any orders from outside either for the rest of the year. He had incurred heavy financial losses. So, all the members agreed to allow him to set up a food stall in the compound, free of charge. He sold lunch packets, snacks, tea, coffee and soft drinks. We did not seek any share of his profit, considering the situation he was in.
The caterer will also set up his food stall this year. People can buy food. No coupons are allowed. This is an endeavour to help the man who has been a loyal supporter of all our functions.