This Puja gives wings to the creativity of 30 children, who live in a housing estate on Budge Budge Road in west Kolkata.
Anoushka Sen, Class IX student of National Gems Higher Secondary School, is engrossed in patachitra painting. So is Sisriksha Kundu, Class VII student of United Missionary Girls High School, and many more like her.
The children live in SM Nagar Government Housing Estate and are having a gala time. They are not only learning a new art form, but also applying it in their housing’s Durga Puja pandal.
“Since children are not going to school now, we thought of engaging them in some creative work. We’re organising a theme Puja this year, and have given major responsibilities to the children,” said Aniruddha Sarkar, joint secretary of the 43-year-old Puja.
The theme is Amader Hate Dashabhuja and the youngsters created patachitras on cartons and boxes to depict it.
“We attended a four-day workshop on patachitra, conducted by artists Priyanka Jana and Putul Chitrakar. Patience and detailing are important in this art form,” said Shivangi Roy, Class VII student of Vidya Bharati Girls’ High School.
Since delivery boxes are crucial, The BSS School student Procheta Ray has been collecting them for the past two months. And so did her friends.
“Since e-commerce got a boost during the pandemic, we thought of utilising the delivery boxes for the pandal,” said Sarkar.
The theme is painted on these boxes. “We all are living a life in boxes. Our home, office, school, college, friends’ places, shopping malls, restaurants — everything can be imagined as boxes,” said Jana. The kids are painting various things associated with the Puja or traditional Bengali life such as Maa Durga, Mahishasur, lion, owl, kashful, palki, sanai and many more on the boxes.
Parthib Mukhopadhyay, Class IX student of Children’s Foundation School, said: “Once I learnt the art form, I fell in love with it. I had never imagined that my artworks would be displayed in a pandal,” he said.
Puja might be associated with offering pushpanjali, distributing prasad among the neighbours and jostling in an evening crowd. But for Shreyas Basu, this time, it was different. “Our excitement began from the day we attended the patachitra workshop,” said the Class IX student of Narayana School.