The Saraswati idol at IC Block had a third eye this year, using which the organisers prayed she would “end the pandemic”! The puja, by IC Block Sporting Club, was in its 32nd year this time and was held at the block park.
“Saraswati has always been worshiped with grandeur in this block. Last year, our idol was 16ft tall. This year, due to Covid guidelines, we were given a cap of 14ft. However, the participation is much better than what it was last year. We are maintaining all the Covid protocols. The entire area is being sanitised multiple times,” said Bikash Kumar Singh, secretary of the IC Block Sporting Club.
The idol had a unique look, what with the third eye. “We wanted to do something different this year and conceptualised the idea of a Saraswati with a third eye, with which she would eradicate Covid,” said treasurer Gobinda Jana. “And what a coincidence! The government allowed high schools to reopen just a couple of days before the puja.”
This third eye, associated mostly with Lord Shiva, is supposed to emit flames that destroy the evil.
The organisers had asked their sculptor Tapan Mahkal if the suggestion was feasible. “Tapanda said that in Vishnu Purana, Saraswati is described to have a third eye. So that’s the avatar we worshiped this year.”
The puja was inaugurated by MLA and minister Sujit Bose along with the then ward coordinators Ranjan Poddar and Tulsi Sinha Roy, who have since become councillors.
The puja was followed by a community lunch, where food packets were distributed. Around 100 children from the block and surrounding blocks came to participate in a drawing competition, too, that was hosted in the afternoon.
“My daughter doesn’t like drawing much; she is here to play with her friends,” smiled mother of five-year-old Arpita Saha. The child preferred running happily, clad in a sari for the first time.
The club also organised a passing-the-ball competition and a phuchka-eating competition for the women in the evening.
he club also organised a passing-the-ball competition and a phuchka-eating competition for the ladies, which drew 80 participants. “This is an immensely popular contest and we frequently used to go over-budget paying for the never ending phuchkas the ladies gobbled up,” said Singh. The record in the block is 17 phuchkas in 10 seconds. “But that lady has left the block now, giving others a chance. This year they tweaked the format and recorded how fast ladies could down 10 phuchkas. Priyanka Sengupta took home the first prize by downing 10 phuchkas in a minute and four seconds. “They had several rules too,” she said. “We had to swallow all the water, we had to insert the entire phucka into our mouths at once…” said the lady who works in the ministry of defence. Ironically, she doesn’t like phuchkas. “But I’m quick so I won it.”