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Durga Puja 2022

Three pujas from Salt Lake, New Town take part in Red Road carnival

It was the highest ever number from the twin townships. Author writes on their experience

Sudeshna Banerjee | Published 14.10.22, 01:30 PM
FD Block.

FD Block.

The Telegraph

AK Block

Participation for: 4th time

The experience: When it comes to the journey to Red Road, AK Block surely left no stone unturned to make the Devi’s ride to the river smooth. “We went for two recces — one around 1pm the day before and another around 7pm in the evening. We needed to decide on the route with the least obstruction and took the trailer trolley driver and a long stick along. The height of the idol on the trailer had been measured, so we knew what height we needed to clear. We tried out three routes and by the time we returned around 10pm on Friday, we knew what route to take,” recalled block resident Pradip Banik, who was also in charge of the pandal.

The idol left the block around 9am. “We took the route via Park Circus, guided by a police escort. We did not even have to stop at any signal. So many people took pictures or did namaskar,” said block resident Shraman Chattopadhyay. With him were a few teenagers, like Samrat Haldar, who, being lightweight, could climb up the idol’s kathamo and clear any obstruction. “The overhead wires were maximum in Salt Lake. The block has given us white punjabi and red pajama,” beamed 19-year-old Samrat, who also controlled the crowd at the pandal on all four Puja nights. The block was placed 30th in the queue.

AK Block.

AK Block.

The Telegraph

The one big disappointment for the block was a blooper at the carnival. The block’s audio track of a child’s lament about the pressures of education was not played when the group reached the chief minister’s pavilion. “Our block children who were waiting since 9am in uniform to perform to the track were left majorly upset. The announcer went on to name the next puja in the queue as we simply stood there,” said Banik.

FD Block

Participation for: 5th time

The experience: The idol was taken around the block the evening before and hoisted on the trolley. “We started for Red Road around 1am. It took us about three and half hours to negotiate the obstructions and reach. Our trailer is huge so it takes a lot of time to take a turn,” said Ashish Saha, a Nager Bazar resident who handles electricity connection at the community centre during events. He returned home at dawn and was back on Red Road by 10am to execute some last-minute decorations.

Residents started from the block in two small buses and reached by 3.30pm. “Our tableau’s number in the queue was 28. So we knew there was no point going earlier. We got off near Victoria Memorial and walked the rest of the way,” said block resident Riddhi Mitra. “Once our procession started, one of us, Porishee Chakraborty, was so excited that the Class VIII girl danced all the way to the beat of the dhakis,” she added.

They were accompanied by a group of tribal dancers as that went with the theme of Puja happening in a tribal village. “The chief minister saw them and walked down from the pavilion along with her celebrity guests. She also caressed a child who was with us. After our dance item, we all raised our hands and chanted Ma Durga’s name,” said Riddhi, who was attending the carnival for the second time.

The arrangements at the ghat were effective and those like Saha who proceeded for the immersion could be back home by 10.30pm.

New Town Sarbojanin

Participation for: 1st time

The experience: The first community puja not restricted to any block or housing complex in New Town savoured the call-up to the carnival on its puja debut. “We got to know about our selection on Saptami and started planning since then. The women dhakis who were playing at the puja were booked for the carnival and dhamsa-madol players were contacted as well. Our members prepared puja-related slogans on hand-held posters,” said puja president Urmila Sen.

The New Town Sarbojanin puja idol being ferried to the parade.

The New Town Sarbojanin puja idol being ferried to the parade.

Picture courtesy Nairit Dutta Gupta

Lack of prior experience cost the organisers on the route. “We faced obstructions right from our parking lot. The decorations began to disintegrate as soon as the trolley started. It took us half an hour to hit the Major Arterial Road. There were obstructions on the way near the Wipro bridge in Sector V, near Chingrihata and in Kankurgachhi. Our idol got stuck at the Kankurgachhi underpass,” recalls secretary Samaresh Das.

Finally the chalchitra had to be cut with a saw for them to be able to pass through. “It broke our hearts but the decorator’s men who were with us nailed it all back before the procession started,” Sen added.

The AK Block idol travels along AJC Bose Road.

The AK Block idol travels along AJC Bose Road.

Picture by Shraman Chattopadhyay

All the participants had gamchha slung over the shoulder and tied round the waist as part of a traditional Bengali dress code to suit the theme of Bangajanani. “Initially we were at number 42 in the queue but some pujas must have been disqualified for we found ourselves at number 38 when we started moving at 5.45pm,” Sen said.

NKDA chairman Debashis Sen, Urmila Sen’s husband, got off the viewers’ pavilion and joined the procession on foot just before it reached the chief minister.

A group of professional dancers performed to the puja’s theme song Daak dilo akhanda New Town, written and composed by New Town residents Nilin Gangopadhyay and Ashu Chakraborty, and sung by Iman Chakraborty.


Last updated on 14.10.22, 01:30 PM

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