Friends share idol passion

Teens make Durga for their home pujas

By Farah Khatoon
  • Published 10.09.18
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Tanay Nag and (below) Subhrajyoti Das work on Durga idols at their homes. Pictures by Mayukh Sengupta

Nagerbazar: For friends Subhrajyoti Das and Tanay Nag, the run-up to Puja begins with shopping - not for the latest trends in menswear, but clay for making the Durga idols for the pujas at their north Calcutta homes.

Idol-making is a passion for the duo in an age of technology when kids grow up with a fascination for all things virtual.

Tanay, 17, started making idols when he was in Class II. He would take soil from flowering pots and model it into miniature idols at his home in Nagerbazar.

Subhrajyoti's first attempt at idol-making was with paper mache. "We used to attend painting classes, where we drew Durga on paper. That gave us the idea of creating 3D Durgas. We would make palm-sized doll-like figures. As we grew up, the idols too grew in size," said the 18-year-old.

Both boys are now in college but academic pressure hasn't stopped them from making idols. "Making Durga idols is an integral part of our lives. To think of giving it up because of academic pressure pains us," Tanay said.

When Subhrajyoti got admitted to Haldia Institute of Technology to study chemical engineering, the first thing that crossed his mind is whether he would be able to make the thakur for his barir pujo.

Tanay assured him that they would be able to carry on. "We started early so that we would be able to finish on time. We have managed it very well before, in between school and tuition. I used to work on the idol at night and sleep around 2am. Weekends would mean more time," the student of City College said.

The two former students of Dum Dum Kishore Bharati High School have always bonded over idol-making. "As soon as one Durga Puja ended, we would start planning for the next one," Tanay said.

With each other for company, the duo upgraded their idol-making skills by keenly observing idol-makers. "We would spend hours watching how they gave perfect shape to the idols and learned the technique of making the clay smooth. We now buy clay from them and make our ekchala Durga, which is around 5ft high," said Subhrajyoti, whose family home is in the Dum Dum Cantonment area.

The boys also make sure their idols look different. "Tanay's Durga is in sanatani (traditional) style, mine is inspired by Sovabazar Rajbari and has banspata eyes. I paint the idol yellow and Tanay's is in skin colour," said Subhrajyoti, who comes home on weekends to work on the idol.

The duo are now gearing up for a visit to Kumartuli to shop for the goddess's jewellery and clothes. "I go to Kumartuli every year with Tanay and his family to buy clothes and jewellery for our thakur," Subhrajyoti said.