Juniors usher in festivities in style

50 pujas fought for six awards in TTIS Chhoto Chokhe Boro Pujo 2018

By Farah Khatoon, Jisha Sarkar, Vinita Tiwari, Digangana Das and Arundhati Bhattacharya in Calcutta
  • Published 15.10.18, 2:18 AM
  • Updated 15.10.18, 10:52 AM
  • 5 mins read
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Jodhpur Park 95 pally Pictures by Arnab Mondal, Shuvo Roychaudhury, Koushik Saha, Gopal Senapati and Biswajit Kundu

Forty schoolchildren went pandal-hopping across the city on Panchami as 50 pujas fought for six awards in TTIS Chhoto Chokhe Boro Pujo 2018, presented by Subhas Bose Institute of Hotel Management, in association with Kishore Kumar Junior.

Tangra-FD Block

From science to science fiction and from myths to current affairs, this route had it all.

Tangra Gholpara Sarbojanin Durgotsav portrayed the plight of farmers with its pandal themed on the poignant story of Madhya Pradesh’s Sardar Barela who had to make his two daughters plough his land. The 54ft pandal made of sticks housed Durga in the Shakambari form, bearing a plough apart from her regular weapons.

Beliaghata 33 No. Palli Bashi Brinda impressed with its use of geometric tools. Themed Ishaan Kone Ishaani, the 13ft matte gold Durga adorned in copper-wire jewellery was striking. They also got full marks for their robust fire-safety system, child care unit and medical room.

“I loved Beliaghata 33 No. Palli Bashi Brinda’s concept,” said Rittika Sen, Class IX, Pratt Memorial School.

The Mitali (Kankurgachi) pandal was decorated with recycled products such as plastic water containers and paint cans. The idol was traditional.

To show how the Internet has trapped us, Ultadanga Sangrami’s decoration included nets, leafless trees and figures of chained men. The idols, too, were placed inside circles.

Ultadanga Pallyshree talked about Antaheen Pran (Universal Energy). It depicted the episode of Krishna’s ashes reincarnating into Jagannath. A cute Bal Krishna with a flute in hand ushered visitors in to the stunning 20ft jet-black idol.

From mythology, we took a leap back to the era of dinosaurs at FD Block Sarbojanin Puja Committee. As many as 16 dinosaur models wowed with their movement and sound effects. The idol was traditional.

“This event, in which children judge pandals, is unique,” said Rajib Sen, the chairman of Subhash Bose Institute of Hotel Management.

Tala-Hatibagan

The pujas on this route had some very offbeat themes.

Tala Barowari Durgotsab Samity represented Ma Mane Manchitro (Mother Means Map). With a replica of the Venus of Willendorf at the entrance, the pandal went through the stages of a mother’s life, into which were woven an individual’s journey.

Building on a coal field, the Talapark Prattoy pandal had iron turbines made with degradable plastic and dozens of old shovels that dig into life, through the mind, to find the Goddess Mother. In a secluded spot at the centre reigned the supreme Shakti. A spinal cord acted as a metaphor for the prime force in nature.

At Nalin Sarkar Street Sarbojanin Durgotsab, the subconscious evolved into the conscious as one emerged from the dark depths of despair into the light of happiness. Building on Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, the pandal sent the message to wait when times break you down and count the hours till the right one arrives.

From Dali’s surrealism, we went on a journey to our past at the Kashi Bose Lane Durga Puja Committee pandal. Wooden doors were frayed at the edges and grilled windows had the paint peeling off; the balconies were draped in cotton saris and the whiff of a forgotten heritage hung heavy on the chequered floors.

Trishika Lachwani of Class X, La Martiniere for Girls, said: “I did not know that the pandals of north Calcutta are so pretty. I want to visit these again with my parents.”

Maniktala area

This route took one on a walk down memory lane.

Gouriberia Sarbajanin Durgotsab-o-Pradarshani recreated an old and decrepit theatre, with a ticket counter, a dressing room, a seating space and a wooden armchair and hookah. A half-formed statue, in the shape of a human, made up of nails, stood at the entrance, reminding everyone of the theatre world’s lost glory. The idol of the deity was set against a comma-shaped frame, embellished with bundled-up scripts.

Ishika Singh, Class X, Mahavir Institute of Education and Research, found the idol innovative.

Telengabagan Sarbojonin Durgotsav Committee revived the memories of freedom fighters with the theme Alor Pothojatri. Grim gallows and shackled bronze figurines made up the decoration. The idol was the only dash of colour against a monochrome background.

Lalabagan Nabankur, in its 59th year, came up with an eco-friendly theme Plasticasurmardini (Slayer of the Plastic Demon). They showed through the intricate artwork how aquatic life is being destroyed by plastic. Buddhism and the art of Bengal were fused in the second section with a Buddhist prayer wheel adorned with patachitra (from Pingla) conveying Durga’s Dashamahavidya images. The eco-friendly puja stressed on the use of recyclable objects.

The 76-year-old Manicktala Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durgapuja Committee paid tribute to Bengal’s Bard by invoking a culture reminiscent of Tagore. Replicas of his works adorned the pandal and a statue of the poet awaited visitors.

Alipore-Rashbehari crossing area

The eternal Mother seemed to be the common string binding pujas on this route.

With its Maa Esheche Matir Ghore theme, Suruchi Sangha tried to take GenNext closer to nature with its eco-friendly and organic pandal. The pandal was made out of soil collected from various districts of Bengal and the Siwalik Hills. The message: preserving the soil will increase the longevity of human lives.

Chetla Agrani’s theme was Bishorjon. The black stone idol depicted the fact that Ma Durga takes all our evils and shows us light. The evolution of life was the essence of the theme. Particularly stunning was the Sheesh Mahal. “With a unique theme and decoration, Chetla was royal,” said Adiptya Ghosh, Class IX, Delhi Public School, Howrah.

Maatir Taane was the theme at Shibmandir Sarbojanin Durgotsab Samiti. Brain drain from Bengal is a major problem for lost relationships and broken households today — this is what the organisers have tried to highlight. The pandal was made out of waste.

66 Pally focused on Bengal’s taant. The idol was seated on a swing, depicting the way in which festivals were celebrated in the olden times, with the young members of a family seated around the grandparents on the front porch.

The Shob Choritro Kalponik theme of Badamtala Ashar Sangha highlighted two very pertinent causes: women’s empowerment and feminism. The idol, standing for peace and non-violence, had no weapons. The background score was that of a mother reciting how she would ideally bring up her daughter.

Mudiali Club’s theme was Maayer Aanchol. The organisers tried to show a mother’s fierce sense of protectiveness towards her children. The idol was seated on a chariot detailed intricately out of foam.


Dhakuria-Garia

An eclectic mix of themes marked this route.

Banglar Matite Surer Oikataan was the theme of Babubagan Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee. The pandal focused on the terracotta art of Bishnupur. Huge terracotta horses welcomed visitors and a natmandir decorated with musical instruments led to the terracotta deities.

Jodhpur Park 95 Pally Sarbojanin Durgotsab was celebrating the supreme power that binds everything with the theme Maayar Bandhon. Beehives fashioned out of dried cow dung cakes hung in the pandal, depicting the worldly attachments of humans. The idol was woven out of straw and the face drawn on paper pulp.

Selimpur Palli Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee carved miniature houses out of pine wood, signifying the memories of mortal life. The lifecycle and the thousands of memories attached to it were the focus of its theme of Jonmantor. “Memories portrayed through houses is an interesting concept,” said Abheri Banerjee, Class VII, Modern High School for Girls.

The theme of Santoshpur Trikon Park Sarbojanin Durgotsab Puja Committee, Firey Dekha, promoted the folk art of leather puppets and paintings of Andhra Pradesh. Figures from Ramayan were painted on transparent leather.

Naktala Udayan Sangha focused on time and its power. The sound of a clock ticking away filled up the pandal, reminding that time stops for none. The life-size idols with masked faces denoted the drama of life where everyone is an actor.

Garia Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee (Naba Durga) decorated its pandal with tribal figures.

Best Pujo

  • Winner: Shibmandir Sarbojanin Durgotsab Samiti
  • 1st runner-up: Manicktala Chaltabagan Lohapatty
  • 2nd runner-up: Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha

Kishor Kumar Junior Best Idea

  • Badamtala Ashar Sangha
  • Snow Park Best Innovation
  • Samaj Sebi Sangha

SBIHM Judges’ Choice

  • Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra