“Didi I am coming home this Durga Puja! Ami Bari ashchi…….” The words were loud and clear though it came from thousands of miles away. My heart skipped a beat ‘ Bhai’ is coming home this pujo, my little brother my heart and soul , my partner in crime…My Brother. A tear or two tickled down my chin, emotion is a strange thing !
Durga Puja , the time when Maa Durga comes home from Mount Kailash. It’s the biggest festival for Bengalis , it’s the time for ‘ ghorey fera’, when Bengalis from all around the world try to return to their roots to soak in the festive flavours.
My brother , is no exception, but he came back after five years. It had been five years since I have last seen him, my brother, my little brother. This constant surge of weakening emotions tells me that I am getting old . In my days of constant struggle , he was there beside me, fighting for me , helping me to hold onto myself. The day I had my nervous breakdown, the saw helplessness in his eyes, that gave me the strength to face life. It has been a long struggle but life is beautiful.
My brother is a character by himself, flamboyant , good looking , full of life and fiercely protective about me, I remember how he kicked a boy who tried to apply colour on me during holi, those bygone days! Now he is all grown up, working overseas for a multinational company. But to me he is still that little brother.
Pujo in Kolkata is always a spectacle, even our sleepy neighborhood is bathed in the festive luminosity and the air is rendered with the sound of the dhaak. It’s an annual ritual to wake up with the sacred sounds of ‘ mantra’ being played over the loudspeaker. Though the flavour has diluted but still pujo means pujo.
Bhai was to land on saptami evening so I decided to go to recieve him at the airport. I decided to wear a cotton parrot green kurta and a pair of indigo Palazzo. For me pujo days is all about going back to our roots thus I prefer ethinic for the puja days.
And then I saw him my brother , how he has grown and he has looking exceedingly handsome. Fights, Bhaiphota, stealing toffees, playing hide and sick, praying for his good results, holding to him when I stood in the court , visualising my life getting shattered, memories flooded. I really missed him.
Then the journey back home. The serpentine flyovers did surprise him ‘ Didi ekhano toh sei concrete jungle, Kolkata toh r kollolini nei’ , I smiled. But the first sight of the pandal the first sound of the dhaak brought out the child in him. Reaching home he just wanted to spent time with maa and me. This Saptami was all about homecoming.
” Didi today I will also be dressed in black and grey like you”, I was stunned that he remembered. Ashtami is the day of ‘ Anjali’. Ladies are decked up in sarees and they offer their prayers to the mother Goddess. But I have always loved to be an iconoclast , so I always prefer black for the auspicious day. So I decked up in a tie and dye saree in black & grey and paired it with a shirt. Bhai twinned with me in a grey long kurta. It was a day to walk down the memory lane. Revisiting the old dilapidated home near our maternal grandmother parents’ house. Every inch of that house echoes stories of our growing up years.
Suddenly Bhai pointed out at the roof of the house ” Look didi, Haran Da is flying the kite”. Suddenly it seemed like yesterday once more. Haran is an old resident of this house, he is in his seventies now but still flies the kite on Ashtami. Really Durga is all about nostalgia and stories.
During our childhood we were inseparable during pujo but growing up meant we had our set of friends . Bhai preferred staying back mingling with his childhood peers while I made my way for a quaint date with ‘ him’. I always loved the special weaves which shows the craftsmanship of our weavers, so for my special day I choose a ‘ nakshi kantha ‘ saree, coupled with a neckpiece in hues of gold and silver. It was indeed a special day.
Maa is all set to go back , and we on earth are ready to bid her goodbye with a heavy heart. Bhai wanted to make it special, ” I don’t know when again I can come back and witness all this”. He insisted that I wear a saree like our grandmother used to wear and he was all set to wear a dhoti. It was sheer madness! But somehow I complied.
Decked up in a flaming orange red gicha, I looked like my mother. Dhai looked demure in a white dhoti and a nehru jacket . Walking by the Princep ghat, we did manage some moments captured. ” Didi you look like maa “.
Durga Puja is all about memories, moments that are written down in the book of memories in golden letters. There are some many stories surrounding one of the biggest festivals of the world.
Life is all about the ebb and flow and for these four days we just forget our worries, our sadness, we just let ourself be lost in the whirlwind of celebration. And at the end ever year it’s the same words we say
” Ashchey Bochor Abaar Esho Maa”
Dress and Jewellery by Nakshi Creations
Concept by me
Aritra Goswami as my brother
Moments beautifully captured by Saurabh Dasgupta
#pujo #durga #saree #ethnic #celebration #kolkata #india