The preparation of Durga puja is on full swing at the moment, and the count-down has begun, as the city of Joy- Kolkata is being decked up like a bride, mother of all Calcuttains is coming to visit them for five days.
But for most Bengali’s who are sitting miles away from these frienzied arrangements, this time of the year brings back to them feelings of nostalgia, and one such Bengali is Pritam Chakraborty, more known as “Pritam” who has won the coveted ‘Filmfare’ award innumerable times and is also an ace instrumentalist.
In a conversation with India-Aware, Pritam spoke to this correspondent about his plans for this year’s Durga Pujo, his childhood days, and his memory of Kolkata’s pujo.
My Durga puja will start from Mahalaya. That means my vacation is knocking at the door.
In my childhood when I used to return home from school, I used to observe the construction of the pandals. I loved to see that most because it seemed to have a life of its own. Before the pujo new dresses came from relatives and we made plans to wear them. Which dress to wear on which pujo day used to keep me busy, that was my main planning.
My native place is Kolkata, Entally’s Gope Lane. The Pujo here was a grand celebration.
Many people came from the neighbouring area to participate in our pujo.
It was a carnival like environment back then. Various kind of stall used to be constructed and these stalls used to sell foods like—‘Jhal Muri’, ‘Pani Puri’, ‘Shon Papri’ etc.
I remember an old man with a metal box, who used to sit near the pandal, and the box used to be filled with Shon Papri. I used to eat them with a gust. How much I gobbled papri, I really didn’t know.
For now I don’t have any upcoming pujo plans. I have not gone to Kolkata during the pujo for the last 15 years.
But have visited the place as a judge of a ‘Dhaki Competition’ only for one day. I left Kolkata 25 years ago, now Mumbai’s Pujo is my Pujo.
Where I stay, Bangurnagar, there is a Kali Temple where Pujo is organised.
Besides this, I spend my Pujo at Mukherjee Villa. This year on Ashtami, I have a programme over there and will take ‘Mayer Bhog’ as Lunch.
Most of my friends come over there. We sit, gossip and feel nostalgia from the gathering. This is how I spend my Pujo every year since I settled here.
Now I hear that Kolkata’s Pujo has got a huge make over.
But whatever I do, I still miss my native place Gope Lane’s, pujo. It is situated in Entally, central Kolkata, the Pujo makes me nostalgia. If I can manage to visit Kolkata during Pujo, I will go for five days and not for one day.