Mahalaya – Morning of Memories
Baajlo tomar aalor benu… matlo re Bhuvan…
Jaago tumi… Jaago…
Ja Debi Sarvabhuteshu, Shakti rupen Sansthita…. Namas Taswayi, Namas Taswayi, Namo Namah…
I have never came across a Bengali who is not excited by the words above. For a State that perpetually dwells in the wave of nostalgia, Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s magnum opus ‘Mahishasurmardini’ is forever etched in our memories. For the radio generation, Mahalaya meant tuning into Akashvani Kolkata. For the 90’s generation, DD7 (and the excitement of who will play Durga) added to the fun. And in this digital age, Youtube and Soundcloud are indispensable.
Mahalaya in Kolkata is very different from Mahalaya in Jalpaiguri. Our childhood would inadvertently be spent buying Tarabati and Rongmoshal on the eve of Mahalaya, waiting all night for the clock to strike 4.30 AM and then engaging in revelry of bursting crackers, ushering in the first streak of sunlight; welcoming Debipakkha (the fortnight of the Goddess) and the culmination of Pitripakkha (the fortnight of forefathers).
Mahalaya also brings with it a tide of memories… The bursting of crackers, deliberately throwing chocolate bombs towards Bagchi bari, the mad excitement to watch Mahishasurmardini on TV… breakfast of khurma and jilipi from Bishwanath er dokan… enacting the Mahishasurmardini play with cousins… visiting Nitai Pal’s (our artisan) to see the progress of work on Durga idol… and of course the final countdown for Maha Shasthi.
Mahalaya goes beyond the religious symbolism of the victory of good over evil. It heralds that time of the year when everyone is home-bound. Durga Puja is a celebration of togetherness; it is a celebration of the bond of family. It is said Uma starts packing her bags on Mahalaya… Like the ekchala of Durga idol, the unity and brotherhood of human kind is what we should aspire for during festivities.
Durga Puja is the time when you can bid farewell to all the worries of the world and immerse yourself in unadulterated merriment and become a kid once again.
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Posted on September 23, 2014, in Personal Musings and tagged Birendra Kishore Bhadra, durga, durga pujo, Jalpaiguri, Kolkata, Mahalaya, Mahishasurmardini, radio. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.