Autumn arrives in its own special way, leaves that held fast onto the branches finally let go, only to be swished away by the wind . The sun starts getting lazy, rising late and calling it a day by mid evening. The nip in the air getting more prominent as the days go by. For me as well as the whole of Kolkata , autumn also brings with it the whiff of incense and the golden glow of light bulbs decorating the streets of the city. It’s the time when Durga comes visiting her maternal home with her daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati and her sons Ganesha and Karthik after killing the demon Mahishasura. It is the celebration of the age-old triumph of good over evil. For the people of Bengal, Durga is more than a Goddess,she is the mother most affectionately called “Maa”.The most awaited festival of the city, and Kolkata leaves no stone unturned to please their beloved mother. The preparations begin from early July and slowly as the days become shorter the Pandals get ready to house the Goddess.The people making sure that they go to see their “Maa” wearing clothes specially bought for the Pujas. Cameras fly off the shelves as everybody gets ready to capture the festive spirit. The Goddess herself transforms from a model of hay and clay to her divine feminine form.
Its on the four main days of festivity that the city becomes a big fair ground where art, talent and beauty are found in abundance and every soul is one with the Puja spirit. With the traditional Puja Pandals and idols giving way to new ideas, the themes and layouts go from beautiful to bizarre. Its a tough competition, with each committee vying for the crowds.The festival changes the city into a world of surrealism, something that makes everyone an Alice in wonderland.You see a T-Rex here,a Buddha temple there, a weaver bird’s nest a few feet away. The city never fails to surprise you and you keep wondering how these themes were thought of, processed and brought to life.
It is a Festival like no other ,where art is worshipped and object of worship is art in itself.