Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today was one of those days when I looked about me and felt like I knew this sunshine from somewhere- The day I was about to leave home for hostel life,for the first time..had this exact same tint to it..Not a sunshine which one associates with happiness,but  one of dejection-Memories of leaving the love and constant protection of your parents to one of struggle.Although hostel life is not all bad,and I personally feel everyone should experience it..but still,for me it marked a big change in my otherwise tranquil life...
There are lots of such days when I can relate to the color of the sunshine …There is a particular time of the year when it happens more often..I’m still waiting for it to happen this year..It’s almost time though- Days when I start to feel durga puja is just around the corner-the cottony clouds,the bright sunshine,the sky..everything has a different feel and look-something which I can’t  express in words so well but only can be felt..specially if you have spent your lifetime looking forward to durga pujo every year and observing the gradual changes which marks the advent of autumn or “ Sharat “ in bengal....Monsoon gradually takes her leave, and Kaash fuul starts taking form in the clumps of grassy brushes,in the fields and roadsides…mostly around those places left wet by the rains. Sunshine starts to abound and clumps of milky white,fluffy clouds start floating around like little boats in the vast blue ocean of the sky….

In my mind full of memories,durga pujo & Sharat kaal are representated aptly by two things- Kaash Fuul and Shiuli Fuul..And as puja holidays started to get closer,bamboo poles started piling up at tentative spots for “ pandals “, you hear the word “ pujo’r bazar ( pujo shopping ) “  and ongoing decision-making at home regarding  pujo gifts to relatives…I knew it’s time..And immediately my eternal lookout for any signs of Kaash fuul started. 

I was in India last year for durga puja-after many years..And on our way to Kolkata via G.T.Road , I felt like I was in a dream..The roadsides and the fields far as eyes could see,were covered with whiteness..Kaash fuul…my favorite…abounding all the nook and corner..It was a sight which made my trip worthwhile…it was a sight which brought back floods of memories and fed my hungry mind and soul with material to make whole new memories….I asked dad to stop so that I could step out of the car and imbibe this sight….A few days later,there was a big storm,which often happens this time of the year..and all those whiteness were gone…some dropped off  to the ground,others were slumped by the torrent…a few remained to brave the wind.But I’ve taken in one of the best sights and I was not that sad. In my parents’ garden,like every year giant pink “ sthal-padma “ ( Land-Lotus ) started to bloom..Shiuli came a little later..I remembered how my brother and I used to tire ourselves out by collecting loads of shiuli fuul,which covered the grounds below the tree in a thick carpet,every morning..There’s no fragrance like the shiuli-It’s just out of this world..and the fact that it comes only during a particular time of the year and that too during the durga puja-makes it all so much more special. Shapla,shaluk,Padma ….made their appearances in the ponds and lakes…Yes,durga pujo is definitely here…

So,in this far-off land…it so happens that that the imminence of durga pujo arrives some way or the other to me-Sometimes,from the advertisements and announcements in the online radio,or a little chat with Ma when she tells me about all the shopping she’s been doing since there’s only a month or two left …Or sometimes,one fine sunny day..I feel and smell that durga pujo-ness in the sunshine..and when I look up,I see those exact same clouds and the clear,crisp,blue sky i’ve been seeing all  my life.What I do then is to add my own spice to it-those sights of kaash,shiuli,shaapla,shaluk,sthal Padma ~ those smell of dhoop,dhuno,haziness around the pandals due to all the smoke ~ the sounds of stotro-paath ( chanting of mantras ),blaring microphones,puspanjali ( offering to the goddess ) in progress ~ and everything else I need to do to transport me back home, to the voices of  my parents telling us to hurry those days of durga puja..

I’m still awaiting that kind of a sunshine this year…eagerly  ~ ~