As we get ready to welcome the goddess, I never imagined that I would get such overwhelming response from all my readers sharing their memories & experience of biggest Indian festival, Durga Puja as a prabashi bengali.
So, I couldn’t hold back and share them with you.
“For me Durga puja as a probashi bangali was a very emotional thing. Those were the only days when I could meet my Bengali friends, because as kids we neither had the freedom to go out on our own and neither we had technology. We use to cry on dashami day. Keyes High school used to be like our second home for last 2 months before puja. Those rehearsals, feasts the games we played…..that was life.” – Debraj Sarkar, Bangiya Sankritik Sangha
“I have never experienced Durga Puja in Kolkata ever as I have been a complete probashi Bangali. But I have always been in touch with Bangali culture since childhood and that is possible because of Durga Puja. It has always been special for me. In my childhood it was only about meeting friends and enjoying the food and participate in the competitive events and win prizes. Durga Puja in my teens was about being a volunteer in Durga puja and get some special privileges. Now is about organizing the event in Hyderabad and letting our children be in touch with Bengali culture and take the legacy forward.” – Subhro Mukherjee, The Cyberabad Bangali Association
“There is some inherent fondness for the quintessential Pujo in a Bengali whichever part of India he or she belongs. As a Probashi from Hyderabad, I too look forward to the Pujo days. As I belong to a close knit Bengali community in Hyderabad, I look forward to the 4+ days of getting together with people you haven’t seen in a while, the long hours of chatter, the patient wait for your chance to eat the bhog, the endless regime of new dresses to be worn each “bela,”—much akin to a Durga Pujo in South Kolkata.” – Sweha Hazari, Krishti Goshti
“Durga puja in shillong is very special as all the communities living in shillong unite together to celebrate the festival. All d pujos hosted at different localities of shillong is done with much devotion n following all the rituals of this pujo. If one spends pujo in shillong I am sure they would get the homely environment in all the pandals.” – Ananya Debroy, Shillong
“My experience was excellent as a kid. Infact I always loved enjoying pujo either at vizag or Hyderabad, reason being “bhog”. You get to eat authentic bangali khichudi, labra, chutney. People gather and perform puja. No matter whichever part we probashi are, Durga Puja unites us. Little kids performing for dance, singing and abbriti (recitation) competition. I never felt that I was missing kolkata charm, because we bongs create the charm wherever we go.” – Mariya Meenakshi Sanyal, Vishakhapatnam
“Durga puja was a much awaited affair for all of us. Right after pools boishak we would start accumulating new clothes. Ranchi had a sizeable population of Bengalis . We had a community hall where Durga puja was celebrated . Vishwa karma Pujo being a holiday we would all go shopping. We would bump into all Bengali friends in the market. Shopping was not limited to clothes but whole house used to get a makeover. For us Durga pujo would begin from Mahalaya. After listening to the morning Stuti all Kakimas dressed in new Saree’s would go to Kali mandir for puja . Thereafter hopping starts to each other’s house to see the pujo shopping . From Shasti onwards we would go pandal hopping decked in new clothes . Having khichuri blog m visiting all stalls for delicacies . The kitchen would be non functional for 4 days . Participating in various competitions like Sonkh Badan , dhunichi naach , painting competition , orchestra n so forth . Pujo was also the time when new friendship n love blossomed.” – Swagata Kumar, Ranchi
“Durga puja in Bangalore has evolved from being a close knit affair in the 90’s to a huge festival. My childhood was spent playing in the Jaymahal grounds in Bangalore with the other bong kids from other schools, and waiting the entire year to eat the rolls and phuchkas which was impossible to procure back then. Pujo was all about roaming around the five main pandals with the family and eat Bengali items to which a prabasi like me was unaware about. Ranging from chops, chaaps, rolls, mughlai (which I only knew to be an era), jhalmuris (I only knew them from the local trains I occasionally went on) and hundreds of types of sweets! I haven’t seen a Bengali pujo in Kolkata yet, to me this is love!” – Avik Bhattacharya, Bangalore
“From planning what to wear on which day to the maddening trips of shopping till the last minute for matching shoes, accessories… the feeling was just so different… Doing adda baazi with the pujo committee friends and passing comments on the boys… the whole feel is different which can’t be explained in words… you have to experience that. Though I missed being in Kolkata during this time but the zeal and enthusiasm was no less in Delhi too. Being a foodie, me and my gang used to Pandal hop just to try delicacies from different stalls. More than anything else when the whole family used to meet… it was no less than a mad house but I am missing it like anything this time…” – Priyanka Sarkar, New Delhi
“I spent my school days at a township in UP and Durga Puja was a close affair being inside township— those days for us Puja meant new dresses and food and adda. After leaving the township I have been to many places across the world but that fun isn’t there.
Puja is fun at the place where u spend ur childhood, only with your friends and those memories just don’t fade away. Have never seen puja at West Bengal so really don’t have the craze for it” – Joydeep Deb Roy, Orissa
“My Puja like every year is a mix of Pandal hopping (as there are number of good pandals in Delhi NCR), when at home taking little rest, remaining glued to the Bangla channels to catch the action in West Bengal, enjoy to the heart’s content traditional Bengali dishes as well as rolls/Biryani etc. and last but not the least, myself being in Music profession,watch cultural programs at the pandals specially of artists from Kolkata. This is a way that I believe that I can remain connected to my homeland!!” – Moloy Ghosh, New Delhi
“I have lived a colony life since childhood as dad was working for NTPC. As a child colony puja was the biggest mode of celebration. We got to see the enlightenment among all the elders as they participate in the pujo committee and make it a grand success. Probashis become a family during pujo. It becomes a different and heavenly time for us.” – Shubhayu Sardar, Chhattisgarh
“In lieu of my father’s job in Air Force, we have spent all my years in different parts of the country. Defence colony Durga Puja used to unite all the bengalis present there. We used to spend some great time working together for the 5 days. Participating in painting competition, small contests, serving ‘bhog’ every day. As kids, we used to play around. My parents used to rehearse for the cultural events and the aunties & sisters used to take care of the kitchen & Uncles used to decorate the stage, organise cultural events. The best part was it was not restricted to bengalis. People from all religion used to join us for the celebrations. It is indeed nostalgic to reminisce the past.” – Pritam Gangopadhyay, Hyderabad
If you have a similar memory, please share in the comment section below. We would love to hear and also feature it in our page.