Durga Puja-2022 Heats Up Amidst Continuing Humid Heat!

Kolkata is fully back to its old-normal ways after two long painful years as West Bengal's biggest festival Durga Puja heats up. Pandal hopping is in full flow with thousands on a spree of 'Thakur Dekha' (how many Goddess idols have you seen?) almost since the start of Navaratri. Although Durga Puja rituals start only from Mahashasthi which starts today, technically for all here Goddess Durga descends on earth on Mahalaya, the last day of Pitru Paksha, that is the eve for the beginning of the bright lunar phase or Shukla Paksha.

There are crowds thronging the major pandals, particularly from afternoon to late night every day, with their mobiles clicking non-stop, falling upon each other for a better view, the rush for the selfies in all available spaces, thronging all the eating joints to their fullest capacity and all the smiles. Celebration is the motif and soul of the festival. Married or unmarried couples of all ages who could be going through lots of strain and stress in the preceding months/years now suddenly find their spouses or partners emitting heavenly smiles before their mobile cameras in selfie mode. The smartly-dressed ladies do it the best possible way, posing in selfie mode for hours and in the process dishing out the sweet and heavenly smiles that their now-energised male partners never possibly witness easily, particularly on the home fronts.

There are hurdles too. The almost unbearable humid heat continues thanks to the near-miss meted out to Kolkata and some other parts of the state by the South West monsoon and the forecast of moderate to heavy rains in the coming days. Temperatures are around 35-degree C still, further worsened by the cloudy skies and up to 90% humidity. However, the unparalleled spirit and enthusiasm of the Bongs defies it all. They'll walk, commute and crowd endlessly, sweating and getting exhausted in the process. Then there is the policing! Perhaps fearing an extreme rush after the two-year COVID layoff some measures taken by the police were also extreme. Entry roads blocked on one side, at times quite unnecessarily. Then they allow you enter the Puja pandal on some lane and exit you on some unknown backside lane due to which many puja revelers lose their way like in a maze and in the pricess losing precious tine and missing out nearby pandals. But come what may, the hoppers would defy all and  definitely won't have rains looking upon Maa Durga to grant their wishes.

Let the spirit of devotion and dedication prevail. Happy Durga Puja 2022!