Dugga Dugga

Dugga Dugga

The festive season felt ominous for some reason. He hadn’t called. And he hadn’t let her know when he’d be home.

She’d been dolled up for hours: she’d had her hair, nails and makeup done, and she’d put on the new saree he’d got her for Pujo. But he was supposed to be home a few hours back and he wasn’t. And she couldn’t get through to him on the phone either. It kept saying that his number was unavailable.

An expert at overthinking, she’d paced ten times around the room and scolded herself for not having said the customary Dugga Dugga when he left. Bengalis do that a lot and it had been their thing too, and she was scared something must have happened to him because she’d forgotten to say it. But she hadn’t called either set of parents yet because she knew they’d worry. And they were all super old. At the same time she’d contemplated asking her father-in-law how much time it took to buy a few haadis of roshogolla and some boxes of sondesh in Kolkata on a Saptami evening, but that would have given the whole thing away and they’d have asked questions about their son anyway.

She was about to give up, when the doorbell rang, revealing a very haggard man in a now-wrinkled set of panjabi-pajama, who was panting and out of breath.

He looked annoyed and exhausted and sweaty as heck but she smiled and smothered him with kisses and hugs.

“Ah, Anu, never send me to buy mishti for baba-ma on any day of the pujo. My phone died, and the shop was crowded and I had to wait in line. Now let me go shower.”

And It’s Over.

And It’s Over.

This is just a little update, and I wanted to show y’all this super bright and sparkly version of the Taj Mahal. There was also a Statue of Liberty which I won’t post, in case it offended people.

I finally went out last night. And it was crazy. Toooooooo many people. My poor little feet got trodden on. At one point one shoe fell off and I had to go on a mad chicken hunt to find it. Okay, not that extreme, I’m exaggerating. A fat guy nearly killed me with all his gluttony, poor little me, because the crowd was um, more concentrated than pineapple jelly. And the temperature was a friggin’ hundred degrees. I went out looking like this.

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I realize I look like a field of alien-y looking green dandelions.

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This is an old picture, so you can see how eye-wateringly colorful I looked.

And came back looking like this.

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He looks prettier, actually.

Which took me one hour to clean up. (And sterilize myself since there were too many sweaty people – hence, germs – and I’m a big germophobe and it’s hard for me to overlook things. Don’t laugh.) I’ve got mixed feelings about the pooja ending. I’m happy it’s over and they’ll stop playing Honey Singh songs and at the same time, kind of sad to see all the pandals being taken down.

Also, happy Dusshera to all my readers! Not gonna elaborate on what THAT is – we’d be here till 2025.

What’s new with y’all?

The Unappreciated Art

The Unappreciated Art

It’s Durga Pooja, day eight, here in Bengal (and other places where they worship the Goddess, but mostly Bengal) and I managed to grab a few photos. No reason.

I’m not gonna do my usual ranty bit today, because Holy Moly, this ish is insane. I’m talking about the pandals. That actually were – for the lack of a better word – amazing.

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Some Wiki for y'all.

So my hometown is tiny. I was born in Kolkata and I love the city, but come this time of the year, and I have to go home. I mostly just sleep and stuff myself, to be honest, because like I said earlier, I hate crowded places. But Dad and I always make it a point to go see all the pandals at like, six in the morning. Totally avoiding a lot of people and most importantly, the heat.

So this was the first one that we saw.

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Kinda reminds me of the British rule. Redcoats. You know? I'm just crazy.

On closer inspection, you can see that every detail is hand crafted, from jute. And ropes. What?!

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I know, right?

The next one that caught my eye? This one. This is pretty interesting because, everything you see here? It’s all made of this tree and its fruit and leaves and whatever. Like I said, insane!

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A closer look at the details. They stuck these little shells and stuff and the whole process took more than a month. Now this makes me so mad because this is actually art. This is craftsmanship and nobody ever, ever appreciates it. (While stupid brush strokes across a blank sheet of canvas sell for billions and billions of dollars. I’m not saying we gotta sell this kinda craft. I’m talking of preserving.)

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It says Suribala. Now, I've never heard of it, but I did ask them if deforestation was involved and they assured me that it was not. I hope they weren't lying with Devi Ma right there.
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The ceiling.

Once the Pujas are over, they’re gonna take down the entire thing. I wish they’d just leave them be. Maybe I’m crazy for saying this, but I really do.

Who Comes UP With These?

Who Comes UP With These?

If there’s a death in the paternal side of the family, you’re not allowed to participate in anjali*?! And miss out on all the fun? My Dad’s batty older brother died last year (excuse me for being so b*tchy but that guy was a pain in the butt.**)

Who the major and actual and true-blue f*ck came up with customs like this one?

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Like, really.

Now I’m not saying that this guy should have picked some other time to die. I’m just really astounded as to why, following a death in the family, one must follow a certain set of rules including:

1. Refraining from eating any kind of non vegetarian food, including onion and garlic – which basically happen to be the catalysts that hold Indian cuisine togetherfor a whole entire fortnight.

2. Widow remarriage didn’t really leave the Bengali community now, did it? This employee of my dad’s passed away earlier this year, and his widow showed up one day sporting bright red lipstick, and guess what happened? She got called a whore. Why is widow remarriage STILL a taboo?

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*insert this dramatic expression*

3. Why are kids required to shave their heads once a parent passes away?

I just found out about this, and you can imagine how mad I am right now. Just because I lost one of my uncles, does this mean I’m virtually like, this untouchable, that won’t be allowed to even offer my prayers to Ma Durga? I’m pretty sure my batty uncle wouldn’t have wanted the kids to be missing out on all the fun.

So why does everyone else have a say in this?

I’m not gonna lie, I’m upset about having to cancel all my plans. But then you never know. I’m a bit of a rebel and I’m probably going to offer anjali anyway. Because that’s something I’ve always done, and no, it’s not about me being religious; it’s just something I do because it makes me focus a bit. On life, myself, everything else in general. It’s a Bengali thing, that one thing I really am proud of, how it brings people together, and I won’t let one crappy custom take it away from me.

Right?

(**Said Uncle was a pain in the butt because he was one of those people that would just come over, and never, ever, ever, leave.)

(*Anjali is the integral part of the eighth day of Durga Pooja.)