I’m feeling cosy inside and I’m curling up a little more that I usually do. I can feel a soft misty breeze and can breathe the crisp scented air. The soft warmth around makes me calm and puts me to sleep.
Oh! Who woke me up? I hear a lot of people talking, lot of commotion happening. I sense a lot of movement. I squirm a bit, try to sit up half upright as much as I can and stick my ears on to the walls.
Amidst sounds of children playing, screaming, giggles & laughter and countless voices, I can make out Ma is talking, laughing out loud as well. She seems so happy after weeks. I become happy knowing she’s so glad. Now I can smell some good food too, can’t make out though what exactly they are eating.
I hear drum (dhol) rolls nearby, smacking sounds of people gobbling the delectable platters that I could only smell, a bell tingling some place and prayers being said aloud. All of it makes me feel quite like what Ma had described the experience of Durga Puja in Kolkata. I believe we’ve reached Kolkata while I was still asleep.
What a fool I am? How could just sleep off and let go so many moments of this experience. Ma did tell papa to be on time last evening and I did get hurt as well by that travel case of ours. And yet I dozed off and didn’t even realize when papa drove us till my grandparent’s home.
Few more uncles & aunts, few more didas and dadus along with my mama, mami, mashi and mesho have also joined in to celebrate together. All of this is especially because I have come first time here. They all want to see me. They are touching me, blessing me, murmuring things to me which I can’t make out as much.
Today I hear the entire family plans to go for Pandal hopping all night. Good for me. I hate to sleep at night. I’m part of this family and I also want to do what everyone else in the family will be doing, seeing, eating. I also want to have fun with everyone else.
Phew!!! I will have to wait till they let me out of this walled cocoon. They say the delivery date is nearby but I may still miss out on the festive days.
A sudden freshness of clean new fabric filled my nostrils that made my senses dance to a symphony. I had earlier also savoured this pristine aroma whenever ma draped a new saree. I guess everyone’s getting ready and so is ma. I’m also ready to roll.
It’s been quite long since we have been out and ma is getting little tired now. But I know she wouldn’t rest. She loves this and thrives on the charm. Oh wow! They are going to gorge on phuchkas. I can’t really eat them but I love the tangy whiff, the crunchy sound that tinkle my tummy and makes me wiggle with a bubbly happiness.
They say tomorrow is the last day of Durga Puja and Maa Durga will return home with a promise to return again next year. All the women of the house are preparing for Sindur khela and the last big feast of the festival. Today they have got a big Ilish and lots of sweets & savouries to treat the guests at home. Tomorrow everyone will return to their houses and only cherish these moments.
So today they have a grand adda too after the evening ‘sindur khela’, essentially bidding goodbye to Maa Durga.
With free flowing snacks and savouries, chai & coffee, the adda was gloriously ‘jomjomat’ and continued till midnight.
Since morning ma has not been feeling well, rather I have not let her keep well. Last evening she exerted herself quite much with the sindur khela and almost choked me with the dust storm of sindur.
Four days of intoxicating concoction of sheer festivity, food, adda and family time has left me wondering about the joys of being a part of the pujo myself. I’m getting impatient and want to be delivered right away. Why should I wait and miss out on all the excitement, the fun & frolic.
And being a stubborn little girl, I decide to stay awake all night and keep kicking around so much so that my ma is in labour pain. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt ma. Just that I wanted to be out.
I hear papa panicking, my dida reassuring my ma that everything is going to be fine, while my mashi, pishi are visibly tensed.
They are freaking me out.
Nothing is going to happen to ma. I will make sure ma gets fine. But without me doing anything, ma is getting worse & worse. Is she going to die of the pain I caused her?
I’m tired and doze off unable to handle the stress & pain around. I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep but things seem to have changed very much now that I am awake. I wink my eyes few times to understand where I am. I breathe in and breathe out to find familiarity but no! The air here is little nauseating yet fresh enough, the natural scent of this place is like the disinfectant that ma uses at home to keep it clean.
I turn around and see my ma’s illuminated, beautiful face and I am in her arms held closely and warmly. I know I am out here in the world of my folks that I’ve been desperately wanting for last few days.
The snug and comfort in mum’s arms are nothing short of bliss and the love for me in her eyes and heart make me so secure & happy. But I don’t find the same air, the same sounds, the same charm. Is the Durga Puja festivities over? Yes, may be!
Sadly, I missed it. But as my ma says ‘Asche bochor abar hobe’ and I will not miss it then for sure.