As far back as my memory goes, every single year, after the Durga Puja festivities get over and the sound of receding drum beats bring an end to the celebrations, on the final day that we call Dashami, I feel a little sad and empty. The anticipation, the frenzy and the excitement for this grand festival that has been going on for months before the Durga Puja starts, brings the Bengali diaspora from all over the world together, like nothing else. And then, after the five days of fun, festivities and celebrations are done, everyone goes a little mellow. It’s like parting from a dear one after spending a few wonderful days together with the promise of meeting again, next year. I can’t say this of the others, but for me, the sense of mellowness and finality that comes around this time is a reminder that the year is slowly drawing to a close and it is now time to take stock of my life and my goals, and especially assessing where I am headed, in the next few months before the beginning of another year that lies just around the corner.
For many a Bengali, though, the countdown to the following year’s Puja has already begun with the popular refrain that goes like this —”Aaashche Bochor Aabar Hobe”, which literally means “We’ll have it again next year”. And, that’s the happy note that leads to the immersion ceremony on Dashami—a sad reminder, nonetheless, that we are bidding the Mother Goddess with a final goodbye and with a gentle nudge to ourselves, to get back to our lives again.
This morning, as I sit at my desk after a rather longish break, I felt recharged and excited to get down to my writing schedule. The social media break came as a blessing. Earlier this month, when I had signed up for #Inktober, I was so convinced that this forced creativity that the challenge had thrown at me was going to help. I was loving the challenge and keen to see myself at the finishing line. Alas! Things started going downhill by Day 6, and I decided to quit. On hindsight, it was the best decision I took, to relieve myself of the pressure and enjoy the festive season along with the family.
So, what did I do during the festive period?
Well, I lapped up the chance to ditch social media and enjoy life in real time and place, with real people (which includes close friends and family—as we went pandal hopping, playing catch-up as and whenever time permitted us, spent unhurried moments over heartfelt conversations, as we shared our stories, laughed silly as we made light of our not-so-funny real-life tales, and of course, savoured some truly out-of-the-world food that ranged from our traditional khichuri bhog to the ever popular street food and a proper traditional Bengali meal too!
And, in the process, made some lovely memories too, to be treasured with a grateful heart. Grateful for the wonderful moments that make life bearable and a little easy especially when things are not going great for many of us. After all the hoi-choi (Bengali for hullabaloo) and the serpentine queues, the loudspeakers, the sounds of the dhak and dhol (the drums) die down, what remains are just memories. The smiles and the memories, mostly.
Linking up with Corinne of EverydayGyaan for #MondayMusings