From Assam with Love is about all aspects of Assam from the viewpoint of a Proud Assamese.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Childhood memories of Durga Puja in Assam

        During our childhood the feeling of the advent of Durgapuja was more overwhelming than the actual days of Puja. The sudden change of weather could give you the heady feeling of  fun  days. The fullness in the green-turning-golden paddy fields, blue sky and the cumulus of dry clouds roaming around the sky and the short and sweet puja vacation made set the mood  perfect for the festivity. In the marshlands in Assam tonnes of  Kahuwa*1 phool bloom and this is the unmistakable sign of  Durga Puja being  just a few days away. The evenings at any village were replete with the surreal smell of Sewali phool*2. The perennially raining sky would take  rest for a few days and make way for kids to run to and fro in the village roads.

In those days balloons were synonymous with Puja. Now the balloons never go off the sight. You have a meal at Macdonalds or any of the  restaurants your kids will come back home with some balloons, at homes they make place at your supply box for Birthdays or simply everyday. But balloons and lots of balloons were integral part of Puja celebration for the kids during those days. Of course kids played with toy guns and other crackers too, but balloons were very much symbolic to the fun part of Puja.

Then there comes the Puja sowa parba which is similar to pandal hopping. Typically kids were taken for a Pandal hopping during the daytime by some elders in the family or by a universal uncle or aunt. This is done because it was difficult to return home after darkness during the festive days. But youngsters would never mind walking back to the village after  a night out and enjoying the newly earned freedom. I remember my cousin coming back home late in the night with a some filmy posters of Mithun and Sridevi and his words sounded much like Mithun Chakravarty  for a few days.)

Some of our class friends would take part in the arati of Durga Puja during Puja evenings, but we never had a chance of it because Puja Pandals were a bit far from my place. 

Even now I think kids enjoy the best of puja days. It is still a vacation time. And kids get to play and enjoy up to the hilt for a few days. Their fun begins more before the Puja days because the construction of Puja pandals generates thousands of questions in their minds and they can imagine and talk how the pandal in their para will look. 


*1 Saccarum Sonteneum flower

*2 Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

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