Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Festive frenzy; sad moments


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Pujas mean adda time and no-work. And the last week, with puja celebrations and Bakar Id, turned out to be an extended holiday. For the first time even the newspapers ceased publication for four days.
For me the holiday fever started on tritiya (3rd day of Navratri-October 17th) with the Dhak Mahotsav at Chaltabagan Durga Puja, followed by the Pronam Puja Parikrama flag off function on panchami (Oct 19). Shashti and saptami were weekend and there was a long adda session on Sunday with Sangeeta Dutta who was in India from London to attend the Saif-Kareena wedding.
Monday Oct 22nd was the pandal hopping day. I personally liked the pandal done by my artist-friend Sanatan Dinda at the Barisha Behala Club. We all know that Sanatan is one-of-his-kind artist and how much people like his intricate work with rose petals and red thread. This year he was involved with two pandals – one at Jodhpur Park and the other at Behala.
I normally stick to our Maniktalla Chaltabagan pandal during the Pujas. Few months back Sanatan approached me with a proposal to join his Puja committee as the Chairman. I explained to him that I was already committed to the Chaltabagan Maniktalla Durga Puja as its chairman and it wouldn't be fair to be the chairman of another puja just for namesake. I, however, promised him that I would visit his Puja for sure.
After visiting his Puja I realised that I would have missed a lot had I not been there. The whole creative and artwork at the pandal was mesmerising. Tanmoy Bose's especially composed music added to the charm. Well done Sanatan.
I must thank Kolkata Police and all its personnel for managing the traffic and the sea of humanity so well. I had started from ITC Sonar at 9 pm and reached Chaltabagan in forty five minutes. Left at around 10:45 pm and was at the Barisha Behala Club in less than an hour. I wish such kind of traffic management were possible the whole year.
On asthami, after visiting Sanatan's pandal, I visited a friend at Elgin Road and then went for another puja adda at Tony's place at the South City about 1 am. Suman Ghosh, who was in town from Miami, was also there while Dev had just left. By the time I reached home it was about 4 am.
Next morning I got the sad news that Sunil Gangopadhyay, one of the greatest contemporary poet, novelist and litterateur of Bengal, had passed away. This was a dark patch amid festivities. I had a long association with him and have many fond memories. In fact I had a long conversation with him on phone on asthami afternoon.
He was the President of our organisation The Bengal. With his passing away, many other literary and cultural organisations and associations have lost their patron. A pen, which he had gifted me after his recent trip overseas, will remain with me and always remind me of him and our association. May his soul rest in peace.
ess bee

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