Posted by: deblinaganguli | August 3, 2011

Memories – Can I Get Those Days Back?

Finding words to express what I am feeling right now… just gone through a FB status message of a friend and it says “r matro 59 din”. The countdown begins… it makes me feel happy or feel sad, I don’t know. But yes, it makes me feel nostalgic. Excitement about Durga Puja is nothing unique to me. No Bengali, can escape it. Ask them and each of them will come up with their stories.


How trivial the stories are, yet how fantastic? Each story means a lot to the story teller and I am not an exception. The memories are so fresh. I remember when I was only 3 or 4 years old, my Puja used to begin as soon as I could see the vans bringing bamboo sticks for building the pandal. Can you imagine, my days used to begin and end by seeing the pandal? Yes, it is true. Even before brushing I used to ask baba to take me to the pandal so that I can see the progress of the project. After dinner once again baba used to take me to the pandal. Those were golden days of my life. I could derive happiness from such small things.

Sandhi Pujo

When I was in class five, Paresh Uncle, one of my friends father and a member of the Puja committee, asked me whether I would be interested to participate in a cultural programme after puja. I can’t explain what I felt at that point of time. For me it seemed to be a golden opportunity and I wanted to spread my arms to grab the opportunity as soon as I can. I asked my friends and they agreed to join me. Oh my God! We were so happy.

Dhunochi Nach

As years passed, we got more and more involved in Durga Puja. Ghosal Dida, (Lina Ghosal) that’s what we call her, took the responsibility of organizing the cultural programme. Rehearsal was another exciting affair for us. We used to wait like anything for the rehearsal. Our mid-term exams used to take place just before Puja and I could never concentrate on my studies when all my friends were busy in rehearsing the drama or dance. Naturally my mid-term results were never up-to-the-mark and I was not at all sad about that. Rather I remained depressed about the fact that I had missed rehearsal for a few days. Rehearsal still holds such a special place in my heart, because it was in a rehearsal that I found my best friend Shompi. Love her a lot. Both of us were or should I say are equally exited about Puja.


In our club, Samaj Sebi Sangha, the idol comes on the auspicious day of Mahalaya. Many times it happened that idol came at mid night and on that day I could never sleep until I saw the idol being taken to the pandal. I used to pray to God that the night soon comes to an end so that the next morning I could go to the pandal an see the Idol. Sri Krishna Pal was the artist of our idol and I still wonder how he could make the idol come to life. The face smiling at you… the eyes watching your tears… and maa listening to your silent prayers. It’s an amazing feel. Whenever I saw the idol I could feel that I am not alone, I am not weak, I am not just a girl. Just like all other human beings on earth I am a part of that divinity, that eternal power.


We were involved in everything related to Puja. I remember how we used to rush for Anjali in the morning and Arati in the evening. These were things we couldn’t miss at any cost. Serving Bhog in the afternoon and eating in the last batch when most of the items were finished was a pleasure in itself.


We used to sit in the pandal till 4 or 5 pm, go home, get ready quickly and come back to pandal by 6:30 pm. Our neighborhood was like a family. We used to sit in the member stands along with the seniors. They used to treat us everyday. It was fun, having end numbers of cold drinks, ice creams, watching people and sometimes managing the crowd as well. Most of the years, Samaj Sebi Sangha used to get first prize for such a good environment.


Another interesting that I remember is that, initially the Dhakis used to stay in a small pandal right in front of our house. Every morning I used to have a chat with them and request them to tell me stories about their village, their lives and their families. I remember one Dhaki very clearly. His name was Arjun and he was a damn good story teller.

Sidur Khela

Each and every moment is still so fresh for me. Bringing idol on Mahalaya, the coming of the Dhakis, Inauguration on Panchami, Bodhon on Sasthi, Kala Bou Snan on Saptami, Sandhi Pujo, Hom, Mangal Arati, Sidur Khela, Bhasan, Bijaya Samillani (get together), Cultural Programme – I miss the moments. These things take place even today. But somehow the old charm is lost. Things have become more commercialized; I can not feel the warmth any more. It’s the outward show that has replaced the hearty behavior of the same old people.


I am still hopeful that someday, someway we will get back our golden days.



  1. Well it is not possible to get back to those treasured days but all of us can relive those days by keeping in touch with the people who made the days unforgettable. Moments are not made alone, they are made with all dear ones together.

    • Very true Dipmala, moments are made with dear ones. But time has changed them a lot. May be time has changed me as well. Still I hope that someday we will come together and relive moments when our dream knew no limits.

  2. That’s a very vivid recapitulation of your childhood memories and I can identify mine with yours to a certain extent. Thanks for taking me down the memory lane once again, friend .

  3. I said in this post that each of us have a unique story. 🙂 would like to know your story as well.

    • its only nostalgia that haunts us… well written re… eta amader shabai er feelings tai arro bhalo laglo

  4. thanks for sharing your memories with all… nice post, beautiful pics… hope you find that old charm back this time! Looking forward to Durga Puja, and a new story, for all! 🙂

  5. I heard so many times in my life that “History repeats itself”, hopefully revival of those oldie goldie time will follow the same pattern ……
    I had witnessed couple of times the euphoric atmosphere of that puja….the only time when i felt that people are together tied in one rope….insanity, laughters, every one with glam new clothes, new trendy looks, new stories and gossips to share, hunting for new faces, ofcourse flirting is on full swing, and importantly live with same energy from evening till 4 am, OMG i never ever understood the source which keep all bengali’s of kol live this occassion in such a huge manner…
    changing biological cycle with so much ease is only possible at kolkata…..and its divine puja…..
    cheers to all those who are priveleged to be in such groove, hoping your life will blessed with more such scintillating moments….
    and deblina…..wishing you tooo a memorable pujaa in adv…..

  6. i thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘your story’. Those 5 days are indeed the best days of the year …looking forward to the fun filled days..let the countdown begin 🙂

  7. I came across a similar post (i somehow feel its the same post you referred) and suddenly felt and excitement which was soon marred by the fact that this year i wl be thousand of miles away from kolkata during durga puja and that too for the first time !! As you recollect those 5 days of Durga Puja happen to be special for me too. From childhood my puja used to start from mahalaya and strangely enough that day made me both happy and sad as it connotes arrival of the festival and at the same time making me realize that those days will pass with a blink! the feeling that surge up with the word durga puja is really tough to describe — its not just fun, new dresses, (baloons-ice cream-cold drink – as a child), pandal hopping or being with family and friends…. i associate durga puja with so many memories may be they are very trivial yet precious. will definitely miss the puja of this year and am sad that i would not be staying w my parents then. hope you guys have a great time but this yr without me 😦
    And among many other puja committees samaj sebi is definitely the one i visit every year without fail. simply love the atmosphere there.

    • We will miss u too dear. Hope you enjoy a different kind of Puja this year. 🙂

  8. You have captured almost all the main instances and routine incidents that we as Bengalis associate the festival with and feel nostalgic about. I personally have not been involved in the ‘Puja’ part of it as you have been. For me, the coming home of people and the feeling of togetherness is the biggest takeaway from this festival (and all festivals for that matter). Meeting friends and your loved ones is the most exciting aspect. Yet, as you know, I am starved of this excitement for four years now and don’t see it changing this year as well, as far as going home is concerned. Nevertheless, its the nostalgia and fond memories that provides oxygen to my ailing and longing heart!
    Thanks for taking me through down memory lane … yet again !

    • Fortunately i have never been out of kol during puja. I have enjoyed puja thoroughly every year till now. But this year I am not sure whether i will be able to enjoy puja at all because probably my best friend won’t be in down 😦

  9. hi…going while going thru ur write up…some how I become nostalgic too…nostalgia for UG days…I remember how u used persuade us to visit Samajsebi….and u kno now sitting here in Bombay…. far away from Kolkata….I too miss those days…when the Pujo used to start by mahalaya….

    and ur true…these days the real charm of pujo is fading away as everyone is getting involved in the ratrace of award competition…. 😦

    • Ha amar khub mone ache toder kemon jorajuri kortam Samaj Sebi te jawar jonye. sei din gulo eto taratari kete gelo. ekhon chaileo r chute parbo na. din gulo fire asbe na, kintu smriti ache, thakbe… setai sombol.

  10. Good memory down the lane…. Goddess Durga is our inspiration to do good and that entices me the most about this celebration.

    You have captured all the trivial quite well. Such Nostalgia does not suck but brings a sweet smile on your face. In fact, I laugh at me while recapturing those moments. I can’t get those days back, but can feel the warmth even now.

    • Right said Sanat, those lovely moments, those crazy deeds can only make one laugh like anything.

  11. liked the blog a lot….

    1 thing that i want to say is..i still get this flavour in my para’s puja…ppl do talk abt commercialization bt somethin lyk dis havn’t touched our para till now..n i am pretty sure abt it…in fact our block members have started planning for nxt yr’s puja bcoz we r going to celebrate silver jubilee in 2012…lets hope that the true smell of puja remains… forever!

  12. Hmm…feeling nostalgic after reading your story Deblina… all the activities and rituals you mentioned regarding puja were so meaningful in my childhood in Cossipore Seven Tanks Estate and i miss the charm and purity here at Nager Bazar… maybe the vision of a child is purer than that of a woman in her thirties… i feel i’ll never get back those days

    Thank u for sharing your story and those exclusive photographs… wish you a very happy puja in advance! 🙂

  13. Find your old friends, try to be at Kolkata during the Puja time and be a child or teenager for those 4 days … I am sure you will get back those golden days … I am confident on this, as I still get back those days every year … and I am just crossing 40 🙂

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