Durga Puja ends, however festive season continues. Lakhsmipuja, Kali Puja, Diwali and so on. But Durgapuja being the largest among them, the wait for the same begins for next one year.
I was seating with my tea today morning and was wondering how everything got changed. The views shared in this post is completely my own thought and no influence so ever from any source. And I seem to be an alien with the surroundings where a revolution (??) took place over a decade.
Like any other aspect in life, here also “Quantity” is the evil. With the growth of real estate industry the world is flooded with flats/ complexes and in effect every complex (consolidation of few Flats) owning a Durgapuja which is outside the “Sarbojonin” / “Baroari” Puja (Public) of a Para (area/ locality). This does not mean, Sarbojonin Pujas are geting vanished, rather the earlier one (Puja of Complexes / Flats) is getting added to the bucket. In effect flooded with no. of Pujas. The exact count of Pujas can be good project to create a research paper though do not know if already some has been done like this.
Division / Diversity
Durgapuja is supposed to be an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation. But actually in present circumstances, it is reverse. Different people with different mind-set, philosophy, boundaries, political colours, thought process, intend to segregate in different community circles and compete with the other one. Puja is one of medium now a days to showcase differences/segregations/diversity and off course each other’s strength.
Instead of legacy, the theme culture is being very prominent now a days. The same is not bad. The committees spend lot of time to innovate new concept and the hard work continues for the whole year. Different kind of artistic works are being adopted and deployed. But alas, no retention. And due to quantity problem, how many of them we remember for years? I had enquired few of my friend about the themes of few renowned Pujas of Kolkata 2 years back. But none could respond. Coz I found everyone under pressure to complete every corner of the city days and night. I find people roam around whole night consecutive three days and also attend office in day time. I found someone visited 25 Puja Pandal in 3/4 Hours time. I really don’t feel this way (the servant way, do not know who is driving them), any quality, taste, remembrance can happen. Everyone is running around as if some Sales Target to be achieved. They are least bothered about traffic, jam, weather, non-availability of transport, excessive price for food/transport nothing could prevent the crowd to reach almost everywhere. I wonder if similar efforts / energies could have been revealed during work/job/employment, the Bengal work culture / echo system would have a different path all together.
Again quantity is high (lot of outlets), poor quality, but still it sells. In my locality in 1 km stretch I found 7 Biryani Counters (who sells only Biriyani, there are other outlets which sells biriyani with everything else) and all are running well. At 10pm I found one biriyani stall kept rice, potato and chicken separate. Whenever someone needs it, they mix three of these and pack. Alas, there is no “DUM” concept and this Biriyani sells and they get repeat customers as well. Are we losing our taste? Can we eat anything and everything?
Now a days all Puja Pandals get awards. So many competetions run by different companies. This year I have seen at least 5 / 6 pandals in my locality got awards by Panchami itself. The mementos are found to be showcased there. Now questions is who are the judges, what are the parameters and what are the benefits other than Memento. No one is there to answer. With the rise of Pujas, awards had been increased in proportion. And as usual it is not having any charm, any thrill of winning.
Shock ! May be I am getting old. I found a young man (max 20 years of age) on Chaturthi on a Matador. He was coming from Kumortuli with his friends and off course Maa Durga and other Pratimas. But surprisingly he was holding a Beer Bottle in hand and having drinks openly on the go. Almost all the Pujas are having DJ in vasan or in during Puja days. I have been told this is being organized to energize the youth to dance since they had put lot of efforts organizing the Puja. Also my thought only adding beats to any song with not create any music. If so then it is better to play beats only without the song. Anyway, today everyone is music lover since I found everyone plugging ear phone from Mobile and listening music always (in bus, train, walk). I feel like crying.
Most important aspect. The kind of growth of Puja in Bengal, it is definitely a huge market for specific segment like artists, decorators, electricians, theme artists, electrical companies, food/ QSR companies. Exact valuation of the market segments is a different research activity. But huge inflow of money. But what is the return? Who is getting benefitted? The bottom of pyramid, the workers involved in this are not even getting a small pie of it. Moreover there is no retention policy of the creations. Hence almost majority of the money is drained out. This is the money accumulated from the tax prayers only in some form or other.
In spite of so many media , themes, majority of youth are unaware of history of the occasion, the philosophy (there are exceptions as always) because people are not having time to read , think instead of focusing on visuals. This is applicable even for my daughter (7years old). She has seen all different TV channels (swapping between them) for 2 / 3 hours on Mahalaya. But she could tell me the story as was depicted there. This is the reason they do not get bored even on repeat telecasts (like all cartoons I have seen repeats, still they enjoy always).
Start-up Ecosystem / SME
Even after money market scams, the fund flow did not stop. The spending power of common man did not go down even after inflation. The same was quite evident with the rise of retail outlets and the crowd gathering in almost all outlets in all areas. I dream, if some percentage of same could have been accumulated, spent, reserved for Start-ups in Bengal, the story would have been different.
I seem to be out of the world. Anyone from in the readers having similar opinions?