Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | February 1, 2009

Saraswati Pujo

Saraswati Pujo always brings back special memories of childhood to me. A favorite occasion of especially the Bengali householders in India is a day when prayers are offered to the Hindu Goddess of knowledge. I have heard beautiful stories from my father, how in their childhood his friends and he with very meager donations from some supportive elders organized Saraswati Pujo in our grandmother’s home. He fondly remembers those days. Times have indeed changed from then onwards. These days while we allow our cynicism to prevail and ruin everything that used to be so beautiful. In our wisdom we tend to believe everything that were there were so ugly and meaningless. However, life was not so bad, after all and I suppose it never is. Just that at the moment we sometimes see the ugliness a bit too often.

I do have fond memories of Pujo too.

When I was young, my father organised Saraswati Pujo at our place. In doing so, not only we had an excuse to celebrate an occasion (since Saraswati was the only Goddess who was worshipped in our place annually as an event), but also my father relived his own childhood. While the sanctity of Pujo was ensured with him performing the act with utmost diligence, the best part for a young me was to be awake the whole of the night on the eve of Pujo day. I think those were days, when as a youngster I was fascinated by the creativity that my parents possessed. They have always been amazingly talented people. The entire evening before Saraswati Pujo were spent by my parents decorating the Pujo Mondap (stage). Thus after my father came home from office, the scissors, hammers, nails, paint, brush, cardboard boxes, colorful papers, small lights and thermocol sheets all came out. Even the glue that was used was home made. I wonder when did my father spent time deciding what the look of the stage would be. Every year we created something different. In some years while we made a stage that looked like a boat, in some we made a stage that resembled a earthen pot. There were many such designs that were implemented over the years. For me, seeing the creative idea, taking shape was the most exciting bit. My role however was of a mere assistant helping my parents decorate the place. It was fun nevertheless running errands. The passion involved in the three of us, made us feel so proud. We were not even sure whether someone would visit us the next day and praise our work but still every year we had the same enthusiasm. During Christmas here, I saw similar enthusiasm in families when decorating their homes and it made me feel trifle sad on the pain of growing up.

For us, it was an excuse to do something collectively in the small home of ours. I did not grow up in extreme lavishness but those beautiful moments were enough to shrug off any small grievances that I ever nurtured. Some feelings cannot be expressed in words and my memories of Saraswati Pujo are one such feeling. Thanks to my parents, I have such a memory and some photographs at home in Kolkata of those days of camaraderie. Being home during Saraswati Pujo was such an occasion that I never ever needed to attend any Pujo organised by a local club. It was yet another reason which brought me closer to home.

Yesterday when my father informed me that it was Saraswati Pujo, I could not think for a moment about the degradation that the race is facing now and how such occasions have turned meaningless over time. I remembered and lauded those who still try and preserve the beauty and sanctity of the event. I feel they may be very few in number but they certainly are there.

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Responses

  1. Nowadays, Saraswati pujos are held not only at our homes; you will see at Auto Rickshaw stands and roadside with a loud speaker shouting some hindi recent tracks and in the evening some most enthusiastic people dancing to the tunes.

    Pathetic.


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