Away from home, I was kind of feeling very home-sick specially Durga pujo was near.Luckily this time Pujo schedule was conciding with weekend(good for hubby and even good for us) ,so no more asking him to arrange some days off ,although over these years I have become quite habitual of seeing him working from home despite him, taking pre-planned leave during one of Pujo days…….
On Saturady ,we went to Wembley Durga Pujo.This Pujo ,I had heard is orgainised by a family( that includes an extended family of friends).
Nirmal Mukherji and his family have been organising this Durga Pujo for the last 30 years now,this year it celebrated it’s 31 st year .
Hubby called at one of the numbers provided for contacts ,asking about the details for the venue and directions and response was so prompt.
“Aapniki dhake’er awaj shunte Parche na, bas chole ashon” meaning ,are you not listening to dhak/drum-beats , just hop in now”
That was just so simple and we came to the venue getting off from a route bus 79 from the Alperton tube station, walked 10 mints approx on London Road HA9 ,and soon we were in Denise Jackson Centre near Wembley Stadium.
The moment we enterd the centre,I can feel the barir Pujo atmoshpere there…..the crowd and the homely ambience ,there was a sense of familiarity despite we were coming there for the first time.
Women folks cutting and chopping vegetables in hurry , knives have taken place for Bonti,but the spirit remains the same,that reminded about how my ma,and kakimaas,jethimaas used to gather and talk endlessly while cutting and chopping the vegetables and fruits for bhog and phol prasad respectively, and our very own kaku, jethu’s would gather round the cooking area on ashtami /nabami to cook bhog for the entire community and their long adda sessions.
Meanwhile we(children ,girls specially) would be strictly told to gather dobbu( sacred grass) and flowers from neighbouring homes……….ah! things of the past remains so fresh n alive somewhere in our hearts………..
After the Pujo ,we offered pushpanjali , my Lil one also joined us in offering pushpanjali….
We waited patiently there for our turn of Bhog in a long queue.
While me and hubby caught up with little chit-chat ,our daughter started palying around with other little ones there.After the long wait ,our turn came and the wait was worth it ….Bhog Included ghee bhaat, Cholar dal,aloo phulkopir torkari ,chatney ,mishti and phol prasad.
That was just a wonderful experience and what more can I ask for.This gave me immense satisfaction as somehow I was able to feel the warmth of home there.
There was a sense of belonging despite unfamiliar faces there, a sense of achievement for everybody there,despite living in London and still carrying out the legacy of Puja with such fervor.
I was now leaving for my home feeling so contented ,a heart full of good memories of a barir Pujo in a foreign land.
And a sense of pride for our culture ,that we Probashi Bengali carry within us , what our fore-fathers tried to incorporate within us ,our culture and tradition and the sense of connecting to our roots.
I am leaving you with some of the snaps below.
Image Courtesy Shomeek Mukherji.