Monthly Archives: October 2011
Durga puja is over and so is the post puja hangover. Life for the common man has resumed to its utmost monotony. But behind everyone’s mind lives on an excitement, the excitement of kali puja and diwali. The hunt for the best lampshades and lightings are on, as is the bargain for the best quality fire crackers. Just as so, full-fledged work is on in kumartuli to finish of the kali thakur idols in time for the celebrations. On a recent visit to this birthplace of idols, I realized just how much the rush is to properly sculptor and finish these idols in time. The excitement in their attitudes is no less than what it was before durga puja. Walking through the busy alleys with barely any space to walk, I meet up with this lady who on her own was working on a hay figure. When I asked her if it was her ability she promptly replied that she was one of the many women helpers who basically help the chief sculptors making their work a little easier. They only help in the making of kali and saraswati, durga and ganesh are made by the chief sculptors. The process of making an idol was rather interesting. What they do is collect the durga idols already immersed in water, then they dry the inner hay figure after removing the leftover clay, then they use this clay figure to make kali. And this is a process they follow for every puja; they take the previously immersed idols from the river and start work on it for the upcoming puja. An average kali idol takes around 5-6 days to complete, a very short period if compared to durga which takes around 4-5 months. But an interesting fact that I have come to know is that the rush during kali puja is greater than durga puja. The reason is that all durga idols are pre-ordered. Kali idols are usually not pre-ordered and people come in to buy them at the last moment. This leads to an unsure estimate of required idols as it is the largest celebrated festival in the country. At the end of all this, I come upon a rather small shop that sells anaars with a little man sitting inside. Mr. bikash bhattacharya’s family has sold anaars from his grandfather’s time, a man who alone manages this business among his 3 brothers says supplies this year has reached a snag due to the unpredictable rain all year round. It has badly affected the year-long process of creating the perfect mixture for the fire crackers. But he still says the amount that has survived is enough for a great produce. As I leave kumartuli, I feel mesmerized by the magic these simple people work up all throughout their lives, the teaching and understanding of an art that has been past on for centuries and off course how the excitement and craziness of puja has its source here. They truly give meaning to the Bengali saying..baro mashe tero parbon…..