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Puja 2020 – An Innocuous Revelry

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The internet is regularly flooded with different versions of the same thing, often something that has a loose foundation. Nonetheless, the hype prevails, and misinformation and misconceptions find way into our minds. Similarly, the spread of the coronavirus and its delusory dance has left us civilians confounded as to what expectations to have for the upcoming major festivals and important dates, where safety restrictions are hard to implement. The abruptness in the spike and fall in the hypnotizing graph that almost everyone has been monitoring since March, 2020, has had a numbing effect lately. People are less concerned now than before, primarily due to the deceptiveness of mass media, more than the impact of time lapse. There are a lot of technical details that various sources have to offer, but the goal here is to keep the civilians of India (Bengal, to be more specific) sufficiently informed about the situation that is, and to warn them about the consequences that may befall them, lest they are not prepared to fight alongside the administrative authorities, while taking part in the celebrations.

Durga Puja in Bengal is something that demands all that glitter and sparkle that we have to offer, be it decorative or emotive. This year however, the foreboding was pretty prominent. People could quickly engage in a grim thought about the fate of this year’s festive foundations, pre-planning and the once-in-a-year revelry. The unrestrained expectations that people have, mostly in Bengal, seemed to diminish along with their dimming exuberance. Pestering the civilians to maintain the order and observe obedience to the mandated guidelines by the state governments has yielded unexpectedly low results. People (informed, uninformed and misinformed) have previously exhibited dumbfounding reluctance in the past regarding issues concerning their own health and safety. But the unprecedented rapidness in the spread of the deadly coronavirus ideally calls for the demonstration of basic human reasoning, at least among those imbibing urban refinement (a doubtful claim). However, the immediate concern being spreading awareness and information, and not measuring public ignominy, let us focus on the festive highlights and guidelines that one must follow in order to safely enjoy Durga Puja 2020.

The effectiveness of the above mentioned rules and requests rely on the compliance of the public, which again depends on their self-interests.

On a lighter note, Barisha Club, Behala, is exhibiting the ‘indomitable spirit’ of women workers struck by the unexpected lockdown, through the idol depicting a migrant worker mother (Durga) holding a shirtless toddler (Kartick) in her arms. Worshipping this idol is a gentle gesture both at the power of women, as well the abruptness of the eye-opener (pandemic).

This is the time of the year when people in India flock and feast, roam and rejoice, expect excitement but often forget to return and revert. The police are expected to discharge their duties diligently, the organizations are required to take control of undesirable situations, the health workers need to be extra responsive and responsible, but the public usually feels an unchained sense of freedom. This freedom shall not resonate with life this year, and the earth demands a little more attention than the takers today. It is that time of our lives…the time to give back.

This puja, stay mostly home, avoid public transport, stay safe, take care of the elders, and start giving back.


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