Sunday, October 24, 2004

curtains durga puja 2004

The pujas are over for 2004 and, the committee members have already started the job of planning for the festivities of 2005. It is gathered from news reports that trying to bag one of the prestigious prizes is not something of a chance but a result of dedicated research, teamwork and professional approach. How beautiful West Bengal and Kolkata would be if these energies were to be channelised in a more productive way!!
However, I am too small a person to sit in judgment on such issues.
I will write the dénouement on pujas 2004.
First, the crowds that gathered at some popular pandals at 12 pm on the Saptami, Ashtami and Navami days respectively – estimates are that of the Kolkata Police:
Suruchi Sangha, New Alipore 20,000 40,000 60,000
Badamtola Ashad Sangha 17,000 35,000 50,000
66 Palli 15,000 35,000 45,000
Shiv mandir 14,000 30,000 45,000
Selimpur palli 12,000 30,000 40,000
Babubagan 10,000 25,000 35,000
Nalini Sarkar Street 8,000 25,000 30,000
Telenga bagan 6,000 25,000 30,000
Darpa Narain Thakur Street 6,000 20,000 25,000
Kumartuli Park 6,000 15,000 25,000

(The top ten pandals like Ekdalia Evergreen, Santosh Mitra Square, Park Circus, Singhee Park, Baghbazar Sarbojanin, Md. Ali Park, College Square, Maddox Square and Jodhpur Park, where unmanageable crowds usually gather are not considered. This year, our cricket captain Sourav put in an appearance at the Ekdalia Evergreen.)
Next we come to the award winners. Three sets of awards are announced by three different groups. These are as follows:
National Insurance + Anandabazar – No. 1 – Jodhpur Park
No. 2 – Haridevpur 41 palli
No. 3 – Barisha Sahajatri
Asian Paints Sharad Samman - No. 1 – Srishti, Sakher bazaar
No. 2 – Barisha Jubak brinda
No. 3 – Behala club
Finolex Alok Suraksha Samman - No. 1 – Suruchi Sangha, New Alipur
No. 2 – Sovabazar Beniatola
Thirdly, a major problem faced by practically all puja committees – non availability of lotus flowers. As it is, these flowers are very delicate. They grow in water and, due to unseasonal rains and floods, most of these have perished. Whatever could be salvaged was going at exorbitant rates – Rs 12.00 each piece. Other flowers like marigold, night queens etc. were priced at up to Rs 300.00 per Kg. The requirement of lotus flowers on Ashtami day itself runs into 108 pieces for every puja. And, at a rough estimate, the total requirement is of the order of 8 lakh pieces for all days combined. Against this, only 2 lakh pieces were available. Hence, some stocks had to be procured from neighboring states to fill the gap.