Suddenly this morning on the way to work I realised we are just a month and half away from pujos. Looking at the blue sky dotted with white clouds (incidentally its monsoons now and we haven’t seen any rain in the past four days-its been really hot) I suddenly remembered all the excitement that pujos used to bring for us when we were children. I remember walking with Ma down the crowded pavements of Gariahat looking for the right shade of colour for the blouse piece and getting pushed and hurtled around in the process. Ma used to then take me down to one of her favourite shops on Gariahat road…I forget what it was called…for some moghlai porota and cold drink. In those days that used to be such a grand treat. Some more shopping done and frilly frocks bought we used to return home feeling quite nice with ourselves. And it continued year after year…the same routine…same shops and the same people. And suddenly one day it all changed…everything remained the way it was except for me…I just changed.
The constant surging crowds of Gariahat just could not me lure me enough anymore to get into its skin and be a part of it once again. The thought of new clothes both for myself and others became a thought I found childish and stupid. Being the youngest in the family, I was pampered with “pujor jama” of all kinds-right from the “ebaarer style” skirts to salwars, jeans and even a nice saree to wear on ashtamee. But nothing seemed to interest me anymore.
Today sitting back I realise the cause of my disinterest. I wasn’t disinterested in the festivities. I had lost my belief in God. I am not a devout Hindu-was never one but god was the only person I considered to be my friend. Ever since I learnt the “My father” in school, I used to recite that sincerely at bedtime every night not because I was praying to Jesus but because that was my only recognised way to talk to God. I never prayed to him/her but spoke to it. I shared deepest of secrets and worst fears and I knew deep down that he knew even the untold things and it would respond in its own way and own time. And it’s been two years now that she hasn’t responded. I purposely call her she because that’s how she comes to us in this time of the year-bedecked in jewellery on a visit to her maternal home with all her children. While for most pujo means visiting pandals and meeting friends over an adda session at Maddox Square, she has always been a reflection of my inner self-giving me strength and asking me to move on. But in the last two years every time I looked at her, she refused to talk to me-refused to even look me in the eye-I felt she was looking perhaps at the person right next to me or maybe behind me but never at me. She refused to answer questions I asked her, refused to acknowledge my fears and give me her hand to hold- I have stopped going to her-I pray to her for the well being of others but not of my fears-for the health of my parents, the success of my husband and the mental peace for my brother but nothing for me-I don’t enter her house but I call out to her for all those I care-I keep hoping she will listen to all the things unsaid and look at me again.