Mail News Service
Jamshedpur, October 10: COVID-19 protocols are strictly in place but the rural greens have adorned that lustrous look with Kash flowers swaying at the slightest hint of breeze to herald the Mother’s advent amongst Her mortal children and spell uninhibited joy in every home. The joys impinge all social, caste, creed and economic barriers to light up hearths and homes with unmitigated happiness and merriment for one precious week of genuine living – far-far away from the grind of routine quest for a day’s life.
Moti Ram, the daily laborer working as a construction site coolie has purchased Bermudas for his five year old twin sons and a printed saree for his wife Basanti to be worn on the four days of Durgotsav. As for himself, he shares his rare glee with a smile (almost conspiratorially), “I have purchased a brown tee-shirt with the face of a lion in front. We were paid an extra Rs 500 as bonus for Durga Puja. With Basanti’s consent, I added another Rs 200 from my weekly wage and purchased the Puja items. On one of the three days of Puja we will have chicken curry and rice. We are all so happy by the blessings of Ma Durga.” The scribe left Moti to his glee as he turned to load his basket with sand to be carried to the third floor of the building under construction.
Alpana Mukherjee, homemaker of bookstall owner Sushanto Mukherjee was busy giving last minute instructions to her housemaid when this scribe walked in to the Mukherjees’ apartment at Bhalubasa for a possible cup of coffee and some ‘Howdy. Alpana was happy to see this guest at a peak hour before midday on Sunday. She said, “My in-laws are coming over tomorrow and my sister and her husband the next day. My children, both studying at St Xavier’s in Kolkata arrived last evening,” and when prodded, she shared, “We have the festive a-la-carte lined up. Fish fry, mustard Hilsa, prawns in green coconut, mutton curry, fried rice, naan, sweets and a lot of other Bengali delicacies. After all, we seldom get time to be together, move around together, pray together and above all, dine together. A few days of togetherness revitalizes the spirit to live through for another year,” Alpana smiled as the scribe took the last sip from the large coffee mug and got up to leave.
Gouri and her husband Debnath Mukhi who work together at an Ambagan Area residence and stay in their own house in Harijan Basti in Bhuinyadih, seemed contented.
Gouri said, “I have been cooking and doing sundry work for this household for almost 20 years. My husband does the cleaning, maintenance and other work here. My daughter was barely able to walk when we joined this household. Now she is married and has a two year old daughter who is attending Boudi’s (she addresses Mrs Roy as sister-in-law) pre-nursery school. We get paid well. Both of us will be working during the first half here and in the evening go pandal hopping. Boudi will take us out in her car on Ashtami day. And yes, all of us have got new clothes from this house and we have also made our own purchases. May Ma Durga bless this household that has been so good and affectionate towards our family.”
For once, the scribe felt the Puja spirit beating in his soul. The festive spirit is not limited to money that struggles to talk in these days of scalding prices but it lies in the satisfaction one derives from what the Divine Mother blesses one with. There is always another day, another year.