An affair for everyone

An affair for everyone

With the festival season already here, the City is in the mood for a bout of celebration — but unlike a decade or so ago, Durga Puja has come to signify a much more cosmopolitan soiree.

For people from different communities, the musical programmes at pandals are an added attraction.

A majority of apartment complexes and gated colonies have started to organise
their own mini-celebrations, as a result of which the get-togethers are no longer
restricted to a single community.

Rather, people from across the country come together for the festival, each bringing in a little bit of their own culture and of course, food.

The result? — A melting pot of ideas, traditions and gaiety.
Bidyut Chowdhury, from the Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association (SORRBA), clarifies that puja celebrations in the last few years have been anything but confined.
The association, he explains, organises large-scale cultural programmes during this time of the year, and these are attended by people from all communities.

“We’ve been holding these celebrations for the last four years. Of course, a lot of the people who attend are Bengalis, since they form a majority of our membership. But we still have active participation by people from different communities,” he says.

This, perhaps, is because of the way in which these celebrations are organised — they are often held at public spaces, rather than within individual homes.

“Last year, for example, we held the celebration at a mall. People who walked in were curious about what was going on and since we have no restrictions on who can attend, they all joined in,” he says, adding, “We organised a community lunch for everybody, as
well as a bunch of cultural events. People come together to sing — not only in Bengali, but in other languages as well — so everyone was comfortable about being a part of it.”

Celebrations organised by associations aren’t the only ones that end up being

Shiju Krishnan, an entrepreneur, recalls fun-filled Durga Puja get-togethers with his neighbours.

“We’ve had some nice times during the festival. People from all over the country stay in my neighbourhood and we all celebrate the puja together. Many people make dishes that are typical of their community and everyone shares the feast,” he recalls, pointing out that given the rather mixed population in the City, this sort of cultural interaction is quite understandable.

People who have been born and brought up in Bangalore have taken to this sort of multi-community celebration quite passionately.

Manjula, a professional, points out, “There are a lot of different events that take place during this time of the year. We have dandiya nights which are very popular — and these aren’t restricted to Gujaratis; everyone takes part in them. We make it a point to have a golu at home and invite our neighbours to come over, especially those who don’t have the time to keep one in their own homes. For about ten days every year, there are people constantly dropping in to see how we celebrate the festival.”

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox