So it is that time of the year again, when every alternate email or scrapbook entry in Orkut I get asks me about my Pujo plans. And if that is not bad enough, once I reply that Pujo does not really mean anything here, they start making funny noises like how a Bengali can live without a Pujo holiday.
Now I am not exactly right about Pujo here. The Benagli Associations in most big cities do organize Pujo's, albeit often just for a day on a convenient weekend. Our Gainesville is just a small college town, but we do get to go to the Pujo's in Orlando or Tampa and those are just a couple of hours drive. I must appreciate the tremendous effort put in my the organizers at all these places, after all it is no trivial thing to put together the events. However, its just not possible under the given constraints to make it feel like the Pujo's back home and none even pretends that they are.
These are more like a social get together to most people here, where they meet up, discuss about their kid's achievement and show off their latest acquired saree or jewellery, while letting their kids recite Bengali poems with a hugely American Bengali accent. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that I don't really enjoy it as a Pujo. Rather it is kind of like a day out for me with semi-authentic Bengali food and long drives with saree clad Bengali girls! (Too bad, rarely any of them to "look at" in the Pujo venue, that robs half the charm of Pujo!)
Anyway here is some moments of the Pujo at Tampa yesterday.
However, all said and done, I do miss Pujo back home. But I do take issues with people suggesting that I should leave everything I am doing and rush back to Kolkata during Pujo to reinforce my Bengali credentials. Apart from Kolkata, nowhere in the world Pujo is a holiday and for those of us outside Kolkata, there is realistically a very little chance of landing up there during these days. And when when you are actually away from Pujo-land, you do not miss Pujo unless you are reminded everyday!