I am tired of this. Year after year, it is the same story, since I have moved away from Kolkata.
This time of the year, wherever you see a few Bengalis discussing something, it must be about the pujo. You cant escape it offline. You cant escape it when talking to a friend.
You cant even escape it on social networking sites. I am getting sick of this.
And before I appear as another suddenly-homesick Bengali, that is hardly the case. I can perfectly understand why people there will be excited about the biggest festival of the year. You must be excited when you are forced to make multiple forced voluntary donations, have to fight with millions of people to reach anywhere or enter a restaurant, and have the unenviable pleasure of listening to non-stop free music loud and clear from the adjoining pujo pandal.
However I see no reason why I would be excited. Or anyone living in any part of the world, where pujo means nothing. And no, I do not count the social get-togethers organized in these parts. The whole point of a festival is the ambiance, the surrounding. Seeing everyone around you having fun. In spite of all the inconveniences, that is why we want to go back to Kolkata this time of the year, although whether we will be able to survive the crowd is an open question. But I digress.
I am an atheist, so the religious part of it does not mean anything to me anyways. I suspect that is true for a lot of people, pujo is a social occasion, not an overtly religious one, no matter what the name suggests. The social aspect is completely missing here - no matter how hard you try to recreate the environment here. It is either you meeting up with all your friends, which you do once in a while anyways, or worse, an awkward gathering of complete strangers. A festival can not happen in isolation, and more importantly, it cannot happen without a buildup. You cant getup one fine morning, see your scheduler, get dressed, and go to a pujo. Even football games in Florida had more buildup, more expectations.
All festivals are critical functions of the surroundings. That is why pujo means nothing to me sitting here. Now, please stop asking me how I am spending my pujo. And, no I am not interested in listening to how was yours, or hear dhak on youtube. I see everyone working around me.