It’s been a few days since I had planned to blog this, but family commitments kept blogging at bay. So better late than never, and on with this post pending since last week, I say… 🙂
Spring is upon us and the country is waking up from its bout of chilly winters, onto a warmer weather; flowers are budding and bees and butterflies are buzzing in abundance. This is also the season of festivals, Vasant Panchami being one such, celebrated across India with great splendour. And here, in Bengal, it’s time for Saraswati Puja… (which was on 1st Feb..and I’m 5 days late 😦 sniff)
Saraswati Puja evokes many memories, though they’re probably of a different kind than what most Bengalis have grown up with. At least that’s how my memories differ from those of my Mom & Dad’s. They tell me stories of school and college, of dramatic societies and theater groups, of stage performances, alponas and decoration, of felicitating teachers’ and of organizing a humongous event all by themselves, at school.
Me on the other hand, my memories are of school too, though a very different school. Memories of exams in a Catholic school that stood very close to our local ‘Bengali club’..of the strains of the ‘dhaak’ that I could hear, even while I scribbled down on my exam papers. Memories of rushing to the Puja pandal after exams to offer Pushpanjali, and enjoy community bhog, comprising of ‘Khichuri, labra, chanti and payesh’…
…distant memories of the time, when I first held a slate and pencil in my hands, of writing out the alphabets. in English and Bengali…of being officially readied for formal education.
But no matter the city, town or country we dwell in, Saraswati Puja for Bengalis is an iconic festival, marked by the start of spring, the nip in the air that gently turns warm, the cooing of the Cuckoo, the deep red berries and the loudspeakers that blast ‘Laila main Laila’….across every para 🙂
Subho Saraswati Pujo everyone… here’s my Pujo bhog platter, to be shared virtually with you all ❤
Khichuri (Moong dal khichuri with cauliflower, baby potatoes and peas)
Kul er Ombol
(And a special handmade tribute to Goddess Saraswati — Book, Veena and Swan, hand-carved by Dad, and painted by Me…Idea by Mom 😀 )