And so the ordeal begins.
With the onset of the Mahalaya morning, there arrives this faint whiff of chill in the air, accentuating the bright gold of the sun. It takes you back to your city and your times. You logon to Youtube and listen to Birendra Krishna Bhadra chanting the Mahishasurmardini and let out a sigh. You are a non resident Calcuttan wondering suddenly as to why you left the city and whether all of this toil is really worth it. Here’s another Mahalaya that you’ll miss.
Back then, on a Mahalaya morning, you’d wake up to the inimitable voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra. Your mom and dad were already up. Your dad in fact was back from the tarpan. The Puja vacations were drawing invitingly close. Mid-term exams were over and even your class teacher, all strict and forever frowning, would let a couple of smiles slip past his lips.
Your mom was almost done with the Puja shopping and all that was left to be bought was the white saree for your grandma’s sister. You had hit a jackpot this time (like everytime), what with your mama/ kaka coming down from the US/ UK with loads of goodies and that pair of black denims. Your friend had got this stitch-ready kit from Ruf and Tuf, and you thought Akshay Kumar was really cool with his flying kicks. You thought Ruf n tuf was a must get, but your chhotokaka had outright rejected the idea, while planting doubts in your mind about the actor’s and the said brand’s class.
It was the first holiday of the festive season and of course there would be the customary loochi and aloo dum for breakfast. You’d puncture the paper-thin crust of the loochi and watch the steam wafting away. Your friends would call you in a while for a cricket match. While you quickly get ready for the mid morning bout of cricket, your mom would shout and remind you that there was a brief shopping trip scheduled for the day (and you were your mom’s favourite shopping partner).
Cricket, lunch and shopping would be over by evening and you’d probably walk back home holding your mom’s hand and a copy of the Pujabarshiki Anondomela. The clear sky would be a rich deep blue striking white clouds floating there like tufts of cotton. As you’d walk down the footpath, you’d soak in the sights of the ongoing work at the pandals, brightly lit signboards, bubbling customers. The neighbourhood roadside roll stall had a freshly painted signboard.
You’d briskly walk on towards your house with your mother. It was time you found out what Professor Shonku, Feluda and Kakababu were up to this time.
(Feluda- The Bengali sleuth that everyone wanted to become, the elder brother that everyone wanted to have.
Professor Shonku- Genius, explorer, inventor. Rated right up there with Edison. You’d probably have rated him parallel with Tesla though!
Kakababu- Raja Raoychowdhury, ex director of Archaelogical Survey of India, explorer and adventurer. Cannot stand mysteries and bad behavior.
Pujabarshiki Anondomela is the Puja edition of the popular childrens’ magazine. It remains a favourite among school going children and most members of their families. It does not however carry anymore, fresh adventures of Shonku/ Feluda/ Kakababu. ).