“3 cheers for Chakraclub”!!”Hip hip Hurray “ -Just when I thought it must be another upcoming IPL team of the local version and the cheer leaders were doing their job, it emerged to be something else. Yet another prize bagged by our “Para” Pujo. An entire of 5 days in all, loud speakers that are fitted just beside the wall of your bed room, nothing can be more surprising than “3 cheers” message at 4 am dot. And what surprises, we should have got accustomed to all these.3 months of prior preparation, when your own locality becomes like maze and almost all the lanes and by lanes get ready for their own version of Durga Puja.You have to literally find ways between lanes to find way home as most of these are blocked. Kolkata, during these days sees a new light. Everything is jazzed up-colors, lights, themes, creativity.When I was out of Kolkata, for many years, I did miss all the glamour of it. In MBA days, I used to pray desperately that our dear Subbu doesn’t use his brain too much to schedule an FCQ on these days!! That our esteemed placements committee ensures that placements are over by this time .And that anything unforeseen, unexpected just doesn’t happen. Because these days were reserved for Durga-the goddess who comes with her four children-Ganesha, Kartika,Lakshmi and Saraswati to her parent’s place from her in-laws(thus goes the Bong version of the Durga story).And we are to visit her and her children with all our demands(Vidyang dehi, Jasho dehi,…). I guess now the list must have got a makeover to include Iphone dehi, laptop dehi, truly beautiful, extremely fair, highly educated housewife dehi, Extremely rich, handsome, loving, caring, sensitive and zero expectations husband dehi, D’dmas diamonds dehi, abroad vacations dehi, onsite dehi and might be even FB likes dehi. Not growing up in a family that is super dedicated to religious matters makes you somehow inert to all the pujas .I am also not an exception to this. But when I was not here in Kolkata, I really wanted to be home this time of the year. I started planning much ahead. And, now when I am home after all these years, I just get a feel of something missing! Not that I do not like Pandal hopping. But some strange observations this year. People dress in all sorts of things-micro-minis, spaghettis, shorts, party gowns!!Kolkata sees a mix of temple+church+pub+beach+casual+ what not wear on the streets. It’s really amusing. People in their best attires (as per them) and best makeup (as per them) walk around the streets and lanes to show how “beautiful” they are to some strangers. And a new comer this Puja is definitely the Pepper spray...I heard girls are keeping those in their bags to shove off all those eve teasers. At least I could sense some confidence .Now-days all the theme pujas seem somehow redundant to me...Around July, you choose the theme...abstract themes like light/colour/happiness/hope...so on and choose the material like coconut shells/wool/old buckets/leaves/paper/clay/iron/..So on…and then you come up with your 50 lac/1 crore masterpiece in the next 3 months. Advertisers, endorsements, big, small...all in the game. Thousands of people flock to your pandal, you get loads of prizes, for 5 days you don’t allow anyone in the neighborhood to sleep. All the deities in the local temples are the neglected ones these days with no lights or just an almost invisible diya or they also choose pandal hopping? And that’s about happiness. In all these one question just pops into my mind. We want everyone to be a part of our happiness.True.But what about those whose definition of happiness is altogether different. What about the old people who like some silence to be there, what about people who would want the atmosphere to be a little less polluted, or the people who have life deciding exams just after Puja holidays!!Or those who are from a different part of the country or a different religion who can’t just identify themselves with all these ballyhoo.Happiness is definitely our right, but at the same time, choosing to stay away from our happiness is other’s right. I have always observed that there are very few people who can respect the idea that everyone is so different and that makes this world so interesting( as one of my friends used to say).Why can’t we just believe in that and act accordingly? Imposing things on others always creates the feeling of supremacy, difference, bias, and minority and so on. Along with all the other prayers to the Goddess, let’s also make a prayer that we would share a little more responsibility the entire year henceforth, may be Durga also maintains some appraisal reports for all of us!! Who knows!!