The city has just wrapped up one round of festivities with celebrating Ayudh Puja on Sunday and Vijayadashami on Monday, and will soon ready to put the lights up for Diwali.
At a time when the gloom of recession has been casting a shadow on different aspects of people’s lives, Dasara celebrations seem to stand out. While the spirit of festivity remains unchanged, there are some who have felt the need to bring down the fanfare without hurting the essential gaiety.
As secretary of Bengalee Association, Bangalore, Robin P Majumdar says, Durga Puja was celebrated with similar gusto as last year if not more. “There are more pandals now, so most could go to a puja near their home. We had a footfall of about the a lakh and 20 thousand people over the last three days. There were more people last year and the year before but that is because there weren’t as many venues.”
Majumdar adds that for the association, in addition to spending on the celebration, Durga Puja is also a fundraiser for their other charitable activities that they hold throughout the rest of the year. “We are not spendthrifts, but this year, we’ve had to bring down our budget. The allocations for the puja and bhog, which is served to an average of 5,000 people a day, are the same. It’s the stage decoration that we’ve cut down on. Also, we’ve avoided bringing in artistes from other cities for our cultural programmes. That way we cut out costs of their travel and stay and instead managed to showcase some in-house talent (of the Association’s members),” he adds.
Having just organised the third year of Durga Puja (top) in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Aikatan Club chose to be grand in its celebrations. Starting on October 10 with an Anandmela set against the backdrop of Kharagpur Railway Station, there was a model engine and various station stalls where people were dressed as coolies.
Says Dr P K Saha, chairman, Aikatan Club, “This time, we had a gathering of approximately 400 people who participated in dance-dramas like Amader Duniya Sapnapuri and Chandalika. We also saw song and recitation programmes commemorating Nazrul, Tagore and many renowned personalities. A souvenir rich in literary content is being printed as well.”