Durga Puja ‘diplomacy’ in full swing
While the city’s residents are gearing up for Durga Puja festivities beginning next week, countries with consulates in the city have already begun. While US Ambassador to India Keneth Juster reached the city to be part of the consulate’s festivities, 39 artists from China have been invited by the Chinese consulate to perform dragon dances at the Salt Lake BJ block Durga Puja with which the Chinese consulate is associated. While French Consul General in Kolkata, Virginie Corteval, will visit a rural Durga Puja in South 24 Parganas district, while the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission has issued more visas to Indians to visit the country during the Puja as many have relatives across the border.
Roads turn nightmare due to shoppers, rains
Huge traffic snarls and rains have turned the city’s roads into a mess. People are generally headed to malls for shopping for the puja during this time. Most of the traffic is witnessed in the evenings when people go out for shopping after returning home from offices. However, the roads are not quaint in the mornings and afternoons either with housewives and students out for shopping. However, the incessant rains have made shopping a harrowing experience for most of the city residents. The city is gearing up for the biggest festival of the year. Millions throng the pandals across the city and the festival is considered to the year’s highlight among Bengali families which means that their yearly shopping is focused around this time.
Sheets on Durga Puja pandals due to Titli
Cylone Titli has caused medium to heavy rainfall in Kolkata and other south Bengal districts causing Durga Puja organisers to cover the pandals with massive plastic sheets to protect them from water damage. Many of the pandals are intricately-designed and based on specific themes and water damage could completely ruin the artwork. Teams of volunteers across the city have been tasked with drawing covers over the pandals in an event of rain. With rains during the Puja almost certain now, organisers can only hope that it does not rain during the evening when the crowds come out by the millions.
Durga Puja pandal chronicles lives of sex-workers
A 48-year-old Durga Puja pandal, the Ahiritola Jubakbrinda, has chronicled the stories of sex workers in the red-light districts of the city. A 350-feet-long graffiti on the road leading to the pandal gives a virtual tour of red-light district of Sonagachi in north Kolkata. Sex workers’ association Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Samiti has collaborated with the committee to provide real stories of sex workers. Props would be used to depict the violence these sex workers sometimes face.