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Pandol hopping brigade.

Better late than…

We are getting  late – I complained.
Coming , came N’s reply from closed doors.
After grumbling, cursing and cajoling, finally we rang our friend A’s door bell at 6 45. A opened his door drapped in a towel, M , whom N was supposed to help wear a saree  was nowhere to be seen. So much for me being late!

After discussing sacred geometry, playing board (bored) games on memes, dogs health, my health, M deciding against the saree as it was too hot, it was 8.15 by the time we set out. The four of  us, N a deeply spiritual seeker , M a Polish Bollywood aspirant, A the Bong lens artist and finally me- an undecided agnostic – all dressed in traditional best to go for the ‘Pujo’ experience.

Food calling

A half hour later , N and me reached the venue before the others as we were on a bike. The pandol was located in the defunct hotel that somehow still gave out it’s lawns on rent. Then we had to decide- either wait for A and M or proceed to the  venue for the deities darshan. We decided on something better – check out the food stalls.

How can a roll cost 300 bucks? A fumed as his  Bong nostrils inflamed.
A Coke is 50 for a small bottle – N chimed in.
Why did yoh guys get late ? I quizzed M
‘I stopped to dance as Ranveer Singhs was rapping on thr road!!’ M replied in excitement. Even we had passed by the Bollywood star perform for the T shirt brand. He endorsed.  Should I tell M he was ad-libbing ? But then why burst her bubble – I decided to keep quiet.

A was still undecided on what to eat – a Kosha  mongshoor  or a mutton biryani  and M was going gaga on trying out Bengali sweets. I knew I had to stay far from these becuase of my health issues – Let’s go for the darshan, I told N. We left A and N at the food counter and made our way.

Selfies vs serenity.

‘People rush here only to click selfies?’ M asked looking at the crowds  a tad sad. ‘That’s what counts today’, A countered, cynicism dripping from his tongue. As he spoke, Celebs and top cops  got to get onto a dias skipping the ques and got private darshans.  A’ s point was valid as couples and families  rushed to click, pose and post on social media. Just like me

But I did not agree with him. A minute before they could join us, N and me were sitting down on chairs and looking at the deities,  letting the aura and good vibes envelop us. That feeling of serenity,  it still does not take away the feeling of peace one can chose to exprenice like N or the random conversation I enjoyed with an elderly Bong gentleman who liked my pictures and made me click some from his camera , also the conversations he kept having with me in Bengali.

Bollywood vs beach.

After the Darshan there was a live orchestra  playing – the singers were good, but the show was ticketed. We decided to go to the beach instead. The half moon kissed waves kept us company as we, avoided the malishwallahs and tea vendors , made conversations with a random stranger who clicked our pics. M made a video for her You tube channel, I had her click pics for my Hinge profile – she made me dance , I obliged, at the end even other onlookers clapped . All of us had a good laugh.

The discussions on gods and glorified functions carried on right through. ‘It is what you choose to see’ N said as her parting shot to A – who was still hungry but stubbornly refused to eat as we left.

On our way back, we passed a couple of small pandols.  N made me stop. I sat on the bike when she went for a Darshan. Outside women in their finest were dancing without a care ,everyone was happy. No one cared about selfies. A lady in her 50’s was showing some smart dance moves. A smile rose on many a face. A perfect end to a a good pandol hopping.

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Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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