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The essence of the Durga Puja

July 07, 2008

Since mediaeval times, the human body has been referred to as “the Temple of the living God”. Most people today do not even know the meaning of the phrase. In today’s professional world of competition, we tend to forget that we are humans and not merely databases. The humane element in us is fading in the sands of time as we move towards what we call our “common future”. It is hard to believe that we are so busy with our lives that we have no time to stand, stare at the world and ask ourselves, “Is this all I want? Is there something missing?” Most people today don’t even know the meaning of life.

There are festivals in each community that brings people together and give us an opportunity to take a break from the world that seems so familiar to us but actually means nothing in the end. Someone once said, “On your deathbed, you will never wish that you spent more time in your office.” One such great festival is Durga Puja, and helps us in “coming back to life”.

During this great festival of the East, people, especially Bengalis, come home from all over the world leaving behind all that they consider to be important and that is exactly what I look forward to every year in this festival. No song sounds as sweet in our ears as the home coming song as we head straight towards the place we, though may not show but always, feel that it is somewhere we belong when we are away. Somehow seeing such gatherings, I feel that that we are finally living up to the belief that in spite of what we do for our own interests, each of us is definitely “the Temple of the living God”. There are people who get to see each other only during this part of the year. The time when we all sit together to eat ‘bhog’ or when we together pray to God as we give ‘anjali’ is something that is too great for us to forget. It is a festival that brings us together even after years of separation and we see that even time, though sometimes called the best healer, can not stop the hearts of two old friends from beating in the same pattern when they finally reunite after pangs of separation. Owing to this world of races, we do not even get to meet our very close-to-our-house neighbors very often. No matter what our people say, during this festive season, we set aside all our petty differences, our selfish lives, our so-called aim in life, and our studies or work and at last get reflective on the human side of our life. It is true that out there, a world awaits all of us in which if we do not live up to the demands it puts forward to us, we simply will perish. But in the midst of such a world even, we can always find peace of mind and the best way to do so is to come home and meet our childhood friends, our relatives. That is what makes such a festival, a class of its own.

The blend of this kind of an ambience and mentality with the sound of the ‘dhak’ and the lights make this festival close to our hearts. I have always and will always look forward to this festival because I feel that it is a part of me.