Tuesday, February 27, 2024

First Durga Puja at Smriti Manikotha

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My first memory of Durga Puja in my life was at Gaibandha my fat grandfathers house I dont know why I used to call my mothers skinny father fat grandfather

Journey down memory lane means moving backwards through memory lane.

Not in the sense in which the English poet T S Eliot said, “Modern man is progressively advancing backward”, but more in the sense in which conductors of Calcutta minibuses tell passengers to “proceed backwards.”

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We know that life is the future based on past experience. But like many Bangladeshi Bastuharas, my past is lost in the lotus, the present is foggy, the future is dark. Nevertheless, I have moved forward with the belief that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

My first memory of Durga Puja in my life was at Gaibandha – my fat grandfather’s house. I don’t know why I used to call my mother’s skinny father fat grandfather.

A role also needs a role. I was born on the 19th of Bhadra 13 44, Saturday, New Moon. 5th September 1937 AD. This day is celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India, the birthday of the second President of independent India, educationist Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Judging by my stature, mathematicians said that I would be extraordinary. If he is good, he is very famous and if he is bad, he is a bandit leader. If I met those mathematicians, I would like to know why they joked about such a snake like me. Not only that, the Most Venerable Ram Thakur (who is my grandfather by a long distance) used to sit on his lap for a long time and called me Balgopal. For which I was named Gopal.

My country is Vikrampur of Dhaka district. Many people used to rhyme and say – education, bad intelligence and money, covered with these three. I was born in Madaripur, in the house of my other grandfather, Paresh Chakraborty. “Swami Pranabananda, Arial Khan, Ramthakur, the land of these three greats, Faridpur. ” Bajitpur near Madaripur, Maharaj Guru Pranabananda Swamiji, the lifeblood of Bharat Sevashram Sangh, was born there. I spent my childhood and youth in Gaibandha. Fat grandfather Dr. Amritlal Ukil’s house. I am the first English among my peers. I used to wear pants. Drawstring pants were called Bengali pants. And buttoned pants were called English pants. Fountain pen was the first I used in the neighborhood. Fountain pen was called fountain pen.

My mother’s grandfather was the one I lived with as a child. I heard that when he retired from government service in 1928, his salary was 500 rupees, which was very high for that time. I heard that I was the apple of my grandfather’s eye. As a result, I was far from being killed, no one ever complained. Although beating of children in school and at home was very common then. Grandfather’s singing voice was wonderful. Dadu learned music from Rabindranath Tagore for some time. Kabiguru used to call Dadu a Bengali sometimes. That song was sung by my mother, Meera Masi and mother’s brother Shibu. I was a demon in music. Meera masi danced beautifully. Gaibandhar Panuda Panu Pal is a renowned dancer of independent India. Meera masi’s duet dance (I used to say giant dance) with her was amazing. My great uncle’s name is Amulya. He was very fond of singing Rabindra Sangeet. But his language is the language of Bengal. One of the versions of actor Bhanu Banerjee.

“Why didn’t I wet it with tears?
Dry dust
Who knew you would come
Like Anahut.”

These two famous lines of Rabindranath stood in the words of Amulya Mama

“I didn’t wet my eyes with water
Hookah is like soil
Who knew you would come
Like Havaitya.”

Dadu and his wife were made for each other – in religion, deed and name. Grandfather’s name is Hem. Wife’s name is Hiranmayi. Grandfather’s two daughters. The eldest daughter Farsa was named Dhabli, which later became Dali. Little girl’s name is Akali. Why Akali could not understand the name of such a beautiful girl. I later learned that there was a famine in the country at the time of his birth – rice cost 5 rupees. Hence the name Akali.

A curse is a blessing in disguise in many people’s lives. We had the opposite. As a result of grandfather’s keen knowledge of English, we were not in the habit of consulting a dictionary. Grandpa was the walking dictionary in our house.

As the saying goes, the price is heavier than the music. I am sitting to remember the first Durga Puja. At night to write the introduction. Puja was held at Kalibari in Gaibandha. I don’t remember the puja. I only remember that my uncle Asimlal Ukil threw me off the bicycle. Music was playing, some were dancing. I ate prasad in banana leaves. A little pie fell on the ground. It would be a sin to drop Maa Durga’s prasad, so I quickly picked it up and ate that too. It had more soil than pies. Seeing the ten hands of Maa Durga, I thought how Maa Durga sleeps on her back? I asked someone. He scolded her and said don’t talk like a fool. I became silent in fear. I didn’t ask anyone else. Mr. Tagore seems to have heard my question. He himself came forward and said – Maa Durga handle ten directions with ten hands. I thought to myself, where is Dasadik again? There are four directions in total – North, South, East, West. I didn’t say anything out of fear. I was in the midst of puja for a few days. I cried a lot after bathing. The reason for my emotions seems to be that I subconsciously equated my mother with Mother Durga. I used to stay at my uncle’s house. My mother lived at my father’s place of work. Sometimes he came to his father’s house – like Mother Durga.

Today after 80 years, I feel that my childhood is the absolute truth in my life. My mother is the direct form of Maa Bhagwati in my life. Many people feel the same way about their mothers as I do. Such is the greatness of the name of mother. Adding “mother” to the relationship takes it to another dimension. Grandmother, Pisima, Didima, Kakima, Jethima, … Durgama.

(Dubbing – Shri Amit Kumar Mukherjee)

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