Everything is so crowded, yet seems so quiet. The dull roar of everyone’s thoughts is so loud that it cancels itself out. The Ganga is a bubble of calm in the chaotic city of Calcutta. The ferry approaches the Howrah Bridge and somehow, everyone stares in awe. They see it everyday. This colossal, utilitarian creature that has become such an inseparable part of the cityscape. Yet, this steel structure manages to evoke a sense of wonder in them. The too-bright orange hue emanating from the lamps that light up the bridge, reflect on their faces, revealing traces of a wide-eyed innocence, a remainder of a yesterday where everything was the same, yet so different.
During the 10-day Durga Pujo, the chaos and colours of Calcutta animate to life to become this colossal pulsating being that is buzzing powerfully and constantly to the rhythm of the festivities. The Durga pandals across neighbourhoods are larger than life, dazzlingly brilliant, delightfully bizarre and flamboyant. It’s all great fun, of course. But we were fortunate enough to experience the actual essence of the festival by being part of a Durga Pujo in a home in Calcutta.