It’s that time of the year when mother Durga embarks on her annual vacation, family and pets in tow. The hills in autumn seem greener; the streams sparkle a little more. A thousand miles away from home, in a land somewhat alien I can’t smell festivity in the air. The conch shells and the drumbeats reverberate in the nostalgic realm. I yearn for the doe-eyed beauties uneasy in their crisp sarees. My ears search for the strains of songs in the tongue I called my own.

They say this is a big city. It celebrates festivals of all hues. There are more than 10 million souls cramped in here, but at this time of the year I feel alone, all alone. It’s a time of togetherness of bonding. In my little hill town I knew almost everybody, here in this metropolis all faces seem unfamiliar. With whom shall I share my excitement? To whom shall I narrate my loneliness?

Today is Mahalaya, the day of invocation of goddess Durga in her Mahisasurmardini form (the slayer of the demon Mahisasur). The beginning of the ten days of festivity. My father didn’t wake me up at the crack of dawn to listen to Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s oratorio (set to Pankaj Mallick’s music) on All India Radio. I listened to an MP3 version on my PC instead.

It is of course a religious occasion, but it’s not the gods that I miss, it is the people and the atmosphere. They might celebrate it here, but I don’t feel at home, a home I’ve left a thousand miles behind. Memories that I’ll cherish forever.

Oratorio invoking the goddess Durga by Birendra Krishna Bhadra [04:56 MP3 2.26 MB 64 kbps]

Update: Links to the complete version of Mahisasurmardini is available here. (September, 22, 2006)

Categories: Uncategorized
  • Anonymous

    The excitement of the pre-puja days…slowly the excitement rises to a crescendo…and then with dashami, its all gone. The year long wait. Involvement in puja festivities, the purchasing of new clothes and visiting pandals…meeting friends and spending hours gossiping over sweet sugary tea. Waves of nostalgia creep over me, when i think of all of the wonderful moments i’ve had. now years older, the excitement doesn’t really get to me. Maybe life has got to me…i realise maybe i should take some time out to smell the roses.i feel sorry for you. in an alien land with no body to call your own, trying to survive. still the spirit of puja lives within you and you yearn for the festivities and all. that proves, though you have left your hometown, you left your heart behind.

  • Soumya

    we lose some … we gain some … spirits of celebration remain same … try to identify urself with it … i am sure u wont feel lonely anymore …

  • K

    You know something, at least you’re in Delhi, where at least there is a semblance of festivity – down to the Bijoligrill Fish Orly. I am not doubting for one second that Puja is the best in Cal, down to doing the dhunuchi (right spelling?) at the neighbourhood puja.In Bombay on the other hand…

  • aklanta

    yes…While packaging news stories about Mahalaya from various parts of West Bengal and the north eastern states I was just feeling the distance (gap?) between me (now) and the cultural environment I was born and brought up…the colourful days of Puja and the enthusiasm expressed in the form of buying and gifting of new cloths…they are just memories that first make you happy and then inflicts pain…

  • Bionic 1

    Oh quit whining will ya!“I’m lonely” WAH WAH WAH.You need to get a girlfriend dude.LOLHope all is well in NEW Del-E.

  • Greta Björg

    My friend, this post of yours shows me how little I really know of your culture and it´s diversity…But it makes me sorry too that you feel so lonely…Think then how lonely you´d be if you were on another continent altogether…like in Iceland, maybe 😉But then, of course, you could always come on a visit to my house and tell me something about your ways back home in your country and the Puja in Cal!

  • Abaniko

    ah, what is ten days of loneliness? hehe

  • dwaipayan

    but i think the charm of it are decaying day by day.

  • Soumyadip

    Greta, Iceland had always captivated my imagination since early childhood. The name itself would spark the inquisitiveness in me – Wow! a land of ice. Someday I’ll chill myself on the icebergs there.

  • Anonymous

    Where did you find it? Interesting read < HREF="" REL="nofollow">film editing classes<>

  • Varun Purohit

    Thank you so much. I have been searching for this audio for quite a long time for my dad.thanks once again.