With the arrival of the holiday season, Bengalis worldwide are preparing for their most beloved and grandiose event, Durga Puja. Like every year, other Bengali performers in Mumbai are eagerly anticipating this momentous event. Here’s a preview of some celebrities’ fantastic Durga Puja activities compiled by Hindustan Times in a published article.
Durga Puja for me, is the heart and soul of our culture and tradition. I am quite spiritual by nature and I feel my connection with Maa always. You need to send new gifts and go puja shopping for your family back at home who are living away from you. For me, the Durga-Ashtami bhog is of immense importance and so is the pushpanjali. The ’sindoor khela’ ceremony too has a lot of significance for Bengali brides. I just had a long holiday abroad with Gurmeet and the kids and the idea was to be back in Mumbai to celebrate Ganesh festival and Durga Puja. There’s a puja that happens at Juhu and we have Lokhandwala and Versova puja as well. I am looking forward to delicacies prepared by my mother. We are looking forward to a gala celebration, as we will also be going to the nearby pandals for darshan. There will be some cultural activities and games in different pandals and I would love to participate in the same. I want to devote my time and energy completely to Durga Maa and seek her blessings for the well-being of my family and well-wishers.
To me Durga Pooja means celebration, joy, happiness and good food. I genuinely miss Kolkata during this time as all the nostalgia starts hitting me. I wakeup early, try preparing some traditional dishes that we prepare at our home in Kolkata. If mom is here, it’s a treat for me! Luckily this year, she’s here and we’ve planned to visit some pandals here. We perform pooja at home, and have lunches with friends, it is so fun. Not sure how many pandals I’d be able to cover. Mom has already started preparing the menu for the celebrations; literally noting down what will be cooked which day. I’m damn excited. I will be helping mom in the kitchen and will make her favourite gurer sandesh, paayesh and chena toast. I have some local travel plans; trying to fit in things together.
For me, that time of Durga Puja is very special and specific. The whole energy and Shakti of feminine power that exists in the universe, taps me into the internal knowledge that all of us have. These 9 days are very sacred. I am not a very ritualistic person, but I am not averse to the idea of rituals. What I like about Durga Puja is that people get together and eat. I have been born and raised in a mixed background because my mom is Punjabi and dad is a Bengali. Me and my mom look forward to going to these Durga Puja pandals, meet people and eat. We eat fish chops and mishti doi and many other Bengali foods. I will be visiting the pandals in Lokhandwala, because it is a childhood memory. I am looking forward to the Shivaji park pandal as well, because I love the murti and celebrations there. Pandal hopping with friends and family is fun.
For any true blue Bengali, Durga Puja is the most important festival. My earliest memories of the festival are when I was 5-6 years old in Ahemdabad and we used to visit a huge pandal. I just love the food and dieting goes for a toss in these 4 days. I want to be in Kolkata for Durga Puja this year, and I have been praying for this to happen. I have been wanting to go for the longest time. I strongly believe ki maa ka bulaava aata hai. If not, I will be going to as many pandals as I can here in Mumbai and eat there. Malbhog parshad and mutton chops are what I look forward to eating. It feels good to eat with so many people there.
Durga Puja means a lot to me and my family, because it was started by my grandmother. It is a moment for the entire family to come together. The whole mukherjee family puts a lot of effort into the pujos. My plans for celebrating durga puja are all about getting all dressed up for Maa Durga. Doing our hair, makeup, and sareer, it is all about celebrating women. We get so busy with our pandal, serving bhog to people, and us cousins do all of that together. The Dhunuchi naach is something that Rani was teaching to me last year, but I have still a lot to learn. The day of the bhog has the baingan bhaja, the payesh, which I just love, and I can eat it all day. I also love all the stalls. That’s something I am really looking forward to.