11:57 PM | Author: kaushik

The door-bell rings at 3Am in the morning. For an instant, I think that it is the doorbell to our apartments in my dreams, and that I open the door and let my friends in.
The door-bell rings again. For another instant, I think that it is to doorbell to our apartment in my dreams, and that I open the door and let my friends in. A Deja-vu in my dreams. Some logical part of my brain kicks into action, and decides that it is the real life doorbell that is ringing. I strain my ears a little to listen to a couple of people shouting 'Apartment-D' from below.

For another instant again, an insane part of the brain starts to dominate. What if, they were a couple of robbers, waiting down with a gun in their hands. And, then to add spice to the masala, my phone rings. That totally gives me the creeps. As I slowly walk to my phone and pick it up, a flash of relief. It is my apartment-mate. The bell ringing has also woken him up. And, he is as scared as I. 'Do we go down and investigate?', he asks. I, without a second thought reply in the negative. My life is too precious to be taken by a maniac with a gun, I think.

The bell rings again. This time, I dare a peek through the window at the main gate. A couple, totally drunk are standing there. The fear of death gone, I am angry that a couple of drunken idiots are playing a prank on us. Then the guy starts speaking feverishly on the phone, and the girl starts feverishly searching in her purse. Both of them are hardly able to stand. They manage to ring the doorbell once again though. I had no idea what they wanted or when they would stop.

Suddenly, the girl yells 'I have found it'. And it is the key to the apartment. They get in. I get back to my bed. My apartment-mate then calls me all tensed up, 'they are going to knock on our doors now. What are we going to do'. I assure him that they were some people living in the building, and get back to sleep. But for some more time, my ears were alert to a knock!

Maha-Navami is the best day of the Durga Pujo. No second thoughts on that. The first pujo in Madison, and I was really sad and low that, I will have to spend it confined to our apartments with some arbit assignment in my hand, that I will hardly understand. So, in full desperation, I googled for durga pujo and Madison, and lo!, I found that there actually was a Durga pujo in Madison (or to put is properly in Verona). So, with all gusto, I call up my bong friend, Nirjhar, and we decide to visit the pujo.

So, I wake up early on MahaNavami (atleast Maha Navami in USA), and go to Verona to see the pujo. And it was like there was a hole in the time-space continuum and I was transported back to India. I, am surrounded by quite a lot of Indians, but it felt so great to see Indians from our parents generation. Don't know why, but it felt great, different and better. Also, it was really nice to see people dresses up in dhuti-panjaabi and sari. It felt great to the prasad and bhog arranged in front of the moorti. It felt great to see people making the dodikormo. It felt like India, with the incense stick and the kapur aroma filling the hall. The Dhak (albeit played by a total stranger to any kind of percussion) sounded brilliant. The sounds of the Indian bhajan and shlokas from the tape-recorder was awesome. Everything took me back to Kolkata in 2000 (the last pujas I spent in Kolkata), as I joined my hands and prayed to the Madison-Verona-Maa Durga.[1]

Pictures always speak better.

The evening got even better. Voice Chat is an amazing invention. Voice Chat with web camera is even more amazing. Voice chat with conferencing is thrice as good. For the first time since May, I spoke to my sis and my parents at the same time, and once again, it felt like being in India. And as usual, my sis and I paired up and took the toll heavily on appa (who loves it totally, when we do that). Ah! those times!!!

[1]: As we sat and waited for the cab, Nirjhar and I were discussing is it worth to come to America and settle here, in a strange land amidst strangers, for a better job, and more money and good lifestyle? Although, we had both come because of either or all of the three conditions to the US, our answer was No! I want to spend my best festivals amidst a city that comes to a still because of that festival, and that can happen only in India.

*we will celebrate again in the next year

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On 2:31 PM , Vinni said...

nice man, good to know you found something there. the pictures look they have been taken in india. :-)

On 5:47 PM , Yadhvi said...

with Deepavali around the corner - I live in USA, with the same sinking feeling - Festivals are best celebrated at home...