Kolkata: The cool autumn breeze blowing in the fields filled with beautiful white kash flower signals that Pujo is here. Last moment shopping and the finishing touches to pandals are being given with only four more days left for Durga Puja but those admitted in the hospital with Covid-19 would, however, miss the festivities.
This is why a private hospital in south Kolkata has taken a unique initiative to bring the festival to their Covid ward.
The Narayan Memorial Hospital located on Diamond Harbour Road in south Kolkata is organising Durga Puja for its patients, complete with all pujo rituals. According to the hospital, a corner of the hospital ward has been cleared to hold the puja and the patients will get a feel of all the rituals, including ‘aarti’, ‘pushpanjali’ and ‘shantir jol’.
There will also be a ‘purojit’ (priest) who will perform the puja and also visit all the beds to pass on the blessings and pray for their speedy recovery of not only the Covid patients but also others.
The hospital has also decided to serve a traditional Puja ‘thali’ to the patients, keeping in mind their health conditions. Some of the top Bengali delicacies like Moog daal, Patol Dorma, Paneer Pasinda, Bhetki fish Kalia, Chicken Butter Masala, Navaratna Korma, Khichuri, Labra, Roasted papad and chutney to name a few.
Everything will be prepared under the scrutiny of a team of chefs, who will be monitoring the health requirement of the patients with the help of the hospital authorities.
Chef Anindya Roy said, “I feel happy to be a part of someone’s happiness during this Puja festival. We all know how much Durga puja means to everyone and we cannot think about this festival without devouring traditional food items of yesteryears. I have received a go-ahead and brief from the hospital management to introduce different kinds of cuisine as a part of the menu. However, it will be under the controlled supervision of the doctors, who will be sharing the food charts in consultation with the dieticians and a healthier way of cooking will be adopted. It’s a great and thoughtful initiative by the hospital.”
Suparna Sengupta, CEO, Narayan Memorial Hospital, said, “From Mahalaya, every Bengali is overcome with a feeling of exuberance and festive cheer and many are visited by memories of festivities back in time. We will be introducing an array of customized Bengali traditional, Chinese, Continental food items cooked with less oil, spices, boiled and blanched to pamper the taste buds of our patients during the four days of the festival. However, as always, patients’ health will always be the top priority but we felt that we should do something for the patients to make them feel better and good about life too, as all of us have undergone several losses and sufferings for the last one and half years.”
While the Calcutta High Court on Thursday issued new guidelines for Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal this year and ruled that those who have taken both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to enter the pandals.
The court has also said that Durga Puja committees can go ahead with the traditional Durga Puja rituals of ‘sindur khela’ and offering ‘anjali’ on the different days of the festival. Last year, these rituals had been prohibited as they involve community participation and crowding at the pandals.
The West Bengal government, for the second year in a row, has announced its decision to cancel the annual Durga Puja carnival, which involves the display of Kolkata’s top pandal themes in a parade before the idol immersion.