Durga Puja is a time when the ‘Mini Bengal’ in Delhi comes to life. Chittaranjan park, the bengali hub in the heart of Delhi, can be found bubbling with energy, dances, food and festivities.
It is routine here to have competitions of all kinds. Food, dance, music, fancy dress. But ever since the pandemic hit, things have been different. They say human beings are resilient by nature. Thus, the organizers quickly got to work. Putting up a brave fight in the face of adversity, they were forced to think out of the box in order to keep the spirit of Durga Puja alive.
Soumili, a member of D-block Durga Puja committee says that the decision to move the celebrations online when the pandemic hit was taken primarily for the sake of people.
Echoes Prodip Ganguly, Kali Mandir Samiti secretary, saying that “need is mother of invention” and that is what happened when the fear of pandemic loomed over the Durga Puja celebrations.
From dance to recitation, technology came to the rescue. It enabled a way to cherish the much-loved festive spirit, even though it was from one’s own home. 6 to 60 year old, everyone participated and put their best foot forward.
Not just singing, recitation and fancy dress, CR Park also had cooking competitions happening online. The food cooked by contestants was dropped off at the temple gate for judges to taste and take their pick.
However, this virtual journey for Durga Puja has not been all smooth. Technical glitches have made it a bumpy ride. Sometimes judges had to wait for the internet to connect, sometimes people had to be asked to unmute themselves and at other times, to fix camera angles.
Pujo is that time of the year that people wait for with baited breath. The large participation has been a testimony to the enthusiasm around puja, even if it meant doing it online.
Amid all the pomp and celebrations, CR park did not forgot its people who lost their lives to Covid. They were remembered through an obituary, played before the events and competitions.
It is not just the competitions, but even rituals have found their place in the online world.
However, not everything can be replicated with the same mirth and glory in a virtual space. Even committee members believe that physical puja has a trance to it which is difficult to experience in the online celebrations.
Amid the pandemic that has been devastating for all, innovation, technology and the enthusiasm of puja lovers came together in CR Park to keep the festival going on, spreading cheer and happiness for the young and the old.