Short Story Section: Will Ma Durga Arrive? Part 1

Written By

Debolina Coomar

Will Ma Durga Arrive? Part 1 Loading

Mr. Bagchi, the Secretary of the Sharad Samman Committee was looking at the list of Pujas to visit this year for the competition. When he came to the category of Bonedi Barir (affluent family) Pujas, he promptly ticked the first five. His brisk hand halted when he came to the sixth name — Mallick Bari. He looked up and addressed Mr. Sanyal, the President of the committee, “Ebar ki Mallick Bari..? (This time…what about Mallick Mansion?)”

Before he could complete his sentence, Mr. Roy, another member of the committee promptly spoke up “Ebar mone hoye Mallick bari te puja tai hobe na” (This time, the Puja might not even happen at Mallick bari). “No preparations have started yet, I’ve seen it with my own eyes!” He said he also had inside information that all was not well with the family. Mr. Roy sighed and put a question mark against the name on the list. He planned to go and meet his friend that evening.

Mallick Bari had been one of the most prestigious and affluent Pujas in the locality, and always known for its pomp, with celebrations that included a unique array of cultural events and festivities. Every year, Mr. Buddhadeb Mallick, the oldest member of the family,  proudly opened the gates of the 200 year old Durga Puja of his family to the public. This Puja had won many accolades in the past and was known for its rich heritage. But, the last few years had been different.

When you enter the gates of the Mallick bari, you are transported to an era of richness and flamboyance. But, you are pulled back into the realities of today, when you experience the loneliness of the walls calling out to you. Mr. Mallick had stayed here till a few years back, but now he stayed in the city. His body might inhabit the urban flat, but his soul still wandered the walls of his dilapidated heritage, trying to save the last of what was left.

Mr. Mallick was around 75 years, and he still felt the burden of carrying on his family name. A burden that was an honour too. He and his trusted aid, Kanaida, were the first to come to the family house every year and start the preparations. Kanaida had been with Mr. Mallick for more than 30 years now, and was probably more than a family member. But this time, they were not sure what would happen. Bibhuti Bagchi, Mr. Mallick’s old friend had visited the previous evening and left with a sigh. ‘Ma Ashbe Ki?’ (Will Ma Durga come?).

The Mallick family had settled in different parts of the world. Being separated from their roots, they had also been separated at heart. Mr. Mallick’s eldest son, Biren was settled with his family in Mumbai, while his middle son, Ashutosh was a lawyer in London. His youngest son, Paritosh and his family lived in Canada. Mr. Mallick’s sister, Banani and her sons and daughters and their respective families were settled across the globe. Other people closely related to the Mallick family also converged on the house from wherever they lived. Earlier, it was a collective effort. But with time, the enthusiasm and willingness of the family members had also faded along with loosening family ties. The only two people who were ever excited nowadays were Mr. Mallick and Kanaida.

For the last couple of years, the essence of Puja had just become a formality. Many of the family members did not bother to come at all citing different excuses. The Puja had lost its real charm. Mr. Mallick was heartbroken, but this time, he firmly announced that he had taken a big decision and wanted everyone present to hear it. Strangely, almost everyone managed to find time to come down from wherever they were, this time. There was an unexpected visitor too.

As the relatives started pouring in one by one, Mr. Mallick wondered if his decision to stop the Puja was the right one. Perhaps now with everyone together the Durga Puja might happen with the same grandeur as in the good old days? However, his hopes started to falter when he saw the uninterested family members. The older generation had too many excuses, and the younger lot was so disconnected. Many were addicted to their modern gadgets, many cribbed about how they were missing the city Pujas, and so on.

A day before the Mahalaya, there were no signs of proper preparations and arrangements. Nobody seemed to take any steps to welcome Ma Durga. The environment was gloomy and not at all festive.  One day before Mahalaya, Andie arrived with his daughter Miranda, and people wondered WHY. Who is this Andie? Why is he here?

(End of Part I.  Read Part II here.)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a believer of 'live & let live', Debolina likes to enjoy the little things of life. As a person who enjoys reading, writing and interacting with people, she finds it exciting to write about emotions, experiences, stories, lifestyle, parenting, self-improvement, current affairs and pretty much everything that affects a common man's life. Debolina is an ex-HR and Corp. Comm. professional, wife to a wonderful husband, mother to a lovely daughter; and a freelance content, creative writer, content developer and blogger. She strives to ignite the power of thought with a whole new perspective. Debolina shares her thoughts at: debolinacoomar.wordpress.com

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