Season’s Greetings, dear Blogworms,
Yes, it is that time of the year again (albeit a tad later than usual) when Kolkata/Calcutta let’s it’s hair down, dons new clothes, make their homes spick and span, freak out on food and sweets and fast, worship and welcome the (Hindu) Mother Goddess:-
Kolkata is a city of paradoxes which can be subtle to those who choose to ignore them and audacious to those who to choose to spot them, like me!
It has been 11 years since I was last in Kolkata to celebrate this vivacious festival- called Durga Puja-i.e. the last five days and nights of the nationwide Navaratri (‘Nine Nights’)- and boy, have things changed!
Yes, the traditional practices are there, but these are followed by the elders and betters of our society more, rather than the young urbane lot- whose interests veer into hanging out with their mates, showing off their new clothes, visiting various Puja sites across the city, gorging on food and doing nothing else in particular.
I’m not saying this is wrong or anything, but would a little adherence to the Puja activities themselves really go astray?
Does this boil down to parenting then? Hmmm…
Also, there is the one thing which really sticks out like a sore finger- the commercialization!
I honestly don’t know what’s worse- the whole Christmas ‘festive spirit’ in the UK starting as long as back as October, with the countless adverts, discounts, offers, promos, pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales- or, the countless ‘special’ adverts, discounts, offers and promos for Durga Puja?!
Whether it’s fashion or furniture, restaurants or relaxation spas, concrete or cement, sporting gear or supermarket grocery shopping, it seems that nearly any and every business in West Bengal is banking on the same marketing strategy-advertise your products and services as normal, but just stick the Maa Durga logo on the top-left/top-right/centre (see example below)of the advert and that’s that!
Adverts, like these, are literally everywhere, on billboards, hoardings, transit ads, newspaper ads, in-store teasers, you name it and it’s just there!
I guess this tactic must be working, why else would it be so in-your-face, right?
Jokes apart, have these shenanigans made our beloved Goddess acquire something rather mere and materialistic- a brand status?