Having spent 20 years in Kolkata I had swore to never spend a single Durga Puja outside the city - ever. As a matter of fact I never thought that Puja could exist outside..
At home the excitement was always more about what we would wear, where would we go..and the daily plans of those four - five days. We would start planning as soon as school declared holidays, would shop two-three months in advance and go on silly diets which never worked. And every year we would have the same routine…meet up with friends, eat out and fall sick, go for bike rides, return home late and promise mom that next year onwards we would spend double the Puja time with family.. Which never happened actually since each year the circle of friends miraculously increased. Dussehra..or Dashami would bring with it gloom and sadness since the celebration was over. Lazily, people would start thinking about office again, some even taking that difficult step of going to their workplace. Others would just somehow extend their holidays or go on their annual trips with a huge family, lunch boxes in tow..
But here in Mumbai I realised work doesn’t just stop because one part of the country is rejoicing. As a matter of fact, other than the blaring sound of
make-shift pandals for Dandiya, nothing gives you a clue that it is Navratri. People go to work, students to school. they somehow always have the energy to return and go dance, or meet up with family, or go out to eat. Maybe that is what makes Mumbai so different. That is why people say it is “fast”. After all, the city of dreams - the city that never sleeps - can’t just stop functioning just cause the Devi has managed to kill another one of those demons, now, can it?