By Kabir M Ali

Team of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram- DJ Sheizwood, Shanthipriya, Rakesh Paul along with Deepshikha Nagpal, Sabyasachi Sathpathy & Madhuri Pandey, came today to the Durga puja pandal of Colors Malad West Sarbojonin Durgotsav 2019 by Maitree Cultural Association to seek Maa’s blessings.

Colors Malad West Sarbojonin Durgotsav 2019 is going to be inaugurated by invited children from the home run Athurta Foundation. Some of the children will be performing on the cultural stage. The organizers will be handing over a cheque with a certain percentage of the contribution they receive from donors. Colors Malad West Sarbojonin Durgotsav by Maitree Cultural Association helps a cause every years i.e. work with children who need a helping hand and bring them to the Puja Pandal to celebrate Durga Puja together.

The 5 days include celebration from Shasti to Bijoya Dashami along with many exciting activities like sit down Bhog, Anandamela – a food pop up where home chefs will put up tables, a cultural program organized by and for the underprivileged kids, Sindur Khela, will be part of the grand 5 days Durga Utsav.

The theme of the 6th year of Durga Puja is- Roots & Wings – There are two lasting bequests we give children- One is roots and the other is Wings. Maitree Cultural Association has its mission to provide Roots to the generation next of the organization so that they grow into men and women with a sense of belonging to an extended family providing support to one another, and learning value systems that come about from sharing and caring as part of a community which does things together – Wings to fly and scale new heights in all aspects.

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Maa’s murti is 15 ft tall. This is one of the “Roots” parts… it is traditional Ek Chala which literally translates to ‘under one roof’….the backdrop is unbroken and common from Ganesh to Kartik with Laxmi, Saraswati and Maa Durga in between. The idols are adorned in the very traditional Daaker Shaaj wherein the attire and ornaments and mukutis crafted out of the natural fiber, shola (Indian cork) into which metal embellishments and decorations are added.

The pandal is divided into 2 sections- the cultural & bhog area and the Devi mandap. The lavishly decorated Devi Mandap is the “Wings”- more contemporary, airy, well illuminated to appear welcoming. A place where people can hang out and converse without being overpowered by décor. It is designed to be people friendly with an ambiance that exudes warmth.

The organizers take pride that thousands throng the puja pandal to partake in the bhog. Three days of unmatched, unflinching hospitality and service, one can vouch that the hospitality matches that of a wedding feast in terms of service and food.

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While a couple of grownups keep an eye, the service is the domain of Maitree’s Youth Wing members, some of those who serve are as young as 6…and they do it well, fully in coordination with those just a little older to them. In addition, the puja team is led by ladies with the gentlemen playing a very supportive role.

When asked, if the is associated with a noble cause, Shyamashish Bhattacharya (President of the Organization), Rupa Roy (General Secretary of the Organization) and Jayanta Chatterjee (Vice President) said “Yes, of course…and we do this throughout the year and not just as flavour of the season. We’ve distributed grains, diapers, medicines, toilette items to the inmates at Assisi Bhavan, the children of Athurta Foundation are constant beneficiaries from things they need (shoes, clothes, school bags, books) to what they want (soft toys, games, treats) they get them all. In fact, they’ll be the ones inaugurating the Utsav. We planted plenty of trees in collaboration with the BMC during the rains this year. The Social Outreach Program is continuous and we have a calendar full of such events.”

MAHASHASHTI- On this day, Maa is welcomed with much fanfare. The evening will have Sandhya Aarati followed by Anandamela(which is a food pop up with home chefs will put up tables). Simultaneously there will be an inauguration with the lighting of the lamp.

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MAHASAPTAMI – Early morning is the beautiful Nabapatrika ceremony where the ladies take a banana plant to the pond for a bath and comes back decked up as a bride.

MAHA ASHTAMI PUJA: Ashtami is considered as the most important day of Durga Puja by Bengalis. This is the day when special pujas like ‘Astra Puja’ and ‘Sandhi Puja’ are also carried out. For Atra Puja, Goddess Durga’s weapons are worshiped. With the help of these ten weapons, she defeated the Mahishasura. The Sandhi puja is performed in the most auspicious juncture of Mahashtami and Navami. The Sandhi time falls when Ashtami ends and before the start Navami and lasts 48 mins during which the puja is carried out. 108 lamps are lit, 108 fully bloomed lotus flowers and 108 bell leaves are offered to the Goddess. It is believed that Durga is most powerful during the time Sandhi Puja is performed.

MAHA NAVAMI PUJA: Being the last day of worship before Visarjan, puja takes on an altogether special fervor. This is also the day when a symbolic sacrifice is offered and a Hom (havan) is done that day.

BIJOYA DASHAMI:- On this day Maa had defeated and killed Mahishashur.