From 10th October to 12th October Bengalees in New Zealand celebrated their main festival at Auckland. People started gathering at the venue from about 7 in the evening. That evening the new Protima was brought in under the strict guidence of Debes Bhattacharya who is the Purohit for the Puja. The protima was place on a beautifully decorated small pedestal, decorated by the Aich family. The brand new Blue backdrop was designed and decorated by designed by Dipankar Sen and Susanta Roy.
11th October, saturday
Puja started about 10 in the morning, with the lovely sound of Dhak in the background. Sri Debes Bhattacharya was being assisted this year by Sri Bijoy Krishna Chakraborty. As happens in every other puja, bits and pieces were forgotten and Amit, Bhaskar had to run a few extra kilometers to get the things reorganised. The hall started getting filled up by about 12 in the noon. A lot of new faces were seen, there were quite a few new bengalees who had recently come into the country. Representatives from New Plymouth, Palmerstone Nth and Wellington started filling in. After Pushpanjali, lunch was served. The total gathering was about 150 people.
The evening saw the Cultural Show. We had a lot this time. One of the Seniors in New Zealand, Mr Sunil Mukherjee was requested to come to stage and welcome the people for the Puja Committee. During his speech Mr Mukherejee remembered Bhaskar Naug, who was so prominently missing among us this year. All who were present during the puja last year missed him. The show opened with a children's dance & Song item, Pujor Chuti, directed by Kakoli Mukherjee, Sharmila Das. There was Ho Jo Bo Ro Lo of Sukumar Roy presented by the boys under the direction of Mrs Tulu (Shyamali) Bhattacharyya. Deepali Mitra presented couple of songs in duet with her father. Then it was time for the main item of the evening. O Alor Pathajaatri. This item tracked the historic evolution on the Indian Independence from the dawn of this century with its culmination in the Indian Independence in 1947. Few weeks before the rehearsals started for the Puja, Madhumati Chatterjee along with some other bengali artists had presented a Song Item in the 50th Anniversary of Indian Independence Programe organised by the Indian Association in Auckland. O Alor... evolved from that program, when Amit Ohdedar added some more songs and wrote a script in conjunction with Mahumati. A few dance sequence also got included choreographed by Mrs Sharmila Das and Mrs Geetali Chakraborty. The program was an instant hit. A 200 strong audiance aplauded whole heartedly. Thanks to the Cultural conevenors, Deepali Mitra, Kakoli Mukherjee & Amit Saha, the NZ Bengalis once again enjoyed an evening full of the cultural activities we bengalis are proud of. Dinner was next on the agenda.
12th October, Sunday
Unfortunately, the last day of the Puja. People started gathering early. In the morning children had a Sit & Draw Competetion. The competetion was set in three age groups and it was quite good to see the kids producing some nice little paintings. Mr Debes Bhattacharya went on with his puja and Pushpanjoli. His assistant dropped out with a back sprain. Before lunch, the children again gathered together for one more competetion. Ths time it was recitation. Divided in three agegroups, they recited from Tagore's selected poetries. It was very heaertening to find parents' enthusiasm in keeping in touch with tradition and the language, but only about eight children participated. In the late afternoon after the Bisarjan the ladies had their Baran and Sindur Khela and all had a bit of an attempt in Dhunuchi naach. Though Dhunuchis were not working well but everybody got involved in the dance. Afterwards prizes were given away to all participating kids. The last dinner was served. All these three days, though the meal was organised through a caterer (under the close supervision & inspection of Indrajit Sarkar & Dipankar Sen) Misti and chatni was served courtesey all the boudis and mashimas. At the end people departed slowly with heavy heart. New friendships sowed, old ones strengthened, addresses exchanged, promises of visiting each other made.
This year's new Protima was made in Potopara, Kumartuli, Calcutta.
|Pujor Chuti||Ho Jo Bo Ro Lo||O Alor Pathajaatri|
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