Dilli has been through the hands of many rulers and they say, Mughals are the creator of this COLOSSEUM. Like a newly wedded bride, Dilli had been decorated by the hands and hearts of the Mughal Emperors and others alike. Be it Eid or even any Hindu festival, emperors like 'Akbar The Great' had always accepted and celebrated them with equal aplomb. The mighty emperors are all gone and their empires are in ruin now but still the charm of those merry making festive colours are as fresh as the first mist of the season. That’s what life is! Nothing remains but the memories associated with it.
As a Delhite Bong, this seems to be a déjà vu. Durga Pujo for me is like 'The Nectar of the Gods'. Like a skylark I patiently wait for the essence of 'Kaash flower' buds to bloom, the hermes of autumn. Just a soul is needed to hear the melancholy of the celebration and to view the riot of colour which Dilli is holding tight in every nook and corner.
I frequently miss the beats of DHAK and the 'Nilanjana' of a maiden here. But, far behind, what we really pass over are those who are the actual impressionist of all this essence, the clay idol makers, a small community fighting for their existence. I've made a little effort to present them with, if not the lime light then at least its shadow. I visit them every weekend and see the idols of 'Maa Durga' slowly coming to life. A visit to the backyard of C.R. Park, Kali Bari, New Delhi, this weekend, has finally made me ask some heart touching, self-rendering questions, intending to feel the depth of their hearts, as deep as possible, their challenges and their struggles.
The idol of Durga has already taken shape in the backyard but is yet to take colour.. now is the time to ask what then is this Durga - the central figure of the Bengali heritage? After giving it considerable thought I came to the conclusion that Bengalis are schizophrenic and simultaneously exist in parallel realities.
This work is dedicated to all the Idol makers who are in the dark side, far away from recognition. It might be God's blessing that motivates them to keep doing their job with undiminished pride.