DURGA PUJO 2021, with a difference
In Gurgaon, amidst Covid restrictions, Durga Puja Pandal was not the same.
The fervour of faith and devotion possibly had no hint of a difference, but the pomp and show, the festive galore attached, were missing. People are crawling back to normalcy, but some already have pushed the pandemic behind them. Many are taking baby steps to normalcy.
Remarkably at a loss were food buffs who would beeline in the Pandals at the food stalls to enjoy delectable traditional Bengali cuisine.
Inside the Pandals
Pandals sanitised regularly, thermal scanning at the gate and sanitisers placed at accessible locations certainly was the new normal. A limited number of people could gather to pray in front of the Durga idol at a given point in time. Even though organisers and administration are doing their best to follow protocols, it’s self-awareness of the restrictions that will make such celebrations a success without leaving any dent of pandemic spread again.
There were very few Pandals in Gurgaon this year due to the ongoing restrictions. Some of the organisers were way more careful to let the flow of visitors entering the Pandals and some Pandal organisers were relatively casual. Devotees offering prayers are hesitant; the free-flowing spirit that energises the atmosphere at these places was burning in low flame.
As always, it was exciting to see the devotional fervour and people following all the Covid protocols. Even with the new normal of masked faces, the zeal of celebration of faith remained unabated.
About the author: Ranjan is an author and a street photographer. He loves meeting, engaging, and photographing diverse humans globally.