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Utpal Chatterjee : Sheriff of Kolkata, kolkata, 20th. October, 2023. Indeed, I used to count the days for the Puja festivities to begin.After all,it was all about the annual emergence of Ma Durga and her immediate family amongst us mere mortals.Yes,there was an air of festivity all around us.We would try and turn the proverbial “new leaf”.We would even wear new clothes.God is Almighty but has many forms and manifestations.Ma Durga and her immediate family comprising Ma Saraswati, Ma Lakshmi, Lords Ganesha and Kartik are among them.The usual image would be doing away with the demon.That would mean the triumph of Good over Evil. Like so many children,my childhood was one of total innocence and curiosity. I vividly remember those wonder filled days when I would accompany my mother for Anjali in the mornings and Arati in the evenings on all three days. I would try and repeat the mantras after the head priest and pray hard.On the fourth day, before the immersion,the ladies would indulge in “Sindoor Khela”ostensibly to wish each other long and happy lives. I remained in awe and those days were filled me with so much happiness. Yet,an inexpressible sorrow would descend on us,me particularly, because Ma Durga was leaving.It would have to be a full year wait before she would return. But,till she did,we would have to practise goodness in all its manifestations. We must remain conscientious,remain true to our values,be selfless and serve above self.

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