I had never been to Jamshedpur before. I mean, I have but it was for a friend’s brother’s wedding reception, so that’s quite a mouthful. It was only for an evening, hence couldn’t grasp much of the city. But as fate would have it, I landed here for my first job after graduation at Jamshedpur’s marquee company Tata Steel, also the company providing this place its namesake “Tatanagar” or “The Steel city” (not to be confused with the other Steel City Bokaro).
I am a bong from Mumbai and have spent almost all my Pujos there, save a couple that I spent at Kolkata (kind of a second home to Goddess Durga). This time, planning to go home on leave during Diwali, I decided to spend my Pujo here. From here on out, I will be using quite a lot of bong jargon (in that specific accent) associated with what we call “Durga Pujo” and everyone else calls “Navaratri”. It is just so that you may taste the flavor of the real spirit behind Durga Pujo. I hope you will catch on, given that Bengali is so easy to decipher that nowadays has become almost everyone’s second language of sorts. Of course, I will be explaining those terms too as we go along so no one has to rattle their brains a lot.
I was charmed. Considering the fact that Jamshedpur is still a small city and that I have seen Kolkata’s Pujo, I didn’t expect much. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the Probashi Bangali (Non Resident Bengali residing in India other than West Bengal) community strength residing here. The Bengalis here have made a home away from home for themselves.
I visited around five to six pandals on my Pujo Porikroma (basically, binge watching all possible pandals back to back in an evening) and I must say that Tatanagar is catching up to Kolkata fast as far as number and grandeur of Pujos are concerned. For me, they represented a kaleidoscope of emotions that this city exudes. Durga Pujo has always been an experience, a way of life and not just a festival or a religious ritual for us Bangalis (that’s how we Bangalis call Bengalis in Bangla i.e. Bengali, in case you were wondering and I believe this qualifies to be a tongue twister). I can safely say, I didn’t miss Pujo back home or in Kolkata as Jamshedpur filled that vacuum with the experiences I had here during these ten days. I rest my case with pictures of a few pandals I visited.