Festivity with a silver lining

Deccan Chronicle.  | Swati Sharma

Lifestyle, Viral and Trending

Covid-19 nor the devastating rains can dampen the spirit of Navratri. The celebrations at home, within the family continue

Actress Jamuna and her daughter Sravanthi Juluri displaying Bommala Koluvu

“Being a Gujarati, I look forward to attending the garba/dandiya and having Devi darshan at least on a few days during Navratri. But this year it’s different. Coronavirus, the rains and the number of people we have lost has hurt us. This is the time to pray. This year has taught us to watch our health more closely, take each day as it comes, believe in prayer, and value our families as our greatest strength. Let’s call it a special year because it has taught us so much!” says Interior designer Sona Chatwani.

A miniature affair

Durga Puja is going to be a very quiet affair for Bengalis. “It will be a miniature Durga Puja. For the first time the Keyes Education Society has not made the school available for puja,” says Deepak Bhattacharjee, the president of Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha.

“We will hold it on a very limited scale at Mahboob College School, with only 50 persons gathering, as per the police permission granted. The puspanjali and darshan will be virtual, as there will be live streaming of the puja. There will be no bhog and prasad distribution,” says Deepak Bhattacharjee, the president of Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha (BSS) which has been hosting a grand Durga Puja at Keyes High School since 1967.

The pandemic has most significantly affected the scale of celebrations. “As the current scenario does not permit us to hold grand celebrations for Namdhari Gaurav Navratri Utsav this year, we are continuing with Mata ki Puja for all the nine days,” says Maninder Singh Malhotra, adding, “No commercial event being held, dancing can wait. In most homes, Kanya puja and feeding cows are being followed as usual.”

Nothing can dampen our spirit

Celebrations need not always involve large congregations of people. COVID has taught us to channelise our Navratri gaiety into new and innovative forms of celebrations. The noise may be muted but the melody is enchanting. Nothing can dampen our spirit, be it a global pandemic or unprecedented rain. The spirit is up and kicking or shall we say dancing!” says IPD Soumya Mishra, Additional DG, Fire Services and Home Guards Odisha, on inter-cadre deputation to Telangana.

Cheering for the stars

This year, Durga Puja organisers in West Bengal have decided that COVID warriors and those who have overcome the deadly infection will be the “star attraction.” The Barisha Club in Behala, Kolkata, has created an idol of a “Migrant Worker Goddess” to commemorate the migrant labourers who walked for days to return to their villages during the pandemic.

Dancing in the house

Virtual prayers, online dandiya, and garba sessions are the order of the day. Bina Mehta, a renowned garba choreographer, has been conducting her annual garba and dandiya workshop online. “I received phone calls from several people requesting me not to call off my workshops this year. I just love everything about this vibrant traditional folk dance and hence I spend a lot time upgrading my skills in performing it. I am happy that I am able to teach the traditional way of dancing and the also highlight the true significance and tradition of this popular folk art,” she shares.

 “As a Bengali I am used to celebrating Durga Puja every year. We dress in traditional attire, visit pandals in Mumbai, meet relatives. None of that is happening this year. But maybe I will do the garba at my place and sing some songs on karaoke with my family,” says actor Shraddha Das.

Looking within

“I am a Shaktav, and Navratri is what I wait for the entire year,” says artist Sravanthi Juluri. For those who take up Deeksha and cut off from the outside world to be one with the Divine Goddess, the COVID situation won’t be too difficult. A part of the rituals of Deeksha is not stepping out of the house. Navratri has always been about connecting with the highest cosmic energy of the Divine Mother. It brings out a different person, a different perspective about life to many of us. This year my entire focus is on sending healing energies to the ones who need it at this crucial time,” she explains.

Zoom keeps the tradition of gulu alive in these unusual times. “My mother, the veteran actress Jamuna, was known for her grand display of Bommalla Koluvu,” reminisces Sravanthi. Elaborating on the metaphysical aspect, Sravanthi says “On simple scientific terms, it’s like a detox. I should say it is a detox of many things, desire, anger, greed and not just a physical detox with the fast and diet. For me, as a Shakti follower, it is the shedding of the old and transforming into a whole new person.”

A different skill

For entrepreneur Poonam Daga, Navratri is a celebration of Shakti, the energy present in all of us. This energy is the skill to manage diversity within an organisation: the Family.

So she feels the pandemic does not dampen the spirit at all. “We will be playing Bathukamma in the community with a few friends, maintaining social distance,” says Poonam.

For body and mind

“Drinking liquids such as coconut water and herbal tea help in flushing out toxins from the body. It brings self-discipline and keeps us away from eating unnecessary food and improves digestion. Better digestion means better metabolism which aids to weight loss. Fasting is a perfect way to de-stress and shed a few kilos too,” says nutritionist and dietician Shweta Ojha.

“Being a Gujarati, I look forward to attending the garba/dandiya and having Devi darshan at least on a few days during Navratri. But this year it’s different. Coronavirus, the rains and the number of people we have lost has hurt us. This is the time to pray. This year has taught us to watch our health more closely, take each day as it comes, believe in prayer, and value our families as our greatest strength. Let’s call it a special year because it has taught us so much!” says Interior designer Sona Chatwani.

A miniature affair

Durga Puja is going to be a very quiet affair for Bengalis. “It will be a miniature Durga Puja. For the first time the Keyes Education Society has not made the school available for puja,” says Deepak Bhattacharjee, the president of Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha.

“We will hold it on a very limited scale at Mahboob College School, with only 50 persons gathering, as per the police permission granted. The puspanjali and darshan will be virtual, as there will be live streaming of the puja. There will be no bhog and prasad distribution,” says Deepak Bhattacharjee, the president of Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha (BSS) which has been hosting a grand Durga Puja at Keyes High School since 1967.

The pandemic has most significantly affected the scale of celebrations. “As the current scenario does not permit us to hold grand celebrations for Namdhari Gaurav Navratri Utsav this year, we are continuing with Mata ki Puja for all the nine days,” says Maninder Singh Malhotra, adding, “No commercial event being held, dancing can wait. In most homes, Kanya puja and feeding cows are being followed as usual.”

Nothing can dampen our spirit

Celebrations need not always involve large congregations of people. COVID has taught us to channelise our Navratri gaiety into new and innovative forms of celebrations. The noise may be muted but the melody is enchanting. Nothing can dampen our spirit, be it a global pandemic or unprecedented rain. The spirit is up and kicking or shall we say dancing!” says IPD Soumya Mishra, Additional DG, Fire Services and Home Guards Odisha, on inter-cadre deputation to Telangana.

Cheering for the stars

This year, Durga Puja organisers in West Bengal have decided that COVID warriors and those who have overcome the deadly infection will be the “star attraction.” The Barisha Club in Behala, Kolkata, has created an idol of a “Migrant Worker Goddess” to commemorate the migrant labourers who walked for days to return to their villages during the pandemic.

Dancing in the house

Virtual prayers, online dandiya, and garba sessions are the order of the day. Bina Mehta, a renowned garba choreographer, has been conducting her annual garba and dandiya workshop online. “I received phone calls from several people requesting me not to call off my workshops this year. I just love everything about this vibrant traditional folk dance and hence I spend a lot time upgrading my skills in performing it. I am happy that I am able to teach the traditional way of dancing and the also highlight the true significance and tradition of this popular folk art,” she shares.

 “As a Bengali I am used to celebrating Durga Puja every year. We dress in traditional attire, visit pandals in Mumbai, meet relatives. None of that is happening this year. But maybe I will do the garba at my place and sing some songs on karaoke with my family,” says actor Shraddha Das.

Looking within

“I am a Shaktav, and Navratri is what I wait for the entire year,” says artist Sravanthi Juluri. For those who take up Deeksha and cut off from the outside world to be one with the Divine Goddess, the COVID situation won’t be too difficult. A part of the rituals of Deeksha is not stepping out of the house. Navratri has always been about connecting with the highest cosmic energy of the Divine Mother. It brings out a different person, a different perspective about life to many of us. This year my entire focus is on sending healing energies to the ones who need it at this crucial time,” she explains.

Zoom keeps the tradition of gulu alive in these unusual times. “My mother, the veteran actress Jamuna, was known for her grand display of Bommalla Koluvu,” reminisces Sravanthi. Elaborating on the metaphysical aspect, Sravanthi says “On simple scientific terms, it’s like a detox. I should say it is a detox of many things, desire, anger, greed and not just a physical detox with the fast and diet. For me, as a Shakti follower, it is the shedding of the old and transforming into a whole new person.”

A different skill

For entrepreneur Poonam Daga, Navratri is a celebration of Shakti, the energy present in all of us. This energy is the skill to manage diversity within an organisation: the Family.

So she feels the pandemic does not dampen the spirit at all. “We will be playing Bathukamma in the community with a few friends, maintaining social distance,” says Poonam.

For body and mind

“Drinking liquids such as coconut water and herbal tea help in flushing out toxins from the body. It brings self-discipline and keeps us away from eating unnecessary food and improves digestion. Better digestion means better metabolism which aids to weight loss. Fasting is a perfect way to de-stress and shed a few kilos too,” says nutritionist and dietician Shweta Ojha.

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