Dad liked mom’s recitation. He is her biggest critique. After Mom finished he said she would either be first or Second. Mom didn’t win anything. It wasn’t a surprise to us though. If one of the participants is the judge’s X’s daughter’s music teacher, another is the wife of one gentleman who sponsored Saptami Bhog, and another is last year’s cultural secretary, yet another is Judge Y’s beer buddy, you can’t really blame if they prefer not to give away the prize to a participant who is just a floating participant.
Each Pujo has some floating participants and some core participants. As I mentioned in the introduction Pujo is organised by fund donated by residents of the area where it is being held. Most family contribute to more than one Pujo committee so that they can do pujo hopping with dignity. But you are a core participant of that pujo where you reside and to which you have also contributed the major chunk of your donation budget.
A pujo is supposed to be a community pujo. In Bengali the word is ‘Sarbojonin pujo’ which means ‘pujo for all’. But we all know what it is actually. The core obviously won’t like it if floating people come and take away all the prizes.
Mom was quite heart broken, I just consoled her by saying, “Now do you know why Aamir doesn’t goes to awards functions.”
Mom however got 3rd prize in the Oikotaan pujo (Sector 3/4 and adjoining areas) where we are the core, that when she participated absolutely impromptu, she didn’t even have her reading glasses.
Pujo is also a time to do a lot of bickering. Bongs are by nature very angry people. The don’t like injustice at all (am obviously being sarcastic here). They also don’t like rules much and get absolutely wild when it comes to voicing their opinion. A little slip on the arrangements part and the committee members have had it. Every year, every pujo invariably have some verbal fights between committee members and pujo goers. The most common reasons of fights are chaos in the que for Bhog (the community lunch for all)
Some pujo committee have installed coupon system to avoid chaos. Bhog is distributed on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami. What the pujo goer have to do is reach the pandal in the morning at the time of Anjali (flower offerings) register your name and obtain a coupon with a number.
But it doesn’t work really. Chaos is an integral part of all pujo.