Best wishes for the Bengali new year 1416! Obviously a big ocassion with bengalis worldwide and in Bengal. Alas. No holiday for me this poila baisakh (the first day of the month of Baisakh).
And this morning was sultrier than usual. On top of that I got onto a crowded bus and got no seat for a very long time. There I was sweaty, hot and bothered and hanging on for dear life as the maniac driver (pre-requisitive for all mini bus driver) zoomed and swerved his way through the roads of Kolkata. Until we got stuck in a massive jam on Diamond Harbour Road. On our side of the road, vehicles stretched behind and in front of us as far as the eye could see. And on the other side? One after the other, various processions, boudis and bhadraloks carrying banners, others dressed as Swami Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc, women doing dandiya for some odd reason, men in pristine white dhoti panjabi! And in midst of all this, autos, taxis, big and small buses, matadors, vans, cycles simply climbed onto the tram tracks in the divider in the middle throwing up a thick blanket of dust.
And then as we moved ahead after a long wait, I saw the other signs of Poila Baisakh: Long queues outside mandirs and equally long ones outside meat shops! Start the new year with puja and end it with a good mangshor jhol (almost a religion in Bengal). Nothing quite like it!
And ofcourse there were the ubiquitous blood donation camps (as important as mangshor jhol it seems). I counted three in the 10 km stretch...must have missed others while I was watching the procession.
Even a long and tiring day at work couldn't stop us from being in a general good mood that is usually associated with all holidays and ofcourse poila baisakh. Subho Naba Barsha to all!