The time of the year is here again. The sky is blue with patches of white clouds floating lazily and the weather is cooling down. Durga Puja is here again in New Jersey. The local Bengali associations are gearing up to welcome Ma Durga with the usual pomp and cultural extravaganza, and let me share with you some information about the festivities that has come to my notice.
Like previous years, Durga Puja festival in New Jersey will be heralded in by the live Mahishashura Mardini (Mahalaya) performance at the Ananda Mandir on October 10th at 5.00am in the morning. I have been a regular attendee at this event, and I can promise you that if you can take that bold step of getting up from bed that early and drive down to Ananda Mandir, you’ll have an experience that you will never regret.
This year however, Puja starts even earlier in New Jersey with Indian Community Center (ICC) of Garden State having their Puja on Oct 9th and 10th at the Eisenhower Middle School, 47 Eyland Avenue, Succasunna. ICC’s cultural program this year will feature the famous Bangla Band KAYA, who promises to rock the audience with their folk inspired melodies. Pranab Biswas, a noted classical vocalist, will be presenting a medley of Bengali and Hindi songs. The program will also present a bunch or events by local artists including an audio play (sruti natok) “Baad Protibad”, written by yours truly.
Kallol of New Jersey will be celebrating Durga Puja on Oct 15th, 16th and 17th at their usual venue – Ukranian Community Center in Somerset NJ. The cultural events at the Kallol Puja has not been well publicized as yet, but the invitation card says that the program will include classical vocal performance by Parthasarathi Desikan (disciple and son-in-law of Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty), Jolly Mukherjee from Bollywood, and Koel Mukherjee of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa fame. The list also includes sarod recital by Anirban Dasgupta (son and disciple of Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta), Rabindrasangeet by Sasha Ghoshal and modern songs by Shamit Tyagi and Sumona Banerjee from Kolkata. This year Kallol is introducing few new events :
– Chess championship (all ages)
– Bridge championship (adults)
– Quiz show conducted by Dr. Nupur Lahiri.
To participate in any of these events, contact Sunanda Mitra (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Poushali Sengupta (email@example.com). And no Kallol Pujo is complete without drama performances by the adult and children members of Kallol. The Kallol seniors will present the play “Sorry, Wrong Number” directed by Debiprosad Palit, and the Kallol juniors will present “Khirer Putul” the all time favorite Bengali fairy tale. There will also be dance recitals by Sunrita Mitra’s young dancers, Brinda Guha’s Kalamandir Dance Company and Mitra Purakaysatha’s Rhythms of Dance & music. So, get ready. Kallol website mentions that online registration will open on Sept 20, 2010.
Garden State Cultural Association (GSCA) will be celebrating their Puja on Oct 16 and 17. This year GSCA’s entertainment program includes recitation by Partha Ghosh and Gauri Ghosh, Bharatnatyam dance recital by Jhinook Mukherjee from Kolkata, vocal music performances by Shounak Chattopadhyay, Soumen Adhikari, Suchismita, Chandrayee Bhattacharya, and Gayatri Sharma. Kalamandir Dance Company will present their acclaimed composition, Heat. The highlight of GSCA’s presentation this year will be “Ajo Kahini”, a hilarious play (written by Sudipta Bhawmik and directed by Pinaki Datta) produced by ECTA. For further details visit their website.
Ananda Mandir and Bharat Sevashram Sangha will also be celebrating Durga Puja from October 13 to 17, 2010, as per the Bengali calender. People who are interested in attending a more traditional Pujo, Ananda Mandir and Bharat Sevashram Sangha may be the place for them.
I hope, like all the previous years, Durga Puja this year too will be an enjoyable experience for all of us and pray that the Puja brings in peace and prosperity for all.