In several of my earlier blog articles, I wrote about our sensitivity to paying Durga Puja contributions (popularly known as Chaanda). The Puja organizers have tried to be innovative in extracting (no I never said extorting) the funds from the pockets of the attendees – they suggested (very strongly) donation amounts which partially resolved the problem but not the unpredictability. They have now resorted to early registration to ensure the committed funds (doesn’t matter if the contributors fail to attend due to weather or personal issues) and again they are successful to a great extent (Kallol has stopped early registration two weeks in advance and have declared “House Full”). Continue reading
Durga Puja festival has always been a great source of inspiration to me as a cartoonist. I have drawn several cartoons related to this festival and the way we celebrate it in our adopted homeland. Last week I posted one on the “Chanda” issue. This cartoon (drawn a long time ago for Kallol Sahityo Patrika) also takes a spin on the same touchy subject. In earlier times (late 80’s and early 90’s), the Pujo organizers did not specify or “suggest” any contribution amount to the attendees. The strong “suggestion” became, sort of, necessary from the later half of the 90’s when goat meat (or mutton curry) became a must item at the Saturday evening community dinner. Goat meat has always been an expensive item, and with the unpredictable attendance being a major problem, estimating the amount of meat to be cooked is always an issue. The volunteers serving dinner had to deploy smart strategies to control the number of mutton pieces to the hungry devotees standing in the line. At the beginning phase, they are generally generous, especially to their friends and families. However, soon (after a quick review by the supervisors) the strategy changes to a rationing mode when the number of mutton pieces served becomes indirectly proportional to the number of attendees. Now in this situation, the tired and hungry attendee, who has paid the “suggested minimum contribution” has all the right to demand a “suggested minimum number of pieces” of the precious goat meat. After all, that was one of the key factors that attracted him to this festival in the first place!