New orders, payment of token advance amount and queries from puja committees across Kolkata on the day of Rath on Monday have brought some cheer in Kumartuli and rekindled hope of decent business this Durga Puja.
The festival was a subdued affair last year due to the pandemic and the Covid-19 guidelines. The way second wave hit in April and cases surged, there was a pall of gloom at the potters’ enclave, who thought the festival will be a washout this year as well. But with cases declining over the past two weeks, Durga Puja organisers have started preparing for low-scale pujas and many have already paid token amounts to idol-makers in Kumartuli.
Many believe that booking idols and initiating other preparations for Durga Puja on the day of Rath is auspicious. This year, too, many organisers did visit Kumartuli on Monday though the number was very small compared to pre-pandemic days.
“In April-May-June, when the second wave was creating havoc, we felt the festival will be a washout this year. Artists had given up all hope. But with cases declining, we have started receiving queries from puja organisers and many have handed over token money and placed their orders. Though it is not going to be anything like the pre-pandemic times, still it is better than what we were expecting two months ago,” said Mintu Paul, a senior artist in Kumartuli.
Several big-ticket pujas like College Square, SreebhumiSporting Club and Chetla Agrani have already placed orders for idols.
Forum for Durgotsab has appealed to the organisers to keep the festival low-key and make sure that big crowds are not attracted. The trend at Kumartuli this year is of small idols. Fund crunch and government guidelines are the reasons why organisers have decided to reduce the size of idols. “Almost all organisers who have placed orders till now have reduced the size of the idol for various reasons,” said Mintu Paul.
Source: Times of India