Celebration with a difference

By Paramita Sarkar

With the advent of October, a sweaty heat prevails in Mumbai; humidity levels shoot up with the retreating monsoon. This is far from the picture of soft golden sunshine and fluttering white “kash” flowers of an autumn in Bengal. Yet in celebrating Durga Puja, Mumbai puts in every attempt to recreate the essence of Bengal.
It is rather difficult to estimate the exact number of registered Durga Pujas being held in this city. Every year the number keeps rising. Durga Puja in Mumbai is no more a Bengali’s festival – it reaches out to all communities irrespective of origin. Durga Puja in this city has evolved from being a festival, a deity worshipping ritual to a social function - it is a coming together of people of different backgrounds, a cultural platform where art, artists and artisans co-exist, trade and commerce see new impetus.

The North Bombay Sarbajonin Durga Puja Charitable Trust is one of the old pujas in Mumbai with a strong legacy. It has come a long way in its 71 year journey. This Puja is a true portrayal of cultural diversity and inclusion. Many know it for its glitter, star studded attraction, the entertainment, the bhog. However it is a little known fact that the team that orchestrates this wonderful event is driven by a deeper sense of purpose based on Sustainability, Safety and Inclusion in every aspect.
In times when the world is threatened by pollution, facing energy constraints and challenged by constant erosion of natural resources, North Bombay Sarbajonin Durga Puja Charitable Trust is committed to “celebration with a difference”.

Sustainability initiatives:
• Prasad packets used from bio compostable, environment friendly plastic
• Installation of mobile green toilets
• Special transformers in place of polluting generators

Safety initiatives:
• Topsline vehicle positioned for all 4 days
• Adequate security arrangements -5 police persons at venue
• Fire brigade 24X7
• Trained volunteers
• No gas cylinders used in stall area
• Kitchen separated from the main venue to avoid fire hazard
• Special traffic police arranged so that no traffic jams are created
• Valet parking to ease crowd movement

• 15% of the funds collected are used for charitable activities
• Accessible paths have been made for physically challenged
• Physically challenged and senior citizens have special priority for Bhog
• AC arrangements are done in the bhog queue area so that the people are not exposed to the heat
• Safe drinking water is served free for all people in bhog queue

As we gear up for the festive season, I wish my readers joyous moments and hope that we all rise to the need of the hour – the need to celebrate with responsibility, with a purpose beyond fun and entertainment.

Paramita Sarkar

Paramita Sarkar is a working professional who is passionate about dance. Her purpose in life is to leave the planet in a better place for future generations. After all, every little bit counts ...