A sunny day for worshipping the Goddess of learning

KOLKATA, 8 FEB: Young people dressed in traditional clothes didn’t seem to mind the blazing sun today while heading for their hangouts after offering the early morning anjali as part of the puja offered today to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, in homes and paras alike.
Last week, the maximum and minimum temperatures were rocorded at 27 and 14 degrees celsius, respectively, while today it was recorded as 31 and 19 degrees, respectively, two degrees above normal. The city folk, holding tight to their shawls and mufflers just 15 days ago, are now scrambling for air conditioners.
A 16-year-old school student, Shreya Basu, however, said: “Thank god the day was sunny. I don’t have to wear a shawl or a sweater today over my sari.” She called Sarawati puja day, the Bengali Valentine’s Day as on this the day all her friends wear saris and stay outdoor for long.
Streets looked brighter and the aroma of incense and flowers filled narrow lanes as people worshipped the goddess asking her to bestow wisdom upon them.
Young men and women were seen making a beeline for coffee shops and restaurants while some were seen engrossed in adda near puja pandals. Those who have been busy collecting chanda for para pujas, sat on benches and some were found jiving to Bollywood numbers blaring from loud speakers, after the rituals were over.
Mr Apurba Bhattacharya, a priest, had to hide from boys of his para club. “Last year, I was almost kidnapped by para boys while going from one house to another to conduct their puja. They don’t pay me fees.”
An official of the meteorological office, Alipore, said that though the mercury is above normal by one to two degrees, the rise in the temperature is not abnormal. The rest of the month will remain warm and the temperature will gradually increase before spring sets in.
The coolest day of the season was 11 January with maximum temperature at 19.6 degree celsius, seven degrees below normal.

Soma Basu

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