Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Maddox Square and all that

The lights are blinding, the air smells of bubbling oil and grease, the jabber and chatter are deafening, the earth whimpers in protest against the millions of kicking feet. No, dear reader, you aren’t dashing to glorious immortality in the Battle of the Bulge. You’re entering Maddox Square on Saptami evening. Something tells me the Bulge would’ve been safer.

All hell breaks loose. The entire city seems to be here, decked out in her glittering green sari and his new burgundy kurta. There is an apocalyptic feel to the whole thing, as if this is everyone’s last day alive, and must be made most of. Comparisons to the Black Hole of Calcutta spring, not inappropriately, to mind. You need to pick your way around, taking care to avoid stepping on the innumerable ebullient groups of young men and women sitting on the grass and having the time of their lives. Having navigated this human minefield successfully, you breathe a sigh of relief – the main pandal is a mere hop away – only to sink into wet mud. “O well”, you say, brushing aside these minor inconveniences, “the greater end, etc”, and walk into the mandap.

And then it hits you. The crowd seems to melt away as you walk towards the protima (the process is speeded up if you happen to have, like I did, a friend weighing close to 30 stone clearing the way for you). The sheer grandeur is breathtaking. The Goddess with her large beautiful eyes, the heady fumes of incense, the foot-tapping rhythms of the four dhakis… there is something so fabulously irreligious about Durga Pujo. It is the one time of the year when the Bengali shakes of his lethargy and actually works hard at having fun. There’s song and dance, love floats in the air, old friends greet each other amidst much backslapping; Pujo is when the good times roll, and it almost makes the horrendously overcharged three-hour journey worth your while.

But come next Pujo, you’d be well advised to do what I’ll do – kick off your shoes, order pizza and reread Goodbye to All That. It’s easier on the nerves.

13 comments:

HAMLET POW POW POW said...

Or:

Watch it on the telly, which my mum says is the best way to eat your cake (or pizza) & have it too.

Bhooter Raja said...

I hereby announce that I shall give ten rupees to any one who spots me at Maddox square (This offer is valid as long as I don't kick the bucket).

I agree with Deep. Maddox Square during the pujo is one of the worst imaginable places.

Deep said...

dibs,
weren't u at maddox last night, ie, ashtami?? :)

babelfish said...

oye, bhoot, where's my tenner? I saw you last night!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talking Contradiction said...

And I saw you too...
Man...for a guy who's claustrophobic, maddox square is a hell hole. But i guess, its part of the package deal huh?

Euphoric Dreamer said...

maddox is hell :)
but every1 must get a taste of hell :)

rogue said...

dont quite like the place

Bhooter Raja said...

Deep put up the post on Oshtomi at 8.16 pm. I made a comment at 9.52 the following morning. So, Oshtomi evening doesn't count. But as I said the offer holds now. If you ever spot me in that rotten place during pujos anymore, I will gladly fork out ten bucks and go hide my face in shame under the pillow!

BTW, talking contradiction, you haven't introduced yourself on Blabberwocky. Please do so.

AnarKali NAIR said...

how come u people dont like the place??the entire city pours into maddox square!! well, i admit the "glittering green sarees" might be too harsh to look at. but over all the bubbling energy and the psychedelic buzz all around make u delirious, dont they???!!! however i'll leave my tip for u ::
DONT FORGET TO HAVE YOUR SIP OF VODKA BEFORE NUDGING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE CROWD AT MADDOX!!it wd add more colours to the psychedelia

babelfish said...

anarkali : sip of vodka?! You really wanna counter the bedazzling effect you gotta go much further than a single sip, take this from me, I was there having made my confession I shall now go hide my face in my pillow, partly for shame and partly out of sheer embarrassment at the recollection of things past

Deep said...

umm, babel, i don't think she wants to counter the bedazzling effect as much as enhance it. why anyone in their right mind would wanna do that is beyond my powers of comprehension.

Prerona said...

lol - this was a great post - will send it to my sister - oder group ta proti pujo maddox sq alo kore boshe thaake :)

panu said...

Pleaaase... after last year's disaster, I dont wanna go to Maddox square AGAIN!!

"Recalls disaster"

Last year Ashtami--- a buzzed me had stumbled inside my room after a hefty swig of BACARDI, WHITE MISCHIEF & OLD ADVENTURE at 2.30 in the afternoon. three hours later me was taken, kicking and screaming to Maddox Square, with School friends, and Family... YES FAMILY!!!! My MOM AND MY 9 year old brat of a sister tagged along my sorry self.

Result: Cool Cute and Cuddly guys stayed off me, the guy I liked ACTUALLY came to talk, and saw my 5'6" 108kg Mummy darling standing guard, and constantly asking... ebar kon pujo dekhte jabo?? (missing the point of coming to the place altogether)and my 9-year old brat screaming... MA PIZZA KHABO!??!??!

Further result: My SEMI-BUZZED Self got rude stares, regretful looks and later, a sound lecture from the BOSS
(my baap)...

Inference- this year I did not go to MADDOX SQUARE.