To kickstart Durgotsav revelry, Grand Omaxe Apartment, a residential society in Sector-93B of Noida, organised a day-long cultural event on Sunday at the society lawns.
The theme for the day was unity in diversity. Though organised by the Bengali community of the society, residents belonging to different communities participated with just as much eagerness and excitement.
The celebrations began with Anondo Mela, wherein the residents set up stalls with a gourmet spread of home-made Bengali delicacies. Besides the Bengali fare, there were stalls from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab as well. So, you had rajma chawal vying with traditional Bengali desserts, kheer and patishapta. And, here's what Sumit Barat, a resident, has to say, "I love both kheer as well as patishapta. I have had three plates, and now I am eyeing my next target."
Mondira Bhattacharya, the brain behind the event, explains the genesis of this special do, "There was a time when women from high-class Bengali families were not really allowed to go outside and work. So, for one day during the annual festivities, they forgot their inhibitions and set up food stalls — interacted with other people and got appreciated for their culinary skills while making some money from it. Since the event was a whole lot of fun, it was christened Anondo Mela."
There was dance and music as well. Diptendra Bhattacharji, an IT professional, and a resident, sang a few Bengali songs. People came in traditional attires to watch the cultural performances in the evening. Artistes were invited from outside to make the day even more special.
The first such cultural event was organised in Grand Omaxe in 2014, giving the society's 25 Bengali families an authentic taste of Durga Puja right here in Noida. However, due to lack of planning, it could not be held last year. This time the annual extravaganza was celebrated on a grand scale.