It is a dazzling time in Delhi NCR. A new life has been breathed into the cultural sphere as celebrating festivals with public gatherings becomes possible again. Durga Puja 2022 preparations are in full swing everywhere. The deities have arrived at the pandals and will bless worshippers from today onwards. But just before the beginning of the puja, it was time for the first ritual- the Ananda mela.
The culinary community celebration Ananda mela is essentially the first get-together of Sharod Uthsob and food plays a fundamental role here. The different Bengali communities all over Noida brought in authentic dishes from their home and several residents enjoyed them.
Prateek Wisteria, a high-rise society in sector-77 is witnessing a double celebration of Durga puja and Navratri. The PW Durga Puja Samiti signalled the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities in society with the formal inauguration of the Puja and the much-awaited Anandamela.
Dr Madhumita Chakraborty, a resident of the same society informs that there were around 18 food stalls and around 4-5 game stalls in the Mela. The game stalls were put up by the kids of the society. Items available at Anandamela included home-cooked Peas Kachori, vegetable chop, Katori chat, samosa chat, cakes, muffins, litti chokha, rabri malpua to name a few.
She says, "Bengali cuisine is well-known throughout the nation for its savoury dishes and sweets. Moreover, for the warmth and fun which we experience during the Durga puja. After a 2-year hiatus, Wisterians flocked to the Anandamela in big numbers and the food was over in no time."
Moreover, a cultural night was organized simultaneously. There were various performances by kids of the society such as Shiv Durga Stuti, Doha recitation, father-daughter dance, father-daughter guitar performance with singing, Lavni(traditional dance in Maharastra), kalbeliya (traditional dance in Rajasthan), Bharatnatyam, and retro dance.
Kriti Gaur, an organizer says, "Such events are good for the exposure for kids as they get a chance to get over their stage fear. This builds confidence and sense of achieving something with the kind of appreciation they get from the audience."
The Central Noida Puja Committee CNPC celebrated Ananda mela with full ritualistic fervour as a part of the Grand Pujo Celebration at Pujo Pandaal Sector-78, Ved van. Men and women arrived in traditional dhoti and bengali sarees for the competition. Indrani Mukherjee, the president of CNPC informs that ladies prepared several home-cooked dishes at the mela organized on Panchami evening including Bengali puri and allordam, chop and ghughni, achar, rosh bora, malpua, khichudi paneer kathi roll and sweet dishes such as gurer Sandesh. The results of the competition would be declared on October 2 after the evening aarti.
She says, "After the arrival of idols at Pandaal, the eagerness of devotees was quite evident to get a glimpse of Maa and her family. We are happy that we can celebrate festivals together once again."
As gathered, a drawing competition was organized for the children with the theme Aazadi ka Amrit Mahotsav wherein around 75 children from different societies participated.