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  Thu Oct 18, 2018 07:52        APNRT, Associations, Auto, అమరావతి కబుర్లు, Health, World


Any celebration of Durga Puja sans sweets is like Deepavali without lights. As the countdown to Puja for Bengalis begins, amongst other plans that involve planning for clothes, accessories and styling of hair are mishti. All happy occasions accompany sweets in the households of eastern India and Durga Puja being ‘no less than a wedding at home’ sweets are a must. Saying so, Chandana Chakrabarti relives her sweet moments from the pandals she visited on Sashti puja day in Hyderabad. “I went hunting for sarbhaja. The famous Ganguram’s is finally in Hyderabad and they have stalls at every puja pandalSarbhaja is a fried chenna in layers with syrup and every guilt-ridden mouthful bite only wants you to have more. My list of sweets is long. At puja pandals my must-have sweets are lobongo lotikasita-bhajachenna jalebimisti doikacha golla and nolen gurer sondesh. I hope whatever sweets I have forgotten to mention forgive me,” she laughs. 

What makes Puja so synonymous with food and sweets and why does it make people away from home feel so nostalgic? “It is the mood. I miss it all here in Singapore. If I close my eyes I can absolutely feel my teeth sinking into juicy hot crunchy jalebi at puja pandals. That was the routine for most of us in Guwahati during Puja days. I feel the sweet connect is all about the festivities and the all-inclusive nature of this celebration. As a confirmed sweet-tooth, I would say not having sweets during Puja is a sin,” laughs Priyam Saharia, a Singapore-based story-teller and owner of Rhyme n Reason online book store.

Durga Puja and the compulsion to have sweets has a close connect with sentiment and nostalgia. Dr Sanjoy Paul might ask his patients to stay off sweets as a diabetologist and to set an example he might even stay away from them. But when the dhak at the Puja pandal begins to summon everyone’s attention, Sanjoy finds himself tucking in a jalebi and rasamalai and nolen gurer sondesh. “My weak moments for sweets are during this Puja alone. Blame the mood and the sight of so many good food and sweets,” says Dr Sanjoy Paul.