So.. Finally, I step out of home on the very last day of Durga Puja 2015 around 12-15 pm.. long after even Dashami had gotten over.. Although, my agenda was to pay a visit to Hindustan Mart for buying ABhushan's essentials, I found myself dragged to Singhi Park and then to the evergreen EkDalia..
As a child, I learnt that pandal-hopping began from Ekdalia Evergreen.. that is where Baba took us to on Saptami morning, each year, without fail.. The first stop would always be EKdalia Evergreen..
Last year, on the day of Panchami, I went to my bank at Ekdalia and paid a visit to the pandal.. Looking at the idol, I realized that in my 38 years I, for the first time, was visiting Ekdalia without Baba (even if I visited the puja with friends, there had to be one visit to ekdalia with Baba).. I had a strange ache in my heart as Baba was in no state to visit pandals at that time.. Nothing could ever stop him from visiting a few Pujas like Ekdalia.. In 2010, when Ma had her angina attack and had to be hospitalized on ShoshThi, my ever-positive, ever-enthusiastic Baba made it a point to visit Ekdalia with us on our way back from Belle Vue..
Today, as I entered the Ekdalia pandal and looked at Ma Durga, I felt a certain numbness.. I remembered that last year I had prayed for Baba's recovery so that we could return with him this year.. The Goddess did not answer my prayers, as usual, and I, after giving Her a cold shoulder for the most of the Puja, finally gave in and visited Her today without Baba anywhere in this world..
Hindustan Mart was closed and it turned out to be a long walk around gariahat and golpark, some pandal-hopping, some clicking of photographs, and some shopping.. nursing the void, battling the void, and then realizing what Jethu wrote to me the other day.. I have Baba and Baba has me.. we are never to be separated..