It is this time of the year when every Bengali waits for the Durga Pujo to come. This is an annual waiting but enthusiasm is never lost. The actual spirit of the Pujo starts on the day of the Mahalaya.
With Mahalaya the distant dream of the Pujo days are over and it is only seven days waiting for Mother Goddess to sit in the pandals with all her grandeur inviting flocks of human soul to come close to her with Bhakti and Devotion.
Even today Birendra Kishna Bhadra is remembered on Mahalaya day. I still remember as a child the early morning hours of the Mahalaya day used to be so very special. Everyone in the house woke up at 4a.m., the radio was tuned in and the voice of this legendary narrator was heard reciting holy verses which told the story of the decent of Ma Durga to earth. His inimitable style and voice can still be heard in the recorded version, the mesmerizing effect on all those who spend the early morning hours listening to the radio and the story of Mahisasur- Mardini.
On this special Mahalaya day many people take a holy dip in the Ganges and offer Tarpan, a way of remembering the forefathers who have left for their heavenly abode. People fast and offer food, water, sweets, clothes which is a ritual of Tarpan. This day can also be symbolized as the Remembrance Day (remembering ancestors).
It is believed that on Mahalaya day Goddess Durga along with her four children begins her journey from Mount Kailash in the Himalayas to her parental home.
And so begins the joy of the long awaited Pujo days.