Bengali Children Singing
William Clark with Group of Bengali Children – Photo by Julie Edelstein
Durga Puja is fast approaching and Kolkata is becoming a mad house–in a good way. The general vibe surrounding West Bengal’s biggest holiday is one of awe. Right now, I’m observing the most intense explosion of creative energy I have ever witnessed and it hasn’t even officially started.
I visited the Kalighat Kali Temple today and the place is completely transformed: masses of people are rushing all about and an aura of chaos pervades. At every turn, massive temporary structures are being erected to house representations of Durga. The creative variations from pandal to pandal took me by surprise. Each and every display is a unique work of art. My camera should be repaired tomorrow and I have already set up my audio gear to go roaming around and grab what I can until I leave Kolkata on Sunday for an altogether different type of puja at Tarapith.
Wandering about brought such diverse experiences as entering the inner sanctum of the Kalighat Mandir, to attending a rehearsal of devotional songs for Durga Ma sung by an all female choir. There where certainly more unique events that occurred tonight then I have the energy to share at 3 am! One thing however does stand out in my mind and that was the period of relatively quiet time that I spent with a friendly group of Bengali children who were gathered near the mandir. Julie and I were walking down a side street when came across them singing together. We ended up chatting with them for a little while and they asked about the microphones attached to my eyeglasses. When I explained that I was recording sound, they responded kindly by offering to perform a song for me so that I could share it with my friends back home. They were all so cute about it that I had to take them up on it. Enjoy.