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Diwali is on 27th October 2019 and that means the time of the year has arrived when you have to buckle up and first of all make lists. A list of things you need to renovate or redecorate your house, things you need to cook the delicious meals, people you need to gift, and what to gift. This is also the time of the year when you will see flashes of sales going on in various shops to lure you. But don’t lose your track and stick to your list only and that way you will save much.

This festival of lights is all about a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Diwali is also about removing all sorts of darkness from life and filling it up with hope and positivity. The exhilarating celebration includes homework and the homework is nothing but shopping. Your home needs to dazzle up to welcome the blessings of Lakshmi Devi and other guests. The gifts need to be sorted because they are the token of your love, respect, and gratitude.

So, here is a list of things that you can shop for and impress your friends and family members easily.

Designer Diyas
Designer Diyas
Image Source- Google

Buy it for yourself and also for others because this is the most relevant Diwali gift that resonates with the spirit of this bright festival. You will come across varieties of designer diyas available in sets. Some are designed like diyas but have candle wax in them and they are easier to lit up as you don’t need to put oil and cotton in them. But you can choose the beautifully colored clay diyas for those who prefer traditional things.

Designer Dresses
Designer Dresses
Image Source – Google

For your darling wife or daughter, you can opt for a designer label dress. Manish Malhotra or Sabyasachi Mukherjee are all-time favorites in the list of the ladies. And anything created by them would make your wife or daughter or mom or girlfriend happy.

Personalized Gifts
Personalized Gifts
Image Source – Google

There is nothing better than personalized gifts when you have to show your reverence and gratefulness towards someone. You can order for personalized mugs, LED cushions, photo frames, chopping boards, lamps, etc. for your parents. In fact, you can settle for one type of personalized gift for everyone in your family. All you need to do is search the best photographs of your family members and select a product type to get that perfect Diwali gift.

Jewelry
Jewelry
Image Source – Google

A Diwali gift for your wife or girlfriend must be special. Buying gold and silver is considered auspicious during Dhanteras – the 1st day of Diwali. So, walk into a jewelry showroom and take advantage of their deals or offers and buy jewelry for your wife, girlfriend, sister, or daughter.

Kitchen Essentials
Kitchen Essentials
Image Source – Google

For your mom or aunt or a friend who loves to cook, you can settle for kitchen essentials. During Diwali, most of the online portals run lucrative sales where you can shop for those items you are looking for. A set of induction-friendly containers, colorful pressure cooker, cool storage boxes, a gorgeous set of tea port & cups with saucers, etc. There are various items to impress your loved ones.

Home Décor Items
Home Décor Items
Image Source – Google

There are so many things that fall under home décor that you will be flooded with choices. So, it’s better to jot down the likes and dislikes of your friends or relatives before buying a home décor item for them. For example, someone who loves to read books would appreciate a funky bookend. Someone who is a believer in Feng Shui would love a lucky turtle or wind chime. Therefore, look out for fancy lamps, bright curtains, decorative door soans, or quirky posters and shop the best ones for Diwali.

Plants
Plants
Image Source – Google

Due to the incessant use of firecrackers during Diwali, the level of pollution goes up, especially in the metro cities. So, plants would be a great gift cherished by your family and friends. On any weekend or while returning from work, go to a nursery and pick up some plants that are easy to care for and are fuss-free. Given the shortage of space in all the modern houses, indoor plants or bonsai or terrariums would be a great choice. They will break the monotony of the household objects and furniture apart from boosting oxygen supply.

Chocolates
Chocolates
Image Source – Google

This is a thing that can be given to anyone and everyone would love it. Those who face a lack of time to go out and shop or to look online and shop can simply send the mouth-watering boxes of chocolates. The branded ones or the exotic ones – both will work wonders. Those chocolates in the shape of a diya or “HAPPY DIWALI” written on them are also gaining popularity. So, choose the chocolates wisely and surprise your best buddies or relatives.

We hope these shopping ideas would help you a lot to surprise your friends and family this Diwali. So, hurry up and hit the stores to avoid the last-moment rush.

The madness of Rio Festival, the feel of Valentine’s Day in Paris, the Diwali frenzy in Delhi, or the fun galore of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai – you can put together all these and blend well and still you won’t get the level of amusement which Kolkata turns out to be during those 5 days of Durga Pujo. It is the biggest festival in West Bengal and for centuries the display of artistic minds has captivated the world. The mesmerizing show of lights, the unbelievable pandals, the electrifying sound of Dhaak, and the whole grandeur of the state – would give you goosebumps for sure. A friend of mine who was on his first Durga Pujo trip to Kolkata said in astonishment that “I am feeling like I have entered the opulent world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali”.

Yes, Durga Pujo in Kolkata is like that – impeccably colorful & purely traditional. You will get to see lavish experiments too but that also merges magnificently with the traditions here. Many moviemakers over the years have delved into this affable area of Durga Pujo. But a few of them truly match the nostalgic ride of Durga Pujo in Bengal. Here is a list of some of them.

Devdas (2002)
Devdas
Image Source – Google

As said earlier by my friend the grandiose display of Durga Pujo in Kolkata is exactly like any big-budget SLB movie – so how can I start the list without mentioning Devdas? Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay wrote it in 1900 and published it in 1917. Many other directors have also made this into a movie both in Bengali and Hindi. SLB took much creative liberty and tweaked the events here and there and many people had many problems with that. But when it comes to the depiction of Durga Pujo and those bengalines on-screen – people were just mesmerized.

One of the very important aspects of Durga Pujo is that it brings people from all walks of society together. That’s why to make the idol of Durga Maa one needs the soil from the home of prostitutes also. SLB went ahead and prepared a meeting of Paro and Chandramukhi who bursts into “dola re” dance amidst ululation. You could see the prevalence of red and white saree everywhere, the heavy jewelry, and of course the idol of Devi Durga. The whole pujo was not shown but a few facets of Pujo – unlimited fun, the mingling of all people without boundaries, and forgetting the past to embrace a hopeful future get full marks here. After Bhansali, no one actually captured the illustriousness of Durga Pujo.

Parineeta (2005)
Parineeta
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This is another Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay novel which was adapted 6 times on screen in various languages. The one directed by Pradeep Sarkar and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra released in 2005. Vidya Balan was introduced to Bollywood through this flick. This movie didn’t miss to capture Kolkata in its full flavor of the early 20th century. The famous dhunuchi-naach was soothing to the eyes.

Utshob (2000)
Utshob
Image Source – Google

The name of the movie means “festival”. Directed by one of my most favorite filmmakers of all time Rituparno Ghosh this movie shows the story of a family. A family just like many other Bengali “ekannoborti bonedi poribar” or huge influential families is now scattered. The members of the family return home during Pujo and reunite which signifies one important aspect of our festivals – homecoming. Every member has their turmoil, history, and emotions regarding this old building, pujo, and their equations with one another. Over these five days, they overcome many battles running within which is what Durga Pujo is all about – surpassing the fears and evils to be happy.

Kahaani (2012)
Kahaani
Image Source – Google

It is still the best of all thrillers in the last 20 years by Bollywood. Sujoy Ghosh captured the ultimate madness of the city during Durga Pujo and merged that with a thriller-mystery of national interest. The baritone of Bachchan Sahab, in the end says, “Maa Durga is the most powerful one because she is made with the powers of all mothers…..every year she descends in our lives and brings an end to all the evil powers”. This was the prime motive of the movie. Vidya Balan, a pregnant lady in search of her missing husband finally reaches her goal. In the end, she kills the man who was responsible for an evil act of crime in the city. She kills him on the night of Doshomi and then vanishes – epitomizing the supreme power of a woman. This was a true treat to the flavor of Durga Pujo.

Debi (1960)
Debi 1960
Image Source – Google

Directed by Ray – the master filmmaker, this one is about Patriarchy and its management of the feminine consciousness. The father-in-law (Chhabi Biswas) believes that his daughter-in-law (Sharmila Tagore) is a manifestation of the goddess and that leads to tragic consequences.

Daman (2001)
Daman
Image Source – Google

This one directed by Kalpana Lajmi stars Raveena Tandon as Durga who is tormented by domestic violence. She annihilates the threshold drawn by patriarchy during the pujo days and kills the tormentor on the last day of pujo finally overcoming her fears and realizing her power within. It shows the hypocritical side of our society. Where, on one hand, the woman is beaten and suppressed and on the other hand, she is worshipped. It fetched a National Award for Raveena Tandon and you must not miss it.

Antarmahal (2005)
Antarmahal
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Set in the early 19th-century zamindari set-up, this movie directed by Rituparno Ghosh is one of his finest works. It is based on Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay’s short story “Protima”. The movie tells the tale of a zamindar played by Jackie Shroff who is unable to impregnate his wives (Roopa Ganguly & Soha Ali Khan). It shows the misogynistic and oppressive side of the patriarchy. A potter played by Abhishek Bachchan is hired to make the Durga Idol that year and to impress Queen, Jackie Shroff wants the face of Maa Durga to replicate Queen Victoria. But the sculptor ends up making a Maa Durga idol that looks like the younger wife of the Zamindar. It is a movie worth watching and investing your time.

Debi (2015)
Debi 2015
Image Source – Google

Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, this short film is my most-favorite movie on Durga Pujo. Enacted by Ananya Chatterjee & Monali Thakur – this movie is about a daughter’s homecoming, forgetting the bitter past, and embracing a hopeful future. Durga Pujo is all about that – isn’t it? Anuradha belonged to a rich and influential Bengali Hindu family. She marries a Muslim guy and goes away to some foreign land. Her mother never supported this relation and now she returns to her ancestral home after 2 decades where Durga Pujo is held every year. Lali- Anu’s daughter finds her Naani’s cookbook and cooks on one of the Pujo days and the taste of the food magically replicates her Naani’s.

Bishorjan (2017)
Bishorjan
Image Source – Google

This outstanding movie by Kaushik Ganguly begins with a mother refusing to go and see the bishorjon or immersion of Maa Durga with her son. The idols of Maa Durga are immersed in the river after the celebration and the lady remembers one such immersion of her past. A Hindu lady from Bangladesh finds a Muslim boy from India and brings him home, treats him, lies about his real identity, falls in love with him, and finally, one day bids him goodbye thus immersing her emotions in the same river (as he goes to India through water route).

There are many more movies like Bodhon, Debipaksha, or Joy Baba Felunath where the plot centers around Durga Pujo and will leave you with a feel of this powerful time of the year.

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