On Shoshthi, the common trend all over Delhi is to hold a home cooked food festival cum cookery competition. The event is called ‘Anandomela’ which when transliterated means Fun Fare. Essentially a married women’s domain this event, I in my 30 years have never seen a young unmarried girl or a man (of any age) putting up a food stall. Children have a lot of fun since the money that the aunties charge for their hand made delicacies is only a token amount. Bongs love to eat and feed.

In Dwarka Bongio Samaj (Sector 10) and Ikotaan (Sector 3 and others) Anandomela was held on Panchami itself (a day before Shoshthi) that’s because they probably have many interesting cultural programs lined up and all have to be accommodated.

The RK Puram Sector I and adjoining areas Pujo always also holds a Drawing competition simultaneously with ‘Anandomela’. All the moms would keep their kids busy by making them participate in the competition and while they are at it, she would quickly arrange her food stall. The kids as soon as they are done with painting would rush towards the stalls.

A smart thing to do on the first day (mostly Shoshthi but at some places Panchami) is to a little bit of Pujo hopping and gather the schedule of all the competition and cultural program to be held during the next 5 days. Pujo hopping would mean visiting different pandals.

Mom is very keen on recitation. Mom and Dad both are very good at it. Even I have won many prizes as a child. This year I thought I’d take mom around so that she can participate in the competitions in at least 3-4 pandals in Dwarka. I know people who go on a participating spree during the pujo. But I was never keen on giving chaffer service to Mom for this purpose until I moved to Bangalore. And now I want to take her to where ever she wants to go. Now I don’t anymore frown if she is taking too much of time in I don’t know what. Anyways that’s a different story how we all are being extra nice to each other making me feel all the more that am away from home.

While doing the pujo hopping Mom also took part (impromptu, she didn’t even have her reading glasses) in one of the recitation competition and stood third there.

Mom reciting a Tagore Poem, “Abhishar”.  

Amongst the cultural events on Shoshthi evening there was this awesome Hand shadow graphy in Sector 10.

Shadows of hands showing two old men talking. The shadows were so great at times we almost forgot they were just hands  

Alongside the cultural evening and competition every pandal have an area dedicated for various stalls, from food to Bengali Sarees, jewellery, books, Music CDs / Cassettes etc. These days even water purifier companies, Real estate agents and Cell phone operators have stalls. Pujo is also a major business opportunity.

Menu at one of the food stalls. Dont Drool :P