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So, What if You’re a Durga Pujo Hater?

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.

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There’s always a cheatsheet for recognising a Bong around that time of the year. It’s October (or nearabouts) and the Bong next to you in office – or across the studyhall – is looking suspiciously happy. S/he gets off every phone call with the family to google ticket prices and starts YouTubing Mahalaya reruns. All of it usually amounts to One Thing – the Bong is headed home for Durga Pujo.

The ‘Durga Pujo Bong’ (as we shall now call him/her) is a bundle of joy and a suitcase full of Gelusil tablets (how else do you battle five days of pet pujo [tummy worship, or incessantly eating out], pray?) The bong has his/her life arrayed around those five days of the year and everything else (upcoming promotions, examinations) are unnecessary impediments that shall be swatted away.

But here’s the deal – what of the ‘Other’ kind of Bong? The one that does not care a fig for the crowds, the frequent lavatory visits, and the need to dance the dhunuchi dance with aunties? It is entirely possible that the ‘Other’ kind of Bong would much rather take a vacay to a place that doesn’t look so red and white. Or stay at home and watch Pujo on TV.

If you, by any chance, fall into that ‘Other’ category, you needn’t fret. For one, you’re not alone. And for another, we’ve got you totally covered with these 5 things you can do on Durga Pujo if you want to avoid it:

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Escape the City

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.

Perhaps you’re a probashi Bangali (living away from Bengal) – in which case my friend, you’ve already made your escape. But in case you do live in the heart of the hullabaloo, you have no option but to pack your bags and leave. If you’re gonna do this, do it right. Desist from raking up old MP3s of Mahalaya (a raw and emotional tour-de-force that could leave you blubbering at the end), stop surfing protima dorshon (idol watching) online, and quit meeting fellow Bongs at this time of the year – especially those who don’t share your total disregard for nostalgia.

Watch Pujo on TV

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown up with at least three over-enthusiastic octogenarians at home, happily munching jhal moori and watching pujo coverage on TV. And you don’t have to be a granny to partake of this fun. Maybe you love the pujas, but just don’t have the energy to snake through the crowds like you have been every year since you were five! Ignore the brickbats your cousins will (of course) throw at you, and sit back like a sophisticated kitty on the sofa. Then, switch on Star Anondo.

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Host the Late Night Adda

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.

You know that person at the bar who drinks the least ‘cause he’s resigned to being the late-night chauffeur? (That’s usually the guy you don’t remember puking on, the next morning.) Well, here’s where you can score during Durga Pujo, without coming across as a total anti-shoshal (all Bongs hate that). Just offer to host the soiree at home after everyone’s done with the pandal hopping. And you needn’t worry. If they’ve stood anywhere in queue at Ballygunge, they’ll come back just about pooped enough to fall asleep over a glass of beer.

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Visit the Near-empty Bookstore

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.
Embrace one half of the Bong in you, even as you reject the other; i.e. devour books while you reject Pujo! (Photo Courtesy: Piku wallpaper)

If there’s one place that’s guaranteed to be empty during pujo, it’s your favourite neighbourhood bookstore. No one studies during this time, so there’ll be no irritating gaggle of schoolgirls holding up your way. Academic books are, in fact, pushed as far into the corner as they will go, because boys and girls would much rather get hopped up on sugar and phuchka. So, sit yourself at the nearest cha bar-cum-bookstore and catch up on the classics. The best part? The bookstore wallah’s going to be full of the pujo spirit, so no one’s going to kick you out!

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Lap up the Free Goodies

If you’d rather stay away from the pandal hopping and the crazy Kolkata crowds, fear not, you’re not alone.

Pujo is awesome for many reasons – most of which come free. You get money from relatives, clothes from relatives, dinner invites from relatives. Make the most of the freebies and the goodies that you’d otherwise have to honey-coo your way through the year to acquire. Attend that invite – if only to meet the cousin you like, who comes down once a year (during pujo). Buy that super sexy pair of leather boots you can wear in winter. Basically, choose your half of the poison.

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