BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: For Parcel actress Rituparna Sengupta, Durga Puja is incomplete without the customary fast until till Anjali is offered on Ashtami, the Sandhi Puja when Ashtami ends and Navami begins and the smearing of vermillion on sindoor khela. But 2020 hasn’t been the year we anticipated or even imagined. Kolkata never saw a Durga Puja like 2020, where the crowd was less with most pandal hoppers wearing masks due to COVID-19. Actress Rituparna has been stationed in Singapore since mid-March ever since the coronavirus lockdown was announced. Though she is happy that she got to spent the festival with her family, her husband Sanjay Chakraborty, her kids — son Ankan and daughter Rishona Niya — she thoroughly missed Kolkata.
However, the actress said that her friends in Singapore namely Atrayee, Monami, Paromita, Sudeshna, Sharmila and Uma have made her Durga Puja memorable especially the sindoor khela ritual. “I was invited by my friends here in Singapore for the sindoor khela. I missed Kolkata but my friends here made up for it,” said Rituparna. However, they made sure they wore masks before the ritual. However, during sindoor khela, they kept the masks aside. Once the ritual was over, everyone sanitized themselves, thus abiding by coronavirus guidelines.
Rituparna has spent Durga Puja in Singapore before, but due to coronavirus, the associations there did not organise any huge gathering. So, the Ahaa Re actress entertained the friends and family at home. She also cooked for her family and burst out laughing when she narrated her experience of preparing paayesh (rice kheer). “I don’t know what that turned out to be. I also cooked pulao and doi maach,” she said.
Her friends and she also conducted Kumari Puja on Ashtami and worshipped her daughter Rishona Niya as Durga. “She turned nine this year, so this was probably the last year we could have done this ritual,” she said. The actress and her family also offered online Ashtami anjali this time in Kolkata. “It was an unusual experience, but given the situation, it was the best thing to do,” she said.
Meanwhile, she also enjoyed Navatri at her friends’ place with her family. The actress, who is excited that the theatres have reopened after seven months, is planning to visit Kolkata soon. Her Bengali film Parcel, which hit the theatres before COVID-19, has re-released during puja in Bengal.