What a Durga Puja away from pandals means for Bengal

The festive season across India has resulted in major cities reemerging as COVID-19 hotspots

An unfinished building, a rusted auto-rickshaw, empty glasses in a tea stall and an unlit hearth are some of the vignettes of life in the times of coronavirus portrayed at a Durga Puja pandal (marquee), as Kolkata turns into a city of art amid the pandemic.

The theme of the artwork created by Somnath Dolui on a 50-feet-by-20-feet area for the Belgachia Sadharan Durgotsav (Tala Park) committee is “abdho”, meaning confinement.

Through his poignant depiction, Doli says, he wanted to showcase how the pandemic-induced lockdown halted life, making the future uncertain.

“Here, I tried to symbolically manifest the sufferings that I had undergone during the lockdown, the misery that I had seen around as we all were forced into a confinement by the pandemic, leaving our future uncertain, just like that building which we are not sure will ever be completed,” he says.

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