This Durga Puja, Lord Ganesh will not drink milk. He will hand over a laddoo to his devotees. But there is a catch. The hand that blesses with the sweetmeat will not move unless the devotee drops a coin of a specified value in the donation box placed beside the life-size Ganesh.
The elephant god mechanised by homegrown robotics specialists will not be the only attraction offered by the Moidam-Beltala Sarbajanin Puja Committee. The committee is experimenting with other ideas too. For instance, a ‘saas- bahu’ chamber within the Puja mandap that opens when a visitor presses the calling bell. If the visitor is fortunate, he will be greeted by a flesh-and-blood ‘bahu’. The visitor’s ill-luck would translate into a bad-mouthing ‘saas’ driving him away from the doorstep.
If the Puja committees are defying rising costs to put up a dazzling show, there is a reason: most of them are celebrating silver, golden or diamond jubilee while a few others are over 100 years old. Some puja committes are also decking up the goddess in chic.
Lease of life
The Centre will pump in funds to promote the dying Singua Chhau in the backwaters of Jharkhand. Believed to be dating back to the Indus Valley civilisation, this dance form was languishing in the Khuntpani village of Khunti sub-division in Ranchi district. It was performed for the first time in public at Brambay village recently.