When actor Minissha Lamba returned to the Delhi stage last Sunday, after the two-year long pandemic pause, it was her chance to not to miss getting drenched in the festive fervour of the Capital. Thus, she visited one of the oldest Durga Puja pandals in Delhi, at Minto Road, to seek blessings of the Goddess in person. As she absorbed in the exuberance of the pujo, amid the many hopeful devotees, the only way she could express her outing was a “blessed experience”.
‘My first-ever pandal visit in Delhi!’
While she has experienced pandal hopping in Kolkata, during her past visit to the City of Joy, this was her maiden experience at Durga Puja in the Capital. “I had gone to Kolkata during Durga Puja and my friends had taken me to Durga Puja. But here too, I love the energy and cheery vibe of the pujo, as this is my first-ever visit to a pandal in Delhi,” she says, adding, “It’s so nice to see the energy of the people, the positivity and happiness all around, and their hope that tomorrow will be better, that’s what makes one’s visit to a pandal so worthwhile. When people have had a good year, they come to thank, in gratitude. There’s always good energy here, as it’s a new beginning… For me, every festival is something that brings people closer and together and. It’s an occasion for people to feel closer to God, and thank the Almighty for all the blessings,” says the actor known for films such as Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and Yahaan (2005).
‘I pray for strength, resilience, and gratitude’
Talking about the difficulties that humankind has faced during the pandemic, Lamba offered her prayers to Goddess Durga, to give everyone he strength to carry on, and adds, “I pray for strength, resilience, and gratitude. For all that has already been given to me, and whatever is deemed by our deities that they want to bless and bestow us with. I humbly accept all that.”
‘I loveeeee puchkas’
Quite in the style of Poo (Kareena Kapoor Khan’s character from 2001 film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham), Lamba confesses her love for the lip-smacking puchkas (Bengali style gol-gappe) saying, “I loooveee puchkas!” She also indulged in a plate of sev puri, amid the milling crowds of excited worshippers, and when asked about her favourite Bengali dishes, she quickly added, “I love mishti doi as well. When I used to eat fish then, of course I enjoyed the fish prepared in Bengali style, but now I am a vegetarian (smiles).”
‘My grandmother loved to teach us about mythology’
When in the pandal, she checked out several stalls offering everything from colourful home decorative items to jewellery. Checking out a jhumka at a stall, the actor gets overwhelmed thinking about how she grew up listening to the stories of good defeating the forces of evil. “My grandmother used to read the Guru Granth Sahib every day. She used to do puja, and also loved to teach us about mythology and would tell us lovely stories. While growing up we would watch shows [Ramayana] on Doordarshan. And as a child, I would hear her stories, but when we grow older, we start understanding the intricate meaning of them.”
‘Covid kya, I won’t let anything stop me from living my life’
The crowds at the pandal didn’t deter Lamba’s spirit, as she continued to walk without any inhibitions. Looking at how comfortable she is to be at crowded places in the post-Covid era, one feels compelled to ask her about it. “It was our first theatre performance in Delhi after Covid, and we all were so excited. Before coming here, we had rehearsed for Hello Zindagi (the play) in Mumbai and the moment I stepped on the stage, it was like no time had passed (during the pandemic),” she says, adding how both at the theatre and the pujo, she felt comfortable in a post-Covid world. “I won’t let anything stop me from living my life. Jo bhi hona hai, jo bhi likha hai, woh hoga hi. That’s what I believe,” she adds looking at the idol of the Goddess as if saying a silent prayer to her to keep imparting her the strength.”
Author tweets @Anu_95m
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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)