Bhopal: Amid pandemic, devotees give Kanya bhoj a miss, visit in person to little ‘goddesses’

BHOPAL: Instead of the ‘Kanyas’ visiting the devotees, it was the devotees who visited them for Kanya Pujan rituals this Durga Navami. And Covid was the key reason for the change. This also brought changes in the menu of the Kanya bhoj. The traditional chhole-puri-kheer was replaced by packets of potato chips, fruits, chocolates etc. Some of the devotees also gifted hairbands, earrings, bindi, bangles, pencils and tiffin boxes to the kids. All of them said that this was more gratifying than the ritual they used to follow earlier. And some of them plan to continue this new tradition next year, too - corona or no corona.

Neeta Paspaul, Counsellor, Bhopal Cancer Research and Welfare Association

Till now, I used to invite girls from my colony for Kanya Pujan to my house. But this year, due to corona, I avoided that and instead I went around the city in my car, stopping at temples and other places where I found girls assembled and distributed puri-halwa, bananas and a dry vegetable to them. I also gifted them hair bands and bangles. It was a great feeling. I think I would do the same the next time even if Covid-19 has disappeared by then.

Chanchal Singh Rajupt, president, Women Power

Due to Covid, the parents of the girls living around my place were unwilling to send them to my place. So, ten members of my group and I visited a slum cluster near my home on the Kolar Road and distributed packets of potato chips, bananas and biscuits instead of the traditional chole-puri. Even there people were reluctant to accept cooked food. We also gifted earrings and hair bands to them.

Rashmi Agrawal, president, Sanskar Sudha Foundation

I live near Lal Ghati and I drove to a slum cluster in Singar Choli and distributed packets to the children. The packets contained sweets, salted snacks, biscuits and potato chips. I also distributed bananas, apples and custard apples. Every year, I used to invite nine girls and a boy on the Navmi. But this time, I distributed the packets to over 100 children.

Smita Thakur, social activist

The parents of the little girls living around my place were reluctant to send their children to our place due to Corona fear. And we were also wary of inviting them. So, we distributed packets of Prasad (halwa-puri) and chocolates, chips, tiffin boxes, pencils etc to the needy children. That gave us immense satisfaction. We felt that we have done something worthwhile.

Sindhu Dholpure, artiste

This year, we decided to feed those who are needy – whether girls, boys or even the elderly. I didn’t invite the Pandit to perform the puja. That saved some cash and I used it to feed the needy. I think that way I would earn more ‘punya’.

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