Ronit Roy and Rohit Roy Share A Reverence For The Durga Pujo Festivities

Ronit Roy and Rohit Roy Share A Reverence For The Durga Pujo Festivities

Come Durga Puja and you will hear stotrams and bhajans playing exclusively in Ronit Roy's car

Dinesh RahejaUpdated: Monday, October 23, 2023, 01:07 PM IST
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Come Durga Puja and you will hear stotrams and bhajans playing exclusively in Ronit Roy's car. And younger brother Rohit Bose Roy doesn't remember ever missing Pujo even when he was doing double shifts on TV. The Roy brothers talk about what makes this festival so special for them and for Bengalis everywhere.

Relationship with Maa Durga

Ronit: She is the Devi, the Goddess. But it's also about what she represents -- the duality of life, the yin and the yang. She's Sati, and I am a bhakt of both Shivji and Mataji ... they're one. I look at them essentially as two sides to the same coin; two parts of the same entity.

Rohit: My relationship with Maa Durga is exactly that of a mother and son.  She is our protector and she keeps us away from harm's way.

Pujo rituals

Ronit: I don't need to bring in any major changes in my life because I lead a satvik life -- I am a vegan, and I don't drink alcohol. On the first day of Navratri my wife does the sthapna of Mataji in our house and we pray everyday. Then Durga Pujo starts for Bengalis. We visit a pandal, seek he blessings, and have bhog.

Rohit: We have Durga Pujo at Joy Mukherjee’s with 150-200 people coming there daily for bhog prasad and aarti. I excitedly buy new clothes, meet extended family and celebrate Maa. My wife, Manasi, and I serve bhog, which energises me and takes me through the rest of the year till the next Durga Pujo.

Pleas or gratitude? 

Ronit: I wake up every morning with a thank you to Shivji and Maa because there are lakhs of people who don't wake up in the morning. I ask a lot everyday from Maa when I am praying and ringing the bell of my temple because I need certain things  for my children and my family.

Rohit: Through my growing years, I have stupidly asked her for success, money, houses, cars... only to realise that she would give me whatever I needed. There are amazing gifts which Maa has already given — mother's health, wife's well-being, daughter’s safety and happiness. Now, only if there is a pressing need, do I express it to Maa. 

Childhood memories of Pujo

Ronit: When our father was alive, we lived in Ahmedabad. We would get new clothes and go to the pandal for Durga Pujo. There was a small makeshift theatre next to it where people would sing and perform skits. My favourite part was the canteen with great Bengali food, which I relished...The taste still lingers in my mouth.

Rohit: Our mother was a teacher and we were from a middle-class family but for Durga Pujo we would get new clothes -- two shirts and a pair of trousers. For us, that meant the world. Our kids will never realise the importance of those clothes – we would have our school uniforms and one pair of these clothes to last us through the year. My father was a very reticent man but by observing him we learnt a lot about the traditions. And my mother gave us our value system, which is why Ronit and I have remained our simplicity despite being actors.

Passing on traditions

Ronit: My children are spiritual, not very religious. My son, Agasthya, recites the Hanuman Chalisa before an exam. I don't believe in forcing children to practice religion, it is something to be discovered by every soul.

Rohit: My daughter, Kiara, has been a Kumari at the Kumari Pooja during Durga Pujo. Our parents were simple people and that's what I try to pass on to Gen Next. She is currently studying at an Ivy League college in the USA but she has created her own way of praying to Maa Durga. We try to do video calls so she is in touch with the Pujo. 

Missed Pujo

Ronit: Work is worship. I might have missed Pujo at some point and was unable to go to the pandal to worship Mataji. In such circumstances, I pray in the car. During Navratri the first audio in my car is Mataji stotrams and bhajans.

Rohit: Even when I was doing double shifts everyday, my mother would ensure that we were present on at least one day of the four Pujo aarti

Little of Durga in every woman

Ronit: The basic essence of a human being is the soul, which is made of Shiv and Sati – the male and female form of God. There is a bit of Shiv and Sati in every woman and every man too.

Rohit: The first avatar of Maa Durga I have seen in my life is my mother. She is Shakti. She single-handedly nurtured my brother and I after our father passed away.

After the farewell

Ronit: Maa does not bid farewell to me. The parthiv murti comes and goes but maa resides in my very being since the time I was born.

Rohit: I never go for Maa’s farewell. I pray to her every morning and night. Hence, I feel only the physical proportions of the deity have been given a farewell, she is always there with me.

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