The Festivals that Were: Saraswati Puja

Mother Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom and learning. She wears white clothes, sits on a white swan or lotus and carries a veena and a book in her hands. Hymns in her praise are sung in the morning assemblies of many schools even to this day. There used to be no such assemblies in my school back then. I don’t know the current state as I’d not been in the school in session for more than fifteen years. Our school used to celebrate Vasant Panchami as the day of Maa Saraswati. All the students of art were given strict instructions to bring either a drawing/painting or a craft model to the school, to be displayed in the Central Hall of the school on the day of Saraswati Puja.

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I’m not very good at dimensions, but our hall room was big. So big, that we could actually play cricket within as the boundary as the straight drive was not less than that on the front ground. The idol of Maa Saraswati used to be on the centre stage. The walls on both the sides were used to display drawing by the students. There used to be a row of desks in front of the drawings upon which were displayed a variety of craft models. In the afternoon, there used to be a puja and then prasad was distributed among the students: all students of the school. We used to take our parents to the school to proudly show what we, the students of our school, had done. Actually, most of it must have been done by the parents themselves. I say it because my mother used to make those beautiful craft models for me as I was never good in drawing or craft.

The day used to be predictably good for us students. Out of the three hundred and sixty five days of the year, it was only on this day that the Damocles Sword was removed from over our heads: studying anything was strictly forbidden that day.

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