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Celebs share their plans for Durga Puja from hosting Maa Durga to virtual celebrations

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Festival season has begun with the Navratri and the moods are uplifted a notch higher especially when compared to last year. With Durga Puja just days away, TV celebs are also gearing up to enjoy festivities.Rupali Ganguly in an interview with BT talked about it and shared, “Last year, not just festivities but life, in general, was badly affected. For me, Durga Puja is a very big deal. Even last year, I attended a small pujo near my house to seek blessings. But I followed all the COVID-19 protocols. I really missed pandal hopping, shopping, having puchka and other delicacies. This year too, we still have the fear of COVID-19. In spite of being vaccinated, we cannot forget the effect of the pandemic. So, we will have to be cautious. Along with a few friends, I have decided to host a small Durga Puja this time. We will restrict entry to only invited guests and give passes so that we can keep a check on everything. I won’t be able to enjoy pandal hopping but will seek divine blessings from Maa Durga.”Pooja Banerjee, who essays the role of Rhea in Kumkum Bhagya, shares, “I miss celebrating Durga Puja a lot. I used to meet all family members during pujo, both from my mother’s and baba’s side of the family. I haven’t met them for so long, especially all the elder family members as they are at a higher risk. I will celebrate Durga Puja this year by making payesh, kosha mangsho and Gobindo Bhog at home. These are my favorite delicacies during Durga Puja. Our family members will be celebrating the festival in Delhi. So, we will be going live together and be a part of all the rituals virtually.”Avinash Mukherjee, who is known for his role of Aarav in Sasural Simar Ka 2 says, “Usually, people visit friends and relatives, go shopping and exchange gifts during these festivals but the pandemic has changed our lives to a great extent. Experts are appealing to everyone to stay home so that the infection does not spread fast. Navratri and Durga Puja gatherings are an intrinsic part of the celebrations and maintaining social distance is very difficult. So, as a responsible citizen, I will be at home with my parents and will celebrate with good food and spend some quality time. Maybe, I will drive down to some local Durga Puja pandal but I will have a darshan of Maa Durga and her family from the car. I will pray to her to remove this virus from our lives so that we can celebrate the festival grandly next year.”Talking about the traditional Bengali food Tina Datta shares, “Luckily, my parents and my brother are in town and we will have a blast, just like we used to have in our childhood. Keeping the current situation in mind, I avoid going to public places and so, pandal hopping is not going to happen this year. Although I am fully vaccinated, I don’t want to take any risks. A small puja, which is a private affair and only a few people have been invited, is happening near my house and we will be going there. No festivities are complete without traditional food and so, I am going to relish all the traditional khana this year since mom is here. Also, we have plans to go out for a family dinner at a Bengali restaurant. Career wise, this year’s puja will be special as my first Bengali music album is releasing. So, there will be a lot of celebrations!”Krushal Ahuja, from Rishton Ka Manjha, recalls his childhood days and says, “As a kid, I used to be super excited about Durga Puja. We used to wait for the entire year so that we could go pandal hopping, meet our friends and dance our hearts out. There was this funny thing which happened almost every year. We (friends) used to compete about who can visit the maximum number of pandals during pujo. And once, I won after I visited about 22 pandals, thinking it was a huge achievement. I wish I could go back to being that same little chap, hopping from one pandal to another in the hope of winning the race! Unfortunately, things weren’t as normal last year due to COVID-19 but this year, I’m planning to visit either Coorg or Goa because I hardly get time to travel because of my shooting schedule. Looking at the current scenario, pandal hopping is definitely not on my mind. I will miss out on having fun in Kolkata but I’ll surely be there next time to celebrate with my loved ones.”

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