A Delightful Conversation With A Pandal Maker

It’s time to iron those saris which you haven’t worn in almost a year and get ready to gorge on some amazing food. Why? Because Durga Puja is around the corner. Well, we know what you’re thinking – Durga Puja isn’t just about dressing up and eating gorgeous food. It’s also about reconnecting with something much bigger than us and also, old friends and family we haven’t had the time to spend time with lately. It’s almost as if these five days have been given to us to rest, rejuvenate and connect with our deeper selves and other people who really matter.

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Speaking of people, have you ever wondered who those people are? The ones in the background. Ones who put up a great show for us each year. Yeah, we’re referring to the multi-talented pandal makers, who have the skill to create a pandal that works for you and other people in your community best. It could be something really classy and simple or something very fancy. “We can do everything, whether it’s with colorful drapes in red, yellow or maroon, fabrics that Bengali saris are made of or even a plain white tent,” starts off Amit, from Pooja Tent House in Delhi, who is comfortable organizing weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and of course, pandals for Durga Puja.

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For a pandal, the first thing Amit and his team take into account is how big the area is before they sit down to create a budget. Then, comes the requirements. “We can pitch a waterproof tent with a false ceiling, lights, sound and flowers, along with chairs and tables, and also catering, depending on how much the clients are willing to spend. The food is always vegetarian; we put together a list of dishes with the main pandal organizers and have them try out some of the dishes. Once approved, we go ahead with the final list. We are never asked to get an idol for the event though; that’s usually done by the committee members who hire us,” says Amit, whose company last put up a gorgeous pandal in Pushp Vihar, “Some clients also ask for foam mattresses to sit on instead of chairs, while the others are happy with simple chairs. We buy the cloth for the tent, but rent the other material (including bamboo, lights and sound equipment), which is later returned to the vendor after the event is over.” Even though Amit makes it sound like it’s the easiest job in the world, we know that’s definitely not the case.

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