There’s a fresh touch in the window when Nabo borsho comes knocking on the door. As the heat just starts setting in, there’s an excitement as Nabo Borsho arrives. The Bengali new year, an event that holds great significance for all Bengalis across the globe, is indeed a time for a fresh start. It’s a time for letting go off all the mistakes made in the past year and set the ball rolling, once again, for a better tomorrow.
There’s a lot to look forward to with the magnificent food, the Bangali adda and the new clothes. Nabo Borsho comes as a day when a fresh start will be made, leaving behind everything that’s not been favourable in the last one year. Nabo borsho means a variety of things to different people. Different people tell us what Nabo Borsho means to them in exclusive interviews.
Agnimitra Paul, Designer: Nabo Borsho primarily means childhood memories to me. It brings back memories of times when we would wait patiently for new clothes for nabo borsho. Those weren’t branded clothes but they were probably one of the few clothes we’d get throughout the year. We used to live in Asansol then and I remember Maa cooking fried rice and doi maach on Nabo Borsho for us. Now that was something that I used to look forward to because for the rest of the year, we would have very simple food like maacher jhol and bhaat. Now, of course, new year takes the central stage for us which means partying and enjoying oneself and nabo borsho is gradually losing out in importance. Still, Nabo Borsho means celebration within the family. But it was definitely more fun when we were kids.
Somlata Acharya Chowdhury, Singer: Since we do not really follow the Bengali calendar anymore, Nabo Borsho comes as just another day for celebration for Bengalis. It has always meant family gatherings, good food cooked by Maa and Adda. But now, it’s ruled more by business and shows as during this day, there’s always more number of shows. Maach, mangsho still is an important part though. There’s a phrase in Bangla: "Bhore thaak phule phole". That is what Nabo borsho means to me.
Anindya Bose, Singer: There isn’t much importance of Nabo Borsho in my life. Never was. But then, in my childhood, Nabo borsho would have a very special charm, an emotional touch which is now missing. I remember how Choitro Sale would be something I always looked forward to. My parents would buy me very cheap clothes but those had a new smell, a freshness that would enchant me. I would keep waiting for Baba to buy me a cold drink and sweets when we’d go out shopping. Now we are more enthusiastic to celebrate festivals that originally weren’t our own. There’s no opportunity to get the lost times back.
Aniruudha RoyChowdhury, Film Director: Nobo Barsho means to me a new year with new hopes and a fresh opportunity for happiness. The new year itself brings a lot of joy. Let it be the start of something good and let there be good for all. Whenever I get less work in a year, I hope the next year will bring in something better. Food is a major lookout. Earlier, we’d touch the feet of elders. Now of course, we live in a world of technology where exchanging phone calls and texts has become important. Basically, aadan prodaan is the heart of the day.
Lopamudra Mitra, Singer: The fact that we are still clinging to the idea of Nabo Borsho and are celebrating it with great vigour is what appeals to me a lot. Given that Kolkata is now host to such a Non Bengali culture, Nabo Borsho is very special to me. In spite of the fact that it’s now nothing more than a ritual, people in East India, in places like Assam and Mizoram celebrate it in a very special way which makes me very happy. Here too, it gives me great joy to see television channels organize special Poila Boishakh shows and newspapers do special issues. Whatsapp messages reading "Shubho Naboborsho" mean a lot to me. I love the very idea of Nabo Borsho which brings back memories when my parents, who are no more with me, wood buy me gifts. Now that’s something I would want to do for the next generation, too to remind them of this special day.
Class XII, Coordinator, St Thomas Girls School