Curated By: Nibandh Vinod
Last Updated: November 19, 2023, 13:39 IST
CHHATH PUJA 2023: Every year, as the auspicious occasion of Chhath Puja approaches, a familiar melody begins to circulate through my social media feeds, painting vivid pictures of the Chhath festivities I so fondly remember from my childhood. It’s the poignant strains of Sharda Sinha’s “Pahile Pahil Chhathi Maiya,” a song that has become an integral part of my Chhath experience, even though I’m far from home. The songs has already crossed 50 million views on YouTube.
The first time I heard this song was about a decade ago, when my cousin shared it with me on WhatsApp. It was an instant connection, the lyrics resonating deeply with my own feelings of longing for home and the cherished traditions that mark this special time of year. With each subsequent year, the song’s impact has only deepened, becoming an emotional anchor that connects me to my roots and the traditions I hold dear.
In the realm of vibrant festivals that adorn India’s cultural tapestry, Chhath Puja stands out as a beacon of devotion and homecoming, particularly for those North Indians who find themselves far from their loved ones during this time of celebration. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow across the distant ghats, a pang of longing tugs at the hearts of those who yearn to be amidst the familiar sights and sounds of Chhath back home.
For them, Chhath Puja is not just a festival; it’s an umbilical cord that connects them to their roots, a reminder of the cherished traditions that have been passed down through generations. The aroma of freshly kneaded thekua, the rhythmic beats of the dhol, and the mesmerizing sight of devotees offering arghya to the setting sun – these are the sensory echoes of home that resonate deep within their souls.
The absence of these familiar elements during Chhath Puja creates a void that cannot be easily filled. The distance from home becomes a cruel reminder of the sacrifices made in pursuit of dreams and aspirations. Yet, amidst this bittersweet symphony of emotions, music emerges as a powerful balm, soothing the ache of separation and rekindling the flame of nostalgia.
Sharda Sinha’s soulful rendition of “Pahile Pahil Chhathi Maiya” is a masterpiece that captures the essence of this longing. Her voice, imbued with a raw emotion, weaves a tapestry of memories, transporting listeners back to the cherished moments of Chhath celebrations in their hometown.
The song’s melancholic melody and poignant lyrics evoke a sense of longing, reminding the listener of the family they left behind, the rituals they once participated in, and the warmth of the community they cherish. It’s a song that speaks to the heart of every North Indian who has ever experienced the pangs of distance during Chhath Puja.
In a world that is increasingly interconnected, Chhath Puja remains a steadfast symbol of tradition and homecoming. For those who are unable to physically be present during the celebrations, Sharda Sinha’s song serves as a bridge, connecting them to their roots and reminding them that the spirit of Chhath transcends geographical boundaries.
As the next generation of devotees embraces this ancient tradition, they carry with them the legacy of their ancestors and the torch of faith. They are the inheritors of a rich cultural heritage, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the spirit of Chhath Puja continues to illuminate the lives of those who celebrate it, both near and far.