Has Maddox Square lost its charm?

Rajarshi Guha Roy

During the course of those late-night group chats, thanks to Google, me and my two old buddies, Nipon and Chandradeep were discussing on the aforesaid motion on a highly intellectual note. We ultimately decided to write this on Bong Buzz and poke others to gather opinions and ideas. Maddox Square aka Ballygunge Durga Puja Samiti, placed for the last 75 years on Erstwhile Ritchie Road, now known as Pramathesh Barua Sarani, doesn’t hold the quintessential charm anymore to us. This is very baffling in the sense that this very place used to be the only destination during the earlier festivals. With the grand ‘Zamindaar-Baari’-type pandal and the traditional deity, Maddox has always held a place in the hearts of thousands of Bengalis, transcending the barriers of age and culture. But the major USP of the place, still lies in its being the place of gala reunions, planned or unplanned, of old school buddies, college buddies and so on and so forth. Then why is this sudden disinterest?

Maddox Square 2010 - 75th anniversary
Maddox Square, 2010

Have we become too old at heart? Are we burdened by our professions and careers? Or, don’t the Bengali women look beautiful anymore? In my signature style, I hereby will appreciate ample support from all the ‘moral police’ as far as the last interrogative sentence is concerned. Maddox has always been famous for being the place of assembly of beautiful belles of varied style and signature statements. I am pretty sure that Bengali belles are still beautiful and they can, take this from me, bring charm to any occasion. In my opinion, the disinterest lies in our change of outlook. We have become loners in our own islands, so even during festivals and public merry-making affairs, we prefer cozy corners of high-end bars, restaurants and cafeterias (I hate CCDs though) to treading on footpath with thousands of commoners, expressing a ‘don’t care’ attitude to the makeshift puja-time ‘Rain-Gods’. Our priorities and choices have become very distinct and they have got their own sealed numbers. I mean to say, we have become very cardinal in making our choices. Yes, we love merry-making, we love the sheer joy enthused in the festival, but we want to share it in our preferred ways and in our own islands. Whether it’s high on reason and logic or not, I don’t know. That’s up to the readers.

One more thing I opined while giving this a thought, that a group of men, meeting at Maddox Square and intending to spend some quality time in the park needs at least a woman along with them to approximately balance the testosterone-estrogen ratio. No people, I am not in the lines of Shobha Dey or Chetan Bhagat, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to write this. Please support me again (This is to the ‘moral police’ again. Human Rights Activists are so stronger these days!!). And it becomes a tad difficult when you are in a large group of boys and girls pass by you!! But for all those happily-single people, follow my line. Light up a cigarette and pose as if you don’t care, but never miss a chance to bump upon. Because, this comes from my practical experiences, you get to meet beautiful women often through your common friends, so don’t lose out to any such opportunity.

But I guess, with time and greater agonies, we have, yes, let me empathize on this, become complete loners. Hence, Maddox Square is not the same ‘mad’ place anymore for us. Here on, I leave it to others for greater insight into the matter.

P.S. All the opinions are extremely private in nature and don’t bear a general character. Readers are requested to read them with open eyes and more so, with an open mind.

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"Has Maddox Square lost its charm?" by @bongbuzz

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  1. Well one of my senior friends whom I mailed the chat transcript totally bashed me, calling the whole thing as signs of aging and diminishing testosterone and was like ‘You guys getting old? Duh!’

    Jokes apart, you have nailed it man! May be it is not the same Pujo for us with life getting busy and so many friends and acquaintances out of station. Wasn’t it fun to bump into an old buddy almost every minute at Maddox! Earlier we used to spend a lot more time at Maddox and no doubt those times were a lot more colourful!

    Either I have become blind to see the charm of Maddox or my idea of quality time has changed. We are now choosing to go ‘far from the madding crowd’ and Maddox is not the same ‘mad’ place for us anymore.

  2. well, honestly this isnt a place for me to comment coz i’ve stayed away from kol during the pujo for many many years. (and before you start cursing me, lemme say that i want to, but for well justified reasons i cannot..i promise to hang out with u guys someday at maddox for sure)…but the point about us turning into loners.. that RGR, i believe is a very very valid point u’ve made! and if u say, that it is snatching away the glory and charm from maddox, then let me add, it is doing so from every festival and every sphere of our lives! the good old bangali adda…which defined the very essence of having bengali friends..one reason why i always wished i had more bengali friends in school, that very essence is almost not there any more…

  3. I dont completely agree with you in this case,let me tell you why.,previously when we are in school we used to spent half of our day with each other,We knew what are each of us likes and dislikes because at that point of time we never had college friends or office colleagues so we use to devote our time on our friendships.Now we are meeting after 1 or 2 years in a rush,were memories are likely to fade away from all of us .We are a bit jittery in order to bump my old school friend because i dont know how will he react ,or may be he is standing with his office colleague so he might feel a bit awkward . But still the old memories has enough ingredients to cherish them for life long.

    And if we are talking about te present generation sorry to say they are too much straight( not in wrong terms) then my liking. In place of Puja pandalsThey now prefer spending time in Pool academies and Hooka bars. God bless them ,and as per Maddox Square concern,for these kind of small feelings the tradition wont be changing ,we welcome everybody to enjoy in our park and we will continue to do so . But surely adding to what RGR said it can be a concerning alarm for all new generation who are frgetting there roots.

  4. Still in my opinion Maddox Square is the Heaven during the Durga Puja. The Most Happening Place in Kolkata and everybody knows that. Maddox means Friends, Crowds and the most Beautiful Women ever seen by Mankind. Your Life is worthless if you haven’t felt the glitter and joy of that magical place known as Maddox Square during the Puja.

  5. I loved the point about being loners, but I think that this disillusionment with Maddoox is something I have been noting in my friends as well.

    In my (somewhat warped, as always) opinion, the main attraction lay in the fact that Maddox was hook-up central for single folks. But now, there are so many options, the malls, the multiplexes, the CCDs and Baristas and other such places where people hook up all the time, Madoox’s appeal (ahem!) has largely faded!

    Its not about growing old or whatever, but about having options. I think meeting up with people and chatting ’em up at an air-conditioned CCD/Mall/Whatever anytime you please is more convenient than waiting a year to rush in like mad oxen into Maddox (forgive poor punnery!).

    This is also another reason why I think “Bangalir Valentine’s Day”, that is, Saraswati Puja is also losing its charm. Earlier, it used to be an occasion when guys could walk into girls’ hostels on the pretext of Anjali (ahha! Get what I am trying to do there? ;) #Poorpunnery). But now, with all the options open to us, I guess we do not really need the year-long wait for finding an excuse for an Anjali hook-up!

    Anyways, great writing, keep ’em rolling in! :)

  6. Guess what this Maddox issue got some of us friends really worked up and we had elaborate discussions and it took direction a whole new debate on an altogether new but very related topic, something any one of us will write on one of these days. Stay tuned!