Durga Puja pandals and idols of the goddess in the city of joy never fail to amaze. Even in a pandemic year, artists and idol makers have conceptualized eye-openers. If you look from a distance, this community Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata will appear like a pile of twisted door and window grills, torn cloths, broken doors and plastic sheets, commonly used by pavement dwellers, as a roof over their head. But wait, it's actually a Durga Puja pandal themed on Cyclone Amphan that left a trail of devastation in Kolkata and its suburbs in the beginning of June.
Cyclone Amphan, one of the worst storms over the Bay of Bengal in years, had killed more than 12 people in West Bengal. The powerful cyclone destroyed thousands of homes and left authorities struggling to clear the roads and restore basic amenities for weeks. And it was a struggle for rescue personnel to mount relief efforts amid the coronavirus crisis.
The cyclone barreled into the Bengal coast with gusting winds of up to 185 km per hour. After assessing the situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the "entire nation stands with Bengal and no stone will be left unturned" to help those affected. Mr Modi had also visited the state. According to the Mamata Banerjee government, the impact of Amphan was "worse than the coronavirus pandemic" and claimed that damages due to the cyclone could be in the region of Rs 1 lakh crore.
West Bengal is seeing a very low-key Durga Puja this year due to the fallout of the cyclone, heavy rain caused by several depressions in the Bay of Bengal and of course the coronavirus pandemic.