Chhath Puja is one of the most important festivals in India, and it is also an important occasion in Pankaj Tripathi’s life. The actor recalls visiting his hometown of Belsand (Bihar) every year when his mother performed the puja.
“During the puja, we worship the Sun,” says the 46-year-old. The significance is that we require water and sunlight to survive, so we essentially worship Nature, thanking it for everything it provides for us (humans). It teaches us to respect and preserve nature, to be environmentally responsible, and to teach our children to do the same.”
Tripathi will attend a Chhath Puja event in Juhu this year and celebrate there. “I remember, everyone in the village would share the crops they had grown, from banana to grains, etc., with their neighbours,” the Mimi (2021) actor recalls fondly of his native place’s puja. There was always a rush to get home for Chhath Puja, and buses and trains were always crowded. We used to look forward to new clothes and celebrations back then. I’d pitch in to clean the house and prepare for the puja. I’d also go to the tailor to remind him to keep our clothes ready because we used to get our clothes stitched when we were kids. “Pre-made ka chalan nahin tha.”
Tripathi admits that the Chhath Puja celebrations also helped the actor in him flourish. “When I was younger, I used to perform in plays in my hometown during the two days following the festival.” “Those were wonderful times, and I have some wonderful memories,” he concludes.