It was dark by the time we reached Jessore and finding a hotel proved a bit challenging. We later learned that the hotel we stayed in was closed for the holiday but the night manager had made an exception because we were foreign visitors in his country. He also informed us there'd be no buses leaving for Dhaka until after noon the next day—again, due to the holiday. But when we inquired at the bus stand in the morning we were sold a ticket for a 9am bus.
The bus stand was at a major intersection in the middle of the city. As we settled in to wait the one hour for our scheduled departure, we noticed a throne-like chair on a platform in the middle of the road. The chair was flanked by loudspeakers. In front of the platform, three or four men were laying down lyme (or something similar) in lines diagonally across the large paved area that comprised the intersection. The lines formed rows and as we waited, men and boys started to arrive and take their seats in the rows, facing the platform. They were dressed in their finest, as we'd seen in Calcutta. Some carried thin mats and it was on these that they sat, cross-legged and attentive.
Soon the chair on the platform was occupied and chanting filled the air. The men with the lyme were trying to stay ahead of the arriving worshippers. Our bus had arrived but the road was now completely blocked by the large assemblage. We weren't going anywhere.