|My neighbourhood Durga Idol - last year|
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
It’s that time of the year again. The time of glorious festivals – Durga Puja / Navratri and then Diwali. Now, while Diwali is a nationwide phenomenon, Durga Puja / Navratri is big in pockets of India like Bengal, Gujarat etc.
Anyway, I love this time of the year. The city is decked up bright and beautiful. Everyone’s in good spirit – well, mostly – and I get four days straight of holidays for the Pujas!!! And that my dear, is why I love the Pujas the most.
When I was a kid, I used to really enjoy gallivanting around the town, staring up at the gorgeous and huge idols of the goddess and her children, the menacing visage of Mahisasur, the breathtaking splendour of the pandals and the yummy delicious food. It was one of those rare times in the year, when I went out. And I was not alone in this regard. Most of my friends, cousins were also in the same situation. Remember, these were the days before parents used to give humongous amounts of pocket money that could be spent in multiplexes, coffee shops and shopping malls. We were no models of obedience but we definitely did not have the freedom that kids these days have.
But, I digress. The point is that I do not like this pandal hopping anymore. I have not done this for more than a decade now. I no longer have patience for the jostling, pushing crowds, where some creep would always try to grope and feel and some overbearingly fat lady would always be stepping on my toes. And I have one of the biggest pujas of the city right next door practically, which incidentally makes the lives of the neighbourhood residents quite difficult with all those big barricades.
Yet, I love these four days. Ever since I have started working, I think I live for these long holidays. Puja is one of them. For these four days, I do not step out of my house. I just laze around, read, eat, watch TV, sleep, enjoy the view of brightly dressed throngs of people from my balcony and while away my time. And this year, these four days have followed a weekend – so in effect, six days of doing nothing! You have to be me to appreciate the beauty of this, after the really, really terrible time I have had this year at work.
So far, I have spent half of this time catching up on sleep – getting up at 11 every morning – reading anything and everything (from Tagore to Gibran to fantasy Romance), cleaning my room (my only useful but back-breaking exercise), watching Masterchef Australia religiously and relishing my solitude. (Even as I write this, my mom is sitting next to me and berating, “God knows, what’s wrong with you! People go out and enjoy at this time and you do not even feel like doing this!” )
My black bean bag is my throne these days. I loll about it in it and plan my wardrobe for Diwali. Now that is my favourite festival. The lights, the crackers, the family get-together, the jokes, the samosas – I love it all. I love decking up – I especially shop for a sari for the occasion. I love artistically arranging the candles and diyas around my house. I adore the time spent with my family, laughing and pulling each other’s leg. It is during such occasions that I cannot help but thank my lucky stars that I have all these wonderful people as my family. Although this year would also be a little sad. I will miss my grandma but I hope she would be watching us.
So, while all you busy people go about your business, I am going to drag my throne in from the veranda, put my feet up and do nothing. Just nothing at all!