Dushehra 2008

Sabhi ko Dushehra bahut mubarak ho.

The symbolic value of Dushehra  in Indian history and culture is too great. It marks the end of evil and the arrival of goodness. Evil is Ravan (and not Ravana) and Good is Ram (and again not Rama). This time of the year is filled with festivities. First, there is the Eid and then Navratra concluding with Dushehra and then Diwali. So, it is a high time for shopping and the otherwise dull sarafa bazaars are booming with people around this time. Sweets, colourful and coated with flies alongside the roads under a tent with bright lights and people ganging around it are a common sight. Then there are the whole night jagratas where prayers go on for whole night and there is free food. One can easily see families with their numerous kids going for shopping and the wives and husbands exuberant and enjoying to the fullest the luxury of spending whatever little they can.

What I remember from my childhood about Dushehra most is the fair held in the park or stadium where the statue of Ravan is burnt. It is thrilling to be there and see the 50-60 ft monster burning down with 3 other smaller ones. Oh and what lovely paraphernalia are there to buy. Hanuman Masks, hanuman tails, bows arrows ( Dhanush Baan ), 10 heads, balloons, fake moustaches, blowing bubbles and other stuff are there to entice the children and they do, an awful lot. Hell, they even entice adults. I always but myself a Dhanush Baan.

But apart from all that, apart from all the celebrations and the glam and the glitter, what I find is the best part is that people are happy and enjoying. Wherever you see there are children playing, parents enoying themselves and everyone has a perennial smile. That is most heart warming. I am so glad when I see the families of those construction workers all decked up with their kids somewhat reluctant and hazaar excited to see a fair and go out and buy things and eat. Dushehra gives them that opportunity. It brings them all together, rich and poor, young and old, men and women on one ground, where they all see the evil burn and peace prevail.

And then it ends. But it comes again. However, I am afraid now each year it is coming with a lesser intensity. Well, I have not been to a fair in 3 years and so have many others. I fear that this joy of celebration like many other things will become too private and closed. It will not remain the same collective enjoyment and purging of vices that it was.

But, but, today is Dushehra and I will burn my fear and my apprehension and house in my heart, hope. Hope, that peace will eventually prevail and there will be happiness within me and within others because i have symbolically burnt one more of vice today.

Once again, happy Dushehra to one and all.


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