“You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed”
-By Rabindranath Tagore
As a child we used to eagerly wait for the third day of “Navratri” for the reason that a “mela” was conducted on that day in front of our paternal house each year. Some episodes of Ramleela, a short play of the “Sati AnusuiyaAnuvaad” was performed in front of our house, at the abandoned place of the “Ramleela Committee”. It was much joy and fun for us as kids. In respect of our sacred dieties, the men clad as Shree Ram, Laxman, Seeta or Hanuman were welcomed with a sacred “Arti” and then the bhog of “peda” as a prasad was offered to them, which was later distributed to others. We eagerly waited for our turn to receive the ‘prasad’.
The chariot which carried “Ramji” to travel throughout the city, used to take rest at our place under the giant Neem tree. Whenever the chariot of Ramji came it was of much amusement among us; we all the brothers and sisters used to hang around it playing several games revolving round the chariot like the hide and seek, or inventing new games like finding treasures hidden in a puzzle. The “mela” brings out the child within us….!! Remember asking for that trumpet being sold by the “feriwala” in 50 paise or 1 rupee; or the “teerdhanush” or even the toys of clay in various forms- the lord Durga, the Veer Hanuman; or that old man and old lady with their neck strung with a spring and always swaying like a willow!
I also remember buying once a colourful “Tota” entranced in a “pinjara”all made of clay. First time, I observed that captivity can be as beautiful as the feeling of liberation without no apparent reason. Whenever we are into the spell of reasons, we tend to dilute the shear purity, the little joys and the beauty of things. It is very tough to find an appropriate answer when things are associated with emotions and sanctity and especially when we have to maintain a balancing act on the tightrope of realities of life. It is all in the state of mind…..! Never knew that this is how we will gradually learn to explore the subtle variations in the life’s process.
Really, adored all the pomp and the show, the enthusiasm of the folks. Still remember how my brother carried the earthen pots for the “dhunachiaarti” in both his little palms, while dancing on the lyrics and sounds of the devout music of the “Durgapandal” on the “Saptami” day. That devotion was spontaneously sanctified within and so reverent that nothing deflected him away from offering his prayers to the “Goddess Durga”. I too remember a little offering of respects from my side to the puja ceremony by creating a portrait of the deity – the “Shakti” on the thermacol sheets in water colors.
A whole week, full of celebrations awaited ahead. After the Dussehra, the “Bharat Milap” was portrayed, to symbolize the union of Shree Ram with his brother Bharat, proceeded with a huge celebration rendering our rich cultural heritage. After more than a fortnight, comes the festival of “Deepawali” to commemorate the successful returning of Shree Ram to his native land symbolizing the victory of light over darkness. Millions of ‘diyas’ are lit to eliminate the darkness, if not the diyas then the candles. Many of us would have collected the wax from the burnt out candles lit at the festival of “Deepawali”, and again recycling it by giving shape into the diyas…!!
Memories remain at the sands of time, it never fades away. Finding out joys in small little things is so delicate and beautiful which gives me an impetus for longing to waitendlessly for the ‘Bharat Milap’ of memories of past.