Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Come September

Come September, and suddenly life starts going double the pace than it does all the nine months preceding this month of joy… I learned by heart this beautiful poem ‘September’ in school, for the sheer joy I derived reading a lively description of the month I was born in… Anyway, Come September and things start to brighten up. You should ask ‘Why?!’

O, you have? Then let me answer, why.

The Ganpati festival, or, more formaly, ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ often falls in September, and with this festival, begins the three month long season of festivals in India. There is no respite. There is sheer joy and enthusiasm in air beginning September, which just doesn’t cease till everyone, has raised their toasts to a year gone by, on the New Year’s Eve on December 31.

Navratri, (or Durga puja here in Kolkata) almost immediately follows the Ganpati sometime in late September or October. This festival is nine nights full of colour and dance. You have to be in Gujarat, and out in some garba ground, and more precisely, dancing the garba to get the feel of the sheer exuberance this festival offers.

Post Navratri, you just get a wee bit time to settle down. Hush a bit (or beat! :), rest those over-danced legs and get back to routine. And just when you think the festival fervour has died down, in another week or so starts the Diwali fever. With Diwali approaching in late October or early November, you just can’t afford to laze around. You have to get the house cleaned up, buy new clothes, get some diya, plan elaborate dinners and start cooking those ‘gujju snacks’ like mathiya, and chewdo, and magas and what not.

Goes Diwali and comes Christmas and the New Year’s Eve. A general feel good, do good feeling prevails this time of the year. Winter has almost set in and people display their bright new cardigans, children blow smoke from their mouth early in the morning and some infants get so scared of Santa that they start sobbing uncontrollably…

Just into the New year, and on January 14th, the festival of skies, Uttrayan comes with a bang. You spend the previous night tying ‘kinyas’ to the kite. On 14th, you gather a gang of friends on the terrace and feast your eyes on the colourful sky, and the colourful terraces of your neighbours.

Have you ever received some silly romantic message written on a kite and sent especially for you, if the wind was good? Or rather, has your message reached someone else for the wind was bad? O it’s hilarious… So many festivals, all enjoyed as animatedly as possible... If you are in India, you should consider yourself lucky.
Gauri Gharpure
October 30, 2007