Monday, November 19, 2012

Divali - Celebrating the festival of lights

Te... te... te.... I woke up from bed and looked around. Sun rays were coming through the glasses of nearby windows. I tried to sleep again, but continuous sound of crackers didn’t let me do that. Finally, woke up and opened the door to balcony – a small one on fifth floor of a residential building. The open part of balcony was covered with iron grills in order to prevent monkeys from entering to the room.

Oh! I forgot to say about monkeys. In our locality, even though it is tens of kilometres away from the nearest forest, is an amusement park for monkeys. Around one year back, one of my friends forgot to close a window door. They came in, opened the packets and bottles which contained food items. I think they love sugar – after all around half a kilogram of sugar packet was cleaned properly. By the way they seem to be very intelligent; apart from food items these forefathers of humans didn’t touch anything else. Now-a-days we are really missing them!!!

Grills were painted in black with a light shadow of green. Through its 5 * 5 cm square holes I could see a small kid looking towards a cracker in her father’s hand. He held the cracker over a nearby lamp for some time and finally threw it away. It exploded with a vigorous sound. I slowly walked away from the balcony and walked towards the front room. In between, I took a look towards my roommate sleeping in the room. He was trying to pull the blanket over his head so that it would cover his ears as well.

After taking bath, I walked back to the room. S. K. Pottekkad’s African travelogue was there in a corner. I slowly took it and started reading an article about his journey through Uganda. Well, it’s the time to have some breakfast. By this time, my roommate also woke up and prepared himself for going to a hotel.
From the outer gates, we took a left turn and walked towards the nearby hotel – unfortunately it was closed. So, we took a U turn and started walking. Suddenly, one lorry came and went, waking up the dust particles from the ground and comfortably placing it on our face.

Road was tarred and straight, good enough for two buses to stand side by side; but not strong enough to escape from good rains. Some metres away, there was a gutter in the middle; last time, while walking late night, I barely escaped from falling in to it. If rained, this portion of the road will transform in to a lake – 12 wide and 15 metre long. Without any water to fill her deep cuts in flesh, she looked and smiled with her bare bones.

After walking another one kilometre we finally reached in front of a number of hotels – only to see their closed doors. Two stores were open; we went in to one of them and ordered two teas. There was a hump in front of that tore. Cars were coming fast, slowing down just in front and slowly flattening her.

Milon came with two glasses filled with tea. He comfortably settled in the next chair and jumped in to his mobile for reading news. Many BMTC buses came and went. After finishing tea we walked back to room.
One the way bought some biscuits and a packet of candles. As there was nothing much to see, I started watching the movie ‘Hera Peri’. After lunch, played clips of ‘V for Vendetta’, its dialogues were very much interesting; especially when the protagonist saves the heroine in the beginning. Don’t know when I fell in to sleep.

Again it was the sound of crackers which woke me up. Sun moved towards the western ocean and night in black gown started moving in to the city. We opened candle’s pack – there were around 50 to 60 in that box. Cold wind put out some of them placed outside the door. By the way, currently city is going through one of its coldest evenings.

After lightening rest of the candles placed inside the rooms we turned the lights off. It was a beautiful sight - tens of candles were shining and spreading her warm and shiny rays across the floor. In between I put one candle on the top of a bottle containing sun flower oil only to see the top of the bottle changed in to the shape of a waterfall with a hole in the middle!!!

Divali also known as Deepavali is a festival of lights. Divali starts on Dhanteras (Dhan means wealth and Teras means 13th day) - 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha (Dark fortnight) in Ashivin month. Celebrations will end on second lunar day of Shukla Pasha (bright fortnight) called Bhaubeej in the month of Karthik. Divali is one of the most celebrated festivals for Hindus, for Jain’s it was day Mahavira achieved salvation. Apart from Hindu’s and Jains’, Sikhs and Buddhists also celebrate Diwali – although reasons are different.

Crackers were exploding outside. We went to terrace, and looked around. Rockets from the nearby building created bright patterns on air. Below, families from nearby buildings were trying their luck with various crackers. Kids were engaged in ground wheels – this after catching fire starts rotating in the ground spitting a combinations vibrant colours. Other interesting thing for them was sparklers.

At one end, another group was putting fire to their flower pots – on catching fire, this will start emitting lights of different colours as if lava was flowing from a volcano – some will rise as high as 10 feet and then come down. Another group were engaged in lightening their rockets. One went around 150 feet over my head and disappeared in to the darkness. In the middle people were trying to explode their noisy crackers – this type will create less light but heavy sound. Needless to say they are enjoyment for eyes, bit if not used carefully then the same will turn it to a lifelong agony. Even if you use properly, you may not be able to predict the destinations of rockets. Sometimes it may not work, but sometimes it may do some unwanted work as well.

We came down from terrace and walked towards the road, unexpected explosion of high sound crackers on right side really startled me. From the road we could see the rockets flying from nearby buildings – some of the balconies were decorated with colourful electric lights. LEDs emitting red, green, blue and its combinations were hanging from the top of a building in the right side. They are very much attentive to the tunes of the wind and dancing along with it.

There is one business which is totally insulated from recession – toddy/liquor shops. Within some three hundred metres there are two outlets for alcohols. These were open today as well; irony was hotel owners didn’t feel any such urgency for remaining open.

However, roadside pani-poori stalls were open. We went there and ordered two plates pani-poori. Opposite to us, two men in their middle ages were standing - one person on red Sikh turban, other one in white shirt and grey pants. They were talking with pani-pooriwala about the way divali celebrated in different parts of India. This way pani-poori stall can transform itself to a local communication hot spot – same as in the case of local barber shops.

Back in home, there was a barber shop located on the sides of a Panchayath road. This was the only barber shop in that area – a small room with two wooden stools in the front, two benches in inner room, two rotating chairs, and large glass plates on opposite walls, upper half of the wall facing the road was full of glass windows.

There were only two barbers, disproportionate to their client size. Because of this atleast half a dozen people were waiting at any point of time except on Tuesday, which is holiday for barbers. Hair cutting is a process which takes time – unfortunate guys came in the end has to wait for long time to get a chance to sit in that rotating chair.

Those who are waiting had nothing else to do – in those days mobile phones where an unknown entity. To spent time, some would read news papers, some others will read cinema magazines, enjoys Raja Ravimarma pictures decorating the calendar pages. Some may be engaged in talking about everything happening in the village, at their work places, condition of relatives in gulf countries, their own plan to cross Arabian Sea, state politics, prices of motor vehicles, recent marriages, number of coconuts in a coconut tree, last time police jeep passed through the area, instalments for TV, LIC; what more people will even talk about their adventures in fishing at the nearby river when they were young.

By this time, we finished two plates and left them with their memories. We walked forward and entered the business area – after crossing the gates of IT companies, KFC, ATMs etc we finally reached the main road and crossed to the other side.

There was a sea of people, engaged in exploding highly noisy crackers. That narrow concrete road was covered with a layer of newspapers pieces which was the outer layer of crackers. Suddenly there was a chain of explosion on my right side. Noise was so high that, I had to cover my ears using hand.

In front of us – some 100 feet away – kids were eagerly exploding whatever came to their hand. One was in full blazers; another one was wearing white shirt and black pant, still another one standing some 10 metres away wearing a facial expression that he was not part of any thing going on. They were lightening flower pots, which in turn created a small light hill of 8 feet. Interesting these kids were trying to explode the already extinguished crackers!!! One the other side, people in their thirties were exploding noisy bombs.

On the left side, there was a middle aged lady, who was watching the activities for a long time. Finally, she took out one ground wheel and lighted it. Instead of spiral motion the ground wheel started moving towards her, at first she was calm but then started running. After having a good laugh ground wheel took the other direction.

We pulled out two chairs from a nearby juice store and watched all these for some time. Pooja were going on in the juice store. The store was filled with many sweet items, biscuits etc. Garlands made of yellow coloured flowers were put here and there. Decorated photos of god were on hanging on the wall, a small lamp was shining in bright yellow colour in front of it. After having one glass of pomegranate juice, we walked back towards the room. This time we took another way - devoid of residential areas.
After thirty minutes we again reached in front of our residential locality. From a distance itself we were able to hear the sound of exploding crackers.

On a veranda, a small girl of around 5 years was standing along with her mother and brother. She was looking towards the lights and smiling happily... This may be the message of Divali...


1 comment:

  1. You have spent vary nice day man...
    Happy Diwali Sajeev