I grew up in a small house in India that was situated right on the main road with lots of shops all around.
Every traffic jam, every marriage procession, every funeral march was visible from our balcony, and audible from anywhere inside the house.
While the guests at home always complained of loud noises, we were innately accustomed to noise of horns, horse taps, and regular hustle-bustle that started with the opening of the first shop and continued till the last shop closed.
Along with lots of dust and noise, we were also a participant in all the festival celebrations that took place in that market – by default.
I woke up to a swarm of messages on Dusshehra and Vijay Dashmi yesterday and today (apparently it is being celebrated both days this year)
While now, it is limited to Whatsapp and Facebook messages and forwards from friends and family members, it used to be a lot different back then!
Dusshehra also marked the onset of chilly weather in the part of world I grew up in.
The sweet shop right in front of our house used to extend its display. The music shop on the other side played loud music for the occasion. The street and shops used to get decorated. People would start planning the whitewash for Diwali. Some of us also used to worship our vehicles that day.
There was a Ram leela on a ground close enough that we could hear all the dialogues. The Ravan they made used to be tall enough for us to see from our rooftops. The smell of fireworks mixed with a little wind chill at night, was a feeling I still remember. Some years we went to that Ramleela ground, some years we waited on our rooftop to see the fireworks, and some years we were in train coming back from the annual satsang that we used to go to…
It is strange that I never appreciated those days as much back then as I do now…Specially on the festivals. When I know there is an occasion, but I don’t see anyone else celebrating around me.
And that just reinforces my all-time policy of “Har pal yaha… Jee bhar jiyo…jo hai sama…kal ho na ho…”
Coming back to present -
While the mode of celebration has changed, place of celebration has changed, style of celebration has changed, one thing I surely would like to keep consistent with this festival is the message of “Triumph of Good over Evil”
No matter how we celebrate, it is a good day to remind ourselves to be nice to be good and to remember being that all year round…
My day would probably end telling stories about Dussehra to kids and maybe a drive down the local temple where they plan to burn Ravan effigy!
Happy Vijaydashmi to everyone and Happy upcoming festival season!