Until he retired, my father and his train group had this annual dusshera ritual. Money would be pooled in, and tasks delegated. Someone would get flowers, someone else would get the decorations, a cocunut, and lots of sweets. Everyone would land up on the station, one day before Dusshera, much in advance. Any senior member of this group would smash the cocunut as the train entered the station. The driver would be handed some sweets, and flowers placed on driving board. Others meanwhile would have scampered into the train and begun puting up torans, and paper decorations. By the time, the train would reach Kalyan, from Ambernath, the group would have munched their sweets, passed around some water and settled down. Some would read their newspapers, other would doze, and the rest would chatter under the merrily fluttering coloured paper….feeling happy and content about life in general….
The “tradition” has only got bigger over the time. The ladies compartment I boarded yesterday was plastered with images of printouts and copies of Durga with wishes from “8:25 am” and “10:36 am”. The train had three saffron flags on the front. The train itself was decked up with saffron paper.
Joy and happiness all around, i am sure…. but I just feel a bit saddened by the saffronisation of the fesitval. I think Godesses like all colours…
Festivals (even if i am not too much into celebrating) should be about joy and cheer, no? Wonder why i was left feeling suffocated??