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Durga Pooja was so much fun! Unadulterated entertainment for nearly a week. It was a daily ritual during the festivities to complete homework early evening and head out with buddies to the nearest Pooja.

The ‘D’ Block Durga Pooja was by far the best Rajajipuram had to offer. There was the idol of the goddess, artistically done with all forms of embellishments and hymns being chanted and the ‘Aarti’ competition where contestants would do all sorts of stunts with lighted earthen vessels, often held between their jaws with smoke making them semi-blind every now and then. I have never understood such strong displays of devotion which are so prevalent in India.

A stage would be set for cultural programs – Skits/Song/Dance competitions would go on through the evening.

And then there were food stalls – ahhh … a heaven for gourmets like me.

Not to forget, rows of toy shops and distinct among them was ‘bhaiyajee’s. This man was a rickshaw-puller by the day but during Durga Pooja, he put up a stall each year. His corner was a must stop where I would coax Mom into purchasing some piece of plastic. Yeah, I found them fascinating and had a huge collection along with sis.

The celebrations would culminate with Dussehra, the day when Lord Rama demolished Ravana and which signifies the victory of good over evil, in a bigger context. Huge effigies of Ravana are burnt even today at Begum Hazrat Mahal Park but … we often had better ideas. We did our own Ravana 😮 Hours of effort would go into designing the outfit, the sword, the crown and loads of other stuff. The rockets had to be positioned strategically to make sure that they took off in the right direction which people suggest is ‘UP’ 😀 The other crackers were placed anywhere. In the head, belly … just about any place. The underlying principle we stuck to, was – ‘destruction must be uniform’.

Oh … and a prelude to this would be ringing door-bells and when it was answered, wear the most innocent smile and say – ‘Namaste Aunty/Uncle’ and convince them into contributing for the celebrations in the park. This wasn’t a difficult task and almost everyone obliged considering that we were cute lil kids growing up in the neighborhood

All this would happen at the onset of winters when the evenings started to get chilly adding to the party mood. And more often than not, the terminal(why in the world were they called so when they were the first each year, I wonder now) exams were just round the corner. But that hardly diminished the festive spirit. Instead, it was taken up as a tacit challenge to tidy things up on the school and academic front … and then party harder!

Written by Sangfroid

October 21, 2007 at 11:07 am

8 Responses

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  1. I so know what you are talking about… Used to go to these “melas” during Dussehra and buy clay stuff from there..those figures with spring heads, tiny cups and saucers sets..ohh am so nostalgic!! 😦
    Went home this time too though for different reasons but realised that the spirit has gone from the kids now..they don’t indulge in these things but are more fascinated by Barbie dolls, lame Transformer robots..I can go on about it.. 🙂
    But yeh this post of yours has revived memories for me too, those times with my cousins, going to watch the effigy at Begum Hazrat Mahal Park (now happens at Laxman Mela Park, incase you din’t know!!)…was so much fun.. 😀

    sam

    October 22, 2007 at 1:14 pm

  2. Sam, Hope u had a nice trip!
    Thanks for empathizing and sorry to learn that the spirit has gone. I assumed that i was out of that phase but seems the entire experience has been ‘phased-out’ 🙂
    I haven’t seen transformer robots but guess they might b cool 😉 hehe

    Laxman Mela Park … yea rite, has been happening there for quite some time now.
    Wots new at lko … its been long since i was there 😐

    Sangfroid

    October 22, 2007 at 3:15 pm

  3. Yeh, it was though I’d just flown in for a day..the experience HAS “phased out”..and the robots “are” cool but they don’t evoke that kind of adrenaline rush that the burning Ravana did.. 🙂
    Lko is developing pretty quickly, and if you haven’t been there for long, you’d be shocked by the kinda transformation of the city..Its even got a pub/disc called Nashua which is pretty cool.. 😉

    sam

    October 23, 2007 at 9:50 am

  4. somebody’s havin a ball! :))) awwwwsum!

    anidadhaba

    October 24, 2007 at 1:32 am

  5. Sam, donno when I’ll see a burning Ravana again … at least not before the next Dussehra 😛
    ‘Nashua’ … wow! there was one near Indira Nagar … Xcess. not sure if its still there

    Ani, I was getting nostalgic gal. I used to have a ball this time of the year but no more 😐

    Sangfroid

    October 24, 2007 at 2:09 pm

  6. Xcess still stands but it won’t be considered a pub/disc in the true sense, was more of a place where school kids hung out..you can expect much better from Nashua with good liquer, good DJ AND a good crowd too!! 😉

    sam

    October 25, 2007 at 9:17 am

  7. yea yea … i went there once wen i was in school! it had a small dance floor.

    Nashua seems have given u some ‘nasha’ 🙂

    Sangfroid

    October 27, 2007 at 3:46 am

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    Enriqueta

    October 8, 2014 at 6:07 pm


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