I remember the days when Sonia n I as kids used to await dusshera holidays with a lot of enthusiasm..there was a defiant sense of victory that surged through our veins to see the huge effigy of Ravana being burnt to ashes with other two effigies of Meghanath and Kumbakarna being set aflame by the actor dressed as Rama, by shooting an arrow into Ravan's navel. It was so much fun! when we couldn’t see the Ravana in the crowd due to our short heights, our Chacha, whom we’re very fond of, used to help us climb any nearby ‘thela’ (handcart) so that we could see the huge idol with big moustaches stand with false pride at the centre of the ‘maidaan’ (ground), with his other two aides..sonia used to ask me with her innocent expressions, “didi Ram kab marega Ravana ko?” (when will Rama kill Ravan?)..
Then, there was just a naïve fear of whether Ram would be able to kill Ravan or not..though every grown-up knew that it’s just a celebration n it will happen the way it is supposed to be..but quite paradoxically, as we grew up, we realized that the fear has only grown..and mercilessly..
It has intruded on every individual’s life and taken the ugly face of terrorism time and again..just like the fierce Ravan reappears every year representing the evil, the innumerable Ravanas, roaming around the streets, hiding behind the camouflage of being a common man, waiting for the massacre with their life-hungry eyes and ogling at the unseen havoc they want to target..their living takes to death and they die taking lives..what do they get?..probably ‘nirvana’ or whatever they’re being taught in the so-called secular schools where probably one of the teachings asks to take pride in being a terrorist..
Public gatherings today are best avoided as they are the hot-spots for terror-strikes..dushhera today is just another cyclic-celebration of the Hindu calendar..in today’s terror-tainted times, the festival seems to have lost its relevance somewhere down the alley of time..this also reminds me of Neeraj Pandey’s thriller ‘A Wednesday’ I saw a few days back..where a common man challenges the law and targets the jailed ‘jihadis' and the pulverised Mumbai cops who seem to be on bended knees when it comes to an effective counter-terror policy..i think this is what every common man will take to, once the tolerance level exceeds its decent limits..
Even if we dare to step out of our homes to satisfy our desire of being a part of this festive season and see how the city is performing the ritual, all we could see is the faces with tense expressions and celebrations wrought with anxiety…hats off to those spirited ones who without caring a damn, zestfully make the effigies and welcome the festivals in an aboriginal style..
Two of my very dear friends, celebrated this dusshera somewhat like this to compensate for their absence in India..:)