After almost five days and a start some weeks earlier, our biggest festival here in the eastern shores of India has finally come to an end and an eerie sense of calm prevails everywhere.
As everyone slowly is starting to get back to their normal routine lives and its activities, this calmness which has crept up on us brings its own mysteries as every year. I really can’t make whether to be happy or to be sad in this calmness, even though I love being calm, and again I love being in festivities too…..:)
Last few days….a different calm….
If I tell any westerner visiting Calcutta in these last few days of festivals that this city is very calm and peaceful, he or she might think I am out of my mind, as to him or her, the chaos and the madness that prevails in this part of the country during the Puja festivals will be just outright carnival like, messy, loud and hellish…….but the charm of this different type of calm cannot be ignored.
As the roads fill up with people of all ages, shapes and backgrounds, happily jostling for space, both in terms of car parking and walking throughout the busy streets, in colorful attires, merrily gleeful and eagerly anxious to get their share of happiness, no matter what.
There’s hooters buzzing everywhere, music playing everywhere in the Puja pandals, drums playing during the puja rites, vehicle horns, police whistles managing the crowd, and this huge sea of millions of people on all these days making their own noises and revelries, brings a different calm in the city, quite like the calm prevails in a football stadium, over and above the sounds created by the fans………and this calmness is very usual for us, the residents, who are part and parcel of these festivities for time immemorial.
For me, I have been in the thick and thin of this great festival since childhood. Every year its the same almost. Waiting anxiously throughout the year for the start of the same. As per mythology, this is the homecoming of Goddess Durga to her maternal home, staying there and meeting everyone for almost five days, and at the end of this period, the Goddess again starts her journey to her in laws place and stays there until she comes back next year.
This will happen every year and this meeting between the Goddess and her people will spread far more, like right now this festival is being celebrated in many countries outside India too, by the communities there. And so the festivities and the noise, the mayhem, the chaos, the crowd and their ever-growing enthusiasm to soak every moment will continue.
And then the end will also come, where all the intricately designed idols with their expensive ornaments and accompaniments will be immersed in the river, all the makeshift pandals will be taken down, all the lighting will come off, all the extra noise will die down……..and life will slowly creep back to its pre festival routine.
And now.....the usual calm...... as if everything has come to a standstill....
This usual calm is a remembrance of our daily lives running in the same old fashion. And it is somewhat a welcome change to many after all the celebrations and its madness comes to an end.
To me, it hardly makes any difference though. I try to find my happiness in every situation. Even though I miss the unadulterated fun festivals bring and it is just a day before that I was in the thick of it, enjoying all the sights and sounds of it along with friends and community revelers……yet, now that it finally has come to an end, it’s best to accept the inevitable and move on……with the silence, the near empty streets, the deserted parks, the dismantled pandals, the left overs of everything and the absence of the vocal noise of millions of festival goers.
Yes, this hushed silence is somewhat beautiful and accepted. Till the day when we shall rejoice the beginning of another set of fun-filled, amazingly noisy, crowded, glowing and blasting days of fun and frolic……
Till then, we will carry on with this wait, in doing everything possible to keep us engaged, busy and gleefully cheered up, with lost of positiveness and new hopes.
That’s life, and it is glorious………:)
Pic Credit © Pixabay