Before the winters descend on India, the months of late autumn are usually reserved for a variety of festivals, religious in origin yet social in nature and terms of celebration. Starting with Durga Puja, the biggest of street festivals in the world with only a few others matching it’s glory, you have Diwali, Navratri, Dusshera and several more, all celebrating the battle of good over evil. Yet there is a strange facet to the times that makes us wish the celebrations would be eternal.
Festivities are a time for gatherings and get-togethers. These are times when we forget our usual run of the mill routines, our tireless schedules, our brutal livelihoods in chase of money and establishment. It is one of those times when you see people leave all their business aside to simply revel in mindless celebration. Now, of course, these festivals are in themselves opportunities for big businesses and provide a livelihood for many. However, there is always a section of people, the poor and the have-nots whom you will always see begging in front of a pandal, the same way they do every other day.
Apart from happiness, festivals also wreck forth an immense sense of alienation. Specially the post festivity blues. When all is over, the city gets shrouded in darkness, you see no lights on the street, no people, no crowds thronging to pandals, there feels a certain purposelessness. Post festivity blues are a serious plight to have to be dealt with that come alongside festivities and celebrations. The jerking back to reality gets very bitter and difficult to accept. After weeks of madness, crowds and community, life swings back to isolated indifferent existences and this aspect of post-festivity sickness is particularly worrying.
Maybe that is why as a country of people who love and celebrate togetherness,we have adapted ourselves sufficiently well to keep celebrating whatever comes our way. Any and every occasion to indulge in joy, be it native or foreign. Hence the devising of festivals all year round- some borrowed like Halloween and Thanks Giving, rest concocted like Father’s Day, Kiss Day, Rose Day and so on. Perhaps as a way to tackle our grief when we see the idol immersions taking place.