It is that time of the year again.
No. This is not about the highly ‘uncivic’ civic polls recently concluded or the new polls scheduled on 8th. This is not about the retreating monsoon which leaves around the 8th of October with a parting salvo of severely uncomfortable humidity and occasional heavy rains. This is a little about the skies, though- the blue skies with fluffy cotton like clouds.
This is not about the traffic that blocks the roads of the city now. It is a little about the things that cause the traffic. Structures that look like bamboo scaffoldings tied with coloured clothes at the joints. These objects of nuisance starve the already narrow roads of space and contribute heartily to the slow and serpentine movement of traffic. Carpenters can often be found in front of these structures making elaborate patterns of wood. Overnight, these scaffoldings are clothed and before you know it, there is something draped in newspapers sitting on the platform inside that passers by with folded hands seem to pay silent obeisance to.
This is not about the huge banners and hoardings that blind the sides of the streets and render the city unrecognisable. This is a little bit about the reason for such extensive sponsorship by companies. Soon the city would be covered in advertisements of companies in every sector conceivable. Banners will come down from houses, every inch of space available will be used creatively for posting advertisements. People have recently claimed that this is as much a festival of consumerism as anything else. However, this is not new, it has been this way for long, even when the state was under a communist regime.
This is not about the innumerable count-downs shown at the corner of television channels or the deluge of people at shopping complexes. We are not talking about the home grown fast food joints that will mushroom out of the courtyard of houses and put out hand written menus at the gates. This is not about special ‘sharadiya’ magazines eagerly awaited for by generations of loyal readers. This is a little bit about the aniticipation, of something the entire city seems to wait and prepare for.
This is about the smell. The early morning smell in the soft sunshine and of incense- that seems to grow with every passing day. This is about the white and orange sheet of shiuli flowers that are laid dutifully at the bottom of certain trees every morning. This is about the lights that are put on all the houses of the para. This is about that maddening, intoxicating sound of dhaak, that familiar beat that your pounding heart recognises. This is about the feeling of unbridled joy that takes captive every being in this city, despite the silent sweating metro rides, the despondency of directionless dirty politics and torturous weather.
This is about a feeling which is an experience in itself.
And this feeling comes around this time. Even if you do not stay in the city during the pujas, even if you hate passionately the leering drunken crowds in the streets who seem to have come from elsewhere, even if you curse feelingly the long hours of being stuck in traffic, you cannot deny this feeling. And you know why.
For it is that time of the year again.