As the month of October beckons the festive season of Dashain, I wait here in Delhi desperate to be back home and get into the festive mood. Time and again in my column I have mentioned how I miss Nepal after having come to India. The festivals and the celebrations around it are what I pine for, especially.
Despite sharing similar culture and tradition, Nepal and India do share a vast difference in the festivities. In many cases the observance of different festivals holds completely different significance in the two countries. Perhaps that is the reason why I’ve always failed to develop a liking for celebrations here.
‘Dusshera’ as it is famously known in India is celebrated for the same reason as it is in Nepal; the victory of the good over the evil. The ten days of celebration include the staging of the Ramayan play, burning of the huge effigy of demon Ravan and the worship of Goddess Durga.
The staging of Ramayan in various parts of the country is one of the greatest attractions of the festival. Especially in villages, it provides great entertainment and also a break from work to enjoy time with family. The burning of demon Ravan’s effigy holds no less importance. People do gather in huge numbers to see the demon being demolished and chant praises of Lord Rama. The worship of Goddess Durga, is one of the festival’s central features especially in the Bengali community.
In contrast, Dashain is completely another sort of gala. Bright colorful kites adorning the sky, the lush green paddy fields, the cool yet cheering warmth of the weather typically signifies the arrival of the festival. Nowhere is that to be seen in India.
How can Dashain be complete without the chahalpahal of family members and the cards? And then you have the amazing smell of khasi ko masu all around. You can simply not remain immune to it even if you are a veggie like yours truly.
Right from the time jamara is planted, the festive mood begins. And no matter how much I grow up, I cannot help but get excited at the idea of shopping for new clothes! Be it paying visit to Durga Bhawani temples or the preparation of sweets especially the Sel Roti the fiesta is no where close to Dusshera. And finally, the tika and dakshina moments are so priceless!
Dashain or Dusshera? It’s definitely Dashain for me!