Well I am back again after a longgggg gap. I hope each of you had a Sparkling, Safe & Green Diwali. For me this was a little different Diwali this year. Yeah it started with lighting Diyas, Sparklers, Anars, ground Chakars but ended with real Dhamaka courtesy my friends.
Actually since the ban of sound crackers in my home city Kolkata Diwali has been quite affair actually its been “Deepavalli” the festival of light with just lighting the Diya and the like above. Even after coming to Bangalore the tradition has not been altered much (Austerity drive I guess). You must know that Bengalis celebrate Diwali by worshiping Goddess Kali. A very unique puja which is started at midnight and goes on till very late night. So the memories of offering Puja to Maa Kali at night and waiting for the bhog(prasad) next morning are still afresh. Its also said that this is night of MahaKaal that is all the spirits descend to earth and those who follow tantrik rituals its a big night for them.
When I was very young my Grandfathers(I mean Grandfather and his brothers), my uncles, cousins used to make crackers at home. Yes once Durga Puja was over they would get into preparation right from making the Charcoal to buying all the ingredients. The house would resemble mini cracker factory with each and every member contributing in their own possible roles. We kids roles were mostly to keep a watch over things like the Tubri(Anars in earthen shells) were sun dried properly. And on the D-day we all got together and bursted crackers I mean the Anars, Rong Mosals etc which were home made. In Bengal we have tradition of Tubri competition were the competitors compete to showcase their creativity and ingenuity of making the Tubris. You know some of flares or sparkle from the anars would rise to 30 feet or more. So who ever able to make them reach highest would be the winner :D.
Then came “nuclear” families and we couldnot takeover the tradition and hardwork of those old timers and moreover where did we have so much space and freedom in our ‘apartment’ houses(flat bari). So I like my friends “graduated” on to bombs specially Burima’s Chocolate bomb(Used to be the best & loudest brand of bombs in Bengal). We used to set off these bomb at weird places like letter boxes or bushes or tins to create maximum noise and destruction(I know its an offense now but what else can you expect from alpha-male teenagers). There was flip side of it as well like bomb exploding ‘too’ close deafening and blinding us for some time but we felt that it was worth the ‘risk'(Did the hot girl next door notice the bravity? Well she never told). Then the ‘Rockets’ would get misdirected and hit windows and verandas of ‘enemies’ 😀 (people who objected to our galli cricket .payback time Guys). BTW the Rockets sometime chased daylights out of us as well(Comeon they were not made by ISRO so lacked the precision). But it got all stopped due to West Bengal Pollution Control Board and Kolkata High Court making it illegal for sound crackers and several other ‘popular’ crackers and I too ‘grew up’ or maybe ‘woke up’ (I was a fresh working professional by then and not a college-going kid for God’s Sake).
Then destiny brought me to Bangalore and was surprised to see the vengenance with which people burst bombs here. But now it was not that fun felt rather irritated also needed to duck and jump out when some ‘lousy’ kid set-off a bomb on my way. Like I was saying earlier this year was no different like the ones before remember the ‘Austere Diwali’, So I had settled down to watch ‘Bunty & Babli’ on TV. It was then my friends called me out said me join them for a Diwali Party which I had to join and after a few pegs came out the ‘hydrogen’ bombs, ‘Atom’ bombs and what not (They were enough to blow off your ears off if not the world!). Well it was all so sudden that I took the ‘safest’ job of holding the candle so that others can light crackers from it but seeing my comrades hurling bombs with fervor my old self got better of me . But lack of practice for long years made me very shaky no it was not alcohol guys(I have stopped it for quite sometime). So apprehensively I took out a bomb and lighted it from the candle and threw it as far as it could go but it landed near to my friend’s neighbour’s dog but the brave creature just moved a bit after the blast. I think it had already turned deaf but the owner wasn’t amused as the dog was sitting at his masters doorstep so naturally the owner threatened. None my comrades wanted a brawl afterall we are all ‘outsiders’ here. So We moved to more open space and I went back to the role of Candle bearer for my comrades in arm. It was fun to relive those old moments but I must say bombs are really not good for anyone but a small number of them can be bursted just for the fun basically festival is time to celebrate but obviously not at anybody’s cost but still.
Today is Bhai Phonta or Bhai dooj as its called in some parts its similar to Rakhi. In this festival sisters of Bengal put tilak(Phonta) on the forehead of their brothers for their well being and blessings if the brother is older which I am. They say “Bhaiyer kopaley dilam phonta, jomer dwarey porle kanta, jomuna dey jom ke phonta ami di amar bhai ke phonta, Bhai jeno hoy lohar vata.” (tr: I am putting the tilak on my brother’s forehead so its putting thorns in front of pearly gates of Yamraj, Yamuna does the same thing for her brother Yama I do it for my brother, so my brother becomes Iron man 😀 ). So we cosmopolitan Bengali Brothers get this honor from our sisters twice that is once in Rakhi and once in Bhai phonta :D. Oh!!! Did I mention that Bhais(brothers) get some of choicest & best mistis(Sweets) along with Phonta ofcourse if you are in Bengal.
With this the month long festivities that started with Durga Puja ends and people specially school kids in Bengal return to school. Holidays are over and work begins :D. So as life gets back to its mundane rythm lets keep waiting for another year and Wish you all the year is filled with Joy, Happiness & Prosperity.
PS: Guess what I have got as ‘Bhai Phonta’ gift … Guess Guess !!! Two cute little fishes in a cute little bowl …. Thank you Sis !!! They are really cute 🙂 & hyperactive running swimming busily in their little bowl 😀