Tons of sweets beckon. Unknown taste buds get rekindled. There are lights that glitter in distant balconies. The next door neighbours door sports festive diyas. Roads teem with people. In threes. Fours. Neighbourhoods out to buy. Clothes. Crackers. Food. Gifts. Appliances. And such else that highly paid marketing folks have engineered.
Discount sales are the order of the day. DhanteRas comes up with some serious Gold prices. Prices that would have left the goddess of wealth beaming !
There are lights, lamps, rangoli and ‘traditional’ dress to work. The lines between ‘Fashion Show’ and ‘Fancy Dress’ run thin.
Children crank up the volume on the cracker front. And of course, have a blast of a time, enjoying the get-togethers and gala times. With toy pistols and such else. Imagining themselves to be some action film hero. And fashionable villains. But these are besides the point.
Diwali is here !
Television has ‘Diwali ‘ specials. Same serials in brighter colours. Same film heroes. Same heroines. And those news channels, those same views from the same chaps. Chaps who come on TV to give ‘points of views’ on anything from Terrorism to Ostentation to Culture to anthropology to..yes…Diwali too.
The corporate and government types get ‘gifts’. Of walnuts and fruits. Of sweets. And such else. AND SUCH ELSE.
Perhaps it would be befitting, if the world got whats most required for it ! Perhaps a spirit of giving. A smile. A moment. A kind word. An acknowledgement. And such else. Simple deeds that touch people deeply. Deeds that acknowledge that there is a world of human beings and human thoughts.
These are besides the point.
Diwali is here !
Diwali messages from banks, insurance companies, mobile operators, holiday homes and such else hit the inbox with such recurring ferocity that the ‘delete’ tab feels the weight of the world.
And yet, there are long lost friends. Recent colleagues. Blog world friends. Forgotten relatives, who send in a word. Make a call. Words that perhaps are soaked in possibilities and new beginnings. Hope is permanent fixture here. But these are besides the point.
Diwali is here !
Its supposed to be the festival of “Victory of Good over Evil”. There is conversation at the get-together. Whether the emphasis on ‘Victory of Good over Evil’ has to be on the ‘good’, ‘evil’ or on ‘victory’ ! Thats besides the point. Diwali is here !
Like the elderly uncle who said, “The emphasis has to be on the sweets !”
So here are some wishes that go out to the world. On this blog too.
For happiness. For cheer. For wisdom. For kindness. For health. For giving. For reflection. For time. For life. And for living. For Good.
Happy Diwali people. Diwali is indeed here !
The car’s air-conditioner is at work. As much as it can. Its some years old now. And it shows. The suns heat has been there forever. That shows too. Its having an impact. All of this. To compound an already clouded mind. Clouded with work and its facets. Family and its facets. The home and the broken faucets.
The mind sows the seed for a head ache to take shape. The head is fertile ground. For such sowing. Tiredness germinates.Its becoming clear as to where all this would lead to. Beeps go off somewhere within. Auto triggered alarm bells within the confines of the mind.
Adding to the clamour.
That’s precisely when the sugar cane juice vendor is spotted.He pushes sugarcane into heavy machinery. Those wheels by the side, move with precision. Out flows concentrated juice. A slice of lemon. And some ginger. And some ice later, the drink is nursed.
As it sinks into a parched throat, the mind seems to be affected. The noises quieten. He sells more. A Small costs Rs.3/-. A large costs Rs.5/-. He can almost sense that the throat is parched enough for more. And proposes a ‘Jumbo’ for Rs.7/-.
In some time, what was grown in some field somewhere, rests in the glass at hand. The throat is a lot less parched. The mind seems to be a lot less noisy. Was there a connection ? There is wonder. As usual.
In satisfaction, the eyes roam. And spot the large tender coconuts sold. Just some distance away. The parched throat is no longer parched. The mind is still in its quenched trance. Yet, the tender coconuts beckon.
There are memories of having tender coconuts. In fields. Roadsides. Travel. With special people. With strangers. All alone. Lows. Highs. A million thoughts rush back. Its almost as though the tender coconuts beckon for re-living of those memories.
He is doubtful of any sale. For he has seen the Jumbos getting gulped with a ferocity of a ravenous glutton.
For only a fleeting second. ‘”The one with water'”, escapes the throat with almost quaint insult to the Jumbo glasses of Sugarcane juice. He gives a wide grin.
The mind seems to rise in protest. Somewhere, that protest is quelled with one statement : ‘This ones for the road’.
A sigh escapes. A smile uses the same escape route too. The mind is quiet. In some time, so is the air-conditioner in the car.
Its a big hefty drum. With a red cloth to cover. Perhaps to cover its might. Perhaps to cover what lies inside. These are distinctly rural men. You can see it in their looks and the ease with which they heave it on to their shoulder, lean on to the other side, and let the beats do the talking!
Beats that you are unfamiliar with. But resonating with what you know so well. From your own land. You wince. As memories of another time flow. In some time, there is music. Here, these three drummers whip up your heart beat.
At the other side, the charcoal embers laced with incense powder fumes! At yet another, amidst the crowd, there is palpable expectation.
In a short while, hips, legs, head and all other parts of the body sway to the beats. In a synchrony that begs to find a new word. A word better than ‘synchrony’ !
The hands. Oh yes, the hands hold those pots fuming embers !
Your heart skips a beat. As the drummers and the dancer get into a jig now and then. Un-rehearsed. But flawless, for all of it is in the flow of the moment. You wonder, how he heaves such a big drum on on his shoulder, creates music, does a jig in response to the dancers steps. Smiling all the way.
You wonder how those dancers hold those hot embers yet stay connected to each step of the drum beat. So graceful. And so complete. Smiling all the way.
You get goose bumps. Dancer after dancer. Some are artistic. Others mesmerise. Yet others hold the eye. All in seamless flow.
You notice that the pictures that you attempt to click are getting blurred. The angles are missing. There is a lot of shake. You wonder whats wrong with the camera. And realise that the cameras just fine. Its just you moving to the beats from those big drums.
To you, it appears that the real dance is the one that’s on in each persons heart. As people smile. Clap. Cry. Go moist in the eye. Laugh. Cheer. Click. Record. And of course, dance.
Right there. As the drummers whip up the music. And the dancers catch it from thin air. And throw it right back at the drummer.
Perhaps everyone is connected to a different time. Perhaps a different place. Perhaps a longing to recreate that time and place, now. In a different distant city. Perhaps its a nested joy in being one with similar minds and very similar longing.
You realise that you are in a trance. Soaking in the unfamiliar drum beat, the dance and the fragrance. And something more.
There are you are. Aware. Unsure. At peace. Strangely happy. As those rural drums get the city dwellers dance in joyous abandon !
Later on, you lie in bed, thinking of the evening. The drums, the dance and the beautiful women and handsome men. You realise, that you can describe all of that.
And you are aware, of something else that was there about the air. An undescribable part. You know that its there. Yet, it eludes description. You try thinking about it.
You are tired. And you choose to leave it at that. Half asleep, you mumble to yourself, ” perhaps it is Durga. Perhaps its just the dance”.
You realise that sleep envelopes you. You know you will sleep like a log today. After a very long time.
And as you slip into sleep…you mumble…”Perhaps, perhaps… its just the drums.”
(Written after attending the Powai Durgotsav ’09. Danuchi Dance. Friday. 25th Sept ’09. All snaps from the event)
What gets passed off as ‘PG’ accommodation these days can be best called a hostel in most cases. Perhaps ‘Paying Guest’ perhaps gives a ring of graduation to the professional world. Hostels are for college goers. (I havent seen any PG accommodation here in Mumbai so i have no idea of it here)
And perhaps also delivers another punch. With ‘Payment’ inherent in ‘Paying guest’ what it also perhaps signifies, is a degree of ‘self respect’ to the individual in question. That the stay is paid for !
Whatever be the logical reasoning around this, ‘Paying Guest’ continues to be an oxymoron, to me that is !
The world however moves on. Irrespective of what i think of as an oxymoron or otherwise. And PGs are advertised. Or… are they. Sample this.
These advertisements make the brain cells work. Wondering what is being communicated.
The ad on top. It talks about ‘Males in Powai’. As though the males in Powai are a special species, looking for such accommodation. Perhaps Powai breeds such males. hmm. But look at what follows.
So, for for males in Powai, i guess these are the three principal woes. Brokerage. Deposits. And restrictions.
Move on to the ad below.
Which introduces us to a new form of human life called ‘Rentals’. What else would ‘ Boys & Girls & Rentals’ mean ?
Hmm…they could some thing else as well, but hey, i am not going there at all.
But here again : ‘No Brokerage No Deposit. No Restriction’. The brokerage and the deposit i can understand. But this ‘No Restriction’ business i find difficult. What kind of restrictions will boys and girls ( & rentals of course) usually suffer from, that would make them seek out such accommodation ?
Males in Powai, Boys, girls, rentals will be paying up. And staying as guests. With no deposits. And restrictions. Hmm.
I wonder why my mind is working this way. This post was supposed to be about the ‘Paying Guest’ being an oxymoron.
But you know, I am consciously practicing letting my thoughts flow on this blog. Without restrictions. Maybe thats why.
‘No restrictions’ for males in powai seems to be in. ahem.
We are just back from visarjan. The 10 day long Ganesh Chaturti festival is through. Infact, its still happening, as i write this. And Mumbai celebrated it. In style ! The elephant God indeed has some fans !
Any festivity is a mood that i love to soak up . Whichever city. Mingle with the people. And watch life, as people go by. Or perhaps, watch people, as life goes by.
Here at the Powai lake, crowds jostled to take a closer look at the immersions. And seek blessings. I got better access than most others.
With T-shirt, camera, shorts and sandals, i guess, i must have looked like a TV journo indeed ! For, there he was, a friendly cop. Who asks me, “which TV channel are your from!?!”
And seeing my surprise, modifies his question : ‘Ok, which newspaper ? Where will you publish all these pictures ? When will you publish the pictures ?”
I clear my throat. I tell him, Having this blog in mind, “This will be published on the Internet”. He continues to stare into me. And i add, ‘in half an hour’.
He perhaps had visions of ‘Breaking News’ and thought of himself to be a facilitator of such news. And waved me in. I was free to click !
I walked in. Beaming. Only to realise there already was a motley crew. Presumably from newspapers. For they had bigger and far more sophisticated cameras. Some tourists. And some other junta like me.. All clicking away.
So here are images. But they sure are not going to send in the images, like what i am doing now ! At this speed, that is !! That’s for sure.
‘Breaking News : Immersions happen in Powai Lake. As well’.
They have those huge cranes, that lift off the Ganpati idols that are brought in trucks. Taken to a deeper part of the lake and ‘immersed’ ! Its an an awesome sight.
The crowd, the trucks, the electric mood, the food, the noise, the lights, and of course, the policemen. Offer a unique Mosaic which is quite something. Indeed.
Here are some pictures.
Hmm. So, there. Thats Visarjan in Powai for you. I can sleep well. The word given to that policeman, is kept !
Regular posting, ofcourse, will resume shortly !
This tricycle has a load of gas. But it doesn’t run on gas though. Its pedalled by a young chap. About whom this post is about.
On another note…
The world runs on gas. Well, i can at least speak for many a corporate work life. Without much substance, but much gas. But then that’s a different story.
The Ambani brothers are at war. Bringing their corporate empires and the government into the ambit. Gas, they say, is the reason.
China and Australia are sparring. Ostensibly over gas.
India, Pakistan and Iran have a tryst with a pipeline. And they say, its about gas.
Russia’s shutting of gas supplies, had Europe shivering. That was about gas too.
Now, now, all that would make it appear that it is gas that’s driving us and our lives around. And now, about the protagonist of this post…
One afternoon, over a post lunch walk, i strike a conversation with this simple young chap. who distributes gas cylinders.
A truth emerges. When he shrugs his shoulders, and says in a matter of fact manner. In the middle of conversation. About work time and kilometers covered ever day, pedaling this gas.
“I try and stop around 6.00 PM. I study part-time and i have a college to go to. Its difficult at times, especially when there are exams, but…” his voice trails off.
And after a 10 second silence, which seems like forever, erupts a sigh and an emphatic ‘…its got to be done’.
And almost as an instant rejoinder to himself says, “How long can life be about gas?’
I smile at his question cum statement. ‘How long can life be about gas ?!’
In a second, a million images go past my mind. I think of the people of India. Pakistan. China. Australia. Iran. Europe. Russia. Alaska. And the rest of the world. And the Ambani brothers too.
And stare into this determined young man with well built calf muscles and sweat, with a ton of gas in front of him.
I smile a weak smile. Shake my head and say,
‘Not for a long time. Not for a long time at all’