Much like every festival, even Durga Puja has been commoditized, turning into a full-fledged seasonal business for all. Not that anything is wrong in that; after all, it’s only supporting the working class economically. Absurdity comes when buying new clothes, getting a giant idol and disrupting the traffic during immersion are considered to be almost mandatory.
Don’t have the money? You still need to buy new clothes.
Don’t have the money and space for the idol? Still, do it. Sharma Ji has got one.
Is it disrupting the traffic and halting regular life even those of the revelers? You’re hurting religious sentiments.
This wasn’t the case when and where I was growing up. The celebration had historic relevance. We reveled in a traditional and measured way that fits our budget, likes, and norms. It was more of a family and neighborhood affair—with lessshow-offs. The joy came from small things, be it getting up early in the morning, doing aarti or preparing sweets.
Today, every aspect of Durga Puja has been materialized. It sucks!
Playing dandiya in Navratri has become more of a selfie game. Last year, I literally saw more phones in hands than the sticks. There were few people who were, in fact, live telecasting themselves.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)
I am already scared for this year. Musically or Tik-Tok has gone mainstream. I am dreading watching these teens doing absurd sketches in pandals and dandiya events.
It all has become about what we’re doing compared to others, how we are looking than him or her, and how many likes/hearts have our image and video got.
So many of these teens and those in their 20s will never know hoping pandals and being in awe with the decoration without the anxiety of clicking Insta-perfect pics with the idols. They will never know the joy of playing dandiya with friends, and strangers, even when you don’t know how to. They will never know staying up with friends and family the whole nights and just having a gala without drinking, doing photo-clicking sessions and dancing on absurd music.
They will never know the thrill and excitement of listening to Falguni Pathak and just forgetting the world while playing dandiya.
From every aspect, commercial, spiritual and more, the way we celebrate Navratri and Durga Puja has changed a lot.
Listen, I am not one of those grown-ups who complain about “these young kids”. I am not. I am not chastising their definition of “fun”. I get it. It’s just that, when compared, I would give everything to re-live the feels we had during Navratri and Durga Puja a decade back. It all felt so raw and traditional.
But then again, things aren’t that bad though. Festivals are, well, festivals. The old or new way of celebration, they are always fun. And I don’t mind clicking some selfies between playing Dandiya myself! ;)