PRABALIKA M. BORAH
Pollination of cultures and rituals for a bonded future is the buzz word, says Prabalika M. Borah
Away from home on a festival day? Sitting and sulking? The reply from cousins to your text message to know ‘what's happening there' is adding to your misery. When flying in and out to your hometown for every festival is not an easy option out, should we stop celebrating? Today is Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri and Magh Bihu and some of the citizens city are getting together to celebrate the harvest festival as a family and bring the harvest cheer.
“It's all about the harvest festival. Different communities have different rituals but the core of the celebration remains the same, so why not club them and make it a bigger and an inclusive affair,” reason the seniors of a locality in Raghavendra Hills Colony, Sainikpuri.
In order not to miss their own rituals and routine practices, most of the households will also do their individual rituals in the confines of their homes. “I will do my early morning puja and prepare the pongal and offer to God but that doesn't mean I am not taking part in the celebrations at night. The joy of celebration with the others is different,” explains 62-year-old Kala Shankar.
Rituals like making an offering to the bonfire and praying are common. “We will use as an offering whatever is easily available and one of them will be popcorn, along with til (sesame),” explains Preeti Saincher.
Should this be an occasion for puritans to make noise? “Definitely not. Meji (in Assam) is all about community feasting, getting together, cooking in the open and staying up all night sitting by the bonfire and doing gup-shup. The colony where I stay in Secunderabd has mixed communities but everyone will take part in the festivities,” says Plabita Sharma.
Fish eaters during this season make sure they have eaten enough and this is the time when most invites come and go to different families from their friends and relatives. “Fish will be brimming with oil and eating fish during this season is no match to any other season. The fish vendors are getting everything from hilsa to katla with tempting weights. We wait for this season to invite Bengali food lovers for taste of our hospitality,” says Pratyush Ghosh.
There are yet some colonies who want to indulge in some sort of cultural exchange. The residents of Mansarovar Heights phase 2 at Old Bowenpally are having a muggu competition.
“Every household from Christians of Kerala to the Jats of Haryana staying in our blocks are participating. They are guarding their designs like treasures and will only bring them out on Sankranti. I hear maids are running from pillar to post to get their friends come and help these families. To us, what is important is the spirit of participation.
To keep the children engaged and happy, kites will be flown by the parents and elders,” says Kartic Swaminathan, a resident. In some apartments children are very active, working hard to put together skits and cultural programmes that show the uniqueness of various communities.
But this is not all, “Children in our apartments have been given the task to finish the early morning rituals on Sankranti. They can take the help of domestic maids and parents but the bottom line is to see that the rituals take place. This way they will not just learn about the customs but will respect and follow them,” adds Manisha, who's initiated this idea in her apartment block in R.K. Puram.