Monday, October 13, 2008

At Random

Durga Pujo ends. Lights, lightings, idols, pandals, pandal-hoppers, crowds, relaxation of curfew for youngsters, death for the emergency cases stuck in traffic, new clothes, new shoes – the great Bengali festival ends. The consolation prize of Kali Pujo, with all the crackers and rockets and goat-meat and booze, remains in the offing. The single time when the regressive (as against aggressive) Bengalis taste the Carnivalesque is gone for this cycle of seasons. Gone for another year – Kali Pujo immersion being slightly lesser – is another opportunity for the great Bengali hip-shaking.
For the first time in my life I spent almost the entire Pujo involved in a Marriage ceremony. Usually there is no good ‘muhurat’ (auspicious date) during this particular time. But since it was inter-provincial there were no rules, actually a jumble of them. A Bengali man was marrying a Punjabi woman. My relationship with the Punjabi family in question is quite interesting. Her husband (the man – obviously – from our side) is the brother of the husband of my wife’s elder sister. Technically her family is my in-laws’ in-laws’ in-laws. I found myself – though practically unrelated to the groom – in a position of seriousness, as my own brother-in-law is no more and men in that family are something of an endangered species, I had to take the role of an Elder. I am younger than the groom. But I had to spend a lot of time involved in plenty of rituals, though I often found myself in very difficult situations. These came whenever I was asked what manner of relation I shared with the groom. Explaining all this to Punjabi elders in Hindi is something that even I faltered in. After about six tries I settled for the ‘friend’ tag – though I can safely say that that is not quite the case! My Hindi is workable up to a point, and this whole occasion pointed out that point rather effectively.

The other point that stands true for most Bengalis, and which I think is a major factor in Bengali-ness, is the inability to dance. The Punjabis were dancing to their hearts’ content, without any frigidity, and we were falling short in every step. Feeling not unlike Pappu from the song “Pappu can’t dance....” This gave me a profound realization. One of the reasons Bengal is so much in the backwaters right now is that there is no popular dance form – Rabindra Nritya is something many Bengali girls and boys learn but that is semi-classical, if not neo-classical. The popular description of it is changing bulbs or picking flowers.

Whatever it might be, it is not something that one can instinctively engage in when in a festive mood. As a matter of fact one may say that dancing is not really in Bengali blood. Bengalis still are extremely in love with the ‘intellectual’ tag – they would rather blog than dance! Take me for instance, I would love to go down to the dance floor and thrash about like a person having an epileptic fit. But I simply can’t. Every year that I go on immersion processions I see plenty of my friends and others – some inebriated by the dhaak, some in good spirits and vice versa – shake like nothing else in the world. I want to join, but something holds me back. This something, thankfully, is slowly losing its grip over recent generations. Although I am not against intellect or cerebration, but there should always be a balance. One must learn to think, and one must also learn to act. Too much of something is as bad of too much of nothing.

9 comments:

Renu said...

dancing comes to punjabis so naturally,that watching them is infectious:)

Sayani said...

shuvo bijaya !!!

so lemme ask u danced with "dhunuchi " or not?

life is surely of balance but not in a calculative way but spontaneously maintained what say ?
keep well

sidhubaba said...

Hello Renu, infectious it is, but the Bengali Block is so powerful that it hardly lets us dance...

Hey Sayani, Shuvo Bijaya. I am not the dhunuchi type - though I must say I enjoy watching. Mr Dutt and Mr Khan were quite hilarious in Parineeta dhunuchiing.

Renu said...

I love the bangali ambience, so natural, today i was watching Vyomkesh Bakshi, set in Calcutta, babumoshay and adda.....
what is dhunuchi? i understand a little bengali but I dont know this?

ugich konitari said...

The world needs all types of people. Infectious dancers, shakers, those that quietly observe and smile, and some that mentally dance so much they can hardly shake their legs ...

I dont think dancing is the ONLY way to celebrate. And there is nothing in the common dance form exhibited all over India during mass festivals.

I dont think you need to have D. A. (Dance Anxiety).....

sidhubaba said...

Hey Renu, Dhunuchi is actually a small earthen bowl sort of a thing in which Dhuno (a kind of incense from bark of some tree) is burnt. Dancing with a Dhunuchi requires special skill as there is a huge possibility of getting burnt. It is a traditional Bengali activity which is dying slowly. But thanks to many sponsored competitions the Dhunuchi dance is still there.

Hello ugich konitari, thanks. I certainly fall under the mental dancing category. It is fun though. If you have an active imagination then you can make a lot of things possible.

Renu said...

Thanks for telling me:)

Mystic Margarita said...

Slightly belated shubho bijoya to you and your family.

sidhubaba said...

Hey Mystic Margarita, many many wishes to you to. Diwali is also round the corner. Happy Diwali to you.

To all my friends, Happy Deepavali. May darkness never win.

 
Custom Search