It’s almost a royal send-off to Ravana (Doesn’t he go up in flames spectacularly?). If the 10-headed demon king could see from the blazing furnace of hell (that’s the most conservative description of hell), who knows the devil might be smug over the entire hullabaloo in his name. Larger-than-life effigies, choppers to throw in the posters and the fireworks…but Dasehra is not even about Ravana! It is essentially about the crowds gathering to collectively rejoice in humanity’s universal faith. Good wins, evil loses. And hope lives on!
While hob-nobbing with the multi-cultural diversity of India, relentless noise, endless crowds, the hawkers, the carts. With community grounds earmarked to celebrate the festival in almost every sector, we zero-down a few places in Tricity to go and ‘get a feel of Dasehra’. Just carry an open attitude and a dash of humour thrown in for good measure.
Brothers in arms
Expect a Ravana effigy as tall as 70 feet at Sector 32 Dasehra ground! One of the most visited and popular places for the celebration of the festival. What’s more? There is not an iota of exaggeration in the size of Ravana. Khan brothers have been in the business of making effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran since their grandfather’s time now.
Operating out of a small temple in Industrial Area, the duo, comprising Sonu Khan and Sher Khan, are in the middle of preparing several effigies for Sector 32, Sector 7 and Ram Darbar. “These will be installed on 29th itself and they will be looked after by the security guards appointed for the same,” shares the two, while pointing to all the things that go behind making of an effigy. “We use bamboo, rope, newspapers, decoration paper, maida and paint.” And to actually see it all go up in smoke?
At the 20th Dasehra celebrations by Sanatan Dharam Dussehra Committee, Sector 46, there will be a helicopter distributing posters, asking everyone to take pride in the girl child; overlooking a crowd of over a lakh-and-a-half people. “We have Muslim craftsmen from Moga who have come to prepare the 83-feet tall Ravana, and Meghnad and Kumbhakaran, both 70 feet each,” Chief patron of the committee Jatinder Bhatia apprises us of the preparations. “We have even installed Lanka and elephants at the entrance in sync with ceremonial elephantine welcome.” He adds, “The effigies cost us around Rs 1, 60,000 but then there will be a crowd of equal number of people to view them.”
If you are in pursuit of typicality, there are Dasehra festivities at Ram Darbar. Picture the vendors selling Diwali wares, clay pots, toys (read teer kamaan with glossy paper, Hanuman’s gadda in every size, toy guns, whistles, caps, masks…truly at the end of vocabulary). Welcome to the Dasehra ground earmarked in Ram Darbar. Adjoining city’s Industrial Area, the place each year gathers incredible number of people and for several reasons.
With most of the places being just where the Ramlila happens in the evenings, there are more than 20 places to choose from within the city itself! Amidst all the places mentioned, how can city’s central point of Sector 17 be left behind? Where one of the biggest, popular and quite-written-about Dasehra happens! Each year, the festivities are inaugurated by a UT Administration official.
All over the town
The list is not exhaustive… with some of the other significant sectors being 2, 24, 34, 40, 43, among others. There is smoke and fire, and a good amount of pollution thrown in too. But together, we as a human race, rejoice in the holy pyre. May all evil things be met with the similar fate and may all things good win!
Bye-bye air, noise pollution
Shoppers need a reason for retail therapy and a national holiday is the reason perfect enough. How about some festivities thrown in for good measure? In place of effigies and fumes, how about a digital Dasehra? Elante goes eco-friendly by engaging its visitors on Facebvook to consign a ‘Digital Ravana’ to flames through stimulating messages, symbolizing the spirit of the festival. Well, the two-day digital Dasehra celebrations will also offer hourly prizes for participants who come up with best messages.