My love for you is a little greater

Festivals are an integral part of human civilizations. A day or a period of celebration is what we call a ‘festival’. We all have numerous of these events and they bring tremendous joy to our lives which we cherish and wait for it to come the next year again. When I was in school, I liked Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja, and every other festival. Maybe just because it used to be a holiday, I got new clothes, I ate my favorite food and met many people. But with the passing time passing, it all shifted to a festival which was very discreet, not much of fancies and definitely, no holidays at school. Owing to the fact that it was a regional festival. Ever since I gathered my senses, I’ve seen my mother observe the holiest festival of our region ‘Chhath Puja’. Today when twenty-two years of my life have passed already, I realize how important it is for me. This is not just a festival but an emotion for me and every person who belongs to this region.

In my blurry memories, I remember my mother took this lineage from my Mami (her brother’s wife) as this festival is to be taken from a family member who already does it. So, we went to my mother’s place for the festival. Not knowing the relevance and importance of the vrat, I only focused on my cousins playing all around the house and visiting the Ganga river for the rituals. Often the elderly used to tell us, cut your nails if you want to help in making the prasad, you cannot enter the vrati’s room if you have eaten already, do not dirty the house, etc.

I learned all these practices while playing, effortlessly and no one ever forced me to teach its importance. We used to visit the ghats for Arghya twice; once in the evening and then in the morning which reaches the end of the festival. I never really sat with my parents and saw what is this festival about, only interested in playing in the mud and sand, wetting my feet in the water, bursting crackers at the ghats, and definitely eating Thekua, the prasad.

Although this festival is very simple, the food we serve for prasad is typical home-made local dishes and no sweets from the market still, the food was the tastiest amongst all types of food that we had all year long. After the festival, one whole room used to be filled with fruits. All the children would then gather in that room, choose their favorite fruit and eat them. I saw everyone of every age touching my mother’s and Mami’s feet and thought why do even elders seek ashirwaad from them today?

Things changed when I went to someplace for my higher education when for the first time I had to come home for the festival. The enthusiasm I saw at the railway station, airports, and bus stands of people returning back home trenched my heart. Suddenly, I saw everything differently. This festival became everything for me. When the songs of Chhath puja came on the TV, a nostalgia developed I started waiting for it to come eagerly every year. Today, every single moment of the festival is very much relevant and important. This is the purest festival with no modern improvisations in it. It will always be the same for me and like every other citizen of this region, I will keep it as pure as it has always been.

Also Read: Some Little Things That Can Make You Happy

Disclaimer: The Feature Image is from the personal collection of Shruti Mehta’s gallery.

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