For many years, I was very regular and carried out fasting and reading of scriptures religiously. I remember once I was in Goa in Navratra on a business trip, but still didn’t give up. However, one day I dropped it taking excuse of old age and heart surgery.
I am back on my old religiosity again in Navaratra (Nine auspicious nights) this year. My food is no cereal, no pulse, no garlic and onion and even one with ordinary salt. I live on milk, curd, vegetables cooked with rock salt and fruits. I took it, besides the religious angle, as a purification programme for my body and to certain extent for my mind too. I devote an hour or more on reading Tulsidas’ Ram Charit Manas and Durga Saptshati without any ritual. I am sure the Mother will take care of the rest. It gives a little peace. On my own I have added one more penance for me or I don’t know if it is an excuse of my laziness. I have not shaved for these days.
Sirohi was here with me the other day. According to him, the Navratra fast now has become real popular with younger generation too. Both his son and daughter-in-law are fasting. You are to see to believe how the market has got flooded with special snacks and food items for Navratra besides the items of gifts, and rituals. Even restaurants are serving special Navratra cuisine and special dishes. Eid, Dushehra and Durga Puja together mean celebration all over the country. Garba dance is becoming as popular as the Bhangra of Punjab.
While my restricted fast will end on Sunday that in Navami, Yamuna and her party celebrated Saptami today with bhajans, and dance for the mother. The popularity of Garba dance originally of Gujarat is fast expanding, and becoming attraction of the festivity and also for tourists. Here are some snaps of Yamuna’s festivity.
I still remember how in my childhood in that remote village we used to go to every household in neighbourhood to touch the feet of elders for blessings and to get some sweets in return. In West Bengal, we enjoyed visiting pandals and seeing yatras, an open theatre, in night during Durga Puja. On Vijoya, every house used to offer sweets to the visitors. And in the offices and shop floors, I had to go for embracing my friends and foes too.
Let me wish the best for everyone on the occasion of these festiv