Dusshera has always struck a magical chord with me, a festival which has remained close to my heart. I can recall the family trips to our ancestral village to celebrate the 10 days of festivities. The oncoming of Durga Pujo meant that the whole family - from grandparents to cousins to remotely related relatives - would congregate at our ancestral home. Regardless of the files and files of office work my father and chachas had laid out in front of them, all was to be ignored during these ten devotion filled days.
From eating jalebis for every meal to dishing out pani-puri plates every evening, Dusshera was a break from the monotony of grade school. The youngest of my family, till my younger brother decided to trot along, I was pampered to no bounds. Durga Pujo was my payday, my way of securing new toys and gifts until new year. With so many options at hand, if one of my relatives refused I could always just go onto the next.
Fast forward a decade, all of that seems a distant memory. Far away from family during the season of festivities, Dusshera didn't seem like the festival I grew up adoring. It had flown over my head in the last few years when I slogged my way through college. But this year, I hoped to relive some of those moments from my childhood. With optimism, I made my way to Chittaranjan Park in Delhi where numerous pandals have been set up to pay homage to Goddess Durga and her several forms. Laid out over several acres, the walk from one pandal to the next has the potential to take the steam out of your gas. Unbelievably though, it didn't seem to affect anyone but me. Locals savoured pani-puris outside the pandals while dressed in beautiful traditional wear. Children ran around all decked up in kurtas and salwar-kameez to rejoice Goddess Durga's victory over evil. The statues of the Goddess were embellished with elegance, showing her superior and unquestionable might and power. Drummers added colour through their harmonies. It was after so many years that Dusshera felt like Dusshera.