Saturday, October 1, 2011


A long vacation awaits most of the nation. Dussehra is on and the time to witness the fanfare at Ramlila Maidan where the huge effigies of Ravan will burst into flames. The East on the other has heralded the arrival of the deity of Durga who in her fiery avatar fails to deter her devotees who throng the streets of Bengal. In the west the dance of Garba brings alive the cultural tapestry while the South in its quiet pageantry worships Chamundeshwari and Saraswathi. On the whole a week that celebrates womanhood is on while many still wish to only live on a Woman's day. 

The festivities of Dussehra would in reality culminate only in the lighting up for Diwali which would see the lamps dotting the landscape whilst the crackers crackle around. New account books emerge to augur a profitable financial year while the sweetmeats are gorged with ease. The schools normally shut down for a vacation leaving the children to celebrate these traditional festivals.

Fast forward to the present day while we see posters put up for holiday camps for the children. One of the reading centres had organised a project work for kids wherein the different parts of different animals are pieced to harmoniously depict an imaginary character. In the era of post Star Trek obviously the imagination runs riot. An animal with the body of elephant, tail of a tiger, horns of a buffalo, face of a giraffe makes an appearance to the lusty claps of the young crowd. Thankfully, the imagination of the children were rooted in reality while they tried a mix of existing characters. There was not a single specimen which did not have the parts of existing animals. The flipside to it was the fact that the parents did not find time to even show the animals to the children nor spend time with them. Instead they were put to a long classwork and homework of a different kind. 

A small chat with the kids came as a revelation. They were also to do some holiday homework so as to not lose touch with the academics. Sports grounds which have disappeared reduce the feasibility of outdoor games. A new generation is born which does not revel in sibling rivalry or visit any place of a relative for a vacation. They tend to be governed by their own goals. Powered to goals they would be excellent career makers but would they make good citizens?

Time will answer this musing.