Innocuously enough, after a horrid and lonely day at work, I was on my way home. Last evening was the first day of immersion for Ganapati and the traffic is usually enough to curdle your marrow. I believe it was an act of God that after leaving work by 19:40, by about 20:35, I was almost home.
Along with the downwind of drying fish, only Ganapati immersions can make one almost regret living close to the sea. Would you believe that it took over 40 minutes to go about 1.5 kms? I would have walked home if there'd been enough room to get off the rickshaw. But as it happens, I'm damn glad I didn't because in my concentrated effort to get home, I'd have missed the show.
And would have had a poorer life for it, I assure you.
Now, if you've lived in India for even a nanosecond, you know that by no means of the imagination is the music played in an immersion procession lounge, house, hip-hop, Bollywood numbers (no people, it's not even that!), or "hard rock." So imagine my stunned amusement when I come across three different groups of people doing:
- A hip-hop groove - complete with the finger waving and dipping in the air.
- Pub/lounge bar/disco-type gyrations – a la Aishwarya Rai in Kajra Re to a nankhatai, Bollywood brass band sound!
- Head banging - nope, not making a mistake here. I've seen enough people head bang in my life to know what this dude was doing.
Understand that I am not being bitchy or nasty about these people. I fully admire and understand the enthusiasm with which these people were participating in the festival. I probably would not be able to do the same. But the sheer incongruity of these dances with the music, the occasion, and the other celebrants was too much fun not to laugh my head off!
The head banger was the best - he was the crowd-watching finale. Initially, he was merely walking along with a procession till they were stopped in traffic. Amidst the dancing, he began a slow nod to the music. And as the music grew more frenzied, with growing fascination I watched him bend half-over and begin a full-blown head banging number! Rage against the Machine in concert with Ganesha - woohoo!
Every one in a five foot radius stopped dead to stare. I think that was what made him stop dead as well. Unfortunately, my rickshaw moved forward right then and I lost sight of my head banger friend. I kept looking back for him but I think he'd melted into the throng. More's the pity because I don't think I've laughed like that in a while. Long, liberating, and stomach-deep laughter - of the simpler pleasures of this flawed life.
Thank the Lord that "these are the days when anything goes." :-)