Atharvacha Raja..two words..literally translated,they mean”The King Of Atharva!”,but literal meanings do not hold much value in my emotion-obsessesed mind,and so I look at them with the sentimental approach we girls are normally associated with!These two words pack up the essence of something so spiritual,so..unique,that putting it in words might actually disturb the sanctity of it all:You have to be there,feel it,experience it,take it all in,to know the amazing extravaganza that is “Atharva Ganeshotsav”!
Okay,firstly,this is not publicity,nor the rantings of someone with nothing else to do;I really feel like sharing this with ya’ll,and if you are thinking I am slowly losing it(and by it I mean my ability to write profound-looking voodoo in artful words),then just bear with me,the next one will take care of that.Now,moving on, before you just scroll through the pretty pictures here,marvel at them(for they really are beautiful<3),and forget all about reading!
The Atharva group of Institutes celebrates the annual festival of Ganesh Chaturthi (I am tempted to add “with fervour” here,but yes,everyone celebrates festivals with fervour,and no:I am no celebrity magazine to use it to cover print-space!).By Atharva group,I mean all the institues:Hotel management,for Example,alongwith my Engineering College(Yes,I have a thing for random capitalization,because the reigning rules are unfair to the letters in the Middle!-read this somewhere,green,probably)Okay,mischief no more,sorry sorry.Getting back to the point:As you can very well see the beautiful stage set here,with Bappa in all its Glory,you can surely gauge the scale at which the celebrations ring in!
Every day,months before the commencement of the festival,students toil hard to make it beautiful,to give Him the warm welcome he deserves!AND all Eco-friendy,at that!The Decor committee sure deserves a round of applause and some hat-tossing!College becomes home for many of my seniors,as Bappa finally arrives to the beat of music,I wasn’t there this time,so I dont know what kind of music-but I know I am going to be there next year!(Again you might think stressing on the “kind” of music is stupid when its very obviously the festival music they play in every nukkad,but trust me on this,I am proud of Atharva’s musical choices,which are precisely an expression of Being Marathi,but more about that later).
Another amazing feature of these charged days is the Aartis.The Aartis here are a jubilant affair;hour long aartis,sometimes even lasting a couple of hours,are the perfect epitome of all that is Us:The enthusiasm,the unity as the chorus rises in one to praise the Lord,the electric atmosphere,the live-wires that are the young minds all joining in,becoming one in that consciousness,of belonging and being belonged to!The aura has “Assal Marathi” written all over,as the place is drowned in the sweet music of taals and bells,and the waving Atharva flags,swaying to the rhythm of the aarti,are a spectacle to behold!A spectacular valour possesses every soul when the conch is blown and cries of “Jay Shivaji..”resound in the hall!People flaunt there “chandrakor’s”,there “kurta-dhotars”,there turbans,and yes,the sarees-the ultimate expression of Maharashtrian apparel:the elegant nauvaari sarees,with such dignity and grace,that you cannot help but drown in the sweet serenity of it all,and be proud to be one of them!
I got obsessed with this pretty chandrakor,as you very well know by now,if you know me on those corporal devices of time-wastage:Social Networking Sites.
God bless the person who came up with this innovative idea,and the guy who gave me one of those!(I’d made a point of asking his name,but I forgot it in all the ruckus).Everyday,there is the usual array of activities lined up,as people enjoy,pray,and click a lot of pictures.Fun fact:Almost all display pictures of Atharvaites are found to emanate from the reverred phase-3,where Bappa reigns,in this period!>_<.Ohhh and one more thing about the aartis:The singers,a very talented group,do it in a very sophisticated,”proper” ,(sagrasangeet is the marathi word for it,asked momma) manner that would shame the Pundits!Kudos,ya’ll!
After seven days of fun and reverence,there comes the visarjan day.I skip right to visarjan,omitting the other mundane activities,like traditional day,and many other “days” which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way!Everyone is a little more enthusiastic,because it is the day we have to say goodbye to beloved Bappa!I wasn’t waiting around for the visarjan,(which would have been a horrible mistake),as it is all too sad and (in my opinion,then)chaotic,like all visarjan rallies are bound to be!Thanks to this grouchy(I love you for that one though)friend of mine,I had-HAD to wait!
What happened later came as a pleasant surprise!After a bit of fooling around,singing songs and doing all the stuff that normal teenagers usually do to kill time in a public place,everyone gathered around for One Last Aarti-a sweet/sad affair!Then,surprise of all surprises:There appeared these beautifully dressed people with huge dhols and other instruments,a welcome apparition!And they dropped the beat.
Puneri dhol.One has to hear it to be mesmerized by it.After a moments surprised silence,wherein the department of senses was going all gaga in my brain,every nerve ending tingled to that beat,a trance,a rhythm unparalleled!Needless to say,everyone went crazy dancing,BUT,and I am very proud to say this,the council managed it beautifully,in a very systematic-dignified manner!Throngs of people in identical Atharva t-shirts rejoiced the arrival of the Rains-them adding to the awesomeness of it all!Bappa went home in a beautiful white horse-driven chariot,leaving many an unshed tear in all eyes!
This was the first time I FELT my heritage,my “marathipan”;No amount of awareness campaigns,or elderly advice can make youth feel closer to their roots as this one extravaganza can!Nowadays,when everything is westernized,when we ourselves are guilty of being bashfully ignorant of our culture,and i might even go ahead and say that I dont particularly feel all of this all the time;it is a welcome change to be who we were born as,even for a while!As agony aunts and philosophers with nothing else to do lament over the loss of culture and values and sanskaaras and all things pious and good in “aajkal-chi pora”,look what we are busy accomplishing,look at the pride on our glowing faces as we flaunt the essence of our being,carrying forward the great legacy of ShivajiRaje,albeit in a small way!Does the “marathi mann” of our elders brim with joy,looking at our celebration of their ideals???
I sure hope it does!
THANKS for reading(A lot of people say that I say Thanks a lot,well I would love to tell you about Gratitude as A Life Philosophy for Yours Truly,but some other day).Criticisms and comments always welcome.
P.S:I have used a lot of marathi words here,maybe I got carried away,a little.Feel free to ask what some mean,because I do know what all of the words I have used actually mean,because I had a very enlightening brush-up of my mothertongue skills this festive season,which I guess is an added bonus!(Phew!Huge sentence!)
Stay blessed,Stay cheerful.