“I hate festivals”
Whenever I say this, people look at me as if I’m insane!
My Dad says I was born in the wrong latitude/longitude. Most people agree with him.
I keep asking myself this question so many times and when I don’t, I get reminded by all the kind aunties and uncles who visit my place, they keep repeating, “But, why don’t you like festivals?”, “How can anybody ‘not’ like festivals?” as if I’ll get some miraculous enlightenment after listening to those questions and start singing prayers songs.
I get their point, I know humans, especially, Indians are genetically programmed to like festivals and there is no other way (I guess that makes me a mutant). But I want to tell these self proclaimed mini-seers why I don’t like festivals.
So here is my official list. This is why I hate festivals/ any other ritual:
1) I think 90% of the purohits are legal thugs. They keep chanting some mantras in Sanskrit, a language that they themselves do NOT know. Even if they use cuss words in that language, people will not understand. They will be so into asking god for new cars/jewelry/marks/ whatever, that they just don’t care. Recently I had been to some “purification” ceremony of a new office and the purohit was so callous, I caught him playing games on his cellphone while chanting! I mean isn’t that the limit?!
2) I think festivals must be a time where people should celebrate life, they should be generous, they should do good things atleast during these times like feeding the poor, helping someone in need etc, but as far as I know, I haven’t seen any hindu festival propagate this. Either the time is spent uselessly decorating the house with ridiculously-expensive flowers (flower rates at festivals=normal rates * 10 ) and cooking fatty stuff for already fat people, or bursting crackers and polluting the atmosphere more than it already is, or immersing idols made of all sorts of poisonous chemicals in lakes which are on the verge of drying out!
3) There is a festival called Nag panchami. I think its celebrated across South India. In Karnataka, people perform a ritual where they do pooja to the ant-hill (supposedly, the snakes live there). The pooja is so hazardous to the snakes that I’m sure they would’ve abandoned these anthills long long ago. Hundreds of people keep pouring milk, ghee, eggs n what not into the hole. Even if a snake is, by chance, taking rest or something inside, it would’ve choked to death! Is this how we worship? I have seen some snake expert in some regional news channel advising people not to do all this, and by doing so, they are endangering wildlife.
4) Then, icing over the cake is how all the political parties take leverage of mass festivals like Ganesh Chaturti etc and put up pandals all over Mumbai, disrupting traffic and a good night’s sleep (Whole night they’ll be singing bollywood, kollywood, whateverwood songs! ) I mean what is the point!?!
5) Why can’t we celebrate Mother earth? I’m sure people will come up with ideas to do some pooja in their ground floor and litter the whole place, but I’m talking about keeping the place clean, not use plastic, take small steps to prevent global warming n things like that. Why does it always have to be a pooja? There are other ways to celebrate
6) Then there is the famous ‘homam/havan’. I have seen people doing this at the drop of a hat. Most of the times I’ve been to these ceremonies, its more/less like a rave party. Its hazy and unclear. Half the time, I’m coughing and the remaining time, wiping off tears.
And to add insult to injury, they say all these things are part of their “CULTURE”. Whole of India hides behind this seven letter word. Whatever you say or question, you are met with an answer, “It is a part of our culture”, “It is not a part f our culture”
Anyway, I don’t care if my opinion matters to anyone. I just want people to understand , think and know what they are doing.
Until next time, have a great time celebrating festivals!