Vani’s Musings

Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category

By Usha B R

River Arkavathi’s Banks containing white sand would be smeared with guLal and other colors…. …. Yes it was Holi, a holy day and a holiday for my school too.

Holi is a weeklong festival in our hometown. I really do not know how holi became such a grand festival celebrated in our small town. I am talking about the celebrations existed about 20 years back It is still fresh in my mind.

In January as soon as Sankranthi and YeLLu Bella distributions were through, natives of the town would start collecting the firewood and other wood articles and hide in their backyards. Does it sound funny? Yes, I am sure it does, but they had to do so to safeguard their articles…. As Holi was near…

Holi called as Kamana Habba in Karnataka, also called as HoLiya huNNime in some places. I am reminded of a very famous song sung by P KaLinga Rao:
“HoLiya huNNime bandhidhe..idhu bannada kaNNanu tandidhe… JeekuLi OkuLi bandidhe… idhu gokulada savinenapu tandidhe”.

Kamana habba would be celebrated in two phases .A gang of children and teens that are called Kamannana MakkaLu…KamaNNa’s children, would team up a week or fortnight earlier to study the town’s backyards and storage places of the houses where they would get abundant firewood. By the way this gang used to be headed by the enterprising and smart teenager and who would have entire data of the town and this team always used to work secretly and nobody knew how they would collect info.

Their khoofia operations would then attack the collections …. Be it clothes left in the back yard or the firewood .. they used to shout slogans (Kamannana MakkaLu…kaLLa soole MakkaLu.. enenu kaddaru.. soudhe samanu kaddaru… yellindha kaddaru… they would name the house where they flicked it from ) go on a procession after they flicked the articles from each house and deposit them in the place allocated for the fireworks.

All the girls would compete with each other for writing rangoli intrinsic geometric designs of India used for decorations in the front yard of the house or festivities. Rangoli would be drawn at the location after cleaning up the whole place… I used to be amazed with the amount of co-operation everyone shows at this time to decorate the place. These preparations would begin from late afternoon and thee fireworks location would be ready by evening.

Then the procession of boys disguised as “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” would begin asking for help from each house and inviting them to participate for the events … Here my pen fails to express the kind of creativity of humor those boys used to display while talking to people of each house.

I remember one year, the “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” set of in a scooter to meet everyone.. it was hilarious his story that year. He had married her recently , his father in law had gifted him a scooter as dowry. She had since become very demanding and that he is fed up with her torture and that all have to help him to get rid of her and get him a new wife whom he’s already selected.

At this, KamaNNa’s wife “Rathi” started crying and pleading all women to help her save her marriage and if he betrayed her she would ask Shiva to burn him 🙂 etc.

Disguises used to be marvelous and it used to be like a suspense thriller to guess the “Rathi”.

By night all would come back to the location of fireworks, KamaNNa’s pyre would be ready by then. After pooja performed by the priest “KamaNNa” and “his wife” Rathi” would go round the pyre and also chase each other, then the priest would go to rescue them.

They would end up trying to push the priest into the fire 🙂 and he would run for his life.

After these funny incidents, the priest would perform aarathi and once the priest was carried after mangaLarthi before lighting the pyre by one of the boy.

It was fun.

Once the pyre was lit, everyone clapped, danced and went round the fire and later the charpu was distributed. All of the youngsters that day would get to stay up late in the night near the fireworks ,we would continue fun watching hilarious performances and exchange instances which were amazing that day.

Next day, buckets would be filled with water and color ready in each house and kept in the front yard and the gang of Kamannana MakkaLu use to set out in the morning to play in colors and each house were supposed to participate.

Everyone splashed colors, water and dance the whole day in this town and this period the newly weds of the town would be the main targets and the butt of practical jokes; and that house had to supply Juice and fresh eatables to the gang as treat. By the late afternoon all used to assemble near Arkavathi’s banks to wash of their colors and return home …to get ready for the evening celebrations.

The Shetty angadi situated in the corner of our town Main Road –M G Road would have got emptied 2 days and completely clean and ready for arrangements of KamaNNana and other gods. Children of the town would decorate the dolls each day on various mythology topics and everyday upto 7 days the pooja rituals would go on along with the colorful programs.

Truly KaNNige habba, the KamaNNana habba was, and all of us used to eagerly wait for the next year… soon to arrive…. yes yes for “HOLI”

By Usha B R

Bangalore was once known as the “Garden City of India”… yes folks, it “was”…the name no longer fits now. Now Bangalore is more famous as a “Shopper’s Paradise”, it is more a  mall city with growing  multiplexes, shopping malls and  super bazaars .  There is an increasing-shopping spree  among the  young generation in the city. In the evenings all the shopping areas once that used to be filled only  during festive  seasons are fully crowded  everyday. Though I wonder what people need to buy everyday. In my childhood I remember  we  used to shop only twice or thrice a year for clothes, once monthly for groceries and home needs and  once weekly for veggies  and other perishable commodities. All other  daily needs were supplied  direct to our houses  by small vendors. I hardly remember visiting  any hotels in those days. Going  to watch a movie or a sport  was a  mega event  at home. 

Now everything’s  changed. A weekly outing consists of shopping,  a movie,  a dinner or a luncheon . It is compulsory to enjoy weekends, sometimes  more so because of competition among  known  circles than anything else.

 I am shocked to watch steep increase in daily needs day by day , I wonder  where this lavish living is heading. And how are these malls marketing their goods?  Display of luxurious items  in each showroom lure the  prospective  buyer. Expensive gifts and toys for the children are displayed in malls and parents  are forced to buy them out of competition than affordability.  Just an outing brings back the common man home  with a  minimum of 4-5  big carry bags , insignificant of whether what he buys is of use to him or not. Dining outside regularly is increasing,  which has created  health problems at  early age. Engaging themselves in parties regularly has become status symbol among  young generation.   Not only this, consumerism is also bringing in an unhealthy attitude of  indifference among the younger generation. Wastage of food and water  in gatherings is common.  There is a developing  indiscipline  among children, parents are  not educating them about  the value  of  money.  Display of latest  gadgets and lavish spending  is common everywhere. A Cell phone is no longer used as a mode of communication. It is more a fashion accessory. Because this so called  “Showkee” generation has emerged, the manufacturers and sellers have grown utilizing the opportunity and  Ironically creating a wide gap between rich and poor.  Poor are still struggling to make a decent living in localities of India with increase of cost for daily consumables . 

It is time to sit back and  think for a moment. When  our elder generation was able to manage the house, children’s  education, festivities, marriages and  other events,  seniors’ health care etc in one person’s  income (In most cases mother  was a homemaker) in those days and  yet lead a contented life,  why can’t  we?  Where are we erring?