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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Navaratri 2010 - Day 10 - Part 2 - Dusshera

In my last post, Navatatri 2010 - Day 10 - Part1, I spoke about Vijayadasami, the conclusion of Navaratri. However, there's another aspect of the same day too, which is why this post is in two parts.

While Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the goddess, it is also associated with Lord Rama and his defeat of Ravana. All over the north, this event is celebrated on a grand scale as Ram Leela - the acts of Rama. Over nine days and nights, actors enact the roles of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Ravana, among the many characters of the Ramayana, living their parts as they play it. The tenth day or Dusshera is when this epic concludes with Lord Rama aiming an arrow at Ravana's heart, and an effigy of the dreaded asura goes up in flames.

I last attended Ram Leela as a kid when I was in Delhi, about Samhith's age, and don't remember much about it. The urge to see it again was great, but it didn't look possible, until this year, when I learnt that there was one being conducted quite near my house, albeit on a smaller scale than the more famous ones! Who cares about such insignificant matters anyway, if I could get to see one after ages! So off we went, Samhith and me.... his first Ram Leela, and mine, the first after ages! 

Here are a few images....

The stage with the characters playing Rama, Lakshmana and Vibheeshana on the left and Ravana on the right.


The good guys...


In action...


and here is Ravana's effigy - the one which will soon go up in flames....




Samhith enjoyed it a lot, which was quite a surprise, considering that he couldn't understand a word of the dialogues or the songs! Guess he just loved them sparring with weapons! Thats the main draw for the kids anyway, and the place was full of stalls selling swords and bow and arrows! I had a hard time steering Samhith clear of all that, and settled to buy him a flute and a horned head band instead!! Talk about compromises!

As it happened, we couldn't see Ravan go up in flames after all! The VIP who was expected to come and set off the arrow to kill Ravan was late, that too by more than an hour! The actors managed to keep up the tempo by indulging in extended war games, and entertaining the audience, and it was really fun, but unfortunately, I did not have an hour to simply lounge around while the VIP arrived, made his speeches and managed to get the arrow off. So, we decided to go back home. As Samhith mentioned, in a very grown up way, "At least we know that there is a Ram Leela here now, so we can come back again next year!"

Comments

  1. :) trust him to make such preternaturally grown-up 'compromises' BTW did you hear of the biggest VIPs of the country giving aarti to actors dressed up as Ram, etc at the biggest Ram-Leela in the country? My colleague and I were hunting for an adjective to describe that display when the discussion came up at the 'water-cooler' at work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome time
    what a fun Navrathri and surely the RamLila is the icing on the cake...
    way to go duo!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What fun Navrathri is.... I remember the Ramleela i saw in Delhi way back in 1994 .... Does bombay have this concept too???? :)

    been reading ur posts, but unable to comment via the ipod or bb for some reason!! been awesome fun sharing ur tales of Navrathri :))

    ReplyDelete

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