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Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Ramlila at Chembur

Navaratri is the celebration of victory over evil. Whether it is the Devi slaying Mahishasura or Rama slaying Ravana, the theme remains the same, though the players might change. It is interesting to note that in the southern, eastern, and western parts of the country, it is the Devi who is revered, while it is mostly in the north that Ram takes centre stage. No matter what the gender bias, stories are always fun, which is why I dragged a reluctant Samhith from his Percy Jackson book, to see a real hero in action... or at least, a hero on stage - at our local Ramlila.


My memories of Ramlila date back to more than three decades, and, naturally, are rather hazy. Our local Ramlila can be said to be mediocre at best, and we have always lacked the patience to sit through the hamming till the local politicians turn up (usually hours late) and give the go ahead for the burning of Ravana. This year, however, I was determined, and having decided a time which I believed was soon enough without being too early, we set off, and, miraculously, found a chair to sit on too! 

That's the main cast on the main part of the set, with a backdrop which doubles up as both, Ayodhya as well as Lanka


The rendering of the epic might have been uninspiring, but the final fireworks were certainly worth the wait!!! Let me take you through our experience, in pictures....

Ravana, all set, to be burnt... and the crowd enjoying the Ramlila


Rama and Hanuman, among others, enjoying the play of words between two other characters


Rama and Lakshmana looking on as Ahi Ravan ponders over what to do with them


A bit of fun, which everyone enjoys immensely! That's Ahi Ravan lifting Lakshmana



Does he need an introduction?
There is just one ten headed character in all of our epics... Ravana



That's part of the crew which makes it possible - the music team, and the buffoon on the right, who lightens up the mood and drags on the play while waiting for our inevitably late politicians!

And that's the crowd.... Can you imagine turning up just in time for the burning, and finding a place to sit? On a chair? Yep! Thats how lucky we were!!


And here is another view of the music troupe


Rama challenging Ravana for the final battle. At last, the end is in sight!!


And the arrow is lit!!


The target is all set. with a rope running from the stage to the effigy


The arrow on its way...


unerringly towards its target!


Ravana is hit!!
Though it is no surprise, you would think it was, from the cheer that goes up!!


I must admit, it is exciting to see Ravana burn!!!


And as he burns, Samhith, all excited now, climbs up on the chair and directs what pics I am to take. These are all on his instructions, for I can barely see above the crowd which is now standing high above me!


It is amazing to see how quickly Ravana burns! And with so little danger to the crowd!


It is a fascinating sight!!


As the fire overcomes Ravana


literally eating him up!


The skeleton is now visible, and Samhith's excitement is palpable!!


What a sight this is!


Even as organisers shout to the crowd, to keep safe distance,
the cheering is what we can hear, not the announcement!


Within minutes, its all over!!


This is all that's left!


Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman, sit forlonly on the throne, awaiting the coronation scene. The announcers are busy announcing - that the Ramlila is not over. Ram has yet to be crowned king. But the crowd is too busy gawking at Ravana (and honestly, so are we! ) 


The firecrackers only add to the excitement. And I am so proud of myself for this shot!!! First time I have managed it!!

And one last one, before we set out, hoping to find an auto to take us back home!!
That was a wonderful experience, and one I hope will excite Samhith enough to want to go see another one!!! And that is how Navaratri ended for us, with a spectacular fireworks celebration for Dusshera! Now to wait another year for this time to come again!!!

Comments

  1. Hey! I didn't even know this happened! Why didn't you tell me about the local Ramlila when I was in Chembur? I would have tried to go and see it :( Good to see you and Samhith had fun! Thanks for the pics

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    1. I didnt know it either, Usha. or we could have gone together. read about it in the paper and went 2 years back, but the chief guests were late, and it just went on and on and on.. got bored and left. then last year, went late, only to realise that it was all over... so this year went a bit earlier and caught it at last!!! plan a trip next year.. will go and see it everyday!

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