I woke up with the incessant barking of our dog and got out of bed since I couldn’t carry on with my sleep with such disturbance. Rubbing my eyes, I looked at my watch and it was already over nine. I wondered why nobody woke me up. I felt that no one was there at home. Thinking so I got up to prepare my breakfast but then I saw that everyone was at home, busy with their own work. My grandparents were busy with the 'Pooja' that happens every morning but today it was lengthier. My mom as usual was busy with her daily routine of cooking food but today the meal didn’t seem like the one she used to cook daily like the one we always have as usual. May be she was expecting some guests. Then I ran into my father who was busy cleaning here and there! Cleaning the house??? Now this is something very rare to see. I don’t remember the last time he cleaned the house. My brother; he was all set to go out with his brand new fancy clothes, looking the best I have seen him in ages. I don’t know why but today I found the whole environment very different. Which leads me to one question, is something special today? Am I unaware of something that is happening around? As I was thinking I got a call from a friend who wanted me to accompany her for shopping. So after a late breakfast, I went out with her.
To my amusement the always empty and not too crowded shops and markets were all buzzing with a whole lot of people. Everyone seemed to be in a jolly mood, which once more made me wonder, as I still didn't have any idea about any thing happening around me. While we were shopping around on the way, a group of children came out of nowhere running, and stumbled upon us. My friend shouted at them while I was thinking why these kids were running so carelessly? As I looked at those kids running away I noticed that they were looking at the sky as they were speeding and then I noticed something falling down swiftly as a feather plummeting from the sky. At first I couldn’t make out what the falling object was but after a while I recognized it. It was a ‘Changa’. It was then that I realized it was late September which meant the kite flying season; Dashain, the most auspicious and biggest festival of the Nepalese people was not very far off. Everything happening around was the celebration of this holy festival.
According to the Hindu mythology, Dashain is celebrated as a victory of the good over the wicked demons. People of all castes and religions; Nepalese celebrate this festival. This is the time when the reunion of nearby and distant relatives occur in every household. The beauty of this festival is getting together with the relatives and having a good time with them. Dashain isn't just a festival but it’s a celebration of togetherness. And I realized that it was Dashain only after I saw some kids running after the ‘Changa’. I never forget Valentines Day or the Friendship Day, how could Dashain slip out of my mind? I think it’s more to do with various reasons, social differences and particularly the western influence due to which the importance of this festival is decreasing and people tend to forget this great festival just like I did.
Walking ahead, we saw a crowd of people. Wondering what it was for, we headed towards it. No prize for guessing, it was gambling going on there. People were gambling with huge amounts of money. Almost all of them were drunk. Gambling has become an important part of any festival for us. It wouldn't have been wrong if people use a limited amount of money and probably with the family members. For those who have won, Dashain would be great to celebrate but those who lose will obviously have a sad one. While shopping, I realized that the price of goods were comparatively higher. Despite higher rates, people were still buying goods because it was Dashain. Which made me think, is it necessary that people only need to buy accessories only at the time of Dashain? For those who can afford, it's not a big deal but for those who cannot afford, what about them? It would be very difficult for them to manage with their meager incomes. Then I saw people buying goats, chicken, ducks and sheep, which in my view is the worst part of Dashain. These innocent animals will eventually be slaughtered with the outrageous belief that god blesses the ones sacrificing in his ‘name’. Aren’t everything and every living being god’s creation? Would an artist be happy seeing his creation being destroyed? Then how can god be pleased with the slaying of his own creation? It is an irrational belief that leads to the death of those innocent animals. We still follow this because other people around us haven't stopped it either. We have a habit of copying things what others do; just like the way we celebrate Dashain, if the people around us celebrate it in an expensive way then even we want to do the same. In my opinion these are all the negative aspects of Dashain, which makes it more of a nuisance than a festival.
Well after a tiring day, I returned home and I saw that some of my relatives and family friends had gathered at home and all of them were gambling and some were quite drunk too. It did not take me long m
e to find out that a goat and a chicken had been slaughtered at home. I certainly didn’t expect that; at least not in ‘my’ home. I realized another thing; that if we want to change something around us, we need to change ourselves first. It is very easy to advice someone but it is equally difficult to follow the same advice given to himself. In spite of having all those limitations and negative aspects, Dashain is still the most awaited and exclusively celebrated festival of all Nepalese. Let’s hope this Dashain isn’t just another reason to gamble, to get drunk, to kill animals and to spend our hard earned money on unnecessary things; but let’s make it an opportunity and reasons to smile, to cherish, to get together with the family, near and dear ones and to maintain peace. Alright, it’s time to hit the bed now but no one wished me on the occasion of Dashain and I am not surprised at all. If it had been Friendship or Valentines Day, there would have been lots of people to wish me but hey it’s only Dashain about which people these days are less bothered. Anyway, what if no one else wishes me? I wish myself and all of you a very happy and prosperous Dashain. ‘Bijaya Dashami Ko Mangal Mai Shuvakamana’
and good night!!