Indians are famous for their love for aplomb. Every milestone in our life is an excuse to party. We don’t buy a bicycle without feeding the village. For a life well-lived, we celebrate even death in grandeur. Eastern India, where I belong to, is notoriously addicted to festivities. Baro Mashe Tero Parbon (13 Festivals in 12 months) is more than an adage, it’s our life’s mission. In the last few decades, the world has shrunk neatly into www, and has invaded our living rooms, bedrooms, studies, and hallways. Obviously, we have been scanning the global culturama, hunting for celebrations that happen in our downtime. We are ready to adopt any and all that fill the festival-free holes in our calendar. No matter how much that peeves the keepers of our heritage, we refuse to pass up a chance to be merry.
The Ones that Enthrall Us
We have been eyeing Thanksgiving for some time now. Since F.R.I.E.N.D.S made the festival look like a love child of Diwali and Christmas. The turkey was not so easily available in the Indian market a couple of years back, and we are not extraordinarily fond of the pumpkin. Otherwise, we would have flooded the WhatsApp environment with Thanksgiving ki Shubhkamnayein much earlier. Coming to India next season, same time as the USA!
We were also deeply motivated by the Tomatina festival until someone pointed out that India ranks 100 among 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index. We have quietly made cocktail parties a part of our wedding rituals. When there’s an open bar, no one complains about hunger.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, excites us more than Halloween. Dressing up – check, escaping reality – check, supernatural and eerie – check, food and sweets – Bingo! This was custom-made for Indian sensibilities.
Halloween has made its way to India. You know it has, when Gauri Khan, the Queen of India’s party people, throws the season opener three days before the festival. And, when Scroll publishes an article dissing the imitation of the West. I was confused whether the behavior was more mindless, or the article itself.
Just to make it clear, Halloween is not India’s introduction to the celebration of the Dead. We had our Bhoot Chaturdashi in Bengal before the first whiffs of Halloween enthralled us. Kids were threatened with the Daakini Jogini who roamed the streets free, on the eve of Kali Puja every year. But, there is such ingenuity in becoming Dakini herself and getting high on fear, instead of being subsumed by it. You have got to give it up for Halloween. It makes a mockery of horror better than M. Night Shyamalan does.
If we are into adopting the best of the West, and losing our cool over some imported festival, it best be Halloween. It’s my one chance to go to a party without makeup on, and call it my scary avatar. Haters back off!
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