A Different Kind of Dasai - REDENDRON - Art meets Culture

A Different Kind of Dasai

My grandmother remembers a different kind of dasai,

She talks about old sunny skies,

A time when the golden rays smiled upon her face,

When the breeze spoke of the valiant goddess,

When the earth rejoiced every Autumn,

She remembers a different kind of dasai.

My grandmother smiles wistfully at me,

Her old, green eyes crinkle and smile upon my dull brown ones,

She spins me tales of a happier time,

A simpler time.

She speaks of new beginnings and old customs,

She speaks of a dasai celebrated with fervour,

She remembers a different kind of dasai.

My father joins us,

He speaks of the dasai he remembers,

Of endless feasts and bloodlust,

Of pumpkins being smashed to the ground before goats,

He talks of his grandfather drawing horns,

Carving little devil pumpkins, smeared in blood.

I can only imagine for I’ve never seen it,

My father, he remembers a different kind of dasai.

My mother is excited,

I can see the glee in her eyes,

She starts telling me her stories,

Her eyes go back in time,

Only her voice is here; but she isn’t.

She’s in her mellifluous past,

She’s remembering a different kind of dasai.

She talks about her folks gripped with frenzy,

Villagers gathering to clear up roads,

Cleaning the paths, cleaning their houses,

Cleaning the neighborhood, cleaning their souls.

The goddess is approaching,

There’s a different delight,

She remembers a different kind of dasai.

She speaks of tall swings being constructed,

Huge feasts prepared.

Mutton with gravy, roasted ducks, and chicken.

Bellies over stuffed,

Hearts overjoyed and foreheads smeared blood red.

She remembers going to bed exhausted and complete.

She smiles at me mournfully,

She remembers a different kind of dasai.

My own memories aren’t that loud and vivid,

I remember a fading tradition, choking to stay alive.

I do remember the childish glee about collecting money,

I do remember the way I counted days before my school shut for holidays,

“Just three more days until Puja vacation.” I can still hear my girlfriends screaming.

I remember a little different kind of dasai.

Cousins streaming in our houses lessening with time,

The hurry to meet relatives on either side of family subsided now with video calls,

The smell of curd and red rice smeared on my forehead; that’s the only constant.

Being served red aloo dum and kata nimki,

Everyone’s a little tired and a little angsty,

Everyone’s busy and some are out of town.

I remember a different kind of dasai.

It’s no less precious though,

Perhaps modernity is for the best,

Bloodlust isn’t the best for animal rights,

And over population has made everyone a little too busy surviving.

We’re all rightfully exhausted and busy,

Video calls are kind of a boon; let’s admit.

Man cannot afford to stay behind time, we all know that.

As long as I’ve got tika on my forehead,

I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

Change is the only constant,

It’s alright I suppose,

To celebrate a different kind of dasai.

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9 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Dasai”

  1. Ya,i agreed that we all are busy now a days bt when we talk about family or friends, nothing more than that….if we haven’t hoidays on diwali or any of cultural functions we should go home to meet our grand parents…they waited for us for a long time ….n now i m speechless to explain this becoz i love my grany more than my parents….she is my whole world ….n cllge assignment holidays nothing matters me …..than her………she is my life.💙go home and surprise your family…..m sure your presence will be the best different kind of dasai ❤️😻

    • Yeah we all do have busy schedules and it’s hard to take time out. I did go for dasai and there’s always someone missing. But that’s the beauty of this modern world, eh? Thankyou so much for your sweet words ❤️💓.

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