Friday, September 09, 2016

Festival Season

It is festival season in Mumbai, and it is a busy season in our household as well.  If I understand correctly, festival season lasts from mid-August until the end of October.  It coincides with the end of the monsoon and some of the nicest weather of the year, and Mumbai particulary ramps it up for the 10-day long festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh.  While Mumbai has been decorating and drumming and parading idols through the streets, our family has been celebrating birthdays and attending sport tournaments and dance classes, finishing the unpacking and the painting and the hanging, and preparing to transition into a two-income family.  On top of the busy-ness of our household and the busy-ness of the season, our housekeeper had to go away after the tragic death of her mother just as multiple things began to break down in the house.  Our driver has to spend a few days in court because his landlord is trying to displace the neighborhood.  Contradictions are ever-present in India, even within our house.  While the community celebrates, our household begins to crumble, but the energy from the dancers and the intense drum beats is infectious and I'm still in love with this city.

Tonight is the fifth night of the festival, and many different community groups paraded their idol through the neighborhood, apparently toward the sea.  This group passed slowly by our house.

As I followed them up our street, I noticed a much larger group at the intersection up ahead.  In the darkness of the photo, you can see the idol's carriage covered in flowers on the right.  There is a large truck with lights and a sound system on the left.  Dancers and revelers are in between.

I followed them to the road that runs alongside the sea, where they turned into traffic and filled the street with their music and their dance.  That's where I turned around.

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