Yesterday was Aayudha Pooja. This was the first time in the decade that we switched from government service to private entrepreneurship that I haven’t been there for Aayudha Pooja at our office and various sites, having headed out of town for some togetherness time with my daughter. It is a day to connect up with clientele, and also express gratitude to the various implements that assist one’s livelihood and enhance the quality of life. Our cars are a very integral and intimate part of our lives- adorning them with flowers and leaves expresses our affection for them, with the reciprocal hope that our personal journeys will be safe, and that these beauties will not sustain much wear and tear themselves in the process of lending us mobility.
The historian in me sees this festival as a symbolic commemoration of civilisation’s dawn- that humans who lived in trees and caves had moved from the stone age to the iron age. We tend to take this development for granted, but enormous evolutionary and technological advances would have been required to mine minerals and thereafter fashion them into tools of agriculture and weaponry.
Perhaps no other era of mankind has used iron and steel so intensively as our own- for construction, automobiles and all the accessories of living. The mining scams and their associated political consequences emanating from the world’s insatiable need for these metals only prove my point. Think about it- even the Maoist insurgencies raging in different corners of India are finally about the ownership and control of mineral rich territories. Mankind, having grown on the versatile strength of metals, should now adopt a prudent and conservationist approach in the use of these precious resources, and Aayudha Pooja is a fitting day to take such a pledge.
Today is Vijayadashami, symbolically a victory of good over evil. I would personally see it as a time to allow positive growth oriented energies to surge forward and overcome the negative energies that dictate weakness and passivity.
The festive season is also a time to celebrate the richness of Indian textile and clothing traditions. It is probably a bright spot in the calendar for Indian textile craftsmen reeling under the onslaught of globalized fashion trends. If comfort and convenience suggest a practical look for other times, festivities dictate that we turn ethnic with a vengeance. Garba and Dandiya are great natural work outs for all the rich eating that goes with the social gatherings of the season.
So here’s wishing all my family and friends a Happy Dussehra.
– Giselle Mehta