Scenes during the Ganapati Immersion procession on September 12, 2008: By Dibyajyoti Sarma
You have seen the drummers perform before. But, standing in the middle of the crowded Gurud Ganapati chowk at two o’ clock in the morning, with on-and-off drizzles falling on your head, and watching more than twenty drummers beating their massive dhols continuously for more than an hour was a different experience altogether. The sound of the drum reverberates in your heartbeats. You watch their smiling faces, their swaying bodies as they maneuvers their drums to create the music in unison, without a single false note. The sound takes you to a trance, and you experience how devotion turns into an aesthetic experience, something that the best of DJs with their fantastic foot-tapping music can hardly match.
DJs were, however, the flavour of the season. And they did not disappoint, even if you would have expected something better. There was inevitable 'Pappu can’t dance', there was perennial favourite 'Mungna', there was some blast from the past, Bango, bango, bango. And as long as you are coaxed to dance, who cares what music is playing. It was fun to watch youngsters grooving to 'Bango', a song they may not have heard previously. The DJs even made the revellers, who has come to bid farewell to their favourite god, shakes a leg a two. It was an experience to dance without a care to the world, on the road, where on an average day you find it difficult to even drive your vehicle. After that, you don't mind the policeman pushing you to walk ahead.
Near Appa Balwant chowk, a mandal was taking out the procession in the evening, when the float was stopped by a branch of a tree perilously coming closer to hit the idol. Not to worry, an overenthusiastic mandal worker took the task upon himself to deal with the situation. He climbed up the tree in an attempt to bend the branch so that the float can pass. Lo and behold, the branch was sturdy and the man ended up dangling on the branch, holding on to his dear life. Soon, all the revelries stopped as everyone looked upwards to enjoy the tamasha midair, with the man dangling from a height from which he cannot even jump down, and with his friends trying varied methods to get him to safety.
The drummers of one mandal was engrossed in their performance that it was late before they could realise that another band of drummers was just behind them. As the sound of both the bands began to clash, the first mandal stopped their performance for a while just to gauge the beat of the second group. Then they began an improntu beat in sync with the second mandal. The synchronisation was amzaing as both the mandals continued to play for each other, and it was a double bill of entertainment for the audience.
The official video cameras apart, the Laxmi road saw hoards of amateur photographers clicking away with their digital camera, mobiles phones. Ganapati idols with their decorations and theme — from congratulatory posters of India's Olympic medal winners to CYG, from Tukaram ascending to heaven to Ganapati among the beautiful Apsaras — were the chief attractions. But it was the revellers dancing to the tune of music received most clicks.