Wednesday, January 13, 1999
|Ringing out the cold
By Peeyush Agnihotri
Sunder mundriye..., bonfires, peanuts and gachak. Lohri, which usually falls on January 13(Pausa) every year, is more than just a festival. It is about fun, celebration and the coming together of all, big and small.
Song of Lohri
When Lohri generated warmth
CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 What can be the result of the amalgamation of instant food and MTV cultures? A new kind of Lohri in which the only thing from the tradition is lighting a bonfire.
Lohri is just another occasion for friends to dress up and get together at night and have fun. What is fun? Eat, drink and dance. With a slight difference from the normal `fun time'-- in the eats, the menu is mainly roasted groundnut, pop corn and an assortment of the sugar/ jaggery and til/ dry fruit concoction called gachak and reori and bhugga. And dance is around a bonfire. Venue? Could be home or a club. If it's a club, great. Then you have to do nothing. Just go there and most club managements would provide you with the necessary entertainment, maybe even at a discount!
No problem if you don't have access to one or even if you live in a colony of the concrete jungle called flats. After all, it's festive time. You have the licence to get together and light a fire in the middle of the road or a community park, put on the stereo at a blasting volume and get on with it. What? Neighbours, you said? Well ! Can't help it. If they don't wonna have a good time, not our fault. We want to.
This stance leaves the older generation and the middle one, which is neither here nor there, with little choice. They can only remember the "good old days when Lohri generated warmth from not only the bonfire but also the camaraderie developed by friends, neighbours and relatives beating the chill by the warmth of togetherness."
Neighbourhood children singing "Sundar mundariye....." and collecting items from door-to-door is increasingly becoming a rarity. Only in case of the "first Lohri" after a birth or a marriage in the family is the festival celebrated in households. Then, too, it is a somber affair. Not the sound of music of pop stars Daler Mehndi, Jasbir Jassi, Jojo, Phalguni etc. drowning the exchange of family gossip for them.
Come to think of it, perhaps, one of these musicians could actually come out with pop a "remix" of the "Sundar mundariye........ Hukka bhai hukka.... Lohri do ji lohri.." rap and keep the culture alive in a way that the youngsters understand and relate to.
Look at it either way, traders are having a good business ( though they claim otherwise ) and to get premium quality bhugga, costing over Rs 100 a kg, you may have to stand in a queue or as it happened at a leading Sector 34 sweetmeat shop today at 12 noon-- "Please come again at 3. The morning stock is finished."
Shopkeepers have put up stalls to sell the Lohri items and people are buying by the boxful. The Sector 2 6 Grain Market is full of the stuff, available at much cheaper rates than your own sector market. Groundnut that you normally get for Rs 40 per kg can be had at less as Rs 20 to Rs 35 in Sector 26. Wood for the bonfire can be bought from the Timber Market at Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 per kg.
Dr Sarabjit Kaur says:
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