On the 23rd of February, India will celebrate Maha Shiv Ratri and I will get yet another holiday this month. This is one reason I really love India. We get holidays for the most insane of reasons. I have never bothered to know why and how this festival is celebrated. But a casual conversation with my mother and now I know a whole lot about this festival.
My mother told me that this a festival of mischief. Maha Shiv ratri gave pranksters the license to do whatever they wanted. In her village, teenagers used to sneak into the compound and steal things like pots and buckets which used to be lying outside, unattended. They used to then proceed to write the owners name on the pot with chalk and hide it somewhere nearby. The neighbourhood dogs were also apparently aware of this day. They used to turn a blind eye towards these pranksters and remain blatantly silent during the night. What followed the next day was a sort of treasure hunt. The ladies of the house used to head off in different directions searching for the 'stolen' goods. My mother recited to me many such tales with such excitement that I almost made up my mind to go to my village the next year for this festival and exchange tips with some of these pranksters. But unfortunately, my mother informed me that this doesn't happen anymore. The people of today have started taking offense to such acts. And that is what I feel plagues the world of today. We lack a sense of humour. We are so caught up with the hum drum of daily life that we fail to enjoy it. And we fail to look at the funnier side of things.
9 months ago