It’s that time of the year when you climb on stools, creep under beds, cough and sneeze at dust-laden dolls that you fished out, and give some part of your house a makeover. Yes! It’s Dasara – those ten days of
holidays, Durga Pooja, Dandiya oh well! Those ten days of doll-keeping, putting-series-lights-outside-the-house and calling-fidgety-kids-home. My sister came over, to help arrange the dolls, because she was in this whole loop of excitement, having called 100 people home and done up a mini Amsterdam in her own house. It was 10pm when we got started.
Step 1 – Pull out old, extremely heavy trunks from under the bed. To do this, you require utmost strength. Or you require utmost ego to not back off while your show-offy skills have failed. You must go ahead and manage it, you’ll crack a hip, break your back, not much else. And not to mention, you must click a picture with shaky hands. (All this, thanks to a completely non-helpful dad who chooses to watch rubbish TV instead).
Step 3: Unveil Toy Land. The dolls may shade their eyes because of sudden bright light. Hence, to protect them, carry out this process during the night if possible. You are also likely to be in awe of rediscovering the same old dolls again. Calm down. You have a lot of work left. You’ll see them for the next ten days whether you like it or not. So move on.
Step 3: Collect the dolls in a coloured basket. They like colours. They love colours. If you use a plain brown basket, it’ll just feel like a normal day and none of the dolls will smile. If you use colours, you’ll also get nice pictures.
Step 4: Get these guys out. They are the heart of the set-up! Without them, there is no Dasara. Why? No clue. Wait. Let me read up… Ok found nothing on the Internet. But my uncle says, “Raja Rani only signify Lakshmi and Narasimha.” He speculates that it could also be because the concept of celebrating dasara with dolls originated in Mysore, 403 years back (1600’s), which was then ruled by kings and queens. And then he randomly went on to explain to me that Tipu Sultan was a greedy fellow who did fight for independence against the British but at the same time wanted to be the monarch of Mysore, which back then, extended till today’s Bellary and on the other side, till Sultan Bathery, which is now in Kerala. Phew! That’s something! Moving on.
Step 5: Bring out ALL flat objects from every nook and corner of your house. Cardboard boxes in which your dad has stored Castrol Oil, the box of the microwave oven you bought eight years ago, CAT, 2nd PU and Engineering text books, the table on which your massive keyboard is kept (because nobody cares about me having to find a tiny spot on the bed to sleep on, since I’ve to share it with this giant musical instrument), a few of those remaining metal planks you specifically got made for Dasara but your dad decided to take them to the garage, store his tools and make them immovable, all these help you form the steps that your dolls are going to sit on. Do remember that superstition has it that you must NOT have an even number of steps. It has to be either 3, 5, 7 or 9 steps.
Step 6: Cover it up with a white bed sheet. Nobody generally uses these white bed sheets except during Dasara. If a rat has chewed a nice hole through it, then go buy a new one, because a coloured cloth will just be non-Dasara-ish. You could also go lift one off a hotel room.
Step 7: Have a broken gramophone in your display.
Step 8: Ok just kidding. Get your dad to fix it. Give him some work. Seriously!
Step 9: Make up stories with each toy. Here, for instance, is a routine sighting in India. A pretty girl riding a bike, and a creepy guy ogling at her, sitting in his Vespa. (Supriya don’t get mad. I know you gifted me that creepy guy in sixth grade).
Step 10: Give him a girlfriend, shut him up.
Step 11: Add a few traditional dolls to the set-up. They’re the highlights. All these psuedo foreign made-in-China dolls are all just fillers. Dasara is nothing without the Dashavatara, the aforementioned Raja-Rani, a few dolls that constitute a village of some sort, showing daily activities like the churning of butter, etc, people bigger than the houses they live in, animals bigger than the forests they live in, a few dolls of Gods and Goddesses and whatever else you can think of. I, personally, would encourage you to keep absolutely anything you want, even something as absurd as a toilet paper roll or a broken cell phone, if you find the necessicity to, or if you can weave a story with it. My mom, though, wouldn’t encourage that so much. So I suggest, to keep everyone happy and satisfied, you confine yourself to that Harry Potter wand you made in tenth grade or giant tarantula toy you once bought to gift to your niece, but decided to keep it yourself, or your toy reptile collection.
Also, here are a few pictures from my sister’s and my cousin’s houses. My sister, like I said, was full enthu and made a mini Amsterdam, full with a hidden RLD and some marijuana and everything!
Also, my cousin made a cute little village, where babies are as big as cows. Oh the magical fantasies of Dasara!
That is what Dasara has been like for me this year. Would love to know how yours has been. Ok I’m kidding. Don’t bore me. Ok kidding again. You can show me pictures. :P
You could also read this blog that a second cousin of mine maintains. It’s REALLY good. She has written about Dasara and has some mindblowing pictures!
Ok go now! Go have fun at Dandiya or Durga Pooja! Keep it festive! :)