Will you be my friend? Let’s play together or else saying can I share your toys; I gather that’s how you make friends as a child I never had to do it consciously because no introduction or formality was required of “us” living in the paradox of insider and outsider. Though the friendship of such kind never existed beyond that of playmates for which I am entirely to blame. Nonetheless, I never had a shortage of friends.
My elder brother and I are children of a nuclear family who also happened to study in separate boarding schools far away from home. On top of it all, we came home only three times a year two of the holidays were of 10 days or less, the third one was unusually long it stretched to 3months it was our year-end holidays also popularly called winter holidays. Since 3 months were a way too long for just to be kept busy by TV, books and games we needed friends to play with; for which we needed to socialize. I can’t say for my brother but for me, it was an awful process.I hated the nuisance of the process of making friends and even more that I had to keep my opinions aside but I loved having friends. The dilemma that weighed my tiny brain, Sigh!
When you are just beginning to get tired of the holidays comes the time to celebrate “Saraswati Puja” the goddess of education also known as Vasant Panchami, is a Hindu spring festival. It is observed on the fifth day of the Indian traditional calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of January or February. It was a big deal then and even now among the school going age kids here. the whole celebration was only managed by the kids and obviously a little guidance from the adults. It was important that all kids opinionated or not kept all their difference aside. Relatively unknown kids became such fast friends that it would confuse anyone that if we told them that before “the process” we didn’t know of each other’s existence.
The kids from both sides of the street came together because a lot had to be done in such a short time. Some of the of them were;
- To choose the all-important venue. It should be next to the street but not disturb the traffic, it should have enough open space to make a tent; etc
- Collect money from donations.
- Make the important budget
- Buy the idol, the food offering, Prasad, decorative stuff for the tent; etc
- Get electricity from the nearby house
- Work together to make the tent and decorate.
- Distribute prasad to everyone who came big or small
- So many small big things
So in the end of the puja, we were still little kids but filled with the confidence that though we are small collectively we can do big things and while having fun in work friends will be made too! Happy Swarsati puja.