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Diwali mela: London ishtyle!

A quick glance at a poster advertising Diwai celebrations while driving through Ealing Road last month led to us standing in a gusty wind at 7:00 pm on a dull autumn evening last weekend. Even as the crowds gathered around me, I couldn't help thinking that I might possibly be the only mug who has travelled 30 miles to stand
there in that spot so assorted garishly dressed people could parade about the streets.

After trying different methods to keep ourselves warm - stomping feet, swinging our arms about, scoffing hot samosas - we finally heard the faint sounds of, wait for it, bagpipes! I really thought I was hearing things when this van with a massive figure of papier-mache Ganesha came slowly, leading the procession. Following at its heels were a number of desi bagpipers, replete with tika and all! Do not make the mistake of asking me what it was all about!

Next came floats in the form of the many and varied Indian gods and goddesses as well as children dressed up as gods children dressed up as gods, butterflies, peacocks and some other far out creations. There were also various Swami somebody or the other and their followers, singing bhajans and my personal favourite, three jolly characters, dressed as Ram, Lakshman and Sita, showering blessings on everybody in sight! The rear was brought up by another 'band', playing amongst other tunes, 'Lajja Lajja' and an auto advertising Sony Asia Max!

As most of the people standing around me followed the last of the 'floats', I decided to follow suit. I learnt along the way that we were en route to the park where the fireworks display was to be held. On we went, singing and dancing (well, in my case, prancing about trying not to step on my neighbour's toes yet again and earn one more hot glare) and finally entered Barham Park and therein, bedlam.

There were at least a squillion people there, everyone one of them hell bent on squashing my foot to dust in order to get two and a quarter steps ahead of me. Inside were the usual Fireworks night extra fittings - slides and rides for the little kiddies and the older ones as well as the cotton candy and hot dogs stands. But clearly audible well over all this racket was this stage.

With bass volume almost three times louder than the treble, music was pumping out of the massive speakers that flanked the stage. A handful of skimpily-clad teenage gyrated to the beats of Dus bahaane kar ke leh gaye dil while the assembled crowd seemed to go mad with every thump. When the MC announced that the next performer was to be Jassie Sidhu, the girl next to me, who was till then merely content with jogging my elbow and screeching in my ear to Nach Baliye, went catatonic and did her best to push me out of her way to get herself as close to the stage as possible.

I have to admit this was the first time I had even heard of this bloke and when he started belting out a bhangra number, it just sounded like the other songs of the same genre that I have heard before. But I am sure he was glad that the crowd didn't agree with me. He continued to enthrall them and then finally, at about 9pm, the fireworks display started. Bright sparks, in a myriad of different hues, took over the skies amidst shouts of 'Happy Diwali'.

Happy Diwali indeed!

Posted by DesiGirl 10:10 pm  

3 Comments:

  1. itchingtowrite said...
    ha ha did u enjoy it? LOL on your laundromat post...
    Anonymous said...
    happy diwali. and nice photos, though they look nothing like diwali!
    San said...
    Happy Diwali, lovely account of last years festivities

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