Prom Nights are one of the most sought after occasions among the high school students of USA. There are no bones about it that one would never miss such an opportunity to look in their best avtar. And boos to teen films that add to the ever expanding hysteria circling around prom nights. This has created a sudden kind of urge for teenage students not studying in ‘prom-celebrating’ schools to join in in such a hard to miss and once in a lifetime experience.
But let’s dive into the South Asian nation of India-somewhere close to my heart, in the state of Assam. Even Prom nights will be acting wimpish as to what we celebrate here- the much desired Saraswati Puja. Just as the New Year approaches, each student’s head gets stacked with the nagging problem of wearing a unique attire, yet merging with everybody’s. And consider how less talked about is the big, fat fact of the silent and creeping competition among the ‘fashionistas’ to be unique…and well, just like everybody else. No one spares anything to appear as someone faaaaaaar away from what they actually look like.
Most girls take their time off to rummage through their wardrobes or around shopping marts. Boys become oblivious to school norms, refusing to cut their hair for the look of D Day. No one looks the same, not at all of what they appear donning up their regular uniforms. Girls and boys cladded in traditional attires and packed in a ginormous crowd of rainbow colors can give a first time observant of this festival a really hard time.
Hidden truth is that Saraswati Puja still remains the unofficial Valentines Day of Assam. This is the day of the hush-hush lovers, who elopes whenever a never-expected-nor-invited teacher patrols the ‘hideout’ (This auspicious occasion is mainly celebrated in educational institutes). Singles too have their merriment if they happen to have a big appetite, the food carts bordering the streets always provide them their coveted sanctuaries. Friends catch up on friends, tiny tots have serendipitously, marvellous recollections in their kitties. It’s a great day for, literally, anybody.
But, quite sadly, the biggest drawback of today’s Saraswati Puja can be well witnessed by the Generation X. The very reason that has made us celebrate this festival is not the primary and the sole reason as to why students look forward to this day.
The festival is when many students usually pray for a happy school life and better marks, well, mostly whirling around better results. Since education has a great role to make the world a better place, this ritual can never be disposed off, for Goddess Saraswati is the embodiment of profound knowledge and art. But today’s scenario out there is pitiful, and perhaps, hardly any student attends this puja to seek Her divine blessings.
Yet undoubtedly, this is a festival that runs in our blood, which is never painted with any religious colours. Just as what Devi Saraswati epitomises, this is one peaceful occasion that has blended with our culture. And one always hopes that the fervour and gutso that grip many of us never ever cease to exist.