Eid, Durga Puja round the corner, but festive spirit missing

September 28th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) It’s the last weekend before Eid, which will be celebrated Oct 2, and Durga Puja, that starts the following weekend. The city, still reeling under the shock of yet another blast Saturday, is just not in the mood for merrymaking and shopping - something that is an integral part of the festivities.Exactly two weeks after Delhi was split with coordinated blasts, leaving 24 dead and over a 100 injured, there was another explosion in the Mehrauli Serai market area in south Delhi which killed two and left 18 injured.

For a city that is still limping back to normal, the festive spirit of Eid, or Durga Puja and Dussehra, seems to lack the usual fervour.

The mood in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi, where the shootout with the police Sep 19 killed two suspected terrorists and also a Delhi Police inspector, is sombre.

“I just don’t feel as if Eid is around the corner,” said Asma Sheikh, a college student and resident of Jamia Nagar.

“Generally the preparations for Eid start a week before the D-day. There’s shopping to be done - not just for ourselves but for the entire extended family- food items, clothes, shoes…the list is endless. But this year, things are different. No one ventures out late at night, the shops near Zakir Nagar are almost empty- the charm is simply missing,” Sheikh told IANS.

Raquib Khan, a teacher in the same area, similarly said that Eid seems to have been reduced to just becoming another date on the calendar.

“Life has changed drastically over the past few weeks. First there were the serial blasts in the city which killed so many innocents, then there was the shootout, then the endless hounding by the police and the media of the people of this area and now, another blast.

“Amid all this, where is the spirit to celebrate? And celebrate what? I have told my wife and kids not to go shopping in the crowded places. We generally go to Lajpat Nagar for shopping, but not this time,” Khan said.

Most people have also decided to keep away from markets on weekends as the explosions appeared to be timed for Saturdays.

Shyama Chakrabarty, a public relations executive, said that she has not yet started her shopping for Durga Puja. But instead of doing that over the weekend, she has reserved all of that for the weekdays.

“It’s scary the way one after the other the blasts are happening on weekends. Durga Puja is next week and I haven’t even started shopping, but no matter what I am not going to the market on the weekend. I might as well spare one hour every day for shopping through the week,” she said.

Sanchari Das, who works in an NGO, said that the charm of Durga Puja celebrations will be somewhat missing this time since she and her family will avoid going to the crowded Puja Pandals.

“The charm of visiting the various Puja pandals, dressed in our best fineries and feasting all the way, is different and eagerly looked forward to. This time however, we will avoid that. In places like Chittaranjan park where people come from all parts of the city and outside in buses, the Puja pandal teems with unknown faces. And the CCTV cameras are of no use.

“Therefore it is best to avoid such crowded places, especially in light of whatever is happening over the past few weeks. I will visit the pandal near my home where the celebration is small scale, but I will feel safer,” Das told IANS.

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