I knew my town wouldn’t let me leave without making me go through this experience- of crawling in a traffic jam at a snail’s pace, passing by a traffic choking ‘‘bhavya miravnook’’ (grand procession) – a characteristic of jayanti celebrations. My friend sensed the extent of automobile paralysis that had struck the roads from a distance and asked me to balance myself as she struggled to drive her bike on the foot path. The trick was successful, and we emerged on the celebration front, where we found that a group of youngsters, assuming the role of traffic-police had role-played the entire auto mobility on a crossroad to a standstill.
The grand procession was composed of around 50 men. Multiple speakers were assembled atop a truck reserved for sending all laws ever made against noise pollution to a toss. The frenzied men, vigorously shaking their limbs and bodies, were assuming undefined postures in response to deafening loud songs. “God, please don’t send any ambulance this way now’’– and an ambulance arrived before my friend’s prayer reached the heavens! We turned back to have a look how far it was. It was struck far beyond; the only sign of its presence reaching us was its siren. Meanwhile, in the procession, possibly inebriated performers plunged for a customary serpentine dance, blissfully ignorant of the fact that their act could make a patient in the ambulance struck in the traffic jam coil in pain. I plugged my ears with my finger tips as we passed by the ocular & optic disaster.
We could now see the yellow flags and the participants of the overrated spectacle- their twinkling eyes, scanning the faces and curved dimensions of females passing by them. A gross song coincidentally got played next- “tuzi chunni udali bhurrr….. maza popat pisatla’’ – a song describing how the unfurling of a strategically worn stole from over a woman’s thoracic assets, excites a man. The song reinvigorated the tired youth, and they started to dance vigorously yet again. I hoped the grand procession wasn’t what I was thinking it could be. But it was exactly that, unfortunately. The grand procession was taken out to commemorate the birth anniversary of Ahilya Devi Holkar- and it was ironically free of any women participants. The only feminine touch to the procession was a huge portrait of Ahilya Devi Holkar mounted atop the anterior of the same truck which carried the loudspeakers playing risqué numbers. A little-known leader had chosen to observe the birth anniversary of a pious woman, known for her magnificent reign and saintly administration this way.
We somehow managed to emerge out of the snarl-up, cursing its organizers. A police van was parked a good distance from the procession– its driver was busy crushing candies on his phone!
Processions of the traffic choking kind, hit the roads to mark the birth anniversaries of many historical figures throughout the year. Besides showcasing the devil-may-care attitude of wannabe leaders, these processions are also symbolic of the helplessness of local administrators before a determined political intent. What purpose do these grand displays of physical dexterity and irresponsibility serve? Is dancing to the tune of remixed “item numbers” an acceptable way of paying tributes by any chance? Can small cities and towns with a limited road-width or an unplanned road network afford to have such remixed tributes paralyze them on a periodic basis?
It’s time we do away with this menace of traffic choking dance processions.