Though most Indian cities are now losing their old character – at least the very visible sights of it, Lucknow always celebrated festivals in style. Even when the new stuff is paving way for the old…it was the mix of the two I found in my town this time. Well, we might have new Barista and Café coffee day now….we still have our Royal café. But for some of us the change is unsettling . You can’t blame us. Those of us who left the city years back , now go back there and try to look for familiar sounds, sights and smells to renew our days . Alas, things change…and so do cities. An old shopkeeper in Hazratganj told me that the Mehfils which marked the hours after Iftar are gone . In very characteristic lehza he bitterly told that no one bothers about the usual chit chat unless they are in a TVchat show and getting paid to talk
The point I am trying to reach is that while I find ( and feel happy to find) malls, multiplexes and known food chains wherever I go , I do feel a pang in my heart for the era that is lost. Its not only about eateries . I wonder who will remember the floral rakhis on rakshabandhan few years from now. These rakhis made from real flowers and customized as per the insistence of the sisters buying them, were visible at every florist shop of lucknow till 3-4 years back. I try telling myself that these things hardly matter. If we looked for those rakhis in our days the new generation has fancy gadgets and chocolates to find on this day .
But the sense of missing a part of my familiar world does not go easily . Everytime we have a family gathering my aunts and sisters end up talking about old family recipes and efforts made to make those perfect pickles, papad and other mouthwatering dishes meant for special occasions. I always loved the festival of janmashtami and the fast which comes with it . Being the foodie I am , the reason was the special dishes made up of dryfruits, coconut and other stuff. The vrat food which was “allowed” in a fast. The tradition is almost lost in my family. Even I do not care to make these delicacies in my home . The food we eat is mostly the same throughout the year . The joy of eating khichuri on a particular day and roasted green gram on other has given place to easier options. Of course, we have adopted many more dishes in our menu but the tradition of making a particular dish for a particular festival/day is not there anymore. May be the next generation will not miss these traditions- we have afterall not passed it on to them . For kids in my colony these “ minor” festivals are just school holidays and they feel happy about it by watching their favorite shows or playing computer games . It is in vain to feel sorry about old things which are going out of fashion. It is somewhat inevitable. Perhaps it is more important to hold on tightly with our values . I just hope that we are missing on just the most visible parts of legacy and not the most important ones. I mean as long as families enjoy happy times together , it hardly makes a difference whether it is in a family gathering eating traditional kheer or enjoying a TV show eating pizza.