Get out ho jao!
I was driving in Adyar today, when I saw a long line of red firecrackers tied together, stretched out in the middle of the opposite lane. They went off like gunfire, and just beyond them was a fish-cart carrying a couple of drummers, with dancing men on the road behind them. Then a larger cart pulled by more men, with a high, ornate cane structure like the head of a bed, and the corpse under masses of flowers, only his face visible. All the men – there were no women – were poor and sinewy, wearing lungis tucked up to their knees. A couple of men brought up the rear, throwing flowers onto the road, so that it was thick with red rose petals. I have seen all this many times, of course, but never with firecrackers.
I heard a beautiful song last night, by Kailash Kher, and I’ve been hunting for it today, without success. It had a recurring line: ‘nikla hun main.’ If anyone who reads this can identify it for me, I’d be grateful. (update: the song is written by Aditya Thakaray, grandson of Bal Thakaray. He has just put out an album of his poems sung by many singers. This song, Ek Khoj, is one of them. 'Ek khoj par nikla hun main, nikla hun main...' )