Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Olympics and other non-dasara events in Mysore

The state Olympics have begun in Mysore. Over 1400 athletes have gathered for the games most of which shall be held in Chamundi Vihar Stadium and at some other venues in Mysore. I however will be missing out on what little action there is. I'm not that sad about not being to attend the games though.

I've called it a non-dasara event because of the following reason. The biggest event in Mysore is, of course, as is well known, Dasara. There is a tendency to club all other events with it. So most big events that take place in Mysore are often Dasara events. For example the local body elections would have been the second largest event in mysore in 2007 if it wasn't held so close to Navratri. The timing of the 50 foot cut outs of candidates coming up was such that it could easily have been confused as being part of Dasara celebrations. The state olympics this year are especially non dasara because the last edition of the same held a few(not four) years ago were known as the Dasara Games.

One of my major disappointments with respect to events in Mysore was regarding Bahuroopi. For those who are not from Mysore, Bahuroopi is the annual theater fest which brings along with it a Khadi and Gramodyog Mela of sorts If by some chance Chidambara Rao Jambe is reading this, I hope he shall pay some heed to my rantings and take some action about the sad state of affairs at this year's Bahuroopi. I did not watch any of the plays and therefore it would not be fair on my part to comment on that aspect. However I did notice that the number of plays were lesser and there weren't many crowd pulling names on the list.

My real grouse has been that the Mela alongside the fest was sad. The number of stalls were almost half of last year and even the stalls that were there (they're regulars who come every year) did not have my favorite items.

For some reason I did not even hear of Wildlife week 2007. I just can't imagine life for a schoolgoing Mysorean without an annual wildlife week. I hope that it happened properly and it was just me that didn't hear of it. I know I'll be sad that I missed it entirely but it will mean that the tradition is still alive and that I can hope to catch it next year.

I shall now violate the aims and objectives of this post as suggested by the title and talk about a very Dasara linked event.

This is the elephant puja the day before the parade. I have been attending this ritual almost every year irrespective of whether I attend the parade itself. This is a most fascinating event as the 13 or 14(small variations each year) elephants which will be in the Parade are taken to the Ganesha temple in the palace premises and a puja is performed seeking the deity's blessings that the elephants may perform the parade without any hitches. I'm not a spiritual person and I'm not really interested the puja itself. What really draws me to it every year is the feeling when you are standing in an area of a couple of square meters and hemmed in by elephants on all sides with all the elephants facing you. You hold the jaggery cubes out with a certain amount of trepidation and a trunk(not necessarily the one belonging to the elephant you intended the jaggery for) snatches it from your hand. In 2004 this moment was given an extra flavor when the Mahouts co-ordinatedly commanded the elephants such that they all raised their trunks and trumpeted at the same time with four or five people trapped in the middle. I didn't have my handy camera phone in 2004 but this year I did so here goes...

I'm sure I took a video also, but just can't find it now.

You wuz here