I have a terrible headache… my throat is sore… I feel feverish. I have been trying to sleep but the stupid Navaratri won’t let me. There are Gujju songs blaring on loudspeakers around the building.

I do not have a fondness for Navaratri even though I am from Gujarat. It is actually a nuisance.

Gujjus (all those who belong to Gujarat… not necessarily Gujaratis) can be divided into 2 groups:

1) Those who love Navaratri:

They wait for this festival with bated breath. The preparation begins a month before… shopping for chaniya cholis at Law garden, oxidized jewelery to match with the dresses, cheap chappals which will not be missed if stolen, weight loss, trips to salon for a back clean up and polish for the backless cholis, money saved up for passes to the best garba venues, practicing the dance moves to win prizes and… a handsome date who can dance.

Girls generally form groups and buy chaniya cholis together. So, a group of 9 will have to buy only one dress each. The dresses will be exchanged between all of them. They can save up money this way.

2) Those who dislike Navaratri:

My earliest memories of Navaratri are headaches given by the blaring music. There were times as a kid when I would dress up and play garbas in the society. My first experience of the big shot garbas was with my college BF. He loved Navaratri even though he was a bad dancer… he got to meet pretty girls, take them out and drop them home. There was this one time when around 5-6 of us (all girls… him the only guy) went to Silver Leaf (a posh 24 hrs Coffee Shop in A’bad) for some snacks before hitting the garba venue. Now this guy (lets call him M) was always short of money. He would borrow cigarette money from me (Yeah… deep down I wanted smoking to kill him). That day to impress all the females he paid the enormous bill (Silver Leaf is an expensive place) and I was surprised. But that was the beginning. He became a different person around pretty girls… and specially during Navaratri. Initially, I would accompany him and his friends… but that got boring. I didn’t want to dance and he didn’t want to sit and give me company. Finally, I stopped going. But no matter where in A’bad I was… there was always the blaring music playing which did not let me sleep or study. Extremely irritating!!!

Thats all Navaratri is… irritating. I mean… it is a festival and everyone loves it… but spare the rest. Restrict the loud music. Thankfully, in A’bad loud speakers are banned at midnight… but that also means you cannot hope for sleep before midnight.

Good night… still hoping to fall asleep before midnight.