Dussehra holidays were my favourite while growing up. I grew up in an industrial township where people from all over India lived together. We had neighbours from Gujarat and Bengal, Tamilnadu and Bihar, Kashmir and Assam. Our school friends from all over too.
These holidays were special because there were celebrations all over. So, it started with the first day of Navratri and every night people would gather to play Garba and Dandiya all night on traditional garba songs sung live. This went on for all nine days.
On the Sixth day of Navratri, Durga Puja started in another location. We would spend all days in the pandal playing with friends enjoying the fun at stalls. We used to have video game parlours at that time where you could play for 15 or 30 minutes after paying a certain amount.
Evenings usually meant enjoying the cultural programs which allowed the residents to showcase their talents.
On the eighth day, started the grand celebrations of Dussehra. It used to a huge fair or Mela and thousands of people from nearby places would also visit. I remember watching Ram Lila, though I didn’t appreciate it much at that time which went on for 4 days.
There used to be competitions held for children and we would participate with fervour.
We were barely given any holiday homework during these holidays and no-one asked us to stay home and study. 🙂
Now I live in Metropolitan city and in an apartment where again there are people from all over the country. We try and celebrate every festival as best as we can. I hope I can make the same kind of memories for my kid and she also looks back at these holidays with the same fondest and nostalgia that I do.