The blog of Satyam Roychowdhury

‘Rather Mela’ and memories from the past

Festivals and nostalgia go hand in hand as the years pass by. It was as if yesterday, when as a child I used to enjoy Rath Yatra with my entire family at Chinsurah in Hooghly. Decorating the small chariots, putting  idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram and his sister Subhadra inside the chariot was more of a competition than a religious festival for us as children. While the elders performed Puja, we the cousins used to enjoy the evenings pulling the chariots on the roads and waiting to gobble the Prasad.

Another major attraction of the Rath Yatra Festival was Rather Mela, where along with other attractions of a fair, there was always a special place for saplings. People visiting the Mela would always buy saplings from this spot. Rath Yatra is celebrated during monsoon and thus planting trees then was mandatory for those who lived in the suburbs. As having a green area in and around their houses was something which everybody desired.

Since my childhood was spent amidst nature and greenery in Chinsurah of Hooghly District, I was always very fond of planting trees. Thus the green corner of Rather Mela was what attracted me the most. Buying saplings from Rather Mela is something I still cherish.

It is said that memories fade, but are never lost. It just takes someone who was present at that moment to rekindle the thought. And that is exactly what my cousin brother did a few months back.

We used to have a Folsha tree in our locality in Hooghly and my cousin brother and me used to spend a lot of time hovering under that and gulping the sweet fruits. Number of years passed, when in the recent past we came to know that the tree is not there anymore The nostalgia haunted both of us and ultimately I managed to get a Folsha tree from Shantiniketan. We are now waiting for the tree to grow up, waiting for those long gone days to be repeated once again soon. The thought of enjoying the fruits together again is something we both are yearning for.

Today marks the end of the 7 day long Rath Yatra festival. On this day of Ulto Rath, the incident came to my mind just like that. May be because Rath Yatra, Monsoon Season and Planting Trees can be bound in the same thread of memories from the past.

It was almost 25 years ago that I planted a mango tree at my house in Chinsurah. Just about few weeks back, I received some mangoes from my mother. It gave me immense joy when my son said that the fruits were from that same tree which I planted so long ago. All I can say is that the age old proverb proved right again. I reaped a sapling which turned into huge a tree and now I am enjoying it’s fruits.