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>> Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I spent my starting years in Shillong, the beautiful hillstation, and it is marketed as Scotland of the East by the Tourism Ministry. My hometown being Jorhat, I used to visit it during our winter vacations when we were kids. But, for the last six years of my stay I could not visit Jorhat. So, when I permanently transferred to Jorhat, I was expecting a great deal of change and was nervous as how would I face it. A total change of lifestyle. I would have to lose all my friends with whom I grew, the places where I loafed around and be what I was, everything.

When I reached Jorhat, there was nothing of that sort. Jorhat was the same as 6 years before. Same roads, same trees, same birds, same shops although a few shops have cropped in but the no. was insignificant. On one hand, I was comfortable with the familiarty but I was also sad that nothing changed when Shillong changed a lot in between.

It has been 6 years from then. A lot has changed since then, but I never expected many of those. First of those is that Mobile Phones is now an integral part of our lives. Reliance erected Mobile Phone Towers in 1993 but never started operations underestimating Jorhat's Market. But it also effected people who had invested in the pager business but never took off thinking that after mobile comes no one will use pager. All's well that ends well. Now, that Mobile Phone came a whole lot of things change.

Another thing that changed was the religious inclinations of the people. Now, saying anything about it is politically incorrect. But, being politically incorrect is what I am all about. I like controversies. I am not sure whether people are more religious or is it something else. Earlier there was only Durga Puja which grandly celebrated in this area. But, we have many of those nowadays. This year there were 13 Ganesh Puja Pandals, whereas earlier there was only 1 pandal by the Central Puja Commitee which controls all other puja committees. And that is also a recent development. There are many Chhat Puja Commitees. Moharram is also celebrated in an equally grand scale with big tazia processions and each tazia being very glamarous. And Weeklong Akhanda Bhagawat Paaths which does not have any season and so many Naamghars mushroomed in the recent years and virtually half of the year we hear the sound of this Bhagawat Paaths. Sometimes, three Naamghars next to each other organize these paaths in such a way that when one ends other starts so when we keep listening this for three consecutive years we lose our minds. And strangely they are organized during exam time.

Another thing that changed in these years is Bihu. When I was kid, Bihu used to be a 3 or 4 day celebration during Assamese New Year. And we used the hate the timing because our Annual exams overlapped those days. But, nowadays we find that Bihu Functions are organized for three months. Till July we might come across Bihu Functions. Strange!

Now, I don't know if this change is good or bad for us.

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