Sunday, July 23, 2006

God, what a technicality!

The annual Kaavad visit is happening on several stretches of the Delhi-Jaipur road. I’ve seen parts of this on my travels from Delhi to Gurgaon over the last week. The Kaavad pilgrimage pays homage to Lord Shiva by taking water from the river Ganges back to their home towns. If only it was that simple – the catch is that you have to get the water back by foot (or so the faithful believe). It’s quite a test of endurance, especially if your home is closer to Rajasthan and Punjab than to Haridwar.

As my car inched its way along the incessant traffic that’s on the Gurgaon-Jaipur Highway, I saw two kinds of kaavadiyas. The first kind were simple enough – they walked alone or in groups of 2-3. Typically middle-aged and saffron clad, they carried the kaavad (a bamboo contraption for carrying water, specifically used to carry the water of the Ganges over long distances, looks like the kaavadi used in the kaavadiyattam folk dance in Tamil Nadu – the similarity is a subject for another post) in what seemed to be a slow and painful walk. Here’s what the traditional kaavad looks like:

The second kind of kaavadiyas were more interesting. There were a set of tempos, jeeps and bikes all along the road that were filled with saffron clad youngsters, and a banner of their particular kaavad association. These vehicles were moving quite slowly along one lane, with one guy running in front at a slow jog carrying the water. I wondered why, and this is what I learnt - they rotate shifts all through the night, in order to ensure that the water was on the road at any point in time. These guys were never short of energy - this photo was taken post-midnight!

This was a far smarter way to do it, though not exactly the traditional way of doing things – these guys were making good time, and with much lesser effort than their kaavad carrying brethren. And they were getting the water back home on foot! You can trust an Indian to come up with the technicality each time… heh.


Blogger Mr. D said...

Of course they have more energy! It's like cheating or something!

2:18 PM  
Blogger The Invizible Man said...

yeah, but they're still following the rules... technically, that is :)

3:30 PM  
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