We didn’t know anything about the Fireworks event that marks the 2nd or the 3rd day of the Poush Mela in Shantiniketan. But when we heard people talking about it on our first day at the Mela, we, like the others, got curious and made inquiries. Yes, it would take place at 7pm on 24th Dec in the grounds near the TV Station. All right. But we had no idea where the ground was. So we started off around 6.15 asking the nearby stall-vendors and then a few policemen posted there. Most of them had no idea. Some said right, some, left. After much confusion, we found a stream of people heading away from the main Mela grounds. Upon asking, they told us that they too were headed for the fireworks. We followed. Soon the crowd started getting bigger. Even now, there were absolutely no signs to confirm we were headed the right direction.
After about a thirty-minute walk through a narrow uneven lane, taking turns to carry our daughter, we finally reached the designated ground. It was almost 7pm and onlookers were fast filling up every inch of the open place. We took our positions amongst family-groups and waited almost 15 minutes before the said fireworks finally started with some very ordinary and basic display. We were sure that some magnificent ones would soon follow, but no. Even after twenty minutes, they were still shooting up the basic crackers into the sky. The type that you get to see every Diwali or marriage possession in India. Nothing spectacular to brave the increasing chill and the crowd.
By now, we were rather alarmed at the increasing sea of people still rushing in, some extremely rash. We decided to leave. Couldn’t locate the exit gate and finally discovered that there were no seperate gates for entry or exit. Apalled and jostling for space and shielding me and Ridi from the rowdy crowd, Jayant guided us out.
Even when out of the grounds, the crowd still stayed extremely heavy and bad. After almost 15 minutes, we spotted a few Rickshaw-wallas and we decided to pay them whatever they wanted just so that he would take us away from this maddening crowd. To our dismay, none would go the direction our hotel was. We pleaded them to take us up to the main Mela ground, but they refused that too. We were left with no choice but to keep walking. We did. And after sometime, took a back entry to the Mela ground. Winding through the villager’s end of the Mela, we finally reached the entrance where we finally got a Rickshaw-puller willing to take us back home. Prayers of gratitude in our lips, we climbed into it and rushed out.
If you ask us, we’d strongly recommend that you stay away from the Fireworks display during the Poush Mela. It is simple not worth it, and can be dangerous considering the sea of people and the rowdy-element in the crowd.
Also read — Dos & Don’t @Poush Mela, Shantiniketan