The little marble idol in shades of azure stationed in the our respective altars at home, has sometime or the other been a coveted playmate for all of us. The queer peacock feather adorning the head, the mischievous look in the eyes and the entreating little palms spread out, this image of Lord Krishna has always meant a lot more than a deity to worshipped to every Indian. He invariably becomes a member of the family to be tended for as well as to fall back on in times of need. The charisma or myth of Krishna is perhaps the most colorful chapter of Hindu mythology. It is hardly a surprise, that two of the most vivacious and colourful festivals of India are rooted deeply in the same paradigm. The festivals mentioned above are none other than Holi and Janmashtami. Perhaps two of the most sought after times in Indian panorama, Holi and Janmasthami ushers as much color and joy in the lives of Indians as did Lord Krishna supposedly during his lifetime.
Janmashtami, being just about a few days away now commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. Mathura and Vrindavan, the two places where the childhood of Lord Krishna was spent, becomes during this time, the epitome of festivity and celebration. Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the hindu God Vishnu, was born on the eighth day of the month of Bhadon according to the Hindu calendar. Hence, Janmashtami, usually dated in the mid-august, is celebrated nationwide with a lot of pomp and zeal. Two of the key aspects of the festival are the melodious performances and the scrumptious spread, especially that of the desserts. Rasa lilla, a compilation of sensuous songs and dances depicting the flirtatious youth of Lord Krishna and the dahi handi, wherein young men climb atop each other to form a human pyramid and break a pot of curd suspended high by a rope , takes place all over the country. These are perhaps the most amusing and anticipated occurrences of the event. Janmashtami, harbingers the season of festival and hence, every house and temple is lit up and decorated beautifully. Kirtans and devotional concerts scatter in every nook and corner. The jalebis, the pethas , the malai and many other delicious sweet spread flatter the appetite of the devotees. The gaiety and the splendor of the whole gala affair seems to bring the entire nation together in this celebration of the arrival the one, who is dear to each and every soul that breathes under the Indian sky.
Contributed to Yashaswini Basu