Till then it's au revoir

With a matrimonial agreement is reached and get in the air, all eyes get feasted at the grand musical celebration of the wedlock, which from time immemorial has been the favourite tradition of the more ‘liberal’ , animated, the more epicurean and sometimes of the more ‘classy’ and boasting section of Chitral. ishtok copyBeing the only source of genuine fun: the only platform of exhibiting choric and dancing potential for the masculine forms; the exciting and delightful spectacle for the womenfolk, the only field even for children to come under the spotlight, the enjoyment and the ubiquitous anticipation of a magnificent joy, attached with the musical show (in an open field) is no doubt, impatiently awaited by all and sundry. Until the show’s feasibility is made convincing literally and until is actually seen occurring, uncertainty and curiosity grows bigger among the people; leaving their heart sink at more negative responses and leap at favourable gestures. For successful execution of the traditional concert has turned into a daunting task on the part of the organizers owing to some unpleasant incidents happening during the while in the past year or two. This has contributed, to the loss of its former glory and admiration and to the lapse of years in the celebration, a lot more. But against all odds it has never ceased to come round (though sporadically), to the joviality and delight of the people. The drummer and trumpeter, surrounded by multitude of people of all age, fill the air of the happy night with the choicest tunes from their pipes. The rather lively aged sit along the band and some sit facing them, the rest in their juvenile strength stand the ground, circling round the void land for the dancers. They perpetually clamour and clap, hoot and shout the night away, with the children leading the way. These being the corollary, youth are not to be detained from it. But all this is acceptable and all goes well till this section of the gathering create annoyance and unrest even greater. There were times when the like of these were shy enough to move a muscle in front of the old masters of tune and dance. It used to be a sober and really palatable celebration with at least four dancing (so to say) at a time, and with the real cultural spirit descending on all present and to the satisfaction of all, including the traditionally made Puritans: the women, (turning bit defiant though-as they come there- out of natural and inborn attraction for rhythm and rhyme) watching the same in veil and from far off hidden dark place. Apologizing for the distraction and turning back towards the more worthy and distinguished group: in fact there were times when no elder master left the dancing floor in a fit of pique, upon finding a bunch of amateurs taking the relish out of his mouth. But thanks to the media and today’s time that every Tom, Dick and Harry has turned out bold and is contributing his share in making the concert the more flavourless and unsatisfactory. No sooner the drumbeat is heard and the tune blown, they are out at the floor and not one, two, three and four of them but a huge pack of them, leaving one another hardly a space for effective movement, to the bewilderment of the spectators in their helpless and involuntary effort to spot the best performers amongst the weak. Much to the soothe of the gathering, their round eventually comes to completion and they are seen off with superficial applause and cheers. The band, the spectators all taking deep breath and setting themselves afresh , pause a little, hoping for some mature round next. Meanwhile the whole juvenile pack was firmly instructed by volunteers of the show to curb their outburst at dancing. But Alas! The next round witnesses the other set of them; infuriating the two or three seniors who hop into the ground in the vain hope of winning it , and compelling them to leave the floor for them. Some, of delicate temper soon give in and resume their position on seats. Such instances are not without the humour they sprinkle and the anger they incite. The ludicrousness of it can’t be helped but enjoyed, as till the orchestra, disapproving the dancers, halts the music all of a sudden, you for the world cannot curtail the group’s autonomy. The provocation of the tender moods is only cooled down when with a tremendous struggle with the youngsters and with a little stress, as a compensation for these sulky ones, they are persuaded to dance their art solely. The youngsters are leashed in Heaven knows what corners and for how long , that once they are released from the knot they wallow only in the free movements of their body parts and experience the wildest joy before they are leashed again. Apart from this nagging and disregarding demeanor, some of the youths and adults indulgence in inebriation (creating a repelling scenes and sometimes entering into skirmishes out of the effect of the liquor), has also a good deal of share in eroding the rich colour off of the traditional musical gathering. Why the liquor’s connection with such celebration, why it cannot be done with over tea and water ,with blissful grins and cooing voices; catering for the contentment of all and boosting the culture and tradition, is another tale altogether.  ]]>