March is the third month of the year, named after the Roman god of war, Mars. After a severe, prolonged winter, it was during March that the snow would begin to thaw. That was the time for the soldiers to return to the battle field, to fight glorious wars; attain power and pelf. The world was divided into two-the victor and the vanquished.
Nothing much has changed since then. The month of March is known for both historical and hysterical perspective.
Little did the presaging soothsayer know that his cautionary warning to the mighty Caesar would have its reverberations felt centuries later, in far-off shores. To zero down, on the Indian subcontinent it’s time for contrapuntal existence-to exist with boom and gloom, with malls and chawls, with sunshine and ominous clouds, edged with black.
Between boisterous baraats and bilious board exams, the month of March makes its entry with high decibles of musical cacophony of bawdy Bollywood hits, hiding artfully in its cape a posse of allergies, measles, mumps; the tills of smiling general practitioners ringing. The harassed parents try to lock doors and windows to pounding music so that their children can continue last minute cramming uninterrupted.
The entire family is exhausted with the turbulence of exams. The household is under curfew from months.
The mater gives up kitty partying and the pater forgoes his evening adda at the coffee house. The commandments that shatter the silence at various intervals are ‘Thou shalt see no TV, access no internet, not sleep nor relax.’ The visitors are frowned upon and relatives are strictly kept off the turf. The frayed nerves forget leisure but spend quality time praying for success in the exams. Help lines proliferate, the all pervasive media offers valuable guidance to the examinees, trying to dilute hysteria. The achiever fever is on!
The other fever that is unleashed simultaneously is of a different kind. It is glitzy, spectacular, and comes with a golden glow. It’s the marriage extravaganza-the ultimate dream machine inspiring soaps, films and the romantic multitudes.
Everything remains choc-a–bloc during this season. The shops, the gold-souks, the beauty parlours, the hotels, the baraat-ghars, caterers, air-travel, trains all booked in advance, with a dicey situation left for the procrastinators. The lucrative nexus of hoteliers-caterers-pundits plunders through the bank account of an average middle class family.
Even the modest astrologer packs in his parrot and cards for some time and makes a killing in the peak season. Those who have a moderate budget for nuptials block the road with a marquee and celebrate the wedding a la Dabang ishtyle. The woes of the harried commuters are drowned by the Nagin dance of the enthusiastic, inebriated baraatis.
The blaring music is reaching its crescendo; The disc jockey is screeching; The parents are screaming; The students are palpitating. Beware of the bad Karma! Beware of the Ides of March!!