Delhi: Over the last few days, the national capital and adjoining areas witnessed heavy rainfall, which continued for about 3-4 weeks. While the showers came as much-needed relief from the high temperatures in Delhi, a few residents of Titarpur, a locality in West Delhi, were not very happy about it. Titarpur, near Tagore Garden, is the hub of the making of Raavan effigies, as the festival of Dusshera approaches. However, the unexpected rains this year just ahead of the onset of Navratri came as a blow to the makers of Raavan's as all their hard work was washed up in the showers.
If you are a resident of west Delhi, you must be familiar with the joy of seeing 'in the making' effigies of Raavans on the streets of Tagore Garden and Subhash Nagar. It is unusual and impressive to see huge mustached faces and torsos splattered pinks, blues and greens of the Raavans, Meghnaads and Kumbhkarans. It takes the artisans a total of more than two months to get the effigies ready. This year, as the Covid is under control, the artisans were awaiting a fruitful festive season as this time round Dusshera is expected to be celebrated with renewed enthusiasm. However, the rains came as a setback to these artisans as their effigies, which are usually kept in the outdoors were damaged.
Deepak Ravana Wala, who sits a few yards ahead of Tagore Garden Metro station, has been making Raavans for the last 20 years. As he sits at his regular spot, remaking the Raavans, he tells us, "We are completely lost. We worked through nights to complete the consignment because it needed to be transported to several locations throughout the nation a few days before Dussehra, and now you can see that the paper and bamboo are all drowned in water. It has caused us a huge financial loss." For the last couple of months, Deepak and his army of men have been working on the effigies and have spent more than thousands of rupees on raw materials. "The majority of our supplies came from Haryana, and again we have to order from there, doubling the price and hard work."
A few steps forward, another Ravana maker named Parveen Kumar was trying to arrange the destroyed dummies lying by the roadside. He tells us that due to Covid, the last two years were already a huge setback for him and for the whole community, the fate has repeated itself this year as well. "We thought this year things would be different, but unfortunately, we were wrong. The whole year, we wait for Dussehra so that we can earn some money. But every time, we are at a loss," says he.
Rahul Rai, yet another Ravanmaker says, "Nobody is willing to help us. It is with our Raavanas that Delhi celebrates the occasion of Dusshera in high spirits. It would have been possible to prevent so much damage if we had been given permission to set up tents. If the tents were there, our hard work wouldn't have drowned in the water."
In spite of broken hearts and smashed enthusiasm, all the roadside artisans have not lost all hope as the sun has shown again after the non-stop showers.