Band baaja and baraat….Marriages in Simla of the Sixties

Band baaja and baraat….Marriages in Simla of the Sixties
A faint sound of Band Bajaa playing “Baharon phool Barsao…Mera mehboob aaya hai….”  from a distant corner of the Lower Bazaar would energize every ear that could hear it. Could not say how the elderly women felt about the band playing this song but we, the kids of the mohalla, leaving whatever we were doing would run to the tin rooftop, shouting “baraat aa rahi hai!” Whole of the tin roof, the common arena for  the entire neighbourhood, would be full and all of us would  wait for the baraat to pass through the bazaar.What an excitement we would feel .. all of us! And what a spectacle it would be…the gas bearers preceding the procession the Band Baje wale dressed in white/black pants with a golden stripe,  red liveries with golden embellishments…playing the most popular song of the time on their shining bright brass instruments!
Whose baraat it was or who the people were was immaterial to us, we welcomed them  all with thumping  feet and beating hearts. That was so romantic for all of us..the song, the baraat and the bridegroom on a decorated white mate!
Such was the connotative impact of the song ” Baharo phool Barsao…” that all young damsels would start dreaming of a prince charming coming their way and all young boys would relate to the white decorated mare on which sat the bridegroom, with back ramrod straight and a sword dangling from the side. The bridegroom those days would be dressed impeccably in finely stitched three piece suits….sherwanis were no where ever heard of! And ironically the pants were tight as narrow pipes so it was most grotesque for the young man in such tight pants sit astride the white bejeweled mare! But we loved him…the bridegroom!
Some of us, the most daring ones, would run to the Lower Bazaar to have a closer look of the dulha whose face would be covered with Sehra.
I preferred to watch from the tin roof or sometimes from the big windows of Leela Bhenji”s house from where I could see more clearly the dance which the Baraatis would resort to. As from the tin roof all we could see was the pink pagris and two drainpipelike legs of the Baraatis but from the window a closer view was possible. How interesting it is to think  that pink colour was always called “Pyaaji” by all of us! Pyaaji pagrees!!!
Just a few steps ahead from the Nathu Halwai shop….in front of Shaan sewing Machine shop the road was much broader giving a perfect place for the Baraatis to dance. We would watch the most animated dance steps and the icing on the cake was that all the Baraatis fitted jn drainpipe tight pants would resort to unbelievable dance steps. How entertaining it was for us the spectators!All Baraats would make it a point to take a round of whole the lower Bazaar before moving to the marrage venue. As the most favourite and much sought after would be Sood Janj Ghar at the other end of Lower Bazaar tunnel so most of the Baraats would pass through our part of the Lower Bazaar.
The one which I saw more closely was when a Baraat came to Kashyap Niwas sometimes in the Sixties, a few stairs away from our home and how they danced! We watched from the Beekay’s stairs going down to the Middle Bazaar!
Watching these marriage processions would be the most awaited events in our life…so much so that when we would see the white mare with Henna colored spots being taken during the day…we would know that a baraat would take a round of Lower Bazaar that evening.These were small joys of our simple life that filled our life with excitement. Such was the long lasting impression of these events that even today I listen to the tune of ” Baharon phool Barsao…” I go back to those dance steps of drainpipelike legs dancing in most ludicrous manner around a white mare on which the Dulha would be sitting with ramrod straight back supported by two legs in tightest of tight pants !! The tighter the better!
And we, the spectators, would have entertainment to fill our life with while growing up in Lower Bazaar of Simla of the Sixties!!! ReplyForward

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