by Sameer Majli
One characteristic of Belagavi, over the ages, has been the immense commitment of Belgaumites to the sleep early routine. Early to bed and early to rise has been a traditional mantra, passed down from generation to generation. While this may be looked upon as lack lustre laziness by the metropolitan crowd, it’s been the essence of the peaceful living in this wonderful town of ours. No wonder then, its repute as a ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’.
With the evolution of society, late nights are becoming more common, in vogue with the trends oft seen as the metro culture. For better or worse, I guess it’s what only time will tell.
Since times immemorial, this relaxed town of ours has been awake to the joyous nocturnal festivities. Come the holy month of Ramazan and the picture changes to more picturesque nightly scenes. It is the time of the year when harmony and acceptance beyond the sectarian define descends onto the streets. The streets are suddenly more alive to the occasion rather than the clock and the silence of the night translates into the hustle bustle of friends on the street. Pleasantries and greetings are exchanged and the food scene is just Yum Yum. No wonder then that the way to the heart is right through the stomach.
Darbar galli, Zamia Masjid Road, Bhendi Bazar, Camp and areas in Angol are suddenly the most happening places. The streets are flooded with people and decorative illumination and the police force have to manage the night crowds for a change. Mini food mart seem to have suddenly spawned all around and the lingering excesses of the aroma of the cooked and the fried are a treat to the senses. Smoking hot barbecues with sizzling Kehbabs, stuffed patties, enticing Biryanis sweetmeats and savouries and all of a sudden it’s like right out of a cook and eat television channel. For those with a sweet tooth, there is the sensational falooda, the delicately made phirni, sevaiyyan, biscuits decked with dry fruit and the special Badam and Kesar milk.
The diet consciousness seems to have gone for a toss. Ghee, butter, dry fruit, spicy and fried stuff reign supreme. It’s almost a scream of who cares and life seems to have embraced the good old times when there was lots to eat and less to worry.
Most of this stuff which is limited to the confines of the personal and private all through the year, suddenly steps out to embrace and tantalize the taste buds. It’s for one and all to partake. Time ceases to make its limiting sense as friends indulge in limitless abandon and conversations; smiles and hearty laughter permeates all around, replacing the dull drudgery of the routine.
The key to get the best deal is to make it out around 8 Pm, just after the prayers otherwise the best of the stuff would have made its way to the confines of the depths of the early bird tummies.
What’s tradition now has been so for ages, in this wonderful town. When emotions flared and opinions clashes emerged all around, this festive revelry and harmony have been characteristic of this wonderful society of ours. There have been stray incidents, most of them owing their emergence to vested interests of the selfish few, but they have as yet not managed to divide and fragment the society to serve ends of their own. It’s been a wonderful feature of this lovely town and one cannot give it a miss when one goes about the task of showcasing to the world, the lovely facts of “All About Belgaum”.