One evening we take a taxiscooter home. As usual the road is very busy. At a certain moment we are standing waiting for a red light together with many more road-users. All possible kinds of vehicles on 2, 3, 4 and sometimes more, sometimes less wheels stand bumper to bumper and criss-cross, the usual way. A long, red carnivalballoon is floating over the roofs in our direction. On the rope hangs a 12 year old girl. She tries to sell her balloon, but not much success. Not with me either. Immediately afterwards a big group of about 10 very poor and young kids- about 3 to 12 years old I guess – comes up. All of them are dressed in rags, the oldest ones carrying the smaller ones in their arms. Effortless and swiftly they brave this total traffic chaos. They have a target: me, a pardesi, a white skin…
To follow the conversation in Hindi a bit, here’s a short glossary :
chapati = main food, thin round wheat pancake
roti = idem
khanna = to eat, food
bhukh = hungry
bukhar = fever
challo = go
Vishwakarma is the Hindu god of all craftsmen and architects. Son of Brahma, he is the divine draftsman of the whole universe, and the official builder of all the gods’ palaces. Vishwakarma is also the designer of all the flying chariots of the gods, and all their weapons.
The Mahabharata describes him as “The lord of the arts, executor of a thousand handicrafts, the carpenter of the gods, …” He has four hands, wears a crown, loads of gold jewelry, and holds a water-pot, a book, a noose and craftsman’s tools in his hands.
Vishwakarma Jayanthi is celebrated on the Kanya Sankranti Day (September). On this day the forefathers of the present Vishwakarma community have invented the plough and gifted it to humanity.