Along the bridge, I passed sequin-shirted young men with surma-laden eyes, women peeping out of their scarves with eager eyes, children licking ice-cream off their fingers. This was the scene of any carnivalesque gathering. Except a threatening energy that the procession emitted as it slowly moved through the crowd. Four teenaged boys followed me in youthful vigor. The Grand Trunk Road (North) narrowed into Pilkhana. The crowds here were denser. On the diases, PA systems installed at corners proclaimed words of caution and camaraderie. Party banners made explicit the support of of this MLA or that in making this festivity possible. There came a deadlock in the movement. The crowd was being physically stopped in order not to create more chaos. Tall bright triangular flags hemmed in silver sequin, glittery mausoleum sculptures mounted on rickshaw-vans floated slow and confident. Tall, slim swords quivered with every chant.Young men huddled in their bleeding shirts.


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