Reshma Rajpure, 26, is enjoying the dual roles that she has been managing for the past couple of weeks. The Panvel resident, who is a nurse at a Chunabhatti hospital during the day, transforms into a govinda from Kurla during the evenings.
After an 8am to 4pm shift at the hospital, Rajpure rests at a relative’s place before heading to Kedarnath Temple at Kurla for her govinda group’s practice at 6.30pm. She reaches home only by 11 in the night after a two-hour practice session. But, despite the grilling work schedule and the daily long commutes, Rajpure is thrilled to be part of the Janmashtami celebrations.
“If you want to do something you truly enjoy then you have to make time,” said Rajpure.
Once considered an activity for students and under-employed youths, the dahi handi celebrations in Mumbai are increasingly attracting working professionals such as Rajpure.
“Even if I am on outdoor duty, I make sure I go for practice every day as the team depends on everyone’s effort,” said Kiran Nikam, 31, a marketing executive with a shipping firm, who is a member of the New Parshuram Govinda group from Lalbaug. “For first few days it is tiring, but we just go on.”
Many of these professionals try and implement the lessons they learn during practice in their daily work lives. “Time and team management is crucial in dahi handi. These skills are also helpful for my work,” said Pratik Hedulkar, 25, a senior analyst at a software company in Pune, who has been a member of the Sarvajanik Gokulashtami Mandal in Thane for the past 15 years.
Since he joined the multinational in Pune in 2009, Hedulkar has been preserving his annual leave for Janmashtami. “I don’t take leave throughout the year. During the festival, I need to be with my govinda group so I take leave and come down to Thane,” said Hedulkar, who has also travelled to Spain in 2006 to study the castellers technique.
According to Bala Padelkar, a veteran member of the Shri Dutta Govinda Mandal from Mazgaon, the trend of working professionals participating in the dahi handi festivities will continue to rise.