Some like it loud, some quiet

Uruka in full swing in towns and villages
Guwahati/Dibrugarh, Jan 14 : Flames from bonfires leapt into the skies as Magh Bihu festivities began across the state tonight with traditional community feasts and singing and dancing to Bollywood tunes.
Though a large number of towering mejis and elegant bhelaghars no longer dot the city in a manner they did a decade back, the younger generation tried to organise community feasts. Some bhelaghars were built on the outskirts such as Sonapur, Chandrapur, Jalukbari and Garigaon.
Rows and rows of mejis were also lit along the banks of the Brahmaputra in Uzan Bazar and Kharghuli in Guwahati. But there were many who preferred to celebrate the night indoors in the company of friends and family.
Pranjal Mahanta, a city-based orthopaedic, said he stayed home as he was on call.
Governor Shiv Charan Mathur and chief minister Tarun Gogoi wished the people on the occasion but did not forget to remind them about being vigilant. Gogoi in his Bihu greetings said: “This is a time for reflecting on how violence has affected this peaceful state and our lives. I appeal to you all to please cooperate and help make Assam a peaceful and safe state.”
Mathur, on the other hand, wished that with the strength of character and infallible will, “we shall acquire the three facets of success — purity of mind, patience and perseverance”.
The revelry began quite early in the day. With markets chock-a-block with last-minute shoppers, prices of all items — fish, chicken, mutton, duck, pork — that make the feasts, soared. The riverside fish market at Uzan Bazar looked like a mela with hundreds of Guwahatians thronging to buy the freshest.
The rush was such that policemen had to be deployed to maintain order. The prices of fish such as rohu, borali, chital and bhokua soared. The situation was similar at Ulubari, Beltola and Ganeshguri.
“I purchased a chitol (fish) at Rs 550 a kg but did not mind paying so much since uruka comes only once a year. I then bought a duck,” said Prasanta Dowerah, a government employee, at the riverside fish market.
Traffic ground to a halt on the stretch of GNB Road at Ambari since morning as a large number of people dropped in at NEDFi Haat to buy Bihu delicacies.
“Being the last day of pre-Bhogali mela at NEDFi Haat, the rush was more. The footfall since Saturday was around one lakh,” a NEDFi official said.
In Upper Assam, villagers in Tinsukia district’s Kakopathar celebrated Bihu in a traditional manner. While the men fetched firewood to light the sacred meji, the women made pitha, pona and other traditional delicacies.
“My friends and I made the meji and prepared a feast for 60 people. The menu included duck, mutton and borali fish,” said Mineswar Tamuli, a youth of 1 Dirak village.
In other towns, people preferred to spend the night with family and friends. “We made the delicacies ourselves and did not buy from outside,” said Paromita Kalita, a housewife in Sivasagar town.