Panaji: Days before Diwali, the lanes of Goa are abuzz with hundreds of youth putting together giant size effigies of demon Narakasura, who would be proudly paraded and then set afire on the eve of the festival, marking the victory of good over evil.
According to mythology, the demon was killed by Lord Krishna for rescuing 16,000 women, whom he had held captive.
"There is a mad race among youths to make the Narakasura as ferocious as possible. He should be made to look dangerous, the way a demon is," Sanjay Vaigankar, who along with his friends is readying a demon effigy, told PTI.
"His size too has to be huge. His eyes should pop out and tongue sticking out. The more menacing you can make him look, the better," he said.
Days ahead of Diwali, in Sant Inez locality many along with Sanjay are busy trying to put up their best show, working overtime to shape up the larger than life size effigies.
Traditionally, the effigy is built on a metal skeleton, which is rolled with stacks of old newspapers and dry grass, so that during wee hours of Diwali, it can be set ablaze easily.
"Several kilos of newspapers goes into making of this gigantic effigy. We scout around the town requesting people to contribute in the form of newspapers. We don't seek donations in the form of money, we want them to donate their old newspapers," another worker Ramdas Volvoikar said.
While Sanjay works for a private firm, Ramdas is a software designer. Both have been going to office a little late everyday due to lack of sleep.
"For the last 10 days, we have slept hardly for two-three hours a day. My boss don't question me, he knows it well that these are days of Narakasura," Sanjay quipped.
The city of Panaji itself will have more than 50 Narakasura effigies, sometimes rubbing shoulders with each other in all the lanes, which turns into a huge tourist attraction in the coastal state.
Locals too turn up in a large numbers to witness the creativity of youths through these Narakasuras.
While many youths are ignorant about the legend behind Narakasura, there are a few who exactly know why this effigy has to be put to flames.
"Lord Krishna finished Narakasura in order to free people from his atrocities and secure the release of women who were in his captivity. A fierce battle was waged between Krishna and Narakasura until the wee hours when Lord Krishna used his Sudarshan Chakra and cut off the demon's head," explained Sadanand Vaigankar, Sanjay's father, who enthusiastically supervises his son and friends in making the demon.
Sanjay has acquired the skill of Narakasura-making from his father, who says that things have changed with time.
"The effigies during our time were not so gigantic. They were considerably less tall. The current generation has taken the enthusiasm to another level. They (effigies) are getting taller and bigger every passing day," claimed Sadanand, who arrived in Panaji's St Inez area three decades back, leaving his ancestral village Bicholim.
With every passing year, technology is widely used in this skill of demon making.
"The lights popping out of the eyes and loud noise makes the effigy more intense," he said.