Diva, a suburb near Thane, saw a unique celebration last week when a local builder threw a huge bash to mark his son turning 17 and hitting puberty. Hundreds of people witnessed the momentous occasion when the boy shaved for the first time in his life.
Jitendra Bhagat with his son Dweep. Pic/Sameer Markande
The centre of attraction was Dweep Bhagat (17), the son of Jitendra Bhagat, a local builder in Diva. The family belongs to the Agri community, who are known as the original residents of Mumbai. The community owns large pockets of land in the suburbs many of which have been sold to commercial builders.
Dweep put a razor to his chin for the first time on May 22
The Bhagats, too, have an entire building to their name. The structure was built on land they owned, and the builder gave the family a few flats in the apartment building. The Agris are well known for their zest for celebrating the smallest of events in grand fashion.
A banner in Diva announcing the ‘shaving’ ceremony
The western part of Diva has a substantial Agri population, and many people are seen flaunting their Audis, BMWs and other such luxury cars in various parts of Thane district. Even by the community’s lavish standards, however, this was a never-before-seen event.
Jitendra sent invitation cards to hundreds of people from his community, and flex banners and posters were put up in the area inviting people to come see Dweep put a razor to his chin on his birthday, May 22. A pandal was erected for the same and Dweep cut a three-layer cake to mark the occasion.
Speaking to mid-day, Jitendra said, “I have only one son and I have a lot of dreams for him. As Dweep was turning 17, I wanted to organise a function to mark the first time he shaved. On my insistence, he had not shaved till then. I wanted to invite everyone so he could shave in front of them.”
While many a guest expressed surprise at the ceremony, they were quick to point out that the community has a lot of wealth and could afford such luxuries. “No such function has ever been organised in our community. We have also heard about such a thing for the first time.
But then, people have a lot of money and they don’t know where to spend it. I know of an Agri who wears ten tolas of gold,” quipped a guest who attended the event, on condition of anonymity. “I am proud of my son. He is doing well in his studies and scored 54 per cent marks in his Std X board exams. Now he is studying for his HSC exams.
I am sure he will score 70 per cent. I always wanted to do something for him. That’s why we organised this function without thinking of any expenses,” Jitendra added. While Jitendra refused to put a number on the money spent, sources said around 275 people attended the programme in which the guests were offered the choicest of non-vegetarian dishes (fish and mutton are popular delicacies in the community).
Vegetarian options were also available and booze for those who love their tipple. And then, of course, there was a DJ who played popular numbers.