INTAKI SPACE – With the arrival of the Kumhbelaa season, Intaki Prime and its colonies are in the midst of the celebration that comes but once every five years.

On Intaki Prime, beach resorts are booked solid and young people on holiday from university are crowding into nightclubs and open-air venues to party with one another.

“It’s great,” said Lajja Amroliwallah, a tourist from Cistuvaert. “I was too young to take part in the last Kumhbelaa, but my older sister came here and told me how much fun it was. I’ve been waiting ever since.”

Other tourists making the pilgrimage to Intaki Prime come looking not for a party, but for a piece of their history.

“We almost didn’t make it, but the trip was worth the risk,” said Nikhilesh Kandathil, an Aunia-born Intaki whose transport was attacked at a gate camp in the Ostingele System. “Seeing the homeworld for the first time and being able to bring my mother back for a visit… What can I say? It was breathtaking.”

Employed as a housekeeper at the Tarangi Resort, Mandira Jagarlamudi said the celebration is a mixed blessing.

“I’m working overtime all through Kumhbelaa,” she said, shaking her head. “These kids have no respect for things, so there is plenty for me to do.”

Jagarlamudi said the earnings from her overtime hours, plus tips from the more affluent tourists mean she will be able to make in 11 days what she normally makes in two months.

On the Sahjan colony, fire crews are the ones putting in overtime hours. Celebrants on this colony mark the start of Kumhbelaa with “anarchist fires,” huge bonfires in which effigies of unpopular people are burned. While typically not threatening to public safety, some of the fires have been attributed with spreading to nearby structures.

Subodh Thiagarajan, a district fire chief, said his crews have been instructed to only step in if there is risk to public safety or private property.

“We’re not here to tell people not to have fires,” he said. “We just want to make sure nobody gets hurt.”

The observation was taking on a more somber tone on the colony of Rohaanar, where practitioners of an extreme form of Ida ate their last meals at sundown on 12/19/112. For the most ardent, the fast will continue until the end of Kumhbelaa on 1/1/113. For the very young, the very old and those of ill health, the abstention will take place during daylight hours.

In his first major public address since resuming leadership of the colony earlier this year, Idama Jeevan Nirantar told his followers to use the time of Kumhbelaa to reflect on the true nature of sacrifice and its importance in their lives.

“It is desirable that a man live in all respects so compactly and preparedly that, if an enemy take the town, he can walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety,” Nirantar said.