Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NAVARATHRI

Every Year I celebrate Navarathri very well by keeping golu and doing pooja. I do it because I love to do it. My interest grew from a very very young age. When we were young my Grandma would dress me up for the occassion. I will be krishna one day , a mami another day and kurathi another day. So we will look forward to this occassion. Added to this is the 10 days holiday that comes with it. Who would want to think of the quartearly exams that had ended? The whole process would start from the morning hours itself. After early Lunch my grandma will draw a sketch of the gods or goddesses in the area that is available before the Huge Golu. It is our turn to colour them to our liking, but under her supervision. Around 3.30PM we will be ready to dress up. This process will take an hour or two depending on my mood swings. Around 5PM I will be pushed outside, which I will not hesitate, with two of my best chamchas carrying a bag each and me the all important kumkum box. Those bags are for keeping the thamboolam I had received from the houses I visit and the other one is to keep the sundal, so that the sundal doesnt get mixed up with seeval or betel nut.
I would go to all the houses in the street where we lived and invite everyone to our house to come and get thamboolam. This will continue everyday till Saraswathi pooja day.
All this had died down in this modern age. When I first put up a Golu in the Apartment where I lived 15 years ago, I went to all the apartments to call them for golu. One day my neighbour mami asked me why I was coming everyday to invite her. I told her the custom I grew with. Then she enlightened me that in Chennai/ Madras, they fix up a specific date and call everyone on that particular day only to receive thamboolam. This custom was new to me and from the next year I gave everyone 2 dates to come to house. Then over the years, I have learnt to invite them only one day during the festival. The ordeal of going to each and every house also took a beating as I started calling them on their phone and inviting them. And after coming to TheAtrium, where I live now I have started dropping small invitations in the post boxes. Think of calling 187 residents over the intercom. I simply could not do this. So last 2 years I have been doing this. As my daughter grew up I trained her to love this function, as I know that in a few years I would grow old and she has to take the charge. But times have changed. She now refuses to dress up as krishna or something else. I will have to motivate her to wear pattu pavadais daily. She will not go to any house to invite and she will not wear the jewels. So as always I do all these things myself minus the various types oof dress ups.

Every year I would think that I should not buy any new Dolls and should try to cut down the size and the arrangements for the festival. I dont keep up this and end up adding atleast 7-8 dolls to the already overgrown size of Golu. It is just not keeping the Golu. It is also about the gifting ideas and the timings to suit our convenience and a whole lot of them. If I invite everyone on the same day, I would not be able to attend to each and everyone. If I try to separate the crowd between two different days, some other's invite would clash with mine. And I would not be able to attend their house on the particular day. Adding to this will be absentees who will call me and tell that they would be coming on a different day, whether we like or not.

But besides all these confusions I still love to keep the Golu. It is not for Navarathri sake alone. We also do get a chance to wear our pattu sarees, jewels and visit friends and relatives atleast once a year.

In Atrium, we have a mix of North Indian and Southe Indian residents and so there will be a community Golu, Golu at the residents houses, Bhajan evenings at some houses and the all important DANDIYA/GARBA NIGHT and DINNER.
I am posting some of my Golu photos and the Dandiya dress my daughter was wearing for the occassion.

1 comment:

Calvino said...

WOW!! Your experiences just reflect my childhood experiences with my paati:))

Great write up!!!