Oct 25, 2007

Its Deepavali Time Folks

2 weeks to go. Its that time of the year again

>> when you have to start cleaning the place called your home, which some others may mistake to be a stable. Some of you might even think of painting the walls which have been hitherto used as a canvas by your children. Some of you need to change the drapes and curtains which have been used as a hand towel by your maid. Then excavation to be done on the layers of dust accumulated on everything around. The family of spiders that spins so many cobwebs for you needs to be told to shift elsewhere. Phew!!! lots to do!
>> when you need to start planning on the sweets, the farsans and the crispies to make to delight your family and your friends. Especially your MIL and your neighbor (its surprising how they both can be made as part of the same group at times) should not be in a position to find any fault or brag that their tidbits are better. Of course, these days there is the option to order for them too. So, maybe you can do that and claim that you have made it.
>> when you need to plan your budget. After all, you need to pay Diwali bonus to your maid, your driver, your milkman, your dhobi, your watchman, your cablewala, your liftman, your child’s school-bus driver, your office boy, your associations, your what nots and the list goes on.
>> when you start wishing you had learnt tailoring. You have bought your saree one month in advance and yet not a single tailor is agreeing to give it on time. You are just short of falling on your knees and paying anything he charges but … you propose and tailor disposes!

But still at the end of it all, comes the light - the festival to perk up the mood, the festival that many of us look forward to. I do wish we do not use too many crackers and pollute the air. I do wish that when I buy something new, I can buy some for people who cannot afford it. I wish I can spread smiles.

Lots to do. Time to pull up my socks.


Quirky I Am

My Diwali resolution is to finish all the tags. Frankly I don’t even remember how many tags remain. I should have maintained the list like some other intelligent girls here did. But then let me start off and please do remind me if I missed yours. Sorry, but it was unintentional. I am like that!
To begin with, my quirks. This tag was passed by Lavs. Ideally I should take it up in the end because by the end of this, readers would probably decide I need a shrink. But let me tell you, these are momentary quirkiness. I am very normal and calm person otherwise. Ask my hubby… errrr… no, you better ask my children… uhhh… I think no need to ask! Just read on.

~ I love to play with my hair when I am deep in thought. When I was young, I even used to bite the ends.
~ I cannot sit still. Either I sway as in trance, or my legs shake or atleast my toes. I have been frowned upon by many for this but its involuntary, believe me. Sadly, I am passing the habit to my kids as well.
~ I get disoriented easily, especially if someone is boring me to death. I can go on looking indulgently at someone and while the poor souls are glad for my sympathetic ears, I would have tuned myself out. Not that I don’t get caught. My brother had given up on me. He used to keep insisting that I repeat what he said. With time, I have surely improved.
~ I don’t know if I can call it being quirky but then I get obsessed with anything easily. And get bored equally fast too. Nothing is in moderation for me. Its too much or too less.

Not that I cant think of any more but then I cant type long posts!!! Another quirkiness, you bet!
As for passing on the tag, the best or the worst part about my tags are I am generally the last of the lot to take it up. So, noone remains. But if any of you hasn’t taken it up, please do. Please make me feel part of the sane crowd.


Oct 18, 2007

Bommai Kolu

During Navratri, it is a tradition in many homes in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to arrange a "kolu". This is like an exhibition of various dolls in odd numbered steps ("padis"). The kolus could be the elaborate, extravagant ones to the simple, traditional and artistic ones. It is important that the Navarathri Kolu is set up with an odd number ofsteps (usually 7, 9, or 11). Some homes have the tradition of keeping a “Kalasam”. Kalasam is a brass or silver pot filled with water and adorned with mango leaves. A "kuthuvilakku" (lamp) is lit, "kolam"(Rangoli) are made before the Kolu and devotional hymns and slokas are chanted. After performing poojas, the food items that have been prepared, are offered to the Goddesses.
Girls and ladies are invited and they are given prasad (the offering given to God that day), kumkum (red powder), and a small bag of gifts usually containing a mirror, a comb, a small box of kumkum, and fruits. This is also called tamboolam. This is a woman's festival. Celebration of being a woman :)
The dolls kept in the Kolu are mostly those of the Gods and Goddesses depicting mythology. Common ones being Dasavatharam, Ashta Lakshmi. Ramar Pattabhishekam, Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, Murugan and Valli, Krishna in Aayarpaadi etc. A wooden pair of doll (Marapaachi - a pair of a boy and girl), are also kept as these dolls indicate fertility. Kolu does not mean that the dolls are kept only on the steps. Themes such as marriage, school, park, zoo add to the fun and creativity.
On the 9th day (Saraswathi Pooja), books and musical instruments are placed in the pooja and worshipped. Tools are also placed in the pooja - as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Vehicles are washed and decorated, and poojas are performed for them.The 10th day - "Vijayadasami" - is the most auspicious day of all. New ventures and any event started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Children are made to write their first alphabet on this day -also called Vidya- Arambham. New art like music, dance etc are started. Proper respect and guru dakshina is offered to the teachers.
At night, after Arti, any one doll is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North. The next day, the golu is dismantled and packed up for the next year, and believe me this is the toughest job. Its easy setting the Kolu up but packing is difficult.

So, here I summed the 9 days, that signify so much. Let me know if I missed something.All said and done, I am yet to figure out why the dolls are worshipped and why only on odd number of steps. Answers from anyone?


Oct 17, 2007

Happy Navratri!

Been away and missed all of you. FIL was hospitalised. His Gall Bladder has to be removed next month. We are all worried and praying. I just hope, at 82, he is able to take it.
In the midst of all this came the joyful festival of Navratri to give us some respite. This is one of my favourite times. Even though it becomes hectic, it gives me a reason to socialise in this otherwise mechanical life. All 9 days, I call all my lady friends and give them haldi-kumkum and prasad. Some of them claim that they see me only this time of the year. Sad but true!

Heres a glimpse of the way we celebrate the occasion by worshiping dolls. Will write a post on this. As of now, here are some snaps.

And before I forget, thanks a lot Lavanya, for guidance on "how to change the blog looks". :)


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