Thursday, September 17, 2009

Navrathri musings

Come festival season and a wave of nostalgia sets in. Pondering, I decide we look forward to Navrathri or Deepavali to come by for the joys they bring along. There are many festivals celebrated in our Hindu religion. But there is no comparison to the mood that these two festivals bring with them.
We, my parents, my sisters and I lived with our paternal grandparents. The house was very large that this one room was dedicated to the golu we set up every year. The only other time this room became functional was when a new arrival was expected. This room was constructed with two doors, one leading to an attached bath and another opened to the dining room. Thus it was convenient for delivery and convalescence.
The room was on other days housing two big wooden cupboards filled with dolls and figurines of various sizes and shapes, all neatly wrapped in folds of newspaper. The ready- to- fix golu stand was housed in the backyard covered ‘kottagai’ ( the barn would be very aptly English). Thestand comprised of 9 steps that were broad and sturdy wooden planks and eight thinner reapers fitted appropriately with screws and bolts to hold them in place.
Around navrathri the household will be buzzing with activity and being school holidays we will all be included in those. To set up this stand, we await Periasamy. Periasamy makes one of his twice annual visits on the Mahalaya amavasya day to set up our golu. His other visit will be on the Boghi pandigai when he will do the ‘Kaappu Kattu’. Periasamy was employed by my grandpa in his youth. He was the cowherd, kept our dogs and used to ride the bullock cart taking my aunts and older cousins to school.

Later on, thaththa recommended for him and got him placement as peon in a government school. Then he moved to the Velagoundapatty village, where he worked. But without fail he will mark his attendance on these two occasions.
This was followed until few years ago, even after we sold the house and appa bought this new house. For the past three or four years we have not had Periasamy visiting us. Neither has anyone informed us that he is ill or no more. My parents have tried to enquire but with not much success. I conclude the latter as he would have been very old.
Coming to the golu, Periasamy would, with the aid of any servant around, bring down the stand, clean them and set the ‘padis’. Then he will neatly unwrap the dolls while we will watch mesmerized in spite of the fact those were the same that were exhibited repeatedly for many years in the past too. Patti and amma will bring out moth-ball scented white sheets to cover the padis. Once the sheets were spread to hospital precission, under patti’s scrutiny, Periasamy will singly set the golu up. Finally we will be allotted a tiny patch of the room to do a park as it will be called but actually had enough stuff to duplicate a town. Sand and clay and paper-cut figures and our toys will all be displayed there. Few years we have even grown some greens to make the hillocks look real.
Once our golu has been set, we were to go around inviting people to view our celebrations. A horse drawn cart will be hired and since it is a small town, the cart-man knows most of the homes we should be taken to. Decked in the best of pattu paavadais we go around with one tiny kunguma chimizh and a large bag to collect stuff. Today I feel so embarrassed that we would pipe up to sing at the least invitation from the lady of the house. We were strictly instructed that the collection was not to be opened until we got back home. And then the elders will decide as to what we can be allowed to eat and what is not. Our mother and aunts will repay the invitations that came in by paying their visits on another day.
By God didn’t we have fun? Today the trend has changed. Only thing is that the spirit of the season still is alive in out Indian hearts. Sitting alone in Ghana today I miss India. The navrathris Niki and I celebrated in Chennai were every ounce enjoyable as my childhood ones. We had as much fun in Malaysia with our very own gang, for lack of better expression, to describe the fun and friendship we share, we safely call ourselves a gang!
I am looking forward to Navrathri this year too. But I know it will be a subdued affair with us moving house right at this time around and trying to live in two homes at one time. However, I wish all of you have a great navrathri.
This post is just to wish all of you a very joyous festival. I have posted few pictures of my past golu set up in Malaysia and Bahrain. God willing, this year I will have some pictures to show off too.
With the impending move, my posts and comments on other blogs may suffer. I’m not sure of the duration the internet provider will take to install the facility in the new house. So if I were not looking your spaces up, please bear with me. Should be able to catch up soon.
I also take this oppurtunity to wish Eid Mubarak to our Islamic friends too.
Meanwhile Ammu of Nature kitchen, Kitchen Queen of Khatta Meetha Theeka and Chaitra of Aathidhyam have honoured me with a few awards. Thank you ladies. I appreciate your kindness.I shall include them in a future post. Thank you one and all.


  1. Wow! An awesome post. Reminds me of the navarathri days at my place. Good luck on the shift.

  2. lovely lovely post just reminded me of my childhood golu days...but we(me and my sis) never used to sing anywhere we go,but we used to laugh secretly hearing those maamis with "not so good" voices sing devotional songs..Now I realize how stupid I have been

  3. Happy Kollu....This shows how you are missing India?I too have lot of invitations Lata....

  4. Wow thats truely awesome post.. miss the days in India.. go temples and have wonderful time over there.. really nice time seeing golu mmm our childerns will miss all those things.

  5. Lovely post, your experience of childhood Navarthri days are so well written, i can very well visualize them. If there is some kind time machine i also want to go back to those kind of so sweet days.

  6. Lovely post lata... enjoyed reading... and also nice picture... golu at so many different countries....

  7. Sweet memories are always good to share! Lovely pictures and Happy Navarathri

  8. aaaaaaah... these are the times i wish i was madras settled... :(

  9. fabulous post Latha :) festivals have a special place in every Indian's heart, your flow of writing is just so superb! u've travelled so extensively and yet stuck to your roots :) kudos to you!!

  10. Lovely walking down the memory lane... Happy Navarathri to you too, Lathakka.

  11. Fantastic post, Lovely pictures..

  12. Lovely post...was Nice reading it...

  13. Lovely! I am now missing home :(

  14. Fabulous post lata:)Lovely pics:)

  15. Happy Navrathri to you and your family Lata nice post.

  16. Happy Navrathri...
    Nice pics of Golu... I am missing my premariatal days at home where we used to have golu celebrated with a bang.
    Let me see if I can get some pics from my mom- sil.. and add them.

  17. first time here lata. Absolutely very nice.great pic of navaratri golu. Keep rocking.

  18. We had our 'Periaswamy' at our house too - they are all a part of our lives - might not be visible on first look - but oh yes - they are there.

    A very nice post. It sure is these days when I just wish i can close my eyes and go back all those years back at Mom's house -dressing up in pavadai and enjoying golu!

    Hope you had a wonderful navarathri - your Golu looks really good and your Saraswathi has now traveled the world with you!

  19. What a creative way of using dining table and side tables as Kolu padi. BTW, you have such ornate side tables. Love your spirit.


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.