Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mangala Gowri Vrata

Mangala Gowri vrata is celebrated on the four Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Shravan. This puja is done to Goddess Parvati by married women for the first five years after their wedding.

A Kalasha filled with water, haldi and kumkum is placed in the centre of a plate containing rice. Betel leaves are made to stand in the kalasha like a fence around the neck. On the background, three blouse pieces, folded like pyramids are placed. A square cut jaggery with a turmeric pyramid stuck in its centre, is placed in front of the kalasha. On either side of the kalasha, half cut dried copra filled with betel nuts is placed.

16 deepas are made out of a paste made from chana powder and jaggery. These deepas are decorated on a plate which will be used later for the puja.

After the initial invocation of Lord Ganesha, a small puja is done to Goddess Parvati, render praises of the Goddess. A garland made of cotton is strung around the deity as vastra and bangles, comb, mirror, haldi and kumkum are offered as abharana for the goddess. After Dhupam, Deepam and Neivedyam, aarti is done using two small lamps kept on a plate with water, haldi and kumkum.

After this, the 16 deepas are lit. A dosa ladle is held above the 16 lamps while the Mangala Gowri
story is recited. By the time the story is completed, the ladle has collected the carbon from the flameof the deepas. This is mixed with cold ghee and applied to the eyes.

Finally the woman takes the blessings of her husband. Haldi kumkum is offered to 3 brahmin ladies in the neighbourhood. This puja is repeated on all four Tuesdays of the Shravan masa.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bheemana Amavasya

It was Bheemana Amavasya on 21st July – an important festival for Kannadigas. I being new to this culture, my MIL came over to help me with the rituals. Here is all I could gather from the goings on.

The new moon day in the Hindu month of Ashada is celebrated as Bheemana Amavasya. Newly married women perform this puja for 9 years after their wedding. You can find the story behind this ritual

Two tall lamps, signifying Shiva and Parvati are placed beside each other. A turmeric root is tied around these two lamps with a yellow thread. Kadubu and payasam is made as prasadam for the puja.

The puja starts invoking Lord Ganesha like in all other Hindu pujas. After the aarti to Lord Ganesha, the actual puja begins. A garland made of cotton is strung around the lamps. An archana is done to the two lampswhile chanting the Lalitha Sahasranamam. This is followed by Dhupam, deepam, Neividyam. For dhupam, two incense sticks are whirled in clockwise direction in front of the God. Then a lamp with three thiris is shown to the God – this is Deepam. Neividyam is done with the prasadam prepared, kept on a cross made by water in front of the deity. After the neividyam the deeparadanai is done with camphor. Finally two small lamps are kept over a plate filled with water, haldi and kumkum and an aarti is done.

This is followed by the husband tying a yellow thread around the right hand wrist of the wife and the wife taking his blessings. Haldi kumkum is then given to 3 brahmin women in the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Hubs!!

Last two days have been Hubs’ birthday. Don’t be surprised, he wasn’t born twice. It was his date of birth on 20th and his birthday according to Hindu calendar (Start birthday) on 21st. To me, this meant being nice to him for 48 hours non-stop. Ah! How glad I was when I woke up this morning that I could resume finding faults at him. I didn’t wait a second to point at his wet towel on the bed with a frown on my face. How much I love my part time job of being a picky house-wife!!

On Monday, in order to celebrate his budday (and to help me keep my mind off the stupidities he does around the house) we decided on a trip to Wonder La. It was a last minute plan considering it only dawned on us on Sunday evening. Waking up in the morning was tough as we had a midnight cake cutting ceremony between the two of us and didn’t sleep before 2am. Soon I had called my Boss to say I am sick and we were ready to leave. I reminded him to remove all extra credit cards and cash from his wallet as I had read an
article about thefts in the Wonder La lockers. We were on the move around 9:30. We had a handsome 50kms to drive down.

10:55AM Entrance of Wonder La
Hubs and I are busy frolicking away, pulling fast ones at the security guards and the parking helpers at the park. We walk down to the counter to buy our tickets. “Do you accept debit cards?”, “Yes Sir. But you will have to wait 5 minutes as the sale of tickets only begins at 11:00”. Hubs is happy we reached before the park opened and we will have enough time for all the rides. He notices an SBI ATM near the entrance and decides to withdraw cash before the counters open. Standing in front of the ATM he pulls out the card from his wallet. The red card stares back at him reading ‘i-mint’. Hubs is almost going to faint. He frantically searches his wallet for his debit card but in vain. He runs through the cash to check if he has enough. It adds up to around Rs.550. One adult ticket at the park costs Rs.470. He feels like kicking himself, he throws the i-mint card away in deep frustration and looks at me desperately. I am both disappointed and amused at once. I can’t imagine we drove 50+ kms only to go back.

We walked back to the HelpDesk at the park and explained that we lost our wallet somewhere and asked if we can do an online transfer for the tickets. The guy at the counter looked concerned but helpless. Soon he called out to 2 other supervisors who had nothing to offer us but apologies. We continued kicking around the area for a while hoping we could get some help. Then as lightning strikes, it struck on Hubs that he had a friend working at Toyota, around 5 kms away from where we were.

Before I knew it, Hubs was calling Savan who just wouldn’t pick up his phone. He tried again and again before finally giving up. The dejection was apparent on his face. 30 seconds later, Savan was calling. He said he was on leave. However, a good friend and a great chap that he was, he volunteered to come down all the way from his home at Kengeri to give us the money and we shamelessly agreed. We didn’t have words to thank Savan when we finally met him and received the cash. We rushed back to the park only one hour after the park had opened.

The rest of the day was wonderful. We blessed Savan every now and then for the good time we were having. All the rides were exciting but, we enjoyed the Water Boomerang and the Tidal Waves the most. We returned home all tired and famished for sleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My World, My Contribution!

For sometime now there has been one side of me that I have been constantly killing. A voice that I have always tried to shut out but that which keeps coming back to me as if determined to make me relent.

When I was relatively new to Bangalore, and I moved into a home by myself, I was determined I was going to use my time constructively – for the construction of some child’s life. I was lucky that in my neighborhood there were not one, but many little ones who didn’t have a background that nurtured education. Within a few days after I moved in, I had a bunch of these angels visit my home regularly. Very soon my return from office would be accompanied by a ruckus of all of them screaming out ‘Aunty, Aunty, can I come now?’ They would throw appreciative glances at the things on my showcase; curiously pick up each and everything, every time enquiring details about the object that had caught their eye. In the beginning they would try to talk to me in broken English. (I didn’t understand Kannada then) We would have a nice time playing about in the house, singing, dancing, and each kid targeting jokes at the other. As time went by I started making them read out of books, write their lessons, and encouraged their talking to me in English, correcting their pronunciation and helping them with new words.

I would occasionally share with them sweets that mummy sent for me, sometimes I bought them chocolates. We played together, danced, sang and had a great time. We shared a wonderful bond.

However, this was short-lived as schedules at work started getting tougher and I was constantly fighting timelines. The ritual of meeting the kids became infrequent and gradually dwindled to never.

It has been over a year now, I miss those days. I keep reminiscing those times when I had set out to make a difference to the world that I share – however small my contribution had been. Off late, whenever the thought has crossed that I should do something to rekindle the good old days, I have brushed it away thinking that I am alone no longer and have a family now.

Today when I saw this mail from our company HR Dept. that a group is going to regularly visit an orphanage and anybody interested may join them, I got all kicked about the idea and decided I should atleast talk to Hubs about my this secret desire. The thought was so pressing that I couldn’t wait until evening to vent it out. Hence this post.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Solace at last

Last Monday I had a client interview which I got to know the previous Thursday. Everything happened like it usually does before an exam – I was nervous, I ate a lot while pouring my head over the books, no washing/cleaning, the smile from my face lost somewhere. In short - I quit living for the next three days. It took the whole of Thursday for me to decide what all I needed to study. By Friday morning, I had collected all the study material I was going to spend the next two day reading.

Through Friday, all I did at work was read, read and read. How much was I able to cram? -Nothing. Did I tell you I was too nervous to understand what I was reading?

I though I’d sleep early that night and resume cramming after I wake up fresh in the morning. But, I should have known myself better. No question of being fresh when all I did was watch nightmare after nightmare all through the night. The alarm went off at 5 and I was out of bed and with my books again.

Through Saturday I was hand-delivered all my meals by Hubs while all I did was study. By the end of Sunday and I was all tired of this study-study schedule. The house had stopped looking my own with things strewn all over the place. The sink was overflowing and the pile of unwashed clothes had starting competing with the Himalayas.

I was going back to bed this time more worried about my nightmares than my interview tomorrow. I knew exactly what was going to happen then. After repetitive visits to the washroom, I would finally end up at the meeting room. My hands would be cold and my mind, numb. My voice would shiver; my brain would reject every word closely related to a question. ‘I don’t know’ would be my favourite sentence for the next half hour and I would never dare attempt to relate the question with anything I have seen in the past.

With thoughts about tomorrow zooming through my head, I tried every way to calm myself down. Hubs was for no reason acting weird today. He wanted me to narrate a story – ‘our famous Girl Boy story’ which started at Masinagudi. A little irritated about his un-understanding behaviour, I started the tale. As I went on with it, I got further and further drawn into it. Off and on he kept reminding me of little particulars here and there. I sometimes accepted, sometimes objected, sometimes clarified, sometimes defended and hereby went on, and on… until I fell asleep. Next morning, I had been well-rested and refresh. I realized why he had been so stubborn on me narrating the story. It had worked!

The interview happened. Yes, I was sh*t nervous. My mind skipped many questions but managed to grasp some. However, I managed to clear it.

^^ our famous girl boy story is the story of how we met on a life-changing trip to Masinagudi and the proceedings of the outing.