Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pullaiyar Chaturthi

Today morning when I woke up I had this strange feeling that something was amiss... It wasn't the usual Pullayar Chaturthi (for obvious reasons).. There were no familiar sounds in the background... There was only silence when I woke up at 5 in the morning... No suprabatham playing at vol-20, no sound and smell of something really nice made in the kitchen... There was no Amma calling "Sandhya ezhunduru di" from the kitchen (Sandhya wake up), or Meenamma(my grandma) prodding my feet conveying the same message.. Today was just the opposite.. It was only me and me.. I went to the temple near the college without my Amma telling me that I should go to a temple.. I was there for close to 2hrs... I watched the whole Abhishegam and took the prasadam.. If Amma or Paati or both of them had seen me over there they would have had a heart attack (No kidding!). It was nothing when compared to what happened at home... No familiar people walking upto you and wishing you.. I missed all the simple glory of being at home.. A friend of mine even invited me over to her place for the Poojai.. I may go; I may not go.. But it will never equal to being at home.

Festivals are the most important part of Brahmin households and mine was no exception. It was more important at my place because, with my parents working and Sundays being the only weekly holidays festivals were something we always looked forward to.. Another thing I really like about festivals is - the clothes (brand new ones), the food, and the pampering you get!! The preparations start the previous evening. Going to the poo-kaari (The lady who sells flowers) down the lane, buy coconuts, lots of fruits, arigampul (a variety of grass), and some other garland, I don't know what its called. Helping Amma draw the big maavu-kolam (Btw, kolam is not to confused with rangoli, they are two different entities)in the corridor, and my job was to fill it with kaavi, and writing "Happy Pullaiyar Chaturthi" with the maavu dripping all over my hand... Once the kolam was done, the door was left open to make sure nobody stamps it... My paati has the habit of shouting at anybody who walks anywhere close to the kolam...
Poojai preparations started early in the morning!! Work is usually delegated (Mgmt principles) Amma does the cooking and poojai related work. My job was to help paati make kozhakattai and apply kumgumam chandanam to the vellaku. The best part of making kozhakattai is licking off the poornam when paati or Amma are not watching you..! Infact Paati used to sneak out some poornam for me and Adi and we used to snack on it after the Poojai got over.. The Menu for the day was something like Vadai, payasam, Kozakattai, avial, moor kozhambu. Sharp at 7, Me and Appa used to go out to buy the Pullayar Idol, and the umbrella.. Buying the idol is a process in itself, you have to make sure its not flat or too on your face. (Amma's favorite instruction: Avar pakarthuku Azhaga irrukanam seriya???.. Meaning: He should look really good) Then comes the umbrella for the God. Appa does the job of decorating the Idol, and Amma does the monitoring making sure the Poonal is there, the Kodai (umbrella) is not tilted to one side, the eyes are in place etc etc... Once all this was done Amma used to place him on the tambalam(big wide plate made of steel or brass). The music in the background changes to some ashtotram now.. Next came organising the kitchen-turned-poojai room, arranging the flowers on another tambalam, thenga, pazham, vethala paaku in another. And finally the food...

Once all this was in place the real poojai starts... Appa, Amma, Me and Adi sit in the kitchen, Paati doing the monitoring. Once the poojai starts me and Adi give each other funny glances.. The food is tempting mind you ;) The poojai is the longest... Starting from Shlokam, to Stotrams to everything else.. Appa reads it out from a book then a cassette gives the instructions... Finally after 2hrs the poojai comes to an end... Amma does the deevaradhanai (Aarti) and the poojai officially comes to and end.. All us do our namaskarams (prostrating in front of God). No! The food is not served now, first it goes to the kakaai (crows), then the neighbours, we distribute the prasadam and finally US!!!

I miss all of it now.... The Poojai would be over by now, and I can imagine Appa, Adi, Amma and Paati watching TV and munching on Kozhakattais... I so want to be there again... I am waiting for my chance to catch the next bus or train to Chennai...

I miss home... I miss Pullaiyar Chaturthi at home...!!! Can I have some Kozhakattais please???...



PS: I dint know typing out Tamil words in english and translating them would be so difficult.. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are regretted...

1 comment:

Vedha said...

AAh... Vedha gives Sandy one big hug... I made all the kozhakattais at home, and now you've made me realise I should enjoy the festivals and help people at home... what if I missed it later ?!?!