It started few weeks back. Long phone calls between my mother and sisters, project plan preparation and planning. Calls were made to our maid and her husband to come down over the weekend, and a promise was made for a cash bonus. A carpenter was summoned 10 days before and asked to put up the wooden shelves. Not to be left out, an electrician was called to fix up decorative lights. An order was placed with the local tailor for stitching a large white cloth cover. At the planned day, last Saturday the maid (couple) came, moved the carton boxes from our outhouse (aka garage) into my yoga room. Mom sitting down with them for several hours, selecting the items. The lucky items got promoted to the floor in my home theatre room (its always my room that is trespassed).
Wife was busy too – shopping for suitable return gifts. Specifications for selection was tight on price, size, weight, carrying ease, different from previous years and so on. She went to Pondy Bazaar, West Mambalam Station Road, Mint Street, searched the web, spent hours on Facebook Chennai shopping pages and this year a new one – asking in her WhatsApp groups!. Having married for more than a decade I know this is International affairs and I should stay far away from it other than lending my chequebook which I did without asking. While entering the house today in the evening I saw lots of flower samplings in small plastic sandbags and plastic flowerpots next to them. Intelligently I deduced these to be the return gifts and like in TV cartoons I saw bubbles of money bursting over my head.
While all this was going on my father dutifully said that all this is waste and that my late grandfather was against these expenses, he even broke few of the items in protest.
What am I talking about?
It is the time of the year again in India – the time of festivals. From yesterday in South India it is the nine days of Navarathri (Nine Days) festivals, its called Dasara in other parts of India. Festival season starts with Navarathri, peaks at Diwali and ends with Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. During Navarathri the dolls and idols of Gods and Goddesses are kept neatly decorated in what is called in Tamil as Golu. Friends and Relatives are called to each others house to see their arrangements and we exchange “Sundal” – an South Indian Snack. All the project planning described in start was for this Navarathri display.
Navarathri (Dasara) is my favourite part of the year and its got everything to do with sundal snack!
Seen below are few pictures of the Golu in our house this year.