The Elephant God

09 Sep

A walk down memory lane it is for me on this Festival Day, far away from the Family who I celebrated it with the most part of growing years and enjoyed each moment of it.

The night prior to the day of the Festival is a time of Creative Expressions. The Design & Decoration of the Makar is an expression of competition with the so-called neighbors. Not that anyone in the Family was creative enough, so the readymade Makar available commercially had to sneak in escaping the prowling eyes of the affluent neighbors. The arduous task of attaching the puzzling pieces was a part of the creative endeavor.

As being a torchbearer of generation next, it was a privilege given to me to put the puzzle Together. Dad used to circle around the Room glancing at every aspect of the creative process waiting for the slightest opportunity of a mistake being committed. Occasionally temperament used to flare up as the Makar would tilt downwards, with no one willing to lend a helping hand lest it messes up. Amidst all the chaos, the decorations be completed around midnight and each one would observe it from their respective angular positions so to affirm the completion. It seemed like a collective achievement for the Family and assured of a good night’s rest ahead.

An early morning wake-up call, a cup of Kapi (filter coffee) and the silk dhotis would be handed over so to signal an early morning shower and adorning them in a traditional way so to be all ready for the traditional puja. Mom would get up earlier than usual so to make arrangements for the feast ahead that would be offered as Naivedhyam to the Lord first and then be served to us. It was indeed a festive time, as each one of us would help to Mom, which hitherto never happened before. Dad would be scrapping coconut; I would be chopping vegetables and my younger sister overseeing the operations.

Then as to signal the traditional aspect that Brahmin’s follow, especially the Muhurtam, the sacred puja begins. The decibel levels as for my Father reciting the shlokas and his new found Brahmanism, almost inciting the neighbors to take note of the noise pollution, and with me dutifully showering flowers of the Idol at times and sometimes repeating the Shlokas with him was a sight to behold.

The moment my Dad would feel hungry smelling the feast, the speed of recitation would increase dramatically. That is when my Mom would intrude in and reset the tempo.

My sister would step in and help light the incense sticks. She behaved as if she knew the traditions and amidst all of it, I was the lost Brahmin. Managing the silk lungi, reciting the Shlokas with speed and élan was all I had to do.

Soon, the story of Lord Ganesha’s life would unfold, and my Father would enact those instances with the finesse of a performer. Infact the end of the story would mean the offering of the Naivedhyam and thereafter the serving of the feast to the Brahmin. Only that in this case, the performing Brahmin was my dearest Pa. His eyes would light up, as the traditional Rice Modak’s arrive for offering the Naivedhyam. After the serving of the feast, it would be time of discussion as to the commercial aspect that has crept into the traditional way of worship and how important it is for us to retain our sense of identity.

Looking down Memory Lane, I know not whether we have managed to retain our identity, yet are certain, we have come a long way to embrace the metropolitan way of enjoying the Festival.

Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah

1 Comment

Posted by on September 9, 2007 in My Writing's


One response to “The Elephant God

  1. Padmaja Rao/Nagesh

    September 10, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Writing of “The Elephant God” is excellent. It appears as though it is happening in our house. The situation is almost similar, decorating the mantapam of ganesh till late night and exhausted to get up early. Even annayagaru has the habit of finding out faults when everything is finished. He donot correct me as and when he finds a mistake. There atleast mavayagaru has the comand over Telugu, so he recites slokas, but here, we don’t know Telugu properly so will be struggling to read the slokas and story. Hope for more writings from ur pen.


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