“Dussera” is a festival of worshipping goddess who eliminates the evil, worshipping goddess who gives us wisdom and knowledge. It’s a festival that runs for 10 days. On the 9th day of the festival we worship all the tools, instruments and machines we use at home and office and it’s called “Aayudha Pooja”.
Today is Aayudha Pooja, while my dad was decorating home and worshipping machines, the ladies narrated stories of their Aayudha Pooja as children at their village. The kids had to take part in farming. Aayudha Pooja meant no work and a day of rest. So, they would eagerly wait for this day and worship knife, traditional kitchen cutting tool (“mettu katti” in Kannada), agricultural tools etc. However this was part of another festival, “Diwali” in their region. The Mysore tradition was to do this festival during Dussera. So, traditions in my family also changed when they moved to Bangalore.
This festival to me, meant showing gratitude to those machines which have made our life easier and has helped us earn our idli, vada and sambhar. The vehicles are washed. Television, Refrigerator, Washing machine, Computer, Phone, Iron box, heater, Kitchen stove etc are wiped well. A red dot in between two yellow dots are designed on all of them. They are decorated with flowers. Lighting the incense sticks and Aarti gave a golden glow to all those machines. Lemons are kept in front of all the tyres of the vehicle and you’d have to run over them. This year my France return B-Twin cycle got to witness all of this and she felt like the westerners. Just like few of the westerners who’d be super excited with their visit to India and they’d go gaga wearing saree, kumkum and jasmine flowers.
As I switched on the television, I noticed they’d forgotten to worship the television set top box. I asked my mother how she’d missed noticing this to which she bluntly said, “Well it’s connected to the TV so it’s ok”. In a few years with all the devices, instruments and machines connected all we have to do is worship the “Internet of Things” and it will take care of the rest, because everything is connected.
When you fall sick to an extent that you have troubles breathing, things on your to-do list are pretty simple. Get yourself laid on a hospital bed. A glucose rendering needle poked in to your vein. Email your HR and manager that you can’t be working for the week and cancel all your official meetings.
A week at home meant sleeping for 10 to 12 hours a day. My mother and aunt kept gossiping about relatives that I’d hardly meet. The ladies at home narrated many stories.
#RandomRant: Families are funny – my eldest maternal cousin (MC) is just a few years younger to my mother, my eldest paternal cousin’s kids are older than me. Ignore, if that sounds too complex!
My mother is from a coastal village, Udipi. She is the youngest among her siblings. She looks fair and lovely. ‘MC’ was dark and handsome, but he wanted to get fair and handsome (way back then creams and lotions were not part of beauty regime). He apparently chose to take a stone wash, almost wearing his skin away and feeling disappointed. Well, how I wish people doing “dark is beauty” campaign existed then. Colour is a much discussed topic – the bride is dark (even when she is fairer than the gossiping ladies), your cousin’s lips are turning black (they mean – check if he smokes), Castor oil has many benefits like delaying grey hair (it’s not just your bad hair day), when was the last time you visited a dentist (yellow, decay brown – wonder which colour they noticed). When body colours are discussed I want to send them to pathologist as volunteers to test the fluid samples, “Light yellow and has odour” – it read.
My aunt is from the Sahyadri belt, Thirthalli, Shimoga. She grew up in a dense forest. She speaks about flowers, birds, herbs, games that I’ve never heard or seen. She has lots of cousins, among which J is well known and dearly close to all of us. Some kids are extremely curious and daring, while some are feeble. Copper Sulphate was kept for home remedies during those days. Playing with her sisters a 7 year old J happened to touch Copper Sulphate and she decided to herself that it was the end of her life. She wasn’t convinced even when her mother washed her hand and erased the traces of this bluestone. Unable to console the kid she got J to my aunt’s place. My aunt recalls that for a week J kept asking “when will I die?” Some myths and misconceptions are stronger than the truth itself.
One week of lying down and hearing stories, I’ve picked up my new hobby.