October 17th, 2007


Navaratri Kolu....

These were taken at my friend Hema's place...one of the many visits I am making this week (I don't "keep" this display of dolls any more!)...

Let's start with the main display; the steps are always an odd number, 3,5, 7, I guess the days of 9-step Kolus are gone,except in the homes of large joint families!)

the main kolu

On the floor is the "rangoli" done with coloured powder, flanked by silver lamps on both sides.

The first step contains a tableau of Kailasa, the abode of Shiva; the whole family, Shiva, Parvati, Karthik and Ganesha, are there.

The second step tickled me mightily. It contains the ten avatars of Vishnu, but flanking those are: a Ganesha in a suit...and a figure of Winston Churchill, complete with cigar (to the left as you face the kolu.)

The third step has dolls of Karthik, and Krishna flanking various others.

The fourth step has, amongst the other dolls, the "kalasham" (pot filled with rice and other auspicious stuff, and surmounted by a coconut set amongst mango leaves) that many people install and worship, all the nine days.

On the top step are various forms of the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, the wife of Vishnu.

To the right of the main kolu is a tableau that includes a zoo, but what really caught my eye was the new tableau of...Mahabalipuram! Hema apparently bought the set along with the painted backdrop of the sea; please note the camera-toting tourist in front of Arjuna's Penance!

mahabalipuram scene 141007

There is also a small navagraha (nine planets) temple at the left-hand corner of the picture.

To the right of the Kolu is this wedding scene:

the wedding scene

The bride and groom, wearing garlands, sit before the sacred fire with the priest; other guests are approaching with the nAgaswaram and thavil players.

On the ground under the wedding scene are two more tableaus:

the cricket and the Garuda Sevai scenes

One is, of course, a cricket match, cricket being the unifying religion of India!

The other one is "garuda sEvai", the procession of Vishnu and Lakshmi astride his vehicle,Garuda (the brahminy kite, we think!) You can see the palanquin bearers, the decorative umbrellas, the devotees and the musicians in the procession.

Outside her home, at the front door, and at the gate, are these two beautiful kOlams done by her housemaid:

star kOlam

plus kOlam

Guests (usually ladies, but men do join in sometimes) get to eat some sweets and savouries (including that Navaratri speciality, sundal, a different one made every day!) and take home vetthalai-pakku, that is, betel leaves, areca nut, some fruits and a coconut, with vermilion and turmeric.

Happy Navaratri/Saraswathi Puja/Durga Puja/Dusshera to you!

From a forward I got...

Never make someone a priority in your life
When you are an option in their life.
Relationships work best when they are balanced.

When you keep saying you are busy,
Then you are never going to be free.
When you keep saying you never have time,
Then you will never have time.

So true. It is a mark of maturity to realize these things, rather than type them out!

I *hate* telling anyone, "I am too busy for you", but I have caught myself saying this once or twice lately. That means only that I am not organized enough. If I don't have time to call someone, or spend a little time with them, then, either I am no longer close to them, or I need to re-organize...