Written last Sunday….
As I walk down to the play area from my home, I realize that it has been ages since the kids had what I presume their we-playtime in the play area without their friends for company. The sweltering morning sun has suddenly hidden behind the clouds and we now have a low rumbling thunder for company even as a pleasant breeze blows.
My thoughts wander to how fast the last one month has swung by. The Cambodia trip, the start of a new school term for my daughter S after a short break, Navaratri preparation and then Navaratri itself. It has been a busy month, albeit a nice one.
While S knows what Navaratri is all about and that we will be inviting all our friends home during that time, this year turned out to be a new experience for R. From curiously asking what we will do during the raatri / night since the name says Navaratri 🙂 to asking each morning if it’s still Navaratri and who will be visiting us that day, it was a fun-filled experience for him having so many friends coming over to play with him. He had his own list of friends to invite and was more than happy to give them fruits and chocolates. He kicked off his naughtiness full-fledged only after a few days, grabbing paaku and manjaL from everyone’s tamboolam.
This Navaratri made me realize that, by now, I have my Navaratri planning all set in my mind. From stocking up on betel leaves, fruits, flowers, paakku, manjaL and gifts to deciding on the day’s sweet and sundal menu to getting the day’s guest list ready and doing the routine cleaning up tasks, this year, I went through the days as though it was routine. I didn’t mind the frequent visits to Little India to buy betel leaves and flowers or making coffee/tea multiple times.
While I did all other planning properly to some extent, what I didn’t prioritize was my saree for each day. The poor quality material of some saree blouses which resulted in them shrinking and requiring alteration and not to forget my weight gain in the recent years reduced my saree options for each day despite owning dozens of sarees. Next year, this will be one area I will include in my Navaratri planning.
As Navaratri progressed, I realized that for all my claim of being an introvert of sorts, I do seem to have improved in holding a conversation with everyone visiting my home and I also realized that my culinary skills has also improved since my very first Navaratri in Singapore in 2012.
I kicked off Navaratri by inviting my close friends from the neighbourhood on the first day. Though the day had me on my toes all through, at the end of the day, there was this contentment and relaxation that comes from spending quality time with good friends.
Each day saw a different combination of folks visiting us, friends from the previous neighbourhood, colleagues of my husband, the children’s friends from the play area and my sole friend who was my colleague once. Meeting her does make me happy and nostalgic every single time and reminds me of what feels like an erstwhile life of mine.
Oh there were those crazy days too! That rainy Sunday when I had to take my children to a competition at a temple, be there for about 4.5 hours and then dash off from there to a friend’s house and then come back home just in time to receive a friend at home! Did I tell you how I much I missed having a car to drive on that day? It is no fun taking young kids stricken with hunger from one place to another all through the day on bus after bus when the mother herself is down with a headache. At the temple, rainy day + tiring wait + kids who refuse to eat + noisy halls + wet and messy toilets – did I hit a jackpot?! But, the day did end on a note after a great, relaxing time with many old friends. A few days later, when we came to know that S had actually won a prize in that competition, the tiredness didn’t seem to matter anymore and, more importantly, mom-guilt was back again in my mind.
There were those busy ones too when different friends visited in succession and I had to squeeze in my visit to a friend’s house too in between. Talking about which, this year had me visiting five folks who had kept a golu. My children and I loved the golus. I always love the festive colours, the beautiful dolls, the rangoli and the decorations. I can’t wait to start keeping a golu myself.
This year, I also got a flavour of how Navaratri/Dusshera is celebrated in North India with some friends fasting and some doing special pujas.
Vijayadasami had me gratefully thanking Goddess Saraswati for giving me back my voice. Unlike last year, this year I could sing all my favourite kritis. I also realized that it is time I again started being mindful of how I am using my voice.
Vijayadasami being synonymous with learning and studying, I pondered not just on all the skills that I have gained so far and my lost career, but also on all that I want to learn further including some basic life skills like improving my patience level and being unruffled.
How did your Dusshera go?