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Entries in navarathri (26)

Friday
Nov022018

Navarathri 2018

This year Navarathri came and went. . . and it took me a good 10 days to come up with this post.

It was another hectic 9 nights with only one weekend in the middle and that meant going and visiting friends across the bay area between Friday night and Sunday night.

At least I am here for this was the thought and don't have to travel. Then came Jr.'s marching band competitions and the picking up and dropping off for that meant I got to visit even less folks than usual.

Did not do the saraswathi pooja and Vijayadasami prayer this year. San's chinna paati passed away. The golu we usually attend at MIL's cousins place was always one of the grandest. Almost every large scale display of dolls reminded me of her and conversations with her. Just did not feel like doing any pooja this year. 

Did go see some Golu(Kolu's) with San, and took pictures. This year, wanted to take photos of unique dolls in the displays that were not seen in other displays. It was a larger list and eventually a lot of the redundants were taken off the list. 

Some of these are tiny dolls that are only a few inches tall but have some amazing detail.. 

Here are a few of my favorites..

The full displays and the other unique pics are in the slideshows below..

 

Also learned of the new and improved Snapseed App (thanks to Raja Ramki) and played with some of the pictures with that app. It was how I spent time while waiting at airport gates last week. Given all the photos were taken on the iPhone X, made it easy.. 

Another year has come and gone. The kids showed a lot less interest in visiting folks this year than previous years. 

Next year I hope the festival falls over two weekends and there are less conflicts!

Monday
Sep252017

Navarathri Golu - 2017

We are currently celebrating Navarathri (nine-nights) and the Golu visits that come with the celebration. 

The women and girls (and their drivers by induction) are dressed nicely. 

There is high octane fuel.. err Sundal to feed the traveling beauties and chaufers.. 

Some fine singing by the kids in front of the doll displays and 

the doll displays themselves.. a thing we look forward to in this household. 

For those of you who are new to this blog, here is the background. South Indians celebrate Navarathri (Dushera, Durga Pooja in other parts of India) with elaborate doll displays on a staircase pattern (padi) and make some yummy treats with various legumes on 9 nights of the festival. They invite ladies and kids to visit their house, they sing in front of the deities, eat the snacks and are off to visit other folks. The ninth day is a prayer to the godess of learning, Saraswathi and the tenth day is celebrated as the day of Victory (Vijaya- Dasami).

In most houses where there has been a death in the family that year, they skip the display in their house and visit other folks. In some rare cases, where families found that the first year they kept the display as a newly wed family correlated to a death of a closed one, and I use the term correlate with a lot of hate given my applied math background... they watch cautiously. 

My grandmother apparently lost three kids to three years when she tried to keep the golu and decided that keeping the golu was not auspicious for the family. Since then (60 odd years ago), there has been no golu in this house on any paternal desencents. Any woman who gets married to a guy in this family, is promptly brainwashed irrespective of her education level and is told "not to tempt fate by keeping a golu". 

Let's just say that everytime I piss a flamingo dies. Unfotunately piss I have to. Out of respect for my elders (let's call it that) I am just happy visiting golus and taking photos of my cuties in different dresses. . . and of course documenting the golus from bay area which are frozen in time.. the Golus in Chennai seem to have morphed into some advanced concepts in terms of themes, dolls and partying! 

This is typical of any immigrant community that evolves on one side and supresses evolution on other fronts to keep things "authentic".. 

This year we managed one family portrait..

and visited 10 or so Golus over the weekend. I will miss the rest of the golus because of work. It is what it is.. Have asked Jr. to take some nice pictures of golus they attend and show me and I can add it to the slideshow below..

This year I also got to take pictures of the Dasavatharam set (10 avatars of Vishnu) from different Golus (where it was possible to take a picture). Given the circular golus and a shallow depth of focus, some golus were a challenge to capture.. next thing I know, we might need drones to take ariel views of the golu and add videos. Golugraphy has to make its technological advances, no?!

Talking of technology, the kids are taking their science projects and making the Golus interesting. We were witness to a volcano demonstration as part of a golu. Every visitor gets to see the volcano. Just think of how much fun Golus are becoming! 

Here they are...

Given that kids place the dolls and there is sometimes breakage in transit, it is impressive that the golus make it with all 10 avatars. Sometimes folks place it in the wrong sequence while majority place it right. Have written about this in a FB post before.. but there is a logic to this. My grandpa taught me that the 10 avatars of Vishnu is our forefathers way of teaching us evolution. The puranas that talk about the 10 avatars pre-date Darwin by 100's of years. 

The idea is :

life started in the ocean.. the first avatar is fish

Life moved to amphibians .. second one is a tortoise

Then it came to be ground feeding land animals .. third one is a boar

Then came a predator .. Vishnu as a Lion

Then came a pygmy or dwarf .. Vamana

Then it is all homo sapien transformations with a man who is mentally unstable (but physically a man as we know it) - parashurama (violent man)

followed by Rama - man with ideals

then Balarama -- a man with a plough (he has now settled and has figured out how to tame rivers and do agriculture.. non nomadic man)

then Krishna (god who does anything he has to to win and in the process sets up the downfall of man)

Finally Kalki, the doomsday avatar of Vishnu who finishes off what Krishna started. (Last year I had made fun by saying Trump is Kalki and regret that.. he won as I predicted and given where we are.. he might actually be the 10th avatar of Vishnu.. given God comes in all shapes, sizes and colors..even orange)

It is interesting to see how sometimes we miss the bigger picture or the hidden lessons! 

As usual, look forward to next years's Golus.. 

Monday
Oct102016

Navarathri Golu 2016

This year we had Navarathri over two weekends, which is always a plus compared to it being spread only over one weekend!

Was way busy with work and had just come back from another overseas trip at the beginning of the festival. Wife, MIL and kids made it to all the Golu's while I chauffered them to select places over the weekends only. They took pictures of Golu's I missed so we can add it to the blog.

The highlight of this years festival was these two photos which we will cherish for a long time. Many thanks to our friends for the clicks and cracking the right jokes at the right time!

 

You need two things for good family pictures. Good lighting and good jokes that the entire family can get!

Then there were the golus. Neat and clean and simple, to complex to creative! Best part was to see the little displays the kids create on window sills and on the floor next to the Golus.. National parks, Hamma bead towns, cricket sets.. you can see they all are still setting classic three slips and a gully while the New Zealand team is now going to a field set up that has only third slip and gully!.. okay, where was I? yes, Golus!

We also had kids sing and dance and Jr. played the saxophone in two of the Golus. She is getting better. I get berated by my friends for giving her "feedback" after her performance, which is interesting in its own way. 

Here is a video of her doing the Thillana this year.

Hope next year she will do the entire piece without any mistakes. I am very proud of her, but given her ability, if she just practiced a little more instead of two days before the festival starts, she could have aced the whole thing! 

Finally the Golus.. enjoy the slideshow!  

Thanks to all our friends who invited us this year. It was fun. Next year, will try to visit everyone!

Saturday
Oct242015

The girl with the golden sax

This year, Jr. decided to play the alto saxophone at Golus instead of singing songs. She practiced the weekend before and played three or four small pieces.
She looked majestic in her half sari and the saxophone matched her dress like another jewel!
Jr. has been teaching herself these pieces. Not that confident yet on her ability to play south Indian classical music. We are all encouraging her to practice more. This year her teacher has promised to help her with understanding the complex notation as well as making it easy to play these pieces. Next year, she might play the entire songs.. 
Here is a small clip from this years Golu at a friends place..
She made us proud just for trying!
Thursday
Oct222015

Golu 2015

This year the entire Golu visits were done over one weekend. Here are some of the golus from this year.

As usual, they were all grand and nicely done, be it three, five , seven or nine steps!

Again the kids did great side displays to show their creativity!

Some of the dolls are so intricate that these photos do not do justice to the dolls.

Golus that are new to us this year..

The rest are in this slideshow.. enjoy!

This year Jr. played the saxophone at some houses while she had the energy. She had practiced a few south Indian classical pieces and was hesistant about trying them out. We told her it was in front of friends and she should go for it. It was the highlight of the weekend.

Golus and our friends make sure we don't miss India during Navarathri season!