Navarathri time

For eight years, from the time the kid was two to ten, I would keep a fairly extensive golu.  The golu stand in itself was never big, given that our living room is fairly small, but I made sure the paraphernalia were all in place – a fancy rangoli, environmentally friendly home-made newspaper bags for tambulam, and hand picked gifts for the visitors.  I had pictures of my golu over the years in my old blog, if you had been following me there, you may remember.  They are all gone into the great wide open now.

The past two years, I downsized.  The move probably reflected my need to minimise. Also, I am more conscious of the family’s comfort level as well.  When I had a big golu, I would displace the furniture and have the family tip toe around the golu and lock themselves in their rooms if they wanted privacy.  Now I feel that my need to have a big golu must not inconvenience the others in the household; so, no more moving of furniture, no more over-use of leg space and no more fuss.

Coincidentally, last year, my cousin, in the process of shifting homes, found a miniature wooden golu stand,  at least fifty years old.  It belonged to our grandmother, and was one of the many satellite golu-s paati built around the humongous 11 step main golu that touched the roof of our ancestral high-ceilinged agraharam house.   This golu stand  that my cousin didn’t want, and consequently, I took possession of, is fifty inches high, with five tiny steps that can hold tiny dolls. Last year, I bought tiny dolls that fit the tiny steps and set it up at an unobtrusive corner of the living room.  This year, I followed the same practice.  Here it is:


Do not be mislead by the apparent height of the golu. The top most stair reaches my hip and the stand has been placed on a couple of cardboard boxes for height.

As with all earlier years,  you see on the right of the golu, the little silver idol of Saraswathi, the goddess of learning (in its throne, with a tiny coral necklace and gold thirumangalyam).  It is a family heirloom and could be a hundred years old.  There was a matching set for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, which went to my cousin.

So, if you are in the Chennai area, please visit me.  A simple newspaper bag of tambulam shall be given, along with loads of goodwill and cheer.  If you are away, you’ll still get the goodwill and cheer from me, sans tambulam.



7 thoughts on “Navarathri time

  1. Hangaku Gozen

    This is probably entirely different, but in Japan they celebrate what used to be called Girls’ Day, or Hime-Matsuri, by putting out a display of dolls representing the imperial court. The idea was to extol the “feminine” virtues, such as beauty, good manners, a “quiet” or demure personality, etc. (Boys had a Boys’ Day, which celebrated “manly” virtues like strength and courage. However, the festival was associated with the war-centered samurai ethic, which was quickly squelched by the American occupational forces following World War II. The koi flags are still flown and some people still set out a stand with the symbols of samurai culture, but it’s all been lumped into a gender neutral Children’s Day.) My family had a set of dolls, which was put out every March, but my sister has since laid claim to it. I’ll probably never see it again. 😦

    I hope you enjoy your festival and it doesn’t overtax your time and energy. I think all holidays, regardless of nation and tradition, fall too heavily upon the women in the family to carry them out. My mother enjoyed the Japanese festivals, but they always involved cooking, decorating, and entertaining guests. She was always in a bad mood during the Christmas-New Year’s period, especially since my father did nothing to help her.


    1. LG

      Interestingly, Navarathri is a girl’s festival too. Men are excluded. Across the country, it involves nine days of prayer to the three life-sustaining forces, which are personified as the goddess of learning, wealth and valour. The dolls display is regional – only people in the southern states of India have it.
      Japanese cultural and social history was altered significantly by the world war, wasn’t it?
      Can’t you fight for custody of the dolls?
      Yes, I used to be like that too. Take on too much during festival times, and be torn between stress of doing them, and guilt of not doing full justice. Now, I really don’t care (that much). I’ll do what I can do. That’s all.


      1. Hangaku Gozen

        It’s hardly worth going to court for something like a set of dolls. For the cost of getting my attorney to pursue such a thing, I could easily buy an antique set from Japan that actually would be nicer than the set my mother had. I really would like to have the Boys’ Day decorations—there was a lovely samurai doll riding a horse that I would love to own—but heaven knows where that is now. It’s sad, but I think the lesson of my falling out with my family of origin is that things are just things; it’s the people who are much more important. It’s better to have good friends and supportive family than all the family heirlooms in the world, and that includes money.

        Liked by 1 person

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