Monday, October 18, 2010


Recently on my post on Navarathri  a comment was left by someone called Mona. 

Here it is.

 Dear Maiji
Really love reading your blog, I am amazed at your creativity whether it is your golu or knitting things for your g. g child.
My question is: despite having a large family and all its requirements, you found time to do all these things in a unique way.
How did you prepare for it? How did you organize yourself so that everything went smoothly?
We have a lovely golu every yeat, but I am lost when it comes to preparing food or snacks for guests. I get overwhelmed. Any tips ? How must I plan this event so that it goes smoothly and I don't sacrifice time spent with family, or shortcuts because I concentrate on the golu and visitors.
Please help/ anticipating your response October 13, 2010

 Mona has asked me some questions  and I find it very difficult to reply to them. My memory also seems very reluctant to surface and help me. Certain things I remember very well - like my family helping me by making no undue demands on me during the Navarathri time In fact my family, including my husband's parents, used to help me in many ways.

Every year I used to plan well in advance what the theme would be. No details. And I also used to start my kolu work well in advance say ten to fourteen days before the actual date. Once I started, ideas just surfaced to my mind regarding how to do this or that. Accordingly I worked on. After finishing my routine work like
cooking, getting the children ready for school, seeing to the needs of the elders I was able to organise my kolu details. Also if I remember correctly, however much inconvenience was caused, my family just took it in their stride.

Mind you, in those days (I mean the period of my kolu days) there were no kitchen gadgets. And no gas cooking ranges. It was either kerosene oil stoves or firewood ovens .I was not opposed to heavy work as I always looked forward to the end rewards and results Getting up in the morning at five was not at all bothersome to me, and staying up late if there was some work to finish was not at a problem. Above all these, I had willing helpers in my children. I should not forget to give credit to my maid and the gardener too.

I do not remember anything more .It is more than thirty five years since I had my last kolu. My only regret is that there are no photographs of my beautiful and much appreciated kolus.


mona said...

Dear Maiji,

Thank you for your reply. As always I enjoy reading your post.

Viji said...

I am always a bit surprised and disappointed in myself that I never carried on the tradition . I know enjoyed year after year the Kolu at home and when i went away after marriage it was what i missed most about home.I wish I had now ; in fact very often I desparately wish i had. Not having had daughters was no excuse . And every thing is etched in my memory - each year's "side show" wehter it was the Pondicherry Marine Drive or the village scene or the faithful depiction of a typical temple complete with the kaavi : ) the little sprouts , the tiny tied up pieces of cloth bundles as merchandise in the chettiar's shop , the Robin Blue ocean , the beautiful bommais , the marapachhis , the shundals the different stylish paavadai daavanis one for each of the nine evenings , the chairs out on the lawn where Babuji entertained the attendant Mamas of the attending Maamis...Raji singing, NOT having to study on Vidya arambham days ........

Viji said...

and at least two crinkly balls of new "maalais" made of multi coloured tissue paper and then all of the treasures lovingly packed away in the Perria Petti till the nexy Kolu

pradeep said...

what a lovely story in the Hindu. here I am at work and completely distracted and going through your blog.
Much love
Pradeep Sachdeva

Sashi Nair said...

It's really so inspiring to see someone of your age taking to writing and blogging so passionately... Do keep writing about memories of your days in Delhi (40 years is a very long time). Surely, you must have so much to say. And do write of Pondicherry as well. Probably you can produce a book for posterity if there is sufficient material. We need social documentation of history, sadly lacking in our country. So, do try to write as much as you can... Raji will help you.

mona said...

Just saw the article in Hindu Online. Way to go Maiji


kartikeya Amin said...

My heart slumped in my belly at your first remarks about The Mother:" But, as the narration went on..reading about the daily balcony darshan by Sri Babuji & your duty-bound .visit to The Mother & your experience, brought my grieving heart to cheer..! And, the finale of your getting the blessings from the Mother before your farewell to Pondicherry had a soothing effect on my being...Had I known you from closer quarters-like the very dear ones of whom you have talked in your memoir, I would have shown my anguish & fought with you with ‘love’. But, I admire you for your penning all the experiences & travel through various lanes in Life..! ( Geeta-my wife, too would love, when she has a chance to read your column.). Very accidentally, I read the article in "The Hindu"..and ran to read more- of your experiences in Pondicherry-especially, of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. But, we all are different..... It looks, the picture of’‘ Balcony’ given in the article, where The Mother use to give ‘Darshan’ seems to be a wrong one. .with love & kind regards.

Geeta & Kartikeya Amin