GOLU TIME MADNESS
It would begin exactly a week before Navaratri. Amma would be the one to start it first always,until the rest of the house caught on too. The amount of cleaning done before Golu is actually more than the rest of the year put together! It was my job to bring down the boxes we stored the Golu Bommais in, and sift through them. This is the easiest, and the most fun part, until you realise that you shouldn’t have been lazy while wrapping the dolls up last year, and that you should have labelled them to begin with.
We had lovely sets that my mother had collected over time. Our collection also contained dolls that were passed on to my mother by her mother and grandmother! I, for a fact know that the Mara-Pachi’s are older than Amma! We had the standard Chettiars.The paati in our set has a mortar-pestel in her hand and the thatha has a visari. I once saw this modern set, in which the paati had a mobile phone and the thatha had a laptop! A very interesting and ‘modern’ set we own, is a cricket set, and each of the players is Lord Ganesha himself! So, it’s Ganesha bowling to Ganesha with another Ganesha doing the wicket-keeping and so on! (The Umpire Ganesha has a noticeable paunch for some reason.) This set is a recurring favourite and I always used to get confused placing it properly. Another favourite of mine is a copper Kitchen set, Amma got custom made for the Kalyanam set. ‘Golu kutti podum’, My mother would say every time she bought a new set. Now that I come to think of it, I think we are Golu hoarders. Every time we go out traveling, we buy souvenirs because, “Golu la vekkalam!”
We were the only Tamilians in our lane and which is why this event would be very popular.
*Translation – Random mami : Sing a song, child!”*
Amma would even invite a Marathi Bhajan group who would sing Devi songs in Marathi and Hindi! We would of course have the Tamil Mamis come over and there would be at least one Mami who would sing the typical Mamavathu. Which is why, Amma made it a point to learn unique Devi songs every year to avoid repetition. “Adhe adhe same same, bore aghurdhu!”, she would say. I, obviously, wasn’t spared. Amma would begin this quest for “new” songs approximately 2 weeks beforehand and I had to help her with the research.
I enjoyed Saraswathi Pooja day as a kid, because that meant that my Harmonium, Salangai (and especially my Math text book) were to be kept dysfunctional. As Akka and I grew older, Amma insisted that we keep our Laptops too. Considering both of us are CS Engineers, it got inconvenient. (All the kumkumam on the screen didn’t help either.)
Vijayadashami day is actually the busiest, because that is the only day in the year that my moped would get a wash and also, that day meant, that I would learn something new at Dance Class! After I got back home, Amma would also teach me a new song. In the evening, after the Arti, she would move the Kalasham slightly and put the dolls to sleep (I am sorry, I did not find a better translation for “padukka veppa”). This would be followed by a few days of an upset tummy, because I would literally only eat Sundal through the entirety of the ten days.
This Navaratri, I am very far away from home and hope to continue the ‘madness’ that Amma passed on to me, when I have a house of my own.