I just cannot believe that it is already one year since I wrote about Karadayan Nonbu. It cetainly doesn’t feel like that long. Time really flies. The usual question people ask us when we meet is, “ How do you spend your time”. I can only ask them in reply, “what time?” I can actually hear my sons saying, ”you will never get time.” It is true, I somehow manage to fill my time to the brim with the result that my only complaint always is that I don’t have enough time.
We are back to the malayalam month of Meena or Panguni in Tamil. As usual we observed Karadayan nonbu on the 1st of Meena. This year, the sankrama was at 2.30am on the 15th and hence the priest conveniently announced that 6.30-7.30pm on the 14th would be the auspicious time to do the pooja. When I asked him why he advanced the time, he said, “Madam, nobody will get up at that hour and observe the puja. 6.30-7.30pm on the 14th is auspicious for conducting any puja as per the Panchanga." The priests have to be very diplomatic these days. I can remember times when we would keep awake till 11.30pm to do the puja or would wake up at 1.00am and get ready to do the puja. I must admit, however, that I also did the puja at about 7.30pm on the 14th this year. Our family priest has many fine qualities, but when it comes to mixing the practical with the spiritual, he excels himself.
An interesting point about this puja is that in our village (I don’t know about other places) and also in my husband’s village, jasmine or other types of flowers are not offered during this puja. The flowers offered are what are known as Arali in Malayalam which has a sweet frangrance. As in the past years we managed to get the flowers from a nearby garden this year also.
As usual, I prepared both vella adai and kara adai as per my tried and tested recipe. Some of my friends say, they use karamani or chickpeas in place of green gram dal. I feel green gram dal gives body to the adai and also makes it very soft.
Although, I had blogged about the recipe last year, I didn’t have the pictures for it then. Each of these pictures follows the various steps in making the adais: making the balls out of the dough, flattening them, placing them on the steamer and then finally the steamed adais.
After preparing the adais, I got ready for the puja. There is one place for each female member of the family, however small the girl is. Even if there is only one female member, usually we never have one neyvedyam kolam (rangoli). It is usually two. I offer the neyvedyam and charadu for the Tulsi plant.
After the kolam is made, the puja offering is prepared thus: A banana leaf is put on each kolam. One sweet adai, one kozhukkattai and butter, two bananas, betel leaves and nuts, two pieces of turmeric, arali flowers and the all important Nonbu Charadu.
After doing the puja, the charadu is tied around the neck and the neyvedyam is partaken by the offerers. (This is one of the few occasions that ladies get to eat before men). Though you can have any number of adais, it is only one adai and one kozhukkattai kept during the puja, The verses for the puja are
Urukkatha vennayum Oradayum notren
Orukalum en kanavan piriyathirukkanam
which can be translated as “I offer butter and one adai, let me and my husband be together always."
The Uppadai or the savoury adai is also not offered as neyvedyam. It is only to have as a savoury item after the sweet adais.