Monday, June 25, 2007

Grihapravesam (II)

After getting the car repaired and getting it home, we all breathed a sigh of relief. We started getting busy with the other arrangements. Once again, our handsome and charming son took an auto and went to the new house to get it cleaned. Hubby dear went to the market to get the flowers and other pooja materials. I got busy at home packing the various things to be carried for the pooja and checking with my list to see if I had forgotten something.

The things we carried included:
Sandal powder
Incense sticks
Flowers for pooja
Garlands for decoration
Different types of vilakkus (lamps)
Wicks for lamps
Ghee for homam
Woodshavings and other materials for homam
Various pooja utensils
Rice paste for kolam
Rice, urid whole and other navagraha dhanyas (paddy was being brought by the vadhyar)
Navagraha cloth pieces
Vengalapanai for boiling milk
Gas stove
Match box

It is a practice to spend the night on the day of the Grihaparvesam in the new house. Therefore we had to carry some sheets and pillows for sleeping there.

In between I summoned the services of my beautiful and talented niece to make the kolams. Locating her took almost an hour as she was on her holiday outing.

Finally around 4 pm, we loaded as many things as possible in two cars (my niece brought her car and we dared to take a chance with the repaired car. My son’s argument “anyway, we have to take the car there. Why not make use of it to transport our things?”)

Since the flooring was marble, we added some haldi powder to the rice paste so that the kolam would be prominent. My niece made the kolams, while we arranged all the other things so that in the morning it would be easy to manage the things.

We got the chairs and tables for lunch. We called the caterer and confirmed the arrangements. We also called a taxi and asked him to pick us up next day morning from home.

It was already 9pm by then. We had to get ready by 6 am next morning. So we hired an auto and reached home, had dinner and went to bed around 12 pm and set the alarm for 3 am.

The muhurtham for the grihapravesham had to be either at 5.30 am or after 9.30am, We had chosen the later muhurtham as it would have been impossible for us to reach the place well in advance for 5.30am muhurtam, after preparing the payasam for the neyvedyam and Havis for the homam.

I got up at 3 am and prepared payasam and havis after my bath, by which time, my husband and son also got ready. The taxi came at 6 am sharp and we all (my friend, Veena, also joined us) left on time. The Vadhyar had said “you carry lighted vilakku, flowers, rice, dal,coconut, haldi powder, chandanam etc., when you go in. Accordingly we decorated the entrance with garland and entered the house and kept things ready for the Vadhyar.

By then my mother and niece arrived followed by my brothers and their families and other invitees. Breakfast arrived punctually at 08:30am and we all had good breakfast of idlis, vadai, kesari and coffee. As lighting of the stove was not allowed inside the house until after the grihapravesam, we had made arrangements for another gas stove to be placed outside in the veranda/lobby for preparing coffee. The caterer had brought milk, cups, coffee decoction and sugar. This way we ensured that fresh and hot coffee could be served to the guests as when they arrived. To our satisfaction, we could give breakfast to our guests upto about 10.30am. This was essential as many of the guests were not familiar with the location and had to spend a little extra time searching/enquiring etc to locate the address. Being peak summer many were quite tired by the time they arrived. We had also arranged fresh lemon juice to be prepared and served to all. The caterer also had brought enough and more of the food items to be served for all the people.

Around 9 am the Vadhyar arrived with 4 other vadhyars and started the preparations for the pooja.

We were once again asked to enter the house with kumbham, vilakku, flowers, coconut, etc.
At 9.30am, punyaham and kshiraprasanam (the stove is lighted for the first time in the house and milk is boiled. This milk is offered to the God as neivedyam and is taken by the yajamana, his family and guests) were done, followed by Ganapathy Homam, Navagraha Homam and Vasthu Homam.

All the homams and pooja went quite satisfactorily and all the invitees attended the function.

By the time the homams were over, lunch had arrived. We had arranged with the same caterer we had arranged for the “Grihapravesham” of our house, we are living in now. The only difference being that then he had come and cooked at our premises and we had a buffet lunch with more invitees, this time around, he prepared the food and brought it and we had fewer invitees.

The lunch consisted of:

Pineapple Pachadi
Mango pickle
Parippu vadai
Mysore pak


Idichu Pizhinja Payasam

The reviews were soon in, “The lunch was grand!”

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grihapravesham (I)

For sometime now, we had been planning to move to a smaller city/smaller place, just to get out of this maddening crowd in Bangalore. The roads have become very crowded, the vehicular traffic has increased to such an extent that walking on the roads is next to impossible. The haphazard parking of cars and motor cycles makes it difficult to get out of the houses or even enter people’s houses when you go visiting. The problem worsens if it rains.

We had always wanted to go back to a quiet and leisurely village in Kerala surrounded by greeneries and flowing water. Running water has been a weakness for me for so long. I would give anything to be able to take a swim in clear and unpolluted water. It has remained an unfulfilled dream so far. Somehow, moving to Kerala was not happening due to various factors. So when my brother suggested about an apartment a little away from the crowd, our handsome and charming son decided to buy it so that we could move in there and have a quieter life. The added incentive was that all my brothers were also buying an apartment each there, although none of them had plans to move in there at the moment.

The apartment house was ready for occupation from the builder’s point and people had already occupied. We wanted to make some minor modifications/additions here and there and also get the interiors done. We were promised everything would be done in 2 weeks time and we could occupy it by 1st week of March. We gave a month’s extra time and decided to conduct the grihapravesham after Vishu, so that our son could also get some vacation.We made trips to the new apartment almost everyday and though the interiors were ready by end of March, the additional masonry work had not even started. With lots of coaxing and cajoling we got some of the work done and decided to conduct the grihapravesham on the 23rd of April.

In the meantime, we started packing our things and also preparing for the grihapravesham. We had arranged to conduct a Ganapathi Homam, Vasthu Homam and Navagraha Homam and host lunch for a few of the near and dear.

We had to buy a whole lot of things and transport them to the new place, 6 kms away. The weather was scorching and humid..To reach this new place either we had to take an autorikshaw who would oblige at his will and ask for that extra 10 bucks or we had to walk upto 1½ kms if we decided to travel by bus. At times we walked almost 1 km to get a rikshaw. My memories went back 19 years when we had moved to our present house and did the grihapravesham in a much more elaborate manner. Things weren’t so difficult then, I remembered. We both were working full time and children were in school. When I said this to our handsome and charming younger son over phone, he said, “Patti was there amma.” True. My astute and blessed mother-in-law was around and she was a great manager and co-ordidnator. She was not at an age where she could get out and manage things but I could give her a list of things to be done by the various people and leave home in the morning for work and reach back late in the evening after visiting the construction site and every thing would be ready at home. Most importantly, all the four of us were mobile (on our own). We could finish many chores on our way up and down and didn’t have to depend on each other. Things were different now. Patti is no more with us and nor is any one mobile.

Couple of days to go for the function, my husband borrowed his friend’s car so that we could commute much more comfortably. Our son brought the car from the friend’s place. We all went to the apartment and stayed back longer to get the pending electrical work finished without any worry about reaching back home as we had a car. We came down at 7.30pm and found the car with a flat tyre. With great difficulty we got a mechanic to repair the flat tyre and we left the place around 8.30 pm. Hardly had we moved a kilometer and suddenly the car jerked and was going towards the electric post by the side of the road. We did not know what was happening and only our son’s presence of mind saved us from a major accident. He could somehow bring the car to the side of the narrow road and that was it. The car wouldn’t move, the steering wheel was not controlling the wheels as it had had come loose from its couplings. We were in the midst of a very busy road, hardly enough room for single lane traffic. We just couldn’t move the car. My husband phoned his friend, who just gave his mechanic’s phone number and said we could get in touch with the mechanic. It was futile even to imagine that the mechanic would be available at the garage at 9.30pm. My husband tried his luck with one of the workmen we had engaged to get some grill work done and it clicked. The nice man came with two of his boys and still we couldn’t move the care. Cars and buses were honking on all the four sides and I was sitting inside a hot and humid car. With nothing else to do, I just sat there and started reciting my Lalitha Sahasranamam per my daily schedule. Just then two boys came as if from nowhere and asked us what the problem was. They were car mechanics, they said and with great difficulty with the combined effort of all of us, we could push the car away from the road. The boys said, they would get their tools and see if something could be done. Meanwhile, our son insisted that we go home. With difficulty, we hired an auto and reached home at 10.00 pm. Later our son also reached home after having deposited the car under the care of the grill maker.

So the next day getting the car repaired was also on our shoulders. With luck, we could get the job done by evening after spending a handsome amount.

We had just 30 hours to go for the function.