Around me, I find Bangiya sanskritik sangh’s Durga puja, The Gujarati haveli’s Dandiya mahotsav, Kanchi kamakoti's Navarathri utsavam and the gated communities and other cultural and religious association organizing Lalitha Sahasranama chantings and cultural concerts. Not to be outdone, the regional craft emporia like Lepakshi,Poompuhar, Cauvery , Gurjari have organized exhibitions.
Feeling very festive, that time of the year where there are celebrations and holidays all around irrespective of the region we belong to.
The navarathri festival time. A Pan india festival which charmingly links religion, rituals,social and cultural life. A festival across India under various names and various ways but the essence of celebration is the same that of triumph of good over evil.
Essentially a ten day and nine night festival where Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and saraswathi are worshipped for 3 days each and the tenth day is Vijayadashmi.
With Dussehra vacation , Puja , golu and festive air around me , my mind is wandering around Mylapore in Madras. Festivals are so much interwoven into the life of Mylapore and navarathri is no exception.
If you are a person who believes in vibrations and positive energy of a place, then Mylapore is one such divine place and so this Dussehra vacation too my magical mylapore beckons me to relive and celebrate my childhood Dussehra vacation .
I am now on my nostalgic trip down to my birth town.
My dussehra vacations were always spent at my Grandmother’s house at Kutcheri road. The whole area around Kapali Koil would be festive and matching it on ground around teppakulam and mada veedhi were hawkers selling traditional Man bommais( clay dolls) and other small plastic items. The regular shops like Srividya manjal kunkuma kadai, Sukra’s, Vijaya stores, would be doing brisk business selling flowers and pooja items like manjal kungumam, blouse bits, combs, mirrors and token gifts.
We cousins along with mami,chitti, amma and perimma would walk through the narrow senghaneer koil street to reach the Kapali koil and get lost among the sea of devotees and the purifying devotional activities. The beautiful karpagambal and kapaleeswarar decorated in different alangarams were a visual feast and the highlight of the koil was the golu and the miniature teppakulam which was recreated in front of the saneeswara sannidhi. After the darshan we would sit and enjoy the concert and walk back home with sundal in hand.
The daily dose of sweets, bakshanam( savories), sundal , token gifts of plastic miniatures like house, handpumps, mixie and kal chatty choppu(miniature sandstone) during various golu visits at relatives and friends place are all the beautiful memories that still linger in my mind.
Simply put, it may be easy to take me out of mylapore but impossible to take mylapore out of me.