Its not like i have a problem with any of the factors mentioned above, i just marvel at them, and amuse myself. As per tradition, atleast one new bommai (doll) should be bought every year for kolu... If you've lived in chennai, you must know the Mylapore tank...of kabhaleeshwar kovil fame,And something more... a place where you can't walk without getting pushed around by maamis during this time of the year. And even if you do manage to walk without getting pushed, there are always the sacred cows which will conviniently walk right infront of you, such that you see nothing but the tail, and traces of whatever's come out from below even if you wish to see something else, or there'll be the cars and the auto-rikshwas that try to make way for themselves in that already crowded street when they could have conviniently zoomed off on the main road. Sigh...Kolu bommai shopping can be tedious indeed. You get to learn how to bargain from maamis who'll ridiculously by a 400 rs doll for 50rs,leaving the shop keeper stunned as to how he allowed such a sale...and its also a good training session on weight lifting! The dolls dont get heavier,i hope!
And then you come back home, and have a big argument with your mother or grandmother, or anyone else who wants to argue with you, about where which doll should be placed, on which step, at which position, and next to which other doll! And when all that is set, you try fixing the flashing lights, which refuse to work because your grandfather bought them 4 years back and refused to use them! So u manage with some other lights, and everything is set. Then your mother starts calling up each maami/aunty and saying "yenga Aathle kolu vechurkom, vandrungo. Ponnaiyum kutindu vaango maami...aam naanum varen, divya um varuvaa'...Did she have to say that last line? There, stuck!
Aah, then the rounds...It starts with the teeth show and the exchange of greetings. And you're taken inside the house to where the kolu stands, all colourful and beautiful. There's not a single kolu that has failed to impress me...and some are so cool, so huge, and have such nice themes. Yeah, so once you reach 'the spot' you're asked to sit. And mind you, you wont be alone...there'll already be some maamis who reached earlier than you, whose eyes will notoriously follow each movement of yours, pentrating stares! And then the doomed moment arrives... 'yaraadu paatu padungole...'(somoene, sing!) aaah, now's the time i usually start coughing, and sounding like i have the worst cold that's ever hit me...blow my nose, make it sound like a trumpet, try making it look like my throat is so sore that i'm not even able to talk...sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it just doesn't! Everybody's pretty convinced that one should sing just for one's satisfaction of having sang infront of someone's kolu, and impart the same satisfaction unto the host, who will also rejoice on her kolu being honoured! So the cold, really doesn't matter after all! And just as i give up...and say, ok i'll sing, they place a plate of yummy vadais infront of me...which i can savour only if i sing. I'm a great lover of food...so, i allow them the honour of listening to my voice, so that next time, they wont dare to ask me to sing the lord's praises! But there's something worse that happens... when you start singing, some maami or the other definitely knows the song, and hums along, or in the worst case, sings along! And this is a very stressful moment for it makes one forget the lines in the song...and one has to take extra effort to block out any other voice but one's own (which i assure you, is very very difficult!)...huffffff, when its finally over, everyone takes great pleasure in passing comments on how one has to practice more often, or how beautiful the lyrics are, how one's grand daughter also learns music and sings that particular song so very well, or in very
very rare cases, how well one sang! *sigh*
But its fun. Navratri rocks...the festive mood lifts your spirits, you get to meet alot of people, some who you meet only year after year during navaratri! Even though i might have sounded like i just whined, or made fun of things that go on around here, i enjoy this period, and will definitely miss it if i leave this place...Namma chennai ma!!!!!
So i continue...singing my 'Koovi azhaithaal kural kodupan's and 'Kurai ondrum illai's and 'yena thavam seidhanai's in the hope that these words will be heard and taken heed of!
2 thumbs up to navratri!
Yours "Do come home for Kolu if u're not too busy"ly