I do one of these posts every year (here is last year’s), and since last year I have been on a mission to make the pooja less elaborate. The reasons are two-fold: firstly, I am tired a lot and the elaborate set ups, with fresh flowers, ghee and oil lamps, the separate idol for pooja, and more besides, take a LOT of effort; secondly, my heart has just not been in it since we lost Dad.
This year, mum and I decided to keep it small. “Small” though is a relative term. It turned out quite big, but after perusing last year’s post, I see that at least it was smaller than that one.
I didn’t have fresh flowers at all this time. No separate idol for pooja, and no paan leaf pooja either. I got rid of two of the oil lamps, and lit the candles only once a day. The entire process took half an hour less each in the morning and the evening, and honestly we didn’t even notice that it was reduced. So success, I guess. Next time, might well be substantially smaller than this year.
Here’s hoping. And a picture.
About 10 days ago, I was so shattered from the incessant demands of Ganesh Chaturthi pooja that I cheated and posted a photo collage from years gone by. The truth of the matter is that I was partially tired, but mostly depressed. This is the first festival without my dad and his absence felt like someone had pummelled me all over.
Festivals in India, as all they are all over the world, are family occasions. In my household, the family consists of a tight-knit group of 3 people: mom, dad, and me. We shared the joys and work of festival time together. Mom cooked, I set up the altar, and dad did the shopping. This year, I did the shopping and the setting up. I was drained of energy by the end of it all.
Mom and I decided to keep the festivities small, because our hearts weren’t in it. But the definition of ‘necessary’ grew and grew till I ended up with an elaborate pooja, very like the previous year. The only two things I left out were fresh flowers (although I did drop a pretty penny for a garland), and the paan leaves for the pooja. Ah well.
I actually used more lights than the last time, and sure enough I spent ages cleaning and setting up the lamps every morning and evening. But it turned out beautiful, so I guess the effort was worth it.
The whole set up.
The big Ganpati idol, which has a story of its own. No visarjan.
The little silver idol for the pooja stuff.
A glass of water, in an exquisitve crystal glass bought by my grandfather, and the panchaarti.
Coloured lanterns on the ledge above for a little backlighting.
A marble statue given to my father in Jaipur. He loved that little thing.
China coasters that my grandfather bought in Holland.
The lit brass lamp catches all the facets of the crystal.