It is a story waiting to be told. No, I would rephrase it as "clamouring" in my mind to be told.
I celebrated the Varalakshmi Pooja yesterday and it was a significant event. Significant, not because it was my first time but it was an experience into which I put my heart and soul and the contentment that came along with it. I have to give you the history of this event and it's significance in my life.
Before I got married I was totally clueless about this pooja. It was not a part of our family tradition and I did not have any friends in whose house it was celebrated grandly either. So when I got married and this pooja got talked about frequently I realised it was a pretty important festival for my MIL. But I was not mentally prepared for the enormity of the rituals and tradition associated with this pooja and which was also thrust on me. I could not relate to most of them. So it was a half hearted, minimal involvement on my part , mentally raging against some rituals which did not make sense to me at all. It became a bone of contention between the two ladies. This annual event gradually began to mean to me - conflicts, inner anger, resentment and doing things which I did not believe in. Everything the opposite of what the pooja stands for. I started hating myself for not being true to who I am.
From resentment against the established norms, grew the rebellion. I came to a point where I rebelled against all that I did not believe it. So it was in some sense, a lot better than the initial years.
Then came a period of quite introspection. Did I hate the pooja itself or was it an ego clash or what was it that instilled so much anger in me ? To my surprise I realised that I enjoyed the core pooja replete with the Sanskrit mantras. The mantras made a lot of sense to me and the more I read about them, the more I could appreciate them. Essentially I did not like the frills attached to the core, which are man made and must have been tweaked by every generation for their convenience.
Having identified the problem, I realised that I needed the liberty to do what I believed in and what made sense to me, while keeping in mind the spirit of the festival. I wanted to live my dream and not someone elses'.
So this time, when I gave my 100 % to the pooja, the result was the contentment of having performed a task well and with sincerity. Simple tasks such as - a beautiful Kolam outside the house, shopping for little accessories for the Goddess, decorating the Goddess like I would decorate my daughter with flowers and jewels, waking up early to make the Naivedyam items, adorning the Pooja area with my silk sarees to give a nice backdrop, inviting my friends for Vethillai Pakku. Every task was performed with a lot of love and faith. This is who I am and it made me very happy just being true to myself.
I think this is what every generation does - adapting the customs to suit the times while trying to keep the spirit of the activity alive.
Labels: personal, ranjani
#posted by [ ranjani.sathish ]