okay..maybe its the wrong time of the year to say this but i come from a very very non-puja-vuja -waali family . The only pooja that happens in our house is on Diwali and i have to confess it is a miserable affair..the only saving grace is ma who manages to make it (if nothing else ) atleast look like a pooja...( and by the way we do not burst crackers so after the aforementioned pooja, i sit with sum neighbour who tells me ( read bores me dead ) about her latest crush while i moodily munch on mithai thinking about Shah Rukh Khan) .
I was watching the news yesterday.....gujarat is gyrating to the garba, kolkata is all festivity...mumbai is also garba....people in the colony are going hyper about navratra( hey that was not in the news! )..you know i like all this pooja-vooja stuff..i genuinely do...so sum time bak on janmashtami these neighbours were going to have a small family pooja to celebtare the occasion and since Auntie knows that inspite of genetics i like all this so she invited me over...
The entire family had gathered there and a lot of good natured badinage was going on..i sat in one corner of the room and was quietly observing everything that was going on around me...the temple was beautifully decorated ( i hate those tiny tiny chinese lights but here sumhow they were loking so pretty...) I felt that there were atleast 5,6 krishnajis in the temple ..but then i ws later corrected and the names of all the Gods and Goddesses were told to me..so though i was feeling a bit lost i was having a good time...They were singing some bhajans some of which i knew ( and i sang with them...) etc etc...then...then.... came the time for the aarti...the pooja ki thaal was being passed around and i wished so bad that i belonged to the age of the dianosaur ( there would be more probabilty galloping around and swallowing me up)..u see i have, other than once, neva performed the aarati( yeah..yeah ...go ahead , faint! ) i tried to memorize whatever everyone else was doing .....then the dreaded thaali was( as if in slow motion) passed to me. I picked up the heavy thaali and looked nervously around....moved slowly towards the temple....beads of perspration apperaed on my forehead....I circled the thaali twice and feeling very relieved that nothing untoward had happened was about to pass it on to some one else.. when a voice spoke.
Dadiji: aare beta...do baar nahiin karte.
i promptly( not wanting to displease anyone ..) do a third round...
Dadiji goes pale and appears to be having trouble breathing..
Dadi ji: teen baar to ashubh hota hai !!!!!!
i get all nervous and start perspiring...i tell myself to stay calm...i have done scarier things Automata paper-2 being one!
i do a couple of more rounds and look around helplessly..
dadiji: bus! paanch bahut hai...
i feel extremely relieved as i sit down again...Phew!!!What an experience yaar....and absentmidedly i raise my hand ( which clutches a few ,by now, crushed petals.) towards my nose to smell them.
Dadiji( whos now keeping a very close eye on me): NAHIIN!!!!!!!!
dunno abt dadiji..but i almost definitely go into cardiac arrest..What happened ?????
Dadiji: phool smell mat karo...joothe ho jaate hai!!!!!!!!
Dadiji( very primly): isse naye phool do.
well... dejectedly i lower my hand.....by now everyone is putting teeka on the foreheads of the various idols..my turn...now i'm like geeting real nervous....what if i do something wrong...okay just stay calm...take deep breaths....
I extend my hand ...alls well... and i'm just about to apply the teeka.......i , as a precautionary measure, look at dadiji( for approval..)
Dadiji has gone white.
I'm so sure i'm goin to be the death of this woman.
Dadiji(in a trembling voice ): teeka baayen haath se nahiin .....daaye haath se lagate hai!!!!!!!! nahin to ashubh hota hai!!!!
I hastily do as i'm told. After that i'm not supposed to do anyhting..so the rest of the pooja passes of smoothly . However i do keep on cheking on Dadiji who is still recovering from the many shocks that i have given her. She, however seems to be recuperating well.
So that was it..... i did have a good time and it was real decent of those people to have me over. They tried to involve me in everything and i'm truly grateful to them for that. I do wish i knew more of how what is done though. But i did wonder : if i had put the teeka with my left hand i scarcely think that a volcano would have erupted on the road leading to my house...so these details..???i dont know...maybe sumday, sum time i will know.