Sunday, September 04, 2016

Pudhchya Varshi laukar yaa...

Pudhchya Varshi laukar yaa...

The last few months have been back breaking for Mai and Baba.

It all started in the scorching heat of summer months.  The drought was bad  last year.
They worked on the thatched roof tops so that they would be  monsoon proofed before the rains. The cattle shed too was barricaded high with stones and cemented together with clay so as not to let the monsoon waters enter the shed.   The hay for the cattle was covered from the rain over the thatched roof tops.   

A month later the grey clouds loomed over int the horizon.
There was hope and happiness in the air.
This year would not be another drought .

Rain gods would surely bless them. 

As if to answer their prayers the grey overcast broke out and it poured. 

Suddenly greenery  sprouted all around.     The rice fields were inundated with rain water.  The river banks  threatened to breach the barriers , but thankfully did not.  The thatched roof held itself against the fury of the monsoon.

Dhyaneshwar who was eleven years old and his kid sister Vaishali who would be eight next month played with their friends from the village and soaked themselves wet in the rains.  They would swim in the  river streams against the flow of the river and compete with each other and check who came first.

 Some children fell ill with fever, but no one really worried.
Afterall what  is childhood without the fun of drenching in the monsoon rains ?

Dhyana and Vaishu never fell ill. 
They never realized why until they grew older and wiser.

Come Thursday mornings,  Ajji their grandmother made sure the children gulped down  a glass of gaumootra even if they wrinkled their noses up.  It was those Gaumootra Somavara, as she would call them that ensured all the virus, bacteria and the worms inside them fought and eventually lost against their immune system.

 That is why Ajji and Mai never worried much when they came home drenched wet and muddied from playing in the rains.  

In three months, the river’s fury had abated.
It was now flowing  calm and serene along the river banks.    
The vegetable fields were lush green, the little yellow flowers were seducing the butterflies and bees swarming around them. The air was moist and humid and the pathways along the fields were all slushy. 

Mithi – the cow was pregnant.  What with all those long days and nights grazing in the far way grounds  with  Ganya the oxen, it was only expected.
But she is not alone.
Looks  like she would have plenty of company in the maternity ward.
The bleating  goats are going through their bout of morning sickness and Kombdya, the ferocious rooster too seems to have gone on a over drive this season in the poultry. 

Ajji, with years of wisdom gained from her age, gives a knowing smile to herself  because by now she instinctively knows that  there is going to be abundance in the months to come.  Before Sankranti, the harvest festival, there will be little calves hopping about the cattle shed and the cows will give milk and there will be eggs in plenty. 

There is a riot of red, yellow, orange and purple flowers  all around.  Soon they will turn into bitter gourd, brinjal, pumpkin, okra, beans and peas. There is good news from the fields where sugarcane and paddy seem to be in good health as well.   

Everyone knows Ganpati Bappa has protected them this monsoon.  He has ensured, the river did not over flow and flood  the mud huts or kill the paddy crops.  He ensured the wind did not blow away the thatched mud huts and  the bacteria, viruses and worms did not kill the children and the old.

Ganpati Bappa ensured  all living creatures worked hard before the monsoon and relaxed in the coziness of their thatched homes, cattle sheds, ant hills , tree top nests and pig pens when he sent the rain gods to visit them.   The coziness ensured there would be more of them before the next monsoon.  The harvest season would culminate in the festival of Sankranti when there would be abundance of food, sweets, grains and pulses from this year’s monsoons. 

But all that is many months away now. 

Right now it is time to get ready for  the festival of Ganpati.

The slush that the monsoon has left behind is fun to play with.  

The brownish red clay along the river banks soaks and sucks their feet inwards like a sponge.  Dhyaneshwar  is playing a friendly wrestling match  with his friends in that slush. Vaishali is gathering the clay from the river bank  and carrying it to the base of the banyan tree where she and her friends would make clay dolls out of them .

Before it is dusk, Dhyaneshwar and Vaishali  would take home a basket full of clay in the bamboo basket that Ajji has sent along with them today.

Mai and Baba would then drain the moisture out by leaving it over night in the bamboo basket. 

Next week they would make an idol of Ganpati Bappa,  give him shape with a trunk, two huge ears, eyes,  a bulging stomach and not to forget his vehicle, the little mouse.

Vaishu and her friends would go round the village and  gather the bright orange Mahua  flowers from the trees, grind them to a paste and  then paint Ganpati bappa with the bright orange paste. 

Mai will pound the white rice flour and grind the yellow turmeric powder to paint His face.
The fine charcoal powder gathered from the soot of the kitchen chimney would be his big black eyes. 

Years later  Dhyanesh would learn in his chemistry class in school that when the calcium from grandmother’s  chuna ( limestone)  box mixes with the acidic yellow haldi  ( turmeric)  powder  the acid - base chemical reaction that follows would bring out a dark red mixture that Mai would use to paint the Tilak over Bappa’s forehead. 

For the entire year Mai’s stock of kum-kum for her forehead would be stored into her ornate silver trinket box that came as part of her dowry when she got married to Baba.                 

But for now it is thanksgiving time.
Ganpati Bappa will reign for the next 11 days.  
There will be festivities and feasting all over. 
They will go over to visit, Aathya, Maushi, Mama, Aajoba , kaka and also have all of them visiting over to see their Ganpati Bappa.
Mai and Maushi make the yummiest modaks in the entire world.
It would be filled with puran made out of freshly scraped coconut, the jaggery from the sugarcane and pound rice flour steamed in a mud vessel wrapped with the turmeric leaves. 

Soon it would be time to bid farewell to Ganpati Bappa.  

On the eleventh day they would all merrily dance along to the river banks in the pouring rains while that Ganpati Bappa, sweet and stout would sit pretty at the back of the bullock cart and daintily follow them . 

Over there they would immerse Ganpati Bappa in the flowing river and watch him turn to what he originally came from, the clay of the river bank.  

The orange paste of the Mahua flowers, the yellow from the turmeric paste, the white rice flour that Mai pounded, and the red tilak vermilion on his forehead would all dissolve in a haze and bring out a dash of colour in the flowing water before it disappeared as if in a hurry to go somewhere else. 

It would be so much fun. And it would be really hard to let him go.
But letting go is what life is all about. 
Promise, you will come back soon, next year …. Pudhchya Varshi laukar yaa…they all cry out loud.

Ganpati Bappa Maurya,
Pudhchya Varshi laukar yaa

Dhyaneshwar would be wading his way through waist deep of flowing river water holding the idol. Ganpati Bappa  would dissolve away  from him like candy floss in a child's mouth.

With a heavy heart he would hold on to a handful of clay as if refusing to let go.  Later he would walk back to the river bank with a little mound of clay held in his hand, where Ajji, Mai, Baba and Vaishu would be waiting for him to get back home.   

The little mound of clay will now be kept  near the shrine as a memory of this year’s  Ganpati bappa in thanksgiving for the bounty that he has blessed them for the year ahead.   

This is how it is all supposed to be in an ideal world.  

Instead most of us brought our Ganpati Bappa from the pavement in the neighbourhood, from the superstore or may have even ordered it online. 

We have not really gathered our own clay from our own river bank. We have not painted him with the bright orange mahua flowers, turmeric, rice and kum kum , but with  plaster of paris, acrylic paint ( heavy with lead content) and beads of cheap plastic that form his garland.

We may not have physically worked as hard as many others have to deserve this abundance.
In a complex economy like ours we know that  a Mai, Baba, Dhyaneshwar and Vaishali somewhere in a remote village will ensure that they are producing our share in exchange for the money that we will give them.

Therefore we  have no right to pollute our lakes,  rivers, wells or any other water bodies  when we go to immerse Ganpati Bappa this season.

Let us have fun when he is around.
Let us thank him for this abundance.  
Let us NOT pollute the rivers.  


Instead let us take this Bucket challenge and immerse our Ganpati Bappa, responsibly this season.

Happy Ganesha.

Share it with others and do your bit in saving the lakes, rivers and  the sea from an over dose of chemical paints.

    This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

“I am participating in the Chaliyar River Challenge activity at AdventureN in association with Jellyfish Watersports”

Want to do your bit in keeping India's rivers clean .. participate in the Chaliyar River challenge and Kayak your way on 23rd/ 24th and 25th of september 

To know more click here 

Watch the Chaliyar River challenge  video by clicking  this video and follow #ChaliyarRiverChallenge  

1 comment:

  1. I NJoyed reading this.I normally immerse pillaiyar in the bucket water and pour the same in TULSI plant.


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