Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why I love Navratri season

- By Janaki Krishnan

For youngsters, Navratri is a time of dance and merriment, through playing dandiya with friends and loved ones. It is said that at the end of the nine nights, young people end up finding the perfect life partner. For older people, Navratri is a time to show their devotion through prayer and fasting. I don't fall into either of these categories, because I can neither dance nor fast!

But I still love Navratri. When I was in school, our house would host Navratri celebrations. My sister and I would go round inviting other South Indian ladies in Matunga for vettalai pakku (pan supari). 
Navratri 'golu' display at 
Dr. Jayashree Rajagopalan's house
When we visited other houses to see their 'golu' displays, the lady of the house would ask us to sing a song for Devi before giving us prasad. My sister, a good Carnatic singer, would use every opportunity to show her skill, while I was more interested in the packets of prasad. 
My sister and I
(she is wearing blue, I am in red)
I would open the prasad eagerly as soon as we got home. Usually it would contain various types of chundal (boiled chickpeas and pulses of various types, sauteed and garnished in many ways). 

We would prefer to go visiting people on Tuesdays and Fridays, when the prasad would be sweet! Kozhakattai, shira, neiappam, these were all wonderful delights to look forward to.

Today at eighty years, I find that while my hearing, sense of smell and sight have deteriorated, my sense of taste has only become sharper! When I was working I never had any time to do anything; but retirement has given me all the time in the world. I intend to do full justice to it, and to my taste buds!
One of the many delights of Navratri: White chana chundal, with red chilli, mustard, curry leaves and fresh grated coconut
Kozhakattai, with jaggery and coconut stuffing
These days, apart from the prasad, I also enjoy the various gifts that I get during Navratri when I visit friends and family. I now have at least a dozen coconuts to last me for a whole month! And innumerable blouse-pieces to match all sorts of sarees. Here is a photo of all the things I got this season: steel dabbas of various sizes, plates, bowls, shopping bags, handbags, and sarees. 
Now do you see why I love this festival? 
Article by Janaki Krishnan; Photos by Deepa Krishnan; Inputs/edits by Aishwarya Pramod


GSDastur said...

What a nice article!
Thank you, and happy birthday.

Shaswati Bhargava said...

Nice article,very emotional.Reminding me of my days with my grandmother.Festivals are loosing their old charms.It's more of showoff these days.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.Love.

sanjivni yatin said...

loved the article and yoyr blog too!!

Sarah Wilson said...

How lovely to read about your life even just a small peek into what you remembered is wonderful, I hope you can tell us more please.

Your and your sister have lovely smiles...Reading this today made me feel happy on a cold and windy UK morning.
Thank you.

madhu bhardwaj said...

Hi Deepa
Well done for putting your mom's article on your blog and illustrating it with beautiful photos. Your mom and masi both are beautiful and wearing such pretty sarees. Thanks for brightening my morning.
You are a good daughter you know. :)

sanvali kaushik said...

Hi Deepa,
Thanks for taking me back to Matunga. Having moved from Mumbai recently it was nice to relive Matunga South Indian-Gujaratism ( while being North Indians) and also to see a reflection of simplicity ( in the simple narration and pleasure in the Navrata gifts) which is atypical mumbaiya!

Anonymous said...


So nice to see that the TamBram's love for stainless steel patrams is still intact. It is so much better that plastic gifts. Your smile is very much like your mom's. BTW, I watched the Foodie show and your mom cracked me up with her comments on rotten mango arachukalaki and the benefits of murungai leaves.

Mariana Moreira said...

Hi, I'm from Brazil and I was looking for "blogs of Mumbai" at Google and your came along just in the front page. I'm reading and loving it! I have plans to go to India next year and I will certainly keep on reading your blog to get to know a little bit of Mumbai!