Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Navarathri aka Golu time in Bay Area

After a hectic weekend of getting special other's parents settled here, i have atlast found the time to blog. Although, i don't celebrate all the Hindu festivals here, i get the feeling that maybe writing about such events would help me soak in the festive spirit and that should suffice.

It is Navarathri time, today being the first day of the 9 days that the Goddess Parvathi battles to kill the demon and wins on the 10th day Vijayadasami meaning "Victory on 10th day" . This is an important event in South India, especially for the women. Colorful dolls and clay statues of Indian Gods, common folk etc are neatly arranged on wooden or steel mounted steps "padis". Varieties of sundal are made on the nine days and neighbours and friends are invited to view the golu and take vethala paaku.

Even though, its hard for me to become enthusiastic and interested in the golu, its fascinating to note all the available resources for the interested bay area desi woman who wants to have a golu at her place.

KV aka Komala Vilas restaurant on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale have opened a sale of golu idols that have been shipped from India. Pictures from KV's website are the ones posted here.

Friends have already called to make invitations to visit their home for vethala paaku on Friday and during the weekend. The local Sunnyvale Hindu Community Center temple has Lalitha Sahasranamam chanting from 6 pm in the evenings and daily dance performances by the several competing dance schools here in the area.

Isn't this so close to living in India-having the best of both worlds. I am sure that several other cities that have a siginificant number of Indians like New Jersey in the east coast, Austin/Dallas in Texas etc have their own Indian community, but by far, having lived in the east coast for 3 years, my observation is that bay area has the best of all the flavours.


Raju said...

Nice fotos and well written. Lucky people from Bay area you are!! It made me remember my childhood days when I didnt have to eat dinner on the navaratri days, thanks to Sundals from various homes.

Unfortunately, though we had a great collection at our home (things made of china clay, wood, all colorful stones, etc.), somehow we never put one ourselves since my early days. But, we had a place for a nice water pond in our hall (5' x 5') which would be broken open for Navaratri and closed back afterwards.

One aspect I didnt find in your post is about 'singing'. All the mamis were great singers.. and everyone has to sing.. it used to be great for all five senses.. music for ear, nice flower and other smell for nose, tasty sundal for tongue and great bommais for eyes.

Happy Navarathri to you and others in your family!!

mitr_bayarea said...

raju-thanks for the detailed response. Yeah, i forgot to mention the singing women who had to sing atleast one song to get a sundal bag to take away home. Your pond seems like a fun thing to have-ensoy the spirit of this navarathri season in Florida.

Balaji said...

we kept golu yesterday for the 1st time in the US. reminded me of the fun times back home.
that story behind 'vijayadasami' was a nice one... didnt know that before.

Ram.C said...

As Raju had put it, it reminds my childhood days with differnt varieties of 'sundal's and 'peas' from several houses displaying the kolu pommais...

BTW.. is that KV restaurant, belonging to Singapore Komala vilas?? looks like...

mitr_bayarea said...

balaji-thanks. Oh, that should be fun and a busy weekend for your family with the various golu invitations coming up for the weekend.Yeah, the name of the demon that Shakthi aka Parvathi kills is Mahishan.

Ram-nope, this KV isn't the Singapore franchise. It is sort of similar to a mess, not the right word, but caters to the desi crowd here by providing authentic south indian sapadu served on evar-silver thattu($8 per person) on weekends. The rice is unlimited and the food comprises of sambar, curry, kootu, rasam, applam,mor,oorukai and payasam.

The KV is Chennai is the one that has been made along the lines of Singapore KV.

Have had the chance to eat at all the 3 KV's-Chennai, Singapore and Bay Area and vote Bay Area and Singapore on the same level.

tt_giant said...

Ah!. the glory days of navarathri. Right from getting the dolls from the "parann" till vijayadasami, i used to have a lot of fun. Not to mention sundal everyday!.

Of course, its double the fun when we are "not supposed to read" on the last but one day!.

October and November are fun filled months!.

Me too said...

Hey, that's good idea to celebrate festivals by blogging about it! Years back it used to amuse us to watch our Aunt fill up her boxes with 'kolu bommais', 'pattu sarees' to celebrate festivals in the US!

Vanathi said...

Good photos...

mitr_bayarea said...

ttg: liked only the sundal part of navarathri, wasn't a big fan of kolus and visiting houses.

me_too:Thanks for understanding the real intent behind my navarathri blog. I am not interested in keeping the golu etc here, but it just seems like a good way to express what happens around me.


Sundar Narayanan said...

from when i was a kid, me and my brother wanted to have golu in the house.. we loved all the dolls and the attention the girls got. but my fathers side of the family believes that keeping golu in our house is a bad omen. apparently 1/12 kids kept passing away everytime our grandma kept golu!! or something along those lines. we just call people home for sundal and veththalai pakkau.. but no golu! sundal... hmmmmmmmmm.. yummmmy.

mitr_bayarea said...

Sundar-that is a strange tale. I somehow haven't caught on to the golu part of it,but sundal yeah.

See you guys tomorrow evening-there is sundal in the menu.

Bhargavi said...

I have heard from some of my other friends regarding Home Depot carrying something that resemble steps. Can somebody help me regarding this as to where to find out this? That would be great. Thanks.

Oracle Fan said...

Hi -Just managed to have a handyman make us five steps to place our Golu bommai's -hope this helps .

here are the instructions :

requires a electric drill& screw driver

Buy two wooden structures called STAIR RAISERS from HomeDepot. These are made out of Redwood for Deck Construction.each costs
Then you need planks - Pine.

Depending on how wide the steps should be ,could either buy 8'or 10'. and then cut them into two - so each will be 4' or 5'
The width of the plank itself could be 8" or 10". I prefer the 10" one as it gives a bigger base for larger dolls