A pan Indian pooja

18 Sep

Last Sunday I attended a Satyanarayan pooja in my neighbourhood.It was celebrated on a grand scale though the ‘yajmaan ‘ had planned it to be a small affair initially.

When I reached the house where it was being performed,the little drawing room was transformed into a wonderful pandal.Coconut and mango leaves had worked wonders.Colurful lights and streamers added to the beauty.The photo of Sri Satyanarayan was surrounded by  idols of other gods.Mats of various hues were spread for us to sit on.I just peeped into the kitchen to say ‘hello’ to the lady of the house..I was surprised to see all her neighbours busy chopping veggies/ mixing the dough/ stirring huge pans full of curry….

The bhatji- as the aachar is called here arrived from Sanquelim which is  a good 50 kms away from my place.He conducted the pooja in a dignified manner.His instructions were in Hindi for the benefit of the Yajmaan,in Konkani for the Y’s wife  and in Marathi for the lady who was helping them.Added to this he conversed in Kannada with my husband in between to clarify his methods!

The pooja was done to the satisfaction of the Konkani family who brought him down, to the satisfaction of the Telugu family which performed it and to the satisfaction of all of us who  had gathered there.

The story was narrated in Samskrit and the meaning told in a mixture of Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English!
We were then given gifts.(Yeah,I too was surprised.)Then the hosts started the preparations for serving a traditional lunch.Banana leaves and disposable tumblers arrived.
The vegetable curries, then the pulao, the plain rice the dal and ghee over it,the kesari bhaat,the prasaada….
Why I called it the pan S pooja is this great variety in food items, the languages used, the cooks who prepared the food…

The Tamilian neighbour had prepared the pulao, The Marathi speaking neighbour had prepared the K. bhaat, one curry was Andhra style the other was typical Goan saraswat style!The style and order of serving the dishes were also truly Indian!!The Malayaali neighbour made the poories .

There was an air of inclusiveness(?) and acceptance apart from the bonhomie and liveliness of a sarvajanik utsav.
I came home feeling elevated mentally and I am sure it was not just because of the pooja.

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6 Responses to “A pan Indian pooja”

  1. December Stud September 18, 2007 at 10:14 pm #

    Sweet…and ad for “Unity in Diversity”, huh? 😉

  2. neel3 September 19, 2007 at 5:01 am #

    @DS:
    You are right. But I promise I didn’t make up the ‘story’.

    And I forgot to mention ..The heavy duty gas stove was from the local Gurudwara.

  3. Anand Balaji September 19, 2007 at 8:22 am #

    Wow! Mera Bharat Mahaan!

  4. Srik September 19, 2007 at 9:05 am #

    interesting. Due intension of creating the structures for pooja in Indian traditions…must truly be this. All the neighbours behaving like a family, getting together, standing for each other, irrespective of their caste, creed, nativity, language!

    At the end of it all, as AB has said….Mera Bharat Mahaan!!

    Read about such ‘Indian’ festivals on my blog, latest post.:D

  5. neela September 20, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    @srik :read about it.
    festivals are the dorees that keeps u n (me) tied -united.

  6. Anand Balaji September 22, 2007 at 8:32 am #

    Hmmm… a play of words, eh Neela?
    Good one!

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