With Shravan already a day past, today is the beginning of the extra month that is fitted in the Hindu calendar every three years much like the Leap Year most people are familiar with. For the past several years I have been busy tracing the traditions of my community largely because most people in my community marry outside and the ones who do marry within hardly every follow tradition. I felt a need to record our customs purely for sociological reasons, hence the frantic need to jot down things before my resource bank either dies our or gets Alzheimer’s (one of the genetic disorders widely seen among our community).Anna Shetty’s wedding last year was an opportunity for me to delve into wedding customs and with tradition looming large on my horizon, I decided to follow a Shravan tradition of inviting my married daughter home to lunch on a Shravan Friday. This custom follows from a special Friday pooja performed by mothers to ensure that her children are kept in His loving care. Pooran Polis are specially served on this day. According to our tradition if you invite your married daughter to lunch on this special Friday, you are considered doubly blessed; so I invited Anna Shetty and her mother-in-law, her sister-in-law and another young married lady who is a dear family friend. Considering how customs and traditions are dying out, where children not only choose their own marriage partners but don’t even bother to invite/inform their parents, I feel truly blessed that I was able to have Anna Shetty over to mark this tradition. I spent the whole morning getting out the silver, making her favourite dishes and then sitting back and enjoying the company of the ladies present.
Ever since that leisurely lunch, I’ve been busy as a bee and I missed my next favourite activity – pitching things out. Having changed 23 houses before getting married I was conditioned to periodically getting rid of thing and the only way I can satisfy those fingers that itch to pitch, is by regular Spring Cleaning. So I was more than happy to attack the cupboards that needed to be cleaned and shelves that needed to be re-arranged.
As I pulled out the big plastic green tub that was under my bed, I remembered its days as a paddle pool. It must have seen at least 300 happy afternoons when both my girls stripped down to their little panties splashed around with rubber duckies, squeaky toys and paper boats. As the girls grew bigger, the tub got smaller and it was used to mix paint for making marble paper, soak newspaper to make papier mache, doubled up as an ice bucket to chill drinks for parties, and even used to hide gifts for lucky dips.
The green tub in my balcony reminded me of those picnic lunches with my girls – simple meals of wholesome khichadi drowned in toop or sandwiches made of cheese. Alas those days, like the view from my balcony have slipped into the shrouded fog of memory, only to be brought to the fore on wet rainy days like this.