Last Friday was Varalakshmi Vratam. I guess few of you might know about it. In case you don’t know, it’s the holiest friday of the sacred month of the year. To few ladies in India, (like my mom and my sis), it’s a new-saree-every-Firday sacred time. For others (like my friends), it’s the oh-my-god-I-am-tired-of-these-prayers time. And for me, it’s the virtual-vratam-and-lots-of-lies day. Today is the day I wear a virtual saree with biggest ever bindi possible and cook all those virtual exotic traditional dishes whose names I can’t even recollect properly. And I do so to please three people; My mom, my mom-in-law and my aunt.
Here is why each of them think that I should do what they expect me to do.
♦ It’s for God.
♦ We get to wear a new saree every friday.
♦ Another occasion to buy jewelry. This is where I picture my mom, wearing all the jewelery I can imagine and then she says, very emotionally, “This is all for you”. Then the picture suddenly changes to me wearing all that jewelery and I start screaming.
♦ The little bit of exercise. i.e. the namaskaras to pati parameshwar lose a calorie or two. Plus it also makes the husband feel important.
♦ It’s for God.
♦ Besides, its the sacred month of the year.
♦ Also, the holiest.
♦ Feed my son, at least today, at least once in a year.
♦ Ofcourse God.
♦ The younger and newer generations should try to, should, must follow <Fill in the traditions name here>.
♦ Please cook at least today.
I don’t really see any problem with their reasons for me to pray. It’s for my good. You see, new clothes, good food once in a while are not that bad. But the real problem, you see, is the almighty himself. Stepping back a little, there was once, a time in my life, when, what ever I asked for went in the opposite direction. It was like a baseline rule established in my life; If I ask it , I don’t get it. Okay, Initially I thought I was being tested. But I kept my faith. I continued to pray. And then things changed. The baseline rule changed; If I ask it, I don’t get it and in addition to not getting what I wanted, I would get the worst possible ever. Sigh. I said enough. I said to myself, when you think there is a God who can help you, you will keep looking for help. And I called it quits. I stopped praying, I stopped asking and eventually the small deities that were supposed to be in pooja mandir went into a safely packed box (Only to resurface, squeaky clean,before my parents landed here).
And then started the fictitious stories. No matter what we talk about, in our conversations with parents, we hit ‘Pooja’, ‘Temples’, ‘Prasadam’ etc. very often. When asked if I prayed before starting a new task, I would very casually say, ‘Yes’. So it went on. I made virtual kheer as prasadam, had fake head baths on friday mornings, wore mangal sutra every day, even polished it every 3 months and so on.
Considering the environment we all grew up in, I guess its difficult to stay that way. Now, slowly a feeling of guilt is seeping in . Not that I want to pray or believe in God now, but it’s that I am lying to the people who care the most about me. Besides, this time, out of no where, my dad got into this conversation. He said ‘Wear whatever you have. Just sit in some corner and pray’.
I was surprised to hear that. He knew it. He knew I didn’t have any thing like the small pooja mandir, my mom was expecting me to have. Yet, he didn’t say anything. That hit hard. All of sudden, I wanted to open up the box we safely locked and make the pooja mandir. But it wasnt just possible. May be, I felt guilty or I was scared that I would be disappointed again. I just couldn’t do it. But I so wanted to do what my dad wanted me to do. Even that I couldn’t.
However, it was meant to happen. Our friends invited to Pooja at their house. So at 10.30 in the night, we went there. They were doing the pooja and without complaining I sat with them. I had my corner. I was wearing whatever new I could. More than wishing for some thing to happen, I was happy that I could do what ever my dad wanted me to do. And that makes it a good friday.
P.S: I know this doesn’t belong in here. But I can’t leave this post without telling you about my dream. So, whenever I am in this pooja session, I dream of this. Murali and me, doing the same pooja, at a beautiful house (which is ofcourse ours) and every person from the family is at our house. And there are also our twin girls, with us in the pooja. Yep. Twin girls. Okay, twins or not, it’s definitely two girls in my dreams, any time. Huh. One can only dream.