As everybody is aware, this Navaratri, A Journalist Reveals has been going around interviewing South Indians involved in Golu-activity. We came across Chitra Sriram from Thane (Mumbai), who enjoys Active Family Support, during these activities. Active Family Support is equal to success. We interviewed Chitra, recently.
Excerpts from the interview:
Since when are you in Mumbai (Thane)?
I came to Thane after marriage. My in-laws are here in Thane for almost 35 years. Originally they were from Matunga where all our rituals and festivals would be followed and celebrated sincerely and religiously. Now, Thane is a mini Matunga where one would find all kinds of cultural activities, religious functions, spiritual classes etc.
Ours is a joint family. Before I begin to reply to your questions, I would like to say a few words on my beloved mother-in-law (MIL). She was an able, religious and versatile woman with varied interests. My MIL would follow all festivities religiously. She was a Carnatic music teacher and would conduct prayer classes at home for all age groups. My MIL would eagerly wait for such festivals to come, to exhibit or rather utilize her inner talents and creativity. She is our role model. The legacy has been passed on to my husband, who is also very creative, talented and takes an active part in all religious activities and festivals.
Since when are you involved in this activity?
As Navaratri is a family festival, coming from good old days of our grandparents, I am involved in celebrating Navaratri in a traditional way right from childhood and the same continues at the home of my parents-in-law.
How were you inspired into doing this activity?
I am from a traditional family religiously following all the rituals, cultural and spiritual activities with dedication. Navaratri is a festival of joy and color. Each and every member of our family would be involved in keeping the Golu. In fact, creativity and inner talents would come out during such events. Happy moments with a lot of interaction between the family members in setting up the Golu are the highlights of this festival. It is not only the 9 days of celebration but it takes almost three more days to unpack the idols and set up the Golu. To convey some good messages, we keep Golu with themes like Go Green, Team Building, depicting stories from mythology, etc. At times, children come out with unique concepts and ideas. During these nine days, you get to meet your friends and family members. Also, some friends bring their other friends to see our Golu (Bommai). This is a good opportunity to meet family and friends and share our experiences.
What kind of feeling do you get while doing this activity?
As all our family members are spiritually inclined, there will be chanting of Lalitha Sahasranamam, prayers, songs and bhajans in the morning and evening on all the nine days. This brings positive energy and heavenly feeling at home. One can feel the presence of God everywhere. Different varieties of goodies and savories are made during this period. We can experience a healthy atmosphere here and everywhere.
Who else is involved in this activity?
All family members, neighbors, near and dear ones especially small children come to see the decoration, different idols and to eat their favorite item called ‘sundal’, which is made out of Indian pulses and lentils. We invite ladies for Haldi Kumkum, where we offer betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric, coconut, flower, naivedyam and some giveaways. A group of ladies come to chant prayers and sing bhajans composed on different Gods and Goddesses.