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3 generations before mine, there was a lot of time with people. Secondly, people were very finicky about religious rituals during festivals. Today, there is no time to live life itself. Thus, when people go and settle in another city, they do not know anything about how to celebrate their festivals. A lady in a similar situation called up my Mom to know how to begin celebrating Navaratri.
Usually, in most South Indian Communities pairs of red sandalwood dolls are more important. These dolls are gifted during marriages. There is a ceremony in wedding rituals that energizes these dolls. Thus, they begin celebrating the festival immediately after marriage. However, some people do not install the dolls. The case of this lady was also similar. She asked my Mom to energize the dolls. But, she should have asked this before Anantha Chaturdashi. This can now be done only after the first day of Navaratri.

Red Sandalwood Dolls
Red Sandalwood Dolls

Here I am compelled to talk about a Jain Gujarati family, who lived in Chennai for more than 20 years. The Aunty knew the South Indian culture involving Navaratri rituals. She asked someone in a South Indian temple nearby, who celebrated this festival in the typical South Indian way. Someone directed her to our home. According to tradition, people visited such homes every day of the 9 days of Navaratri only for prasad. They would in fact ask for prasad.
She contacted my mom by phone. Mom was not interested in celebrating Navaratri this year. She has actually stopped even the daily pooja. She is only doing her Siddha course at this moment. We will tell the reason shortly. Mom was pushed to this condition by Our Lady of Intolerance and company. One day, while we were performing aarti at home, this woman’s son, who is the biggest goonda of our area, abused us with mother and sister cuss words. Since then Mom stopped performing poojas at home.
2 families from our building are so jealous of us that they are performing black magic on us. They are literally killing us to gain control of our home and our stuff, free of cost. When we go out, they open our door with a duplicate key. They, then, steal things from our home. This is happening since the last 4 ½ years. Our Lady of Intolerance had placed a spell on our home before we even shifted here. We will reveal what all happened due to the spell some other time and the list of stuff that have disappeared from our home. Most important is that they have picked up small hereditary stuff that had been handed over from generation to generation in our family. These are heirlooms, which are more than 600 years old, which the woman has been stealing from us. The woman has made a gang of thieves within our building.
Mom does want to lose any other of the remaining stuff. So, Mom decided not to install Navaratri at all. When the Jain Aunty contacted Mom, I felt so good, since she had indirectly appreciated my Mom’s art.
When we were on talking terms with Our Lady of Intolerance, she would bring vada pao to us and compel us to eat. The oil would have a bad odour in it, which we did not like. However, we had to have it, since she compelled us. She would give some homemade prasad, made with 20-25 days old cream. It had been also crushed with bare dirty hands. She was very proud that she had made it at home. Dad would never have it. Mom and I only had to have it. Mom contracted Sarcoidosis as a result. We had kept Mom safely after the first attack in 1999. Thanks to this woman, Mom had a relapse.


She would compel my Mom in the morning to look at her pooja place. It was in the morning and Mom was busy with some household work. She bathed only after completing them. This woman would compel my Mom to come despite that. Now, Mom’s not bathing early on those days has become a big issue with her. I do not understand why this is becoming an issue when we live our own lives without any interaction with them. We will bathe every day or not. It is none of anybody’s business.
Coming back to Navaratri, there are many people, who have flourished after having the Vaishnav Bhandara that we celebrate on Navami. The first year during Navaratri, we had to take this woman’s help. At that time, we did not know that this woman could have ulterior motives in being friendly with us. This woman said that whoever took this prasad have thrown it in the dustbin. Also, she said that if they had known that we were South Indians, they would not have come in the first place!
From the next year onwards, we decided to take things in our own hands. We began to bring people and children for the celebrations on our own. Now-a-days, little girls of 3-8 years are only invited for the celebrations. Finding such girls is difficult, so we decided to give for pooja in Kali and Vaishnodevi temples, where they perform pooja of little girls on these days.
I would like to inform the Jain Aunty through this article that I am happy that this Aunty asked about our celebrations. This Aunty and Our Lady of Intolerance both are from Gujarat. Look at the difference between them!
Mom is very ill. After Our Lady of Intolerance’s son abused us, we did not celebrate Janmashtami and other festivals, which were very pompously celebrated by us. We performed these poojas in temples. Mom is planning to have a similar subdued celebration even now. But, Dad is compelling her to have the proper celebration, since some nearby kids are eagerly waiting for it.
Secondly, Mom is under the treatment of a team of doctors. These doctors have advised bed rest for her since the weather is not good. They have also told us not to take her out unless it is for some important reason. They have also told me not to fiddle with dust and dirt unnecessarily, with such a highly allergic patient at home. Given these conditions, despite what Dad says, Mom had decided not to celebrate the festival.
However, I decided to have this Navaratri in January, during Shankaranti only for the Jain Aunty, if these low life from our building leave Mom alone and alive.
The first lady, who asked us about the rituals, can visit any South Indian temple on September 1, to get her red sandal dolls energized.


About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Multimedia Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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