SPECIAL DAY FOR SARAS

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Mo and I did attempt to clarify all the adjustments modern times have lately imposed on tradition for this special day . . . . Indians being the global Masters of Adjustments, but things became complicated.

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However the melon does still contain all the bad of the previous year which disperses within the void when the melon is smashed outside the front door . . . . I can vouch for that.

There were melons being smashed every which way, everywhere yesterday.

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Marvellous isn’t it . . this morning we all woke up fresh as daisys, as if our tails had all been cut off . . . . today we can for once truly say “All Good!”.

The melon-smashing part happens mostly in the evening on Sarasvati Puja . . . Toward the end of the ceremony, although modern complications seem to include the fact that it’s almost impossible nowadays for shop-owners to direct the attention of the goddess both to the home – with all its education aspects as well as household-tool aspects (such as the invaluable Mixie machine, the electric shaver etc.) – and the shop itself with its lockable desk-drawer and perhaps computer . . .  not that is unless they are live-in shop-owners (without computers) as many are nearby . . . . . .  so the adjustment in this case includes a two-whole-day Saras-festival so that all the added, devious little elements of modern consumerism can each have their rightful dob of turmeric and kumkum applied with dignity and a superb little flaming camphor waved three times about or over them all to seal the win-win-divine-human relationship.

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But of course you’re wondering What about the Bicycles and Motor-Bikes!

Well yes, they are certainly there – all the vehicles were being spicked-and-spanned as far as eye could see yesterday, because irrespective of all the other little adjustments, the big finale hoot around the hill . . . . Annamalai’s speciality . . . . happened last night.

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This is the vehicular equivalent of Off to the Ball.

The Banana trees aren’t nearly so fetching on bikes or bicycles, they need to be higher up on the vehicle in order for their floppy-ear-features to be shown to greatest advantage.

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Oh, it looks like Father’s famous Enfields and whatever haven’t been done yet, they must be waiting . . . Every single other piece of equipment has been dubbed appropriately in this shop-cum-home, look:

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She’s also waiting . . . .

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. . . so is he; got his special shirt on.

Mother, Daughter and helper did all the preparation as usual. Father was across the road fixing banana-plants to his new Jeep.   The jeep will tart up well no doubt but personally I greatly prefer the combination of bright yellow auto-rickshaws with fresh flapping green banana-plant-ears . . . most winsome they are, and yellow autos can hook around quite fast too, you’d be surprised.  They have much more fun than the others.

But we are jumping the gun here.

. . . . .

While I was missing the household puja at home I was in nosing about the Kali Temple where all the action will be after dark.
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The cleaning must be scrupulous for Saras – both inside and outside the truck here.

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A very large number of two-wheelers are grossly over-burdened.  What with, You may well ask ? ?  . .  .

Well: with puffed rice, sugar, garlands, banana plants and leaf-plates, beetle nut and leaves, cigarettes, puffed rice . . . . . .
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. . . . . I can’t imagine what else.

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Outside the Kali Tample here will be the precise hot-spot tonight.

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Hello, here’s an upmarket dead-body-car adding to the voluptuous diversity of life, never seen one like that before.  It looks a lot like the wedding chariot behind the Manakuvinayaka temple.

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This beautiful Police-woman has her own wundy decorated tastefully.  I like that she wears sandals . .  In this climate policemen wearing brown leather lace-up shoes and socks is almost as foolish as the British.  Well perhaps not that foolish.

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It’s not a Sarasvati that this wonderful man is making but a Meenakshi . . . another lovely persona of the Divine Feminine.

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The usual dramas playing out up to knee-height at the fruit-shop. . .

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. . .  not far up the road here at Shantimalai Women’s Handicraft Centre, four lovely ladies were engaged on a traditional feminine occupation . . . together making one of the masterful entrance-way designs that used to be made of rice flour, back in more generous times when Indians saw themselves as siblings of all sentient beings.

Now you arrive at the end of this post although not the end of the festivities of course – there is no end.

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I hope by this photographic reportage you are able to join with us in your imagination to celebrate the pervasive influence of dear Sarasvati . . . Goddess of learning and culture, the Arts – music, dance, painting, architecture and all facets of Education, in yet another invocation by Indian upsurge of confidence in this marvellous world.

Allahu’Akbar!  Kadavala Nambum!

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