September 24, 2004

Ganesh Chathurthi

Last weekend we celebrated Ganesh Chathurthi at Anusha/Pallavi/Bindu/Sumi's house. For the first time in three years this occasion was not celebrated in 277 Torrey which had become the worship place during the 7 days of the festival. We used to have a proper Pandit/Pujari in Ravi Ayyer and now that he is in Cleveland we were left with no Pandits....anyways,,back to our was the first time I was going to be involved first hand in the puja....i had just assisted my mom and dad before that....we were going to read the mantra's and the story by oursleves!!!!!!

It was decided late the previous night to do the puja at their place, we were deciding on the prasad and it was finalized that Payasam,vada and Lemon rice would be the Menu. The next day morning Sindhu prepared the payasam (ofcourse under my guidance..heheheh..just kidding), Pallavi made the Vada's and Bindu made the lemon rice...none of us had performed the puja by ourselves without guidance so it was going to be quite an experience for us.

Hemant's parents were happy that puja will be performed and said that they will also come along for it, we were more than happy to have somebody who knows the puja to be present. Now came the things needed for the puja...we had 3-4 Ganesh idols and then we did the prathishta of the god using Haldi, Kumkum and flowers. Then started the last minute running around to get the flowers, vick for the lamp, oil, agarbathi, tape recorder for the arathi casette that hemant's dad had. The best part was all of us trying to figure out which way the god should be one had a convincing i called my mom(in India) to find that out. All in all, with all the things in place we started the puja at 10:55 Am...that too because it was supposed to be "Rahu Kaalam" from 11 :00 AM so we had to start the puja. I was asked to start the puja and I had no clue what to started with my limited knowledge and some sheets of paper that had the whole puja procedure, mantra's and the story....but it was in only a few of us could read that...Sindhu/me/bindu....I hadnt read slokas in telugu ever in my whole life so it was going to be fun I thought....I started the puja and had a great difficulty in reading the slokas....but i was trying my best to not to mess the pronunciation....after sometime the slokas became more and more complex and I was making more and more mistakes in reading them....I was having a horrible time.....then came my savior for the day.....Bindu...she offered to read the slokas....though she started just like me....she got better with time unlike me who had gotten she read all the slokas and the story in Telugu...and I performed the puja...a lot of people there didnt know the story involving Ganesh-Chandra (moon) and Lord we explained the whole story in english and its significance before reading that in Telugu...then Uncle read Narad Mantra/Sloka with tremendous fluency which made me look like a fool with all the mistakes that I had made earlier....then I came home before the aarathi to pick up Aunty so that she can also be a part of the puja.....then we had the "Sukhkartha...." on tape and some more the end we had finished the puja successfully and I was veryvery always feels good to worship....thats what I have noticed....when ever I go to the Cleveland or the Pittsburgh temple I feel a sense of peacefulness, calmness and inexplicable joy inside me.....u can call it what ever u want....but I love tha feeling and I have a sense of achievement I did something worthwhile that day......

After the Puja we had some hot-hot vada's with Payasam and lemon rice....the combination of food items was very very good and all of us, Sindhu, Anusha, Bindu, Pallavi, Nisha, Uncle, Aunty, Suresh, Praveen, Vinod etc.....had a hearty meal as most of us had fasted till the time we had prasad (though it was only 12:30 pm by then). Then i went to Canton as a family that I am close to (Sneha and Sharvari's) was also performing the puja in the afternoon....I had nice time there, had some wonderful food (little bit in the afternoon and dinner)...also taught some kids cricket....all in all it was good day......apparently Kumar had also performed the puja at his place and I wasnt aware of that and couldnt make it to his place for the arathi in the evening.

September 07, 2004

Back to School.....

After a great summer in India and after some matches of Cricket now its time to get back to school and back to the normal grind:(....I had a blast this summer mainly on the India trip and now the past couple of weeks have been pretty busy with the school starting and Hemant's parents visiting us.

Our new Apt looks lively with Hemant's parents in town living with us....they had come last week and ever since its been very very exciting as we have had some awesome conversations and ofcourse the awesome food!!!!!!!!! The first week of school was pretty hectic as I have three TA assignments....Basic Chemistry, C programming and Physics of Heat and Light.....I also have a course to teach...Software Applications....and to add to that I have a couple of courses of mine that I taking to fulfil the PhD Academic requirements....I have never had so many things to do during school....oh forgot my research part:)....I have to take care of my research in my free time (if there is any:)).....The first weekend of school always ends with a long weekend due to labor day so it was kind of an early break from the hectic semester ahead....Sindhu, Nisha and I had gone to Raleigh,NC to visit Amol....we drove all way.....540 miles !!!! was a fun trip.

The drive thru West Virginia. Virginia and NC was beautiful with mountains and tall trees....had never driven to that part of the US so that was a first time for me in that area....we were scared that the long weekend would be ruined by Big Brother Frances....but fortunately for us (though unfortunate for all the people down in Florida....) Frances didnt hit NC atleast till yesterday .... when we had gotten back. Had a relaxing weekend...went to an Udipi buffet on Saturday and ran into an Undergrad friend of mine...that was a pleasant surprise and thru him i found out that some of my other friends were working in Raleigh much for my networking with friends...but got to meet some of my friends who in raleigh for the Long was kind of fun catching up with them after 4 yrs!!!!!!!! back to the vacation part.....went to an outdoor mall one evening and played tennis later on....the next day we went to the Carolina Beach ...we had a fabulous time in the water....though we were at the beach only for 2 1/2 hrs we had a great time...the waves were big and we had fun trying to dodge the waves and at the same time not getting knocked off our feet....all in all...we had a nice vacation before the hectic semester in front of us....with me having a busy schedule for the rest of the sem and Sindhu having her Comprehensive exams sometime in October...we will surely look back to the past weekend for memories of fun:)....