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 pooja...it 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 facing....no one had a convincing answer....so 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 do...so 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 Telugu...so 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 worse.....so 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 krishna....so 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 bhajans....in the end we had finished the puja successfully and I was veryvery happy.....it 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 there....me, 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.

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