Haha.. and there end the 9 days of entertaining and socializing where excuses are rarely made to invitations sent.. Navarathri.. has all of its religious reasons for being celebrated, but I wonder what the reason for golu would be. I suspect it must have been a good creative outlet for women a few generations ago. Women whose lives must have been filled with the monotony of tending to the home and family and rarely socialized in events outside of weddings and funerals. Navarathri golu must have been exciting and special for women those days. To be able to use all of their creativity in creating a golu, to vie for a golu better than the rest of the neighbourhood, to be able to have as many steps as possible, to have themes for their golus, to build parks and temples etc.. I suspect that the same spirit probably still does exist in varying proportions back in India, in places like Madras. Navarathri Golu in the US of course is different (just as everything else in the US is different). It is more a family affair. Almost the entire family visits for golu - one good thing is only women get (vethalai paaku) and the take back gift. Unlike in India where the vethalai paaku actually means what it is called, here vethalai is always omitted due to the high price, poor availability, poor quality and the fact that it is of no use after all that. The traditional ravikai thuni (blouse piece) also does not find a place in the gift bag - there is again no use for it, and its way too expensive too. The interesting part of the gift bag of course is the gift which will vary from something decorative to something that can find a place in the kitchen to some handicraft item(imported from India during a previous trip). The golu itself in the US is a mix of indian and american dolls. The handful of Indian dolls (dasavatharam or kalyana set etc) that have managed to escape the mishandling of baggage handlers from India to the US, besides the american dolls of babies and animals and village set that can be accumulated from dollar stores. Of course, I prefer the Indian ones, they do give a more golu like appearance. I am in the process of collecting some Indian dolls. Hopefully my next golu will be bigger and have atleast 5 steps.
This year my golu had 3 steps with a mix of Indian dolls and dollar store dolls. It turned out pretty good and from what everyone said, I think most of the credit must go to the Ikea lights that i had put up on the back wall. Everyone seemed to like that the most. We had one group of people who visiting us on the first Sunday evening and another group of people on the next Friday evening. Almost everyone I invited managed to visit us. The singers this year were Jayanthi akka whom I had heard and can now confirm sings reallly well, Priya who is a professional karnatic vocalist and sang to that effect and more and Chenchitha who has done a great job of progressing from geethams (last year) to swarajathis(this year). I did not inflict any pain on myself or others by singing during the course of my golu.
Smrithi was of course as cute as ever (Oh god! I am already becoming one of those moms that can't stop boasting about their kids).We dressed her up in a pattu pavadai(silk skirt) for which I hand-stitched a blouse and it all came together pretty well. She also seemed to enjoy the sudden downpour of extra attention she got from all the visitors those few days. I am sure she is missing Navarathri already in that tiny head of hers.
So all's well that end's well. We had a great Navarathri this year and we're getting all set for the Diwali which is on Oct 21st.