The best thing about Navarathri is the Sundal. When I was in India, since I was in an apartment housing, I would visit a number of apartments just to get a packet of sundal from every maami's place. The taste and flavor of sundal is different and variegated in every home. And when you visited a temple, you would again be getting sundal as prasadam (temple offering). That beats any sundal prepared by any maami. The temple offering adds a unique flavor to the sundal.
As I mentioned before, since our living area is small, we had to dismantle our dining set first and place it in the room. Since all the items from the living room had to make their way to the bedroom, it meant that we had to clean up the room. Since the room had to look clean, we had to move a ton of stuff to the storage area. In short, we had to clean the entire apartment. This was also our best chance to remove all the unwanted junk that was lying in many hidden corners. So, as we set out to create our Golu for this year, we were posed with a number of unique challenges. You basically have to create raised platforms or steps of different levels to place the dolls. So, this is how we went about creating the steps.
|First Step - Kamakshi Amman and Gayatri Devi with the Marapachi dolls|
"Why don't we use this as the topmost step?", Hema asked me.
I was like, Use whatever you want. Why ask me?
I acted as if I was pondering carefully.
I said, "Sure, why not? That seems like a good idea!" This is one of the things I realized from marriage. Once the idea comes from the wife, it always is a good idea. Period.
So, I placed it carefully at the instructed place. She told me to move the trolley by an inch. You guessed it right. I moved it by an inch.
"Haan, this looks better."
Honest to God, I could not see the difference.
We pulled out a couple of cartons, and big flat box to place it on the couple of cartons to create the next step. For the last step, we placed a couple of plastic boxes containing rice and wheat flour, and placed a flat box to create the third step.
|Second Step - Dasavatharam, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Hanuman|
I mean, I made sure it was on a straight line.
Then the boxes. We placed the box of wheat and rice and then placed the cardboard on top of them. Luckily, we had bought a new pack of rice which wasn't emptied on to this box. If not, we would have had to remove the rice out and put it in a separate cover.
What about the wheat flour? Take it out and place it in a bag, otherwise, we won't be able to have chapathis for two weeks.
I said, "No problem. I will skip chapathis for two weeks. Absolutely no problem for me."
That problem of pouring the wheat flour to the bag and making a complete mess of the carpet (since it would have been me emptying the box, I can assure you that the carpet would have been messed up) was thankfully circumvented.
|Third Step - Aachi and Chettiar selling their wares|
But the dhoti did not cover the sides properly. It exposed the cartons and the wooden stand from the side.
What's my reaction?
Oh, wow, this looks awesome. This is really good.
No. We need to cover the sides. We need to place one more dhoti.
Then, we examined the three steps. Everything looked good. To Me.
We need to move it to the right by a few centimeters.
I wanted to wiggle out of this.
|Sugarcane in Kamakshi Amman's hand|
She observed the setup.
We did not place the dhotis like the way we placed them the first time. Can we(read I) remove the dhotis and place them back again, exactly like the way they were before?
I didn't even try to figure out what she was saying. These artistic patterns go over my head. I nodded and placed them like the way she expected them to be.
See, the borders now line up exactly at the corners. That's how I wanted.
I was happy that she was happy. She was still examining like a surgeon.
You know what, the height from the first step to the second step is not the same as the height from the second step to the third.
I couldn't believe this was happening.
So, what do you propose to do?
Let us rearrange everything, and swap the second and third steps.
In the end, whatever keeps her happy.