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Monday, August 27, 2018

Cityblog Feature Nayakgiri

Shravan Masi Harsh Manasi

“ Aghada Durva Phula” meaning a collection set of leaf named Aghada, Durva ie grass type and flowers rang in the month of Shravan in my childhood days in Pune peth areas. Shravan the most auspicious month of Indian Calendar was something special for us in childhood. Today advent of shravan is marked by akhaad or Gatari very ironically. Most of the people even those who had non veg as a part of their staple diet used to desist. Today I don’t agree why non veg could be unholy unless you have qualms about killing a life morally. But then its ‘jeevo jeevasya jeevanam’ or food cycle which is more important. Of course vices are always bad but then life has indulgences. So sacrifice them in shravan. It started with divyachi amavasya or new moon day of light which is also notorious as Gatari meaning night where you end up in drainage. But in my childhood we used to have edible diyas made out of Puran: cooked mix of jaggery and chana daal. They were yummy. Shravan was challenge too taste buds. During old days my grandmother, mother, aunt used to read from a book called kathas. Each day had different stories , in fact more than four of them for new story each day. It was fun in the evenings, when we sand evening prayers name shubhamkaroti. We used to light a lamp in front of god idols. I don’t remember those stories but there was common theme. A pious lady oppressed by family or poverty and divine saviour guest whom she treats with respect and kindness. The lady gets wealth and respect at the end. Then came in festivals starting with Naagpanchami. Those days environmentalist used to by easier on sentiments of common people and rituals. We used to have snake charmers getting Cobras in metal box. We used to be really amused and frightened as well. Girls used to spend night earlier to draw mehendi as a ritual. I remember once a missionary school did not allow girls to draw mehendi tattoos. There was cultural storm in Pune. We had puran polis and dhindas.

 Then we had narali purnima and rakhi festival. Coconut day was tasty with barfis, sweet coconut rice, ras poli, yummy. Rakhi was special bon between Brother and Sister. We brothers used to have competition for hiighest number of rakhi tied. Sisters had great time selecting variety of raakhi with themes, designs, colors. Then there was Janmasthami marking birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Dahi handis used to be local affair not political and commercial event like today. Also there were eight nights of Kirtans which narrated Krishna janma stories so beautifully. We used to go along with grand mother to local Krishna mandir especially to eat Gopal Kala ie spiced puffed rice with curd. Independence day used to mostly fall in shravan except for few years as exception. Every Friday mother used to call few ladies for haldi kunku. She used to distribute chanas along with some return gift. We used to love that chana. One Friday evening she used to call a couple with full menu dinner including Puranpoli, Roti, special vegetables, varan bhaat, raita, chutney, papads. Somehow my house did not have Satyanarayan puja but we went to neighbors and relatives place for prasad of yummy sheera. Today we have controversies for political gains. Anything that was attributed to particular section of society is being attempted to be portayed as evil. They have divided society so badly but in old days we have everyone irrespective of class, caste etc celebrating everything. We used to love shirkhurma got by Masood bhai equally. We used to visit our friends who were Patils, shirkes during shravan. I used to work during famiiy events of kambles. Its good to ignore mean and slimy politicians. Then we used to have Mangalagaur pujas for newly married brides in her first year after marriage. It was ladies but we children were allowed, I also remember in one event all gents joined to spend session late at night chitchatting with horror stories, funny stories etc. Idea is not to sleep whole night. There are many games for women which were funny and test of fitness. My grandmother did sui dora at age of 68. Its tough. So it was fun on human celebration side

Nature is another attribute associated with shravan which even exists even today. Visual show of clouds and sunshine , greenery everywhere thanks to monsoon. No wonder it prompted a great poet like Balkavi to write poem like Shravan Maasi Harsh Manasi, Sunder sunder chohikade. Meaning With beauty all around mind is filled with Joy. This poem was rendered hilariously in funny manner by Ashok Saraf in one of the movies. Somehow in today’s times, one remembers parody more than original. What we live is parody of modern life forgetting simplicity of olden and golden times.

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