Navarathri

Navarathri

It’s that time of the year. The time I socialize invite people or go to their houses. Twenty two years back I started this tradition with some toys. It was just after my son’s first birthday and I was too excited. Couple of cardboard boxes and stuffed animals and a picture of Saraswathi and Murugan adorned my golu. By the end of following year my son was diagnosed with autism and his terrible twos were terrrrrible. But by his fourth birthday I think my mojo was back and I started collecting dolls . Lakshmi and Krishna were purchased at a local Indian grocery store and the rest at dollar shops. Christmas and Halloween season I used to roam around walmart looking for cheap deals. These dolls make good park dolls. My 2003 trip to India marked my first purchase of golu dolls. My Dad took me to Khadi kraft and I purchased a good set of dasavatharam , chettiar and even a marriage set. I got everything the smallest available in the shop. It was packed good and 2003 Navarathri in my small apartment in Boston was one of the best I had. Living in apartments the best thing was you had so many friends in the same place not much to travel. People flocked my golu. My younger one was born the next year and the next couple of years my navarathri took a back seat. But let me tell it was just a scaled down version near pooja room or on top of a shelf but never did I miss one by not taking my dolls out. Then by 2007 online orders came into being. We had moved out of our apartment to our own townhouse with not many Indians. But I continued to shop for dolls online as well as in store. I didn’t have many guests but my golu became bigger and bigger each year. Autism is a big part of me. My son can throw huge tantrums and my entire house can shake, so imagine the nervousness I used to have while he moved around my golu. We moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 June and my father in law passed the same year. My son turned 13 and his behaviors took a nose dive. That was the year we didn’t have any golu in our house. It was definitely depressing. But I should say online ordering saved me. I buy dolls before and after the navarathri season. That year too I ordered online. I found out this was my biggest stress reliever. A passion I had developed over the years. 2012 I set up a decent size golu. My formal living room brightened up with lights. An independent home I got with a big living room so I can specifically allot for golu. It was definitely a dream come true for me. My younger son and myself joined shloka classes at the temple. With apprehension I handed everyone navarathri invitations there. To my surprise almost everyone dropped by. They admired my dolls and the uriyadi Krishnan I got that year was a hit. My parents were there that year and that was the first Navarathri I think my Dad saw me in work.

The next year a day before Varalakshmi Vratham itself I received a package from India. Appa had surprised with a plastic golu padi from Giri trading. I think that is one of his best gifts to me😊❤️. From that point there has been no turning point, my golu by Goddess grace has grown up. Last year doll was Athi Varadhar and I had friends from my special needs program too drop by. I requested anyone dropping by to bring soaps shampoos or personal care items for Datta Retreat Center’s charity program. People usually drop with bags of apple , but this turned to be a huge success. My charity drive items filled up our trunk!! Plastic bowls made by special people was given out as return gifts. Thinking back it was fun. So what about this year. Yesterday my younger one asked me if there will be Navarathri. Of course there is going to be one was my answer. My special boy suffers from an autoimmune condition which definitely flares up during this season. With change of weather and flu and with novel corona virus I may not invite anyone. But I will definitely have my golu on. We have all got used to online classes and shopping. So there will be online viewing too. Return gifts and sundal and food served will be made as a charity to the local food bank. I know Goddess Rajarajeshwari will be with me as I start prepping for this season.

My special boy has to be thanked at this point. He still is a handful but he is a big helper too. If not for him I cannot bring up all the boxes of my dolls upstairs from my garage 😀.

Hopefully my next blog post will be about my golu this year. Btw definitely not a corona virus theme.😄

Yaa Devi Sarva-Bhutessu Shakti-Ruupenna Samsthitaa |
Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namas-Tasyai Namo Namah ||

Athi Varadar 2019

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