Dashami was just 5 days ago...and already its time for Lakhi puja (and I haven't even had the chance to post all the durga puja photos). Lakhi Puja at home has been an annual ritual for many years now, more a fun chaotic get together than religious rite. It would be a FULL house earlier, with all our kith and kin pouring in, now maybe only 3/4 full - all of us grown up, moved away, some casualty of infighting and some new faces. Actually, the preparation started from Dashami itself. It was R's last day off (mine too...but in this context, didn't count) and so both she and Ma got to making tons of khaja. Within the next couple of days, another ton or so off narkel er naru. Then yesterday, she dragged the pidi on which I keep the modem and adapter. It is lakhi thakur's pidi...which will be freshly decorated with alpana .. no not by me. Either R or ma will do the needful.
All along, the pandals were slowly stripped down...only the bare skeletal frame remains...shorn of tinsel and glory. Its a norm. Lakhi puja follows in all Durga puja pandals. After which all traces will disappear till next year.
The road to work this morning (Yup...Gandhiji was probably pleased to see full attendance at work today...and when I came home, found out that the tweeting Mr. Tharoor too had the same thought - but alas, for him, not with the same results - ah obscurity... so blissful) - was lined by stall after stall of Lakhi pratimas of every shape, size and hue.
And a vertiable Lakhi Puja bazaar had sprung up on the tram tracks. The largest rolls of 'thor' (the stem and pith of the banana plant and not the Norse god of thunder) that I had ever seen - as big as a small carpet rolled up; Stalks of sugar cane, banana stalks and leaves, dhan, dubbo, ricketty wooden altars and piris, and more pratimas...tiny ones this time with tinier owls!
A long harried workday...a furious thunderstorm and worse lightening and I am home by 8 - looking forward to some TV and sitting atop my precious wooden chest and blocking the TV with her head hidden by a newspaper (it comes off tomorrow at the puja) is a foot and half tall lakhi on a pedestal with a large white and the cutest owl along side.
Ah! I finally get to eat the khajas and naroos tomorrow and the khichudi and labra and payesh.