Friday, December 27, 2013

Pooja,Poori and preparation

When I told my parents that I was planning to leave for chandigarh the next morning at around 6, they gasped. As they looked at me in horror, my dad asked "but how will YOU get to the station in time? I don't think you will be able to make it in time. Will you be able to wake up by 5?"

"Why do I need to wake up at 5? The train departs at 7:40. That's pretty late, that's 8AM. 8 is alright?!" Shocked they quietly went to bed.

I woke up at 6. After brushing, going through my daily chores and deodorizing myself, I was ready. It was 6:20. I was the modern traveller, I thought proudly. Practical and efficient. No pooja, no pooris. The thought got me thinking. The answer was right there in front of me! The train had always departed at 7:40 but what was different was how my parents and probably every middle class approached the whole concept of "travelling".

In those times IRCT had not been launched and the pantry service was severely disorganized and pathetic. Indian Railways was the typical Babu, lethargic and insensitive. Trains were routinely late and sometimes one needed a calender and not a watch to keep track of a train's progress. Obviously the family needed to be fed some great quality food while everyone stared at a stationery jungle or a farm in the middle of nowhere.

And the perfect food was the humble puri and jeera-aaloo or aaloo-gobhi and or nimbu ka achaar. I wondered why we never had simple rotis/chapatis/phulkes?  My mom's argument was that puris were easier to cook. You just had to throw the dough in fried oil and voila.

So the Mother would wake up an hour earlier to cook puris. Thus instead of 6 she would have had to wake up at 5. 

But wait?! What about thakurji (he demands attention and respect, thus the bold font) residing in the small temple in our homes? Surely He could not have been left "unprayered" and "unbathed" for so many days. Pooja had to be performed before leaving. Moreover it couldn't be performed by a dirty squalor. Therefore an absolute prerequisite for pooja was that you had to have a bath.An extra hour. Poor Mother should now wake up at 4. 

Meanwhile Dad would refuse to budge unless he was given chai.It is still unknown why it is the last thing he must do before leaving the house.No one can deprive him of those fifteen, tranquil, minutes when he happily sipped tea.

As you can clearly see this graph shows the time taken to get ready vs year/era. The  reason for such a high spike before Kalyug is probably the havans and poojas everyone performed before doing anything. I mean Bhagwan Ram didn't just wake up, put on some indigenous deodorant (neem pattis?) and left for Gurukul. No sir. Infact the whole family performed lots of poojas for many days before He was allowed to leave.