If there is one festival that I love and go all out, it is Navarathri or the Festival of 9 nights (Nava = 9 and Rathri = Night). Navrathri or Dusshera is celebrated in different ways depending on where you are from, and your family practices. For instance, Mysore, a city in Karnataka and their Golu display is very famous and tourists throng to the City and Mysore Palace to see their doll exhibitions, elephant parades and Royal Darbar (Darbar = Court).
Golu is also celebrated in TamBrahm families in TamilNadu, however my family i.e. my dad’s side did not have the custom of celebrating Golu. Saraswathi pooja (9th day) and Vijayadasami (10th day) were celebrated. So my experience with Golu was visiting friends and families to see their Golu displays (and of course to meet my cousins, eat sundal and other goodies 🙂 ) To read more, go to Navarathri – Significance & Manifestation of Dolls.
After my engagement, I found out that Guru’s family has the custom of keeping Golu. For some personal reason my MIL did not keep golu at her place (but celebrated with her co-sisters but she told me that I can start it if I want to 🙂 Having never celebrated it, I was kinda wary about starting this practice as (1) I did not have a personal collection of dolls as both my mom and my MIL did not keep golu at their place and (2) it involves a lot of personal effort and commitment to keep Golu and to carry on the tradition year after year.
After 3 looong years, I finally decided to embrace the tradition in 2005 and my personal collection of Ganeshas (the Elephant God) came to rescue. From then on until 2010, I have been adding more dolls, bringing in my personal touch, involve the kids by setting up separate steps for them to keep their dolls, showcase themes – an Indian village and a Winter Wonderland. We had a break in between in 2011 and 2012 due to some misfortunes and we used that break for our North Karnataka road trip.
Most of 2012 and 2013 so far has been very bad for my health has been, what with new symptoms adding on and old ones getting worse, basically at the mercy of Fibromyalgia, I was doubtful about doing this. With the encouragement and support of my lovely boys and hubby dearest, I wanted to see if I can get back to some semblance of feeling like my normal (whatever noraml meant), self.
See, I sensed that something about my health was bothering Vidyuth (my older one) and soon enough, he told me that he is worried that I am in some form of pain and that he was worried that something will happen to me. As parents, we always want to take care of our children and protect them from everything. Vidyuth will be 10 in November and Vishruth just turned 7 and they both have seen me active and on my feet. They both are very perceptive by nature and I wanted to reassure them that while I might be sick, nothing is going to happen to me and I am working hard to get better every day. I wanted to reassure them that it is only my physical self that is feeling battered and hurt but my mental and emotional self is as sharp and active as ever.
I paced myself and the kids helped me throughout – right from unpacking the dolls, preparing props, setting up the steps, putting up lights, and finally setting up their Harry Potter set and some kind of Castle with soldiers golu. I had a lot of fun and I hope they did too. I hope that their childhood is filled with memories, memories that are wonderful, memories that they will look back at, cherish and remember fondly!
Presenting our 2013 Golu 🙂
Here’s to memorable traditions!