Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ayusha Homam of My daughter Gayathri 

Ayusha Homam of My daughter Gayathri

My daughter turned 1 year on the 17th of July and she was born on the revathi nakshatra , which this year happened to be on 4th of august. 1st year birthdays are important and need to be celebrated fully, the calendar birthday this year fell on a wednesday and so the option with us was to go with the nakhsatra birthday with a traditional celebration, the ayusha homam, it is fully termed apdha poorthi ayusha homam

Preparations for such a function begin well in advance, with the initial spark coming from who else but my wife worrying that invites wont go out on time for people to plan their calendars!, so i had to get my derrier moving the first week of july as I had promised her.

The first tasks, get the vadyar [ tamizh for priest] get his list for the function that need to be organized from our side, noawadays vadyars are end to end services leaving a few open failure points making our lives easy, there was a 20 point list that we needed to bring in tamizh , the list is provided elsewhere for eager ayusha homam planners. The next task is to get a hall [ mantapam in local lingo ] booked.

Mantapam booking can leave a serious hole in the pocket and be a critical constraint, thanks to adi masam [ the inital month!] when very little religious functions are conducted by my fellow sanatana dharmiks, i got lucky. Hall hall everywhere, this is a curse in disguise, because the inquisitive mind ensures that one visits every hall in town even if the first one eventually turned the best option. So I went hall hunting, with father, with wife, alone to different parts of town. The key criteria for a hall are,
one - closeness it should not be like going to pluto to conduct an ayush homam
rendu - in bangalore car parking is critical every body has cars and there is little space on the roads !
trois - space for the invited number small medium large, halls come in all shapes and sizes, kitchens dining halls etc.. add to the spatial problem
fier - then is the facilities the hall provides, whether it is seating, tables and chairs in the dining area, utensils for cooking stage and stage facitilities, rooms for change over storage, rest rooms, one gets fined finally for for not finding the fine print
aaru - the price the moolah most critical aspect! one does not want shaadi [weddings] budgets for ayusha homams of 1 year olds

with so much fine criteria, we were left with no hall fitting the bill! necessity is the grand mother of innovation so we dug into some social networks, directory sites and thanks to a close friend [thanks um*sh*! - name masked partially for privacy fx] who saw our post on a social network and suggested the Akkamahadevi samoohika bhavana a couple of miles and 1 district away from our place, i visited the place. On that day i was about to commit to a another hall where there were seeming compromises! thank heaven i made the visit and this hall was a better fit especially the parking ! and facilities, also it was a charitable trust that gives an internal satis non-compare!

So the hall was booked pronto, making me realize my old adage things are bought in an instant, be it saris, cars, or now halls! after all the analysis the buy happens in moment of clarity non existent on either second.

Now that we had the hall the invite was the next steeple in the chase. Today we are lucky most junta can be had on email , and a few outliers need to be snail mailed. The invite was made from gayathri's [ my daughter if you wonder who!] perspective and we added pics of gayathri shailu [my wife] and me all as ~1 year olds to give it a nice effect. An invite contains the function, the where, the when, the itineray of the when [especially for most who dont want to miss lunch or time! ] a personal invite and finally the directions. Thank google, most of bangalore is mapped to a nail and all we needed to do is show 2 views on how to get to the place. With the invite ready, we emailed a whole list of people that we felt form a close circle. this count is critical cant miss anyone and it can impinge your budget like william tells arrow on the apple!

Invitee lists have 3 categories, those who will make it, those who are being informed and wont make it and those who may make it dont know! from another angle the list is family and friends respectively of the parents and grand parents making it in our case, 12 sub lists a total of 400 invitees and we expected 50% to turnup.

Invites gone email snail mail etc.. then it was food time. South indian function food [siff] is served on plantain leaves, the most bio degradable, mosut nourishing , easily use and throw food plate that can be thought of! no industrial waste or pollution [EPA firendly and the cows like it!].

Father is the consultant on this business we contacted mr X [name masked for privacy!] who is well known in oota world [food ]. The siff contains sub divisions that need to be taken care of and that is how the menu was built, staple items [rice and sambars], side dishes [veggies] SIFFs in southie brahm communities are strictly vegetarian, and the cows like it !, pickles, crunchies [ youngsters and kids love them the pappads etal!] and finally the sweets. So we listed and had 19 items ! Our idea was to have a mix of palakkad iyer [my community] and kannada cuisines with a touch of mangalore cuisine. The pieces tde resistance were chakkai payasam [jackfruit sweet milk!], sandiges [ crunchies], mambazha kozhambu [mango sambar - transliterating that is a pain !!zh!!]. We also organized a break fast meal for early birds a smaller number.

The function plan was 8.00 hrs to 11.30 hrs homa followed by lunch so the 8 o clockers would need a break fast.

Thats it the initial work for the function was all done and we were waiting nearing d-day in the meantime all invites were followed up with personal calls and visits where ever possible.

August 2nd 48 hours to d-time and my mum-in law shifted base to our house to get hold of all nitty gritties. For my luck August 3rd happened to be a local bandh [strike - and these happen only in india!] at the vegetable markets all over [ the reason being that their supplies were getting sucked out by biggies ilke reliance - another tradition of old india to disappear soon - the vegetable mandi!]. I had to do some flower and arrangements purchase to D-day, went scouting and to our luck the yeshwanthpur market fruit and flower traders were on. Man friday to help out on these things is r*m***h who has been fathers old hand for decoration stuff for many years.
We bought all that we could at 50% higher prices [bandh thank you!] and were off to the mantap [ by now youd realize this is the hall!] for parking the items for decoring ealry morning next day.

I had to also pay a refundable security deposit with the hall management which is taken for damages adn consumables like gas cylinders cleaning. This done i was back home, in the meantime ladies of the house kicked in with a visit to the hall to make last minute internal dcors like kolam [ auspicious floor patterns ], back drop etc..

I was fast asleep on 3rd by 22.00 hours-ish tomorrow is a long day, even though the pooja time is easy by normal standards [ most southie functions are early morning events wuith the muhurtam [auspicious time ] being around 7:00 hours - 9:00 hours. The time a 3 hours pooja ends, so u can imagine the joy of the person participating! its normally waky waky at 2:00 hours, resembles guerilla war fare schedules.

to be continued....


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