Lakshmi’s Charadu kettu

It’s the big day today. My mother has been asking me for the last two days as to how the preparations are going every time I ring her.  I’m getting a bit worried now. I actually haven’t done anything. I have been working the last two days and in the evenings we’ve been meeting up with Huw’s parents and grandparents and having a good time. Is there anything I need to do? The food is catered for and the house looks tidy enough. Anyway I start getting things ready slowly.

Murali is making aravanapayasam. It’s a rice pudding that is given as an offering to Gods in temples (prasadam). He does this whenever the occasion is special enough, which this certainly is. Once it is made, Murali goes to the temple, leaving me to clear the mess. I must admit, it is not as bad as it used to be. I tidy up, have a quick shower and start getting the pooja items ready.

It is now past midday. We are meant to start the ceremony in an hour’s time. As there is no one in the house, I Skype my mother to keep me company and she helps me with the preparations. I decide to use ghee for the lamp, as this article I read said that we can use it on special occasions and there is plenty of ghee leftover after making the prasadam. I melt the ghee and pour it in the lamp and get the wicks ready. The first guests arrive.

Almost half an hour to go and Kavitha and family arrive. As soon as she gets here the questions are ”have you ironed my dress?”. ”No”. ” where is Huw’s mundu?”. ” I don’t know”. A frantic search goes on for the mundu, its belt and soon it’s ironed and ready to go. We give him a quick class on the order of the ritual.

It is now 1300. Kavitha’s friends and all our close family are here, apart from Katie and Meera. Anitha and the boys couldn’t make it either as the boys are not well. Amma has been frantically ringing me on Skype. I try to ring back, but cannot get her. There is something wrong with the Internet connection back home. In the mean time the ghee has solidified and lighting the wicks become difficult. I try to melt the ghee, with the agarbathi and make a mess. The lamp top is turning black. Amma’s internet is still not working. Giri (Murali’s brother) starts complaining of the agarbathi fumes. Everything is going wrong and we haven’t even started yet.

Suddenly Amma appears on screen and everything falls into place. We wake little Lakshmi from her slumber and we are ready to go. After that it all works out well. There are no more hiccups. Even though the forecast was for rain, the day brightens up and we have a lovely day.

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