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FESTIVALS:reminiscing dhanurmasam!

From: Not Filled In (iprati_at_agccs.lmco.com)
Date: Tue Jan 14 1997 - 09:59:25 PST

After hurriedly making pongal while reciting thiruppavai, I got ready
to go to work. I pulled up my snow boots, buttoned my
coat, threw an old scarf around my neck, and adjusted my gloves, ready
to tackle the 40 mile drive to work on a cold icy morning. I glanced
at
the rear-view mirror, and sighed, thinking back to my mornings back
home, and my these cherished came alive...

The start of the day ...
	The usual wake up calls are heard around 5:00 am. A folk song in
kannada is heard from a distance, as if in a dream.  It is sung by
someone on his bullock cart, going to Hebbal via Vyalikaval, where I
lived in Bangalore. The bells in the bullocks neck would make a
rythmic
jingle, accompanying his song!  After a while the bells would become
very loud, this time accompanied by a calf's "ambaaa, ambaaa." Next it
would be our milkman, who would knock on the door, as he had done
every
day.  he would announce that he was ready to milk the cow and we
should
see that the bucket was empty, to show that he was not adding any
water.
The simple milkman would milk the cow, and we could hear the milk from
the cow's udder hitting the bottom of the bucket, proclaiming his
honesty! My mother would go out with the pathram, touch the cow's
forehead, touch her eyes, take the pathra inside, and saying
Srikrishnaparamathma's name, start off the daily chores.  

Dhanurmasam Mornings...

Dhanurmasam was extremely special and auspicious. We would wake up to
these beautiful, melodious bhajans and songs rendered by a group of
devotees walking in the street early in the morning! I would wake up
with this festive 'sadagara', and go through the morning chores,
all the time hearing a sloka or the thiruppavai from my
father, mother, and my sister from all parts of the house.
Next door, we had the good fortune of having this Ayyangar "thatha"
who said thiruppavai in a booming voice! Then I would get
ready to go to work. I worked at State Bank Of Mysore, Vyalikaval
branch, which was a 'ladies branch', a stone's throw away from my
home.
But it would take me a while to get there because every couple
of steps some one would say, 'Don't forget thiruppavai today
in ramamandir,' or 'There is a discourse in the kovil' or 'There
is a puja in so and so's house.' I would stop and say, 'Oh how nice!
Yes
I will be there' and so on. As I neared the bank, the suvasana
from the agarbatti would come wafting out of the branch to greet me
as they just finished doing puja to the laxmi patam. Well, the best
part
was that the majority of us at the bank were ayyangars, including the
manager, Usha Sunderraj. So the branch would be filled
with the 'swish swish' of the kanjeevaram sarees in a myriad of
colors,
the strong, but pleasant smell of 'mallige' in our hair, and the 'khan
khan' of the bangles as they danced on our wrists! The customers would
come in and greet us with big smiles and say " Oh wow! did I just walk
into a Maduve Mane? (wedding choultry)"!  They would all wish us a
happy
Dhanurmasam; most north Indians and others knew it as only the
Ayyangar's special month!
	My branch timings were from 9:00-1:00 and 3:00-7:00, so we had plenty
of time to go home, enjoy a pandige meal (invite non ayyangar freinds
to
lunch) and even take a nap before going back. In the evenings, I would
rush back home and go to different thiruppavai functions. At the
Venugopalaswamy temple in Malleshwaram, all through the month there
would be special events. There would be wonderful alankarams and
sevais.
If I close my eyes I can still see Krishnar adorned in blue velvet
with
shiny pearls and gold work. And Andal thaayar in yellow and green 9
yards saree!! I just want to keep my eyes closed and relive those
memories forever!

	Oh well, anyway, all these wonderful memories, and listening and
reciting Vishnu Sahasranamam, took me (and Bheema, my mazda van!)
through the 40 mile drive effortlessly! Here at work, between my long
ADA compilations, I read my mail and see Sri Sadagopan's wonderful
dhanurmasam postings.  I get so engrossed in and inspired by all the
vivid descriptions that I get through the rest of the day
with the same enthusiasm as I did at the bank back home; even though
the
'Swish' is not the Kanjeevaram saree, but the sleet and the slush!!
 
	Thanks to Sri Sadagopan and Sri Mani and ALL of you learned
Bhagavathothamas for bringing such divine feelings from your postings
in
our otherwise daily mundane routines!

	I Wish you all a very Happy Pongal and may we always be blessed by
the
Divya Dampathis kripa kataksham!!

Regards
Indira