Thursday, 24 July 2014


Taking the kavadi beam upto the nearest Muruga temple is an important festival in July. As Eashwaramma's dead son Siddiah had promised to conduct this for his son Sasi, Eashwaramma has been intending to do this for Sasi. 

This year, despite her financial difficulties, her health problems, she decided to fulfil this pending promise. Her son-in-law and daughter came from the neighbouring village to help in the function. They brought the kavadi from their home. It is a long stick fashioned of red sandlewood, with two baskets hung from either end.

The previous evening Kavya collected lots of gilledu (Calatropis gigantica) flowers and strung them into long chains. In the morning the house was washed fully, sprikled with cowdung, and decorated with muggus. The doorway was festooned with mango leaves, and sasi set up a bamboo skeleton on top and they laid coconut fronds on it. Payasam and vadai were made. 

Then Sasi was taken to the water tank in Manohara's field with the kavadi on his shoulders. He was urged to call out 'harohara' along the way, but he was strangely subduded. His atha Kalpana and jojayyi Venkatayya took him there. We were also taken along as photographers. Venkatayya carried a wicker basket with the gilledu flowers, the saamandhi flowers, matchbox, camphor, incense sticks and naaman stick. Kalpana made the rear as she carried a small pot of milk and cow urine, which she kept sprinkling around. En route at the Sibbalamma she plucked some leaves of the sarvashuddhi grass and used that to sprinkle the water. There at the tank a few mugs of cold water were poured on Sasi, and then the kavadi was also washed as he held it. It was then rubbed with honey and then with a banana pulp. Then it was anointed with turmeric and thenkumkum and vibhuti and the naamam marks were applied over it. the wicker baskets were also washed and  The yellow cloth covers were tied on the wicker baskets. The Sasi balanced the kavadi on his shoulders and then his feet were anointed with turmeric and kumkum. Camphor was lit before him and incense sticks were lit. Then everyone headed back home - urgeing him to call along 'harohara' ... The irrepressible Sasi was stragely silent and mutterred this inaudibly thro' repeatedly told to shout out the name. Finally his atha told him he abuses everyone so much, that good words dont come out of his mouth easily !

After reaching home, it was time for them to eat. Eashwaramma went from home to home to ask people to come over for the feast - which included vadai and payasam. When she came home I said Ihad eaten, but she insisted and took Turiya along ...

Then it was time for them to leave for the temple, and we were called out for. Sasi was again anointed with the namam stick on his arms and chest and feet, and given the kavadi to hold on his shoulders. The baskets had dates, betel leaf, betel nut, bananas, a lump of sacred ash and some money now. Others also put some money into the basket as it is considered auspicious to do so. Eashwaramma broke down, thinking of her dead son, but Varalu said, 'Pedamma, dont cry', and she wiped her eyes. Sasi then wore his new set of clothes. And they set out to the temple. As he left the house, Varalu's kids were laid flat on the ground and he walked over them. It is considered auspicious to go thus. Varalu told Turiya also to lie flat, but she did not !
It is auspicious to spend the night at the temple, but Eashwaramma and Sasi were to return at night itself, as the next day was also Kavadi. Kalpana's son had to take kavadi and the same kavadi was needed again. So Kalpana and Venkatayya and their son Mani left late at night after they returned.

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