Navratri Greetings to all my readers who celebrate.
How I miss the kolu. There is something supremely satisfying about setting up the arrangement of dolls which invokes the Goddess in her many forms as the manifestation of wealth, courage, and wisdom. The large kolam at the threshold, the golden radiance of the lamps with five wicks, the smells of fresh jasmine flowers, sandalwood incense and camphor, and the chimes of silver bells that accompany the sacred chants which vibrate through the house. The kolu visits and the visitors, the songs praising the goddesses. I miss it all, feeling not so much homesick as timesick for my school days in the nineties when every festival appeared to be so much more brighter.
This year I celebrate the festival as I used to do as an undergraduate in the college hostel, with a simple sankalpa puja, offering a prasad of organic chocolates.
And this is perhaps the loveliest rendering of this chant on the goddess that I have heard, reminiscent of this quote from Salinger,“Their voices were melodious and unsentimental, almost to the point where a somewhat more denominational man than myself might, without straining, have experienced levitation.” (For Esmé — with Love and Squalor)