Monday, April 16, 2007

My first Vishu

Saturday, 14th April marked the new year for Nepalese (Naya Barsha - Bikram Sambat 2064), Malayalis (Vishu), Punjabis (Vaishakhi), Tamils (Puthandu), Bengalis (Naba Barsha) and Assamese (Bihu).
I don't remember us doing anything special for the Nepali New Year, but Malayalis all over the world celebrate Vishu in a very special way, regardless of what religion they belong to.

A special arrangement of offerings called the Vishu Kani is set up. This arrangement consists of raw rice, betel leaves (paan leaves), betel nut (supari), silk, fruits like banana, golden cucumber, coconuts, a metal mirror called Aranmula kannadi, yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), diyas and coins and gold jewelry denoting signs of prosperity. The Vishu Kani is set up the night before Vishu, usually by the mother of the house. On Vishu, before sunrise, the mother wakes up the members of the house, one by one, and takes them to the puja room with their eyes closed so that the first thing that they see in the beginning of the new year is the Vishu Kani. It is believed that the fortunes of the year depend on the objects one sees first on Vishu.

V often reminisces about the days back home when they used to celebrate Vishu and how his mom used to wake him up early in the morning, close his eyes and take him to the Vishu Kani and how beautiful the kani used to look with the golden colors from the fruits and flowers and the jewelry enhanced by the luminous light from the diyas and reflected on the mirror.

So, hoping to make this special for him, I decided to set up the kani myself and give him and my friend SR (who also celebrates Vishu) a nice surprise. Unfortunately, there was no way I could buy those stuff without SR knowing, so I had to let him know of my plan. It proved well that I told him, because he gave me guidance on how to set it up properly. So Friday evening we bought the required items before V arrival from Stamford. However, it seems this year, even though the new year fell on the 14th, Vishu was to be celebrated on 15th. So Saturday night, after V went off to sleep, me and SR set up the kani. We didn't have the traditional items like the brass vessel uruli, so we made use of a steel one. Neither did we have a metal mirror, so we replaced it with a regular mirror. Same way we replaced the special yellow konna flower with some other yellow flower we got from the farmer's market. Unfortunately, we didn't get to buy bananas, so we managed with guavas and mangoes. To make up for the lack of other things, we had lots of diyas.

The next day I set up the alarm for 5:00 am. When the alarm set off, I almost dozed back to sleep after switching it off. Luckily I just remembered why I had set the alarm in the first place, and so I got up. I then lit up the diyas. Unfortunately, one of the candle diyas we had got from the desi store made quite a flame and the newspaper under it caught fire. I hurriedly blew it off but not before the carpet got singed :(. I then woke up V, closed his eyes and took him to the kani. My, was he surprised !!! :) He was so happy!! We then woke up SR and did the same. We took a few pics and after a while headed back to sleep since we all had just about 2 hrs of sleep.

Here are some of the pics from our Vishu Kani

Our humble Vishu Kani

Wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

क्या बात है!

आप लोग सोच रहे होंगे कि मैं अचानक हिंदी में कैसे ब्लोग करने लगी।
एक तोह मेरी हिंदी इतनी अच्छी नही है, ऊपर से हिंदी में टाईप करना मेरे लिए तोह almost नामुमकिन है!

But guess again! I typed the above in ENGLISH and Blogger automatically transliterated it to हिंदी script! How cool is that?! I don't even need to know my spellings :)

Read more about this great new feature here.

I should now be able to type in Nepali as well. Lemme try -
म त अब नेपाली मा पनि ब्लोग गर्न सक्छू !! यिप्पी!! :D

- कलर्स