Friday, May 20, 2011

Lord Anantha's Abode

When they changed the name from Trivandrum to Tiruvantapuram, I don't know when they did it, but I guess it was during those swadeshi frenzy years when Calcutta became Kolkata, Madras became Chennai and so on, I actually did not like the new name. It was a kind of tongue twister. I thought it had too many h's, though now I know that you can write it without even a single h!
I still don't know what made me opt for this city for my posting, may be the fear that I might get posted to Delhi prompted me to say this tongue twister when pressed for a choice. The day I came here was the day of the swearing-in of the new CM. I feared road blocks, morchas, celebratory marches and so on. But I was within 25 minutes in the office, without getting stranded in a single traffic signal. I was thinking when was the last time it happened and in which city, that too capital of a State and on top of that on a day when a new popular CM was being sworn-in! No other precedent for this type!
A friend says Tiruvantapuram is similar to Mysore. Theres a semblance of regal quietude in both these cities. The  quiteness of both cities exude the confidence that they have in themselves and their past and their culture. I feel it borders on ethnocentricity.
Lord Anantha has a special place in our family. Every year, my parents keep the vrata and they do the puja on Ananta Chaturdashi, the preparations for which begins 5-6 days before the puja day! Its done with lot of piety. It is not like Ganesh puja done on Chaturti of Bhadrapada maasa, where you complete the puja in max 60 minutes and then eat the kadabus and participate in the street revelry and enjoy to some extent (1). Ananta Vrata is a more solemn occassion, not clearly cut out for enjoyment. By the time the lunch gets served it would be nearly 3 or 4 pm. But even then at the end of the day, theres a sense of satisfaction, of having completed something. So I am not totally unhappy to be in the place of Lord Anantha.

(1) You know, I don't get this thing about happy Ganesh festival messages. They are so silly. We do not celebrate as such during Ganesh Chatrurti, isn't it? We perform puja and then eat sumptous lunch. I mean, I can understand exchanging happy festival messages during say Deepawali or Ugadi but during Ganesh and Gowri Vrata, its so absurd!

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