My watch shows 3:57:03. I should be in the study anxiously poring over my presentation one last time. Instead, butterflies in my stomach I watch through the window as the school bus rolls past our home. Just as I am to turn and walk away, I notice my Amma looking diminutive from the other side of the window walk slowly towards the bus stop. She holds a tiny pink shopkins umbrella. I wait until I see the kids get off the bus, run towards Paati and the four of them make their way home. My stomach feels settled and a strange lightness of being pervades me. There is joy in everyday things. Grandmas and granddaughters, moms and daughters, the bond stretches and envelops generations. I am lucky. And blessed.

The doorbell rings. A tiny little girl is on the other side. She is our neighbor and Laddu’s new classmate. I ask her in and find out she is here for a playdate the two orchestrated themselves. Ammu and Pattu promise to keep an eye on her while I get Laddu out of the shower and dressed. I walk upstairs and hear Pattu’s voice clearly explaining our bommai golu to the wide-eyed little child.

“Gods on the top shelf, demigods below and humans at the bottom…”

I don’t really think much when I share anecdotes or things from memory. Pattu’s recitation is strangely uplifting in the way unexpected rewards are.

The twins are hard at work at the dining table. It is just before dinner. They are working on the cover art for the school yearbook. They have a theme. There are rules. They work in silence, with a focus that makes me stop and stare. I set out the plates and call them for dinner. One listens, the other is still bent over her sheet of paper. I want to scoop her up and hug her. Instead, I patiently wait for her to join us. Later, in the study, I scan their art pieces into pdfs. I love both. Yet, when I file them into my folder, I say a prayer. I really wish she wins. Some people deserve recognition for it can make the difference between despondency and hope.

It is Navarathri. A time for reflecting on Shakthi, the feminine essence of the Universe. It is also a time to bring out dolls, old and new. It is one time in a year when I have friends and family over. I make some food, I order some. I linger over assembling goodie bags. I fuss with the fairy lights. Most of all, I love dressing my children up. Pattu paavadais, jimmikis, golusu, pottu, they change children into ethereal beings. One child sits by the window watching cars roll up and people walk to the door. Another ushers them in. Yet another runs up and downstairs with children who are visiting us. The house is loud, joyous and happy. When the guests leave, Ammu diligently hands out thamboolam when I am away talking to others. My heart is full.

2 thoughts on “Vignettes

  1. I hope their work gets picked. Know what you mean on that every bit – for some, this can be that one thing that makes all the difference. Fingers crossed.

    Pictures of the golu, please!

  2. Thank you for the Golu explanation Pattu, that was simple and to the point. We don’t have that tradition (anymore) at our place and I merely see at the golu pictures not knowing what the arrangement signifies.

    Lakshmi, it is a joy reading about the kids response to their grandmas sight. I had my in laws here last year when my little one started going to nursery and even to the absolutely ‘no comments’ type grandpa, the little one held hand, jumped, skipped her way back to the flat. An amusing sight of joy that.

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