Preparations for Varalakshmi Pooja (post for my friends and family abroad)

August 3, 2006


I love festival time…though I am not a great believer in rituals…I do enjoy just visiting the market and watching all the bustle!

For the first time, I was confident enough to take KM’s camera along when I went to buy flowers and fruits for tomorrow, which is Varalakshmi (Goddess of Wealth who bestows Boons) Pooja….

First, the fruit....those are small yellow plantains called "Yelakki Balehannu" in Kannada, small, delicious (not!) fruits... you can see the customers haggling for the price...."Why is it SO expensive?!" <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0185 fruit seller, jayanagar 9th block" src="" width=500> that green sloping structure at the right-centre of the photo  is actually a bus shelter! Behind it is Jayanagar 9th block Post Office... Then the flowers..... <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0186 Lotus buds for sale, varalakshmi puja" src="" width=500> Those are lotus buds the guy is selling; next to him are banana stems with their leaves. The couple in the RHS of the photograph were arguing with each other. Guess who didn't want to buy the lotus buds! <IMG height=500 alt="IMG_0187 lily seller, jayanagar 9th block" src="" width=333> I don't know what these are called in Kannada, in Tamizh they are called Alli Poo (Poo= flower). Notice the container! In front is a bag full of betel leaves which we chew after dinner as a digestive, and is used in the pooja too as an offering to the Goddess. Behind the man is a push-cart that vends chaat varieties... a kind of YUMMMM fast food that I cannot least, not here! The general crowdedness: <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0184 haggling, jayanagar 9th block" src="" width=500> Sorry...I somehow never noticed that helmet in the forefront! Look beyond it to the seller and the buyers..."Madam, I can't give it to you at that price. You want it cheap, you come back day after tomorrow when the Pooja is over..."  Yes, indeed the 9th block market was SO crowded today...I think we LOVE chaos, it adds to the festive feeling in some irrational way! Those are various flowers like small roses, jasmine, and oleander, and herbs like basil which are sacred...and do notice the lovely colour of the green saree and its texture. Then the leaves.... <IMG height=333 alt="IMG_0183 Banana trees and mango leaves to decorate" src="" width=500> We put up bunches of mango leaves at the entrance to our homes, and also decorate the Pooja Mantap (enclosure in which we seat the Goddess) with banana stems with their leaves.  There is one of the three-wheeled carts on which vendors trundle vegetables, fruits and flowers to the market. An ever-present "auto" (that yellow-topped three-wheeled transport, VERY popular in Bangalore) completes the picture...notice that one shopkeeper has still to open his shutters...probably napping still! All these were taken at about 4.30 pm, when the evening market begins in full swing. We also have the concept of "boni"...that is,  the superstition that if the first sale is made at an advantageous price to the seller, he will do good business thereafter. So we housewives keep trying to either avoid the boni sale, or tell the vendor that we are going to be lucky for him or her(what shameless boasting!) and that he should lessen the price a little for us! .... that's an Indian almond tree in the picture.