Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Griha Pravesh: Alls Well…

Okay, now that the ‘pooja’ for the new house is done and over with, I can fill you in on all the (gory?!?) details. So here goes…

The date for the ‘griha pravesh’ was 14Aug08. Not just a random date that suited our fancies (and happened to be convenient). It was a date that was chosen after much deliberation, with due consultations with the priests and the Hindu ‘panjika’ or date chronicle. Brownie points to the family elders for all their contributions. (I hope none of them ever come visiting here, and discover the tongue firmly in cheek!!)

The previous day (13Aug08), when we were running around wrapping up stuff for most part, had already given us an inkling that the rain gods were choosing to participate in this one. As I broke off some leaves from a mango tree for the ‘pooja’ I was soaked completely. ….and bitten on the little finger of my left hand by one of these beauties. Ewww! The pain was awful and lasted right till the D-day.

So the massive traffic jam that started the day shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Result: the hosts reached the venue late!

Imagine our embarrassment…. I had to beg a cousin who stays a couple of blocks away from the new house to chip in and follow up with the caterer. Anyhow, we rushed through the decorations and the ‘alpona’.

An ‘alpona’ is a floor design traditionally created with rice flour soaked overnight in water. It is considered auspicious to decorate the house with these designs during rituals and special occasions. The pictures here show the designs I created at the main entrance…

and the ‘pooja’ location (the east wall of our living room, to be precise).

We put up a string of mango leaves and marigold garlands on the main door, again a propitious sign as per Hindu customs.

Finally when the priest decided to get started, the heavens decided to open up, and how! This one day the rain gods decided not to close any of their doors. So water came pouring down in sheets and buckets, and while we blew conch shells to purify the environs the rainwater created mud pools right outside the gate. Heavenly!

That image shows the priest hard at work, trying to appease the gods on our behalf. :)

By early evening, the ritual and the feasting was through. There was enough chaos with all the guests milling around, the kids creating a general racket, and the rain getting everyone sloshed.

P.S.: To add to our embarrassment, one of the guest cars managed to get rainwater up its engine as it navigated its way back through water-filled roads. The poor folks had to sit around twiddling their thumbs for a good two hours before the engine decided to rev up again….

P.P.S.: Me and the hubby had a safe night in the new abode, feeling cozy and secure from the rain as we sipped tea indoors. And later went to the terrace to check out a pretty sunset. :)

So, the moral of the story – Alls well that ends well.

Phew! long story that.... now lets hear it from you all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak preview of the house that is consuming so much of my thoughts, time and energies these days. To start with, this is a picture of the living room, or the drawing-cum-dining area.
To me, this space presents a design challenge for there are quite a few things that seem not-so-right with it:
* For one, there is a huge, long wall that needs to be visually divided between the living and dining areas.
* The main door is a tad too wide and takes up a lot of floor space when left open, even partially.
* Using conventional furniture placement (sofas, chairs and centre table on one side, and the dining table and chairs on the other) might just compromise with the visual flow by creating obstructions.

What a start when you don’t know how to deal with the first room of the house!

Then this is the master bedroom, the one part of the house that I am pretty happy with till now.

All its dimensions seem just right- so I hope to have our bed, a small area with my computer (that doubles up as a home office, if required), and some reading area where I can curl up with some good books.

Here’s a view of the fabrication work we got done in one of the balconies. I can already visualize how it would look after a paint job and some decent planters spruce it up.

I would have loved to show you the kitchen and the kids’ bedroom as well. But the kitchen is a mess as I am stocking up stuff for the ‘pooja’ later this week. And the kids’ room would look infinitely better when it has some furniture in it.

So finally, in preparation of the ‘big day’ that happens later this week, here is a picture of some baked clay pots that I painted for the ritual. What do you think of these?

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