Friday, May 6, 2011

Thangam vaangaliyo thangam...

Today is, the calendar says, Chithirai month, Thrithiyai thithi and Rohini star.

So today is “Akshaya Thrithiyai”, a fact that is being aani aduchufied into our brains by the many ads. For the past week, almost every other advertisement in TV is yelling about “May 5- 6 thedhigalil, Akshaya Thrithiyai munnitu...”. It has been going on hyper-drive, crazy mode. More so as this time we get two days of Thrithiyai instead of just one (previous evening and today morning). Kekanuma?

So even though it was Vanigar dhinam yesterday, the jewelries remained open. Of course, all the restrictions and regulations and the need to show solidarity between the vanigars are expected of only the small, corner petti kadai owners. They don’t apply to giants who bring in crores and above crores of money into the business, in just a matter of two days. Though majority of shops were closed yesterday (until 5 pm), the traffic flowing into Usman road and Pondy bazaar and Ranganathan street was heavy. In 104 degrees, with autos, buses and cars and two wheelers being blocked entrance into the area almost as far a mile away, people were said to have mochufied the jewelries. There was ‘no place for the shadow to fall on the ground’ in the ‘Times Square of Chennai’

A celebration, no, more of an observation that existed in the most orthodox of households has suddenly become a craze.

I don’t remember celebrating this day. Until 4-5 years back I didn’t even know that such a thing existed, though it isn’t much to boast. During the summer holidays, even if manga or naarthanga pachidhi or semiya payasam were served, it was treated in the same way as rasam and was gobbled down before rushing off to the interrupted games. So I don’t know or rather don’t remember if “Akshaya Thrithiyai” was observed in my household during my childhood in any which way.

Even our family’s personal Wikipedia, my Gramma feels says so. She explains that it is a vazhi vandha pazhakam to serve God and offer ‘cooling’ foods in kathiri veyil time. Not restricted to just this day, that during the Agni nakchatram, it’s good karma and good sense to have neer pandhal to serve neermoor and thayir saadam to passersby. And like every other offering to man, it has to be offered to God first. A morning dip in Cauvery was considered auspicious during those times. But with the river flowing in the backyard in our Aghrahaaram that particular activity was almost routine. It being a punya kalam, chanting of slokams and fasting was done by few, and that day being an auspicious one for Vishu/ Perumal, people visited temple and drank tulasi water. That’s pretty much about it, she says.

Stories, legends and myths, are retold on Sudama-Krishna-aval-hut to palace, and about the “Akshaya pathiram”. Chithirai’s Thrithiyai was (is?) supposedly first day of Threta yuga and is noted as the day the pullaiyaar suzhi for Mahabaratam was scripted by Mr. Vyas. (I’m not sure if these legends are connected because of ‘Akshaya’ name or did these incidents happen on the chithirai-thirthiyai-rohini. Anyone to explain?)

But in this Kaliyuga all else about dhaanam and bhakthi are forgotten and it has been reduced to a day when we have to buy jewels. Gold, nothing else. Or maybe ‘Selva thirumagal Lakshmi’ in Platinum. This has been a growing trend in just these few years. Had it been a craze in my Grammy’s time itself, gold rates would have been 10000 per gram during her wedding. (Why couldn’t she or my parents have bought all the gold they could when one savaran was selling at 500 or so. I could have taken a retirement now as a Crorepathi or something above that)

Closer at home, I did not even get a paal packet today, unfortunately. And last year being the first that was celebrated in our house hold with wee Daughtie, I managed to lose her one paown gold bangle/ bracelet.

Drishti kazhinjadhu po, my dad said.

• Is this a trend elsewhere in India too? Or is Chennai being the fore-runner?

• Kaazhiyoor Narayanan says today things that are white are ugandhadhu for God and advises us to buy Platinum things. Isn’t Silver white too? With the price it is selling at isn’t it precious too?

• Like “Happy Diwali” and “Happy Star-birthday” and “Happy first-time-I-saw-you anniversary”, will we be wishing “Happy Akshaya Thrithiyai” in some years to come? “Vizhaa kaala sirappu thallupadiaga...oru gram thangam vaanguvooruku oru glass thanneer tharapadum”. I can hear ads screaming.

• Will Archie’s and Landmark cash in on the current craze and introduce cards to celebrate the auspicious occasion. A red card with a small Lakshmi figurine in white and a few grains of yellowed rice stuck on top, tied up with yellow/ golden thread and a ‘May this day bring you good wealth, health and prosperity’ quote, would sell well. After all it has cards for Holi and Rakhi and all other ‘Whassit’ days.

Now we need to wait for Chithirai month’s Thrithiyai thithi and Rohini star to fall on a Monday to take this madness to its heights. When it does gold, per gram will be selling at 5000.

Whatever man.

Let it be known, that I too was part of the generation which ballooned a concept inappropriately out of proportion.

And here’s wishing everyone a “Happy Akshaya Thrithiyai”. Li’l one, from atop the bed headboard, says, ‘Aa-lau-iu’. Now thats golden.

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