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Moon Boon Lord & Kozhukattai

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: MOON, BOON, LORD & KOZHUKATTAI:hello:
    Triggers for this snippet - from most recent posts - (1) FULL MOON by @Anusowmyan (2) CONVERSATION with Lord I II III & IV by @vishwamitra.Thanks to authors. My thanks also due to the post pandigainal by @peartree for the inspiration.
    ***************************

    When wherewithal painfully limited, my mom met MIT director and told him that it would be difficult to arrange payment of my tuition fees for following quarter by due date and sought permission to extend grace period for payment of tuition fees.


    While acceding to the request as a special case, the director informed that I should apply for merit cum means scholarship; and based on first semester performance, award of scholarship would be decided and therefore I should try to excel in First Semester in all papers.


    The word “merit” triggered mom’s thoughts; then often closing her eyes, she mentioned merits of observing SANGHATA HARA CHADURTHI vrat (SHCV).

    She was narrating how she had been observing it in the past and the solutions and success she derived from it. She said that on the SHC day, one would go on fast, keeping the mind focused, listen to songs in praise of the Lord and visit nearby Vinayakar temple to imbibe good vibrations.


    My mom used to consult snake-almanac to observe this vradh, keeping in view the time of moon raise for the next six successive occasions when monthly Chaturthi thithi falls on lunar waning period - also Called Krishna paksha. The vradh to commence at sun raise and conclude with sighting of the crescent moonon its raise. She also said that if the day happens to be Tuesday, it is still more special. I heard from my mom, there are two schools of thought one - Strict No - for sighting the crescent and another - to sight the crescent.


    According to some, once during late evening, When Vinayakar had sumptuous modakh was ambling toward His shelter, He tumbled and his devotees’ offerings that He was carrying fell on the way side.

    Seeing His Plight in getting up from the ground & running helter-skelter to gather fallen sweets, the moon laughed at Him in instalments. An enraged Vinayakar, cursed him instantly that henceforth moon would not be visible in full to others.


    Moon cried and apologised and requested to waive the curse. But The Lord said an emphatic no. Moon beseeched for at least some reduction in the curse. Lord then told that he could only revise the curse so that henceforth moon every month would be visible partially for some days and not visible at all for a day and fully visible once in a month.


    This could be the reason for some sighting the moon during the SHCV is to be avoided.My mother belong to the other school and she said sighting crescent as it raises at the concluding stage of vradh would be auspicious.

    Before start of a semester exam, my mom chose a day for me to start observing this Vradh.


    It was August, 26th 1964, Wednesday - moon raise @ 21:08 sankashti Chaturthi. (Vinayak Chathurthi falls on fourth day from ammavasya during suklapasha - waxing period of moon)


    I had my cuppa in the morning, followed by routine chores and rituals. I began my fast, forbidding all solid-liquid-foods and fruits too. I rode on bicycle to college wearing dhothi - divided between legs with my forehead gleaming with bright thin parallel stripes of sacred ash. I attended lectures till 5.


    Dusk was settling in. The special and favourite offerings to lord Vinayakar were under various stages of preparation. I queried my mother why KOZHUKATTAI (KK ) was offered as Lord’s favourite. With its lengthy and labour intensive steps, I suggested her to do away with it.


    But keeping in view my impending exams, she said with eyes often closed, the symbolic importance of the Lord’s favourite KK.


    கொழுக்கட்டையின்கூர்மையானமுன்பகுதி, விநாயகர்கூரியபுத்தியைஅருள்வார்என்பதைத்தெரிவிக்கிறது. கொழுக்கட்டையின்வெள்ளைநிறவெளிப்பகுதி, எல்லோருக்கும்தெளிவானஉள்ளம்தருவார்என்பதைத்தெரிவிக்கிறது. கொழுக்கட்டையின்உட்புறத்தில்இனிப்பானபகுதியோ, கணபதிஎப்போதும்இனியஅருள்வழங்குவார்என்பதைச்சொல்லாமல்சொல்கிறது.(The pointed apex of Kk denotes that Lord induces sharpness of intellect, semi-white case symbolises the Lord would offer clarity of thoughts & sweet stuff encased in Kk denotes nectarof blessings). Besides telling me that that crescent moo to be sighted in evening, she mentioned the importance of possessing sharp intellect to triumph over difficulties .


    The poornam was tepid hot and my sister and mom were keeping the delicate semi-white cases ready on cut tiny banana leaf; and squatting by their side, I too lent a helping hand - stuffed those white thin cases each with poornam of marble size.


    The fragrance of 3-4 varieties of garlands on framed pictures of Vinayakar-Saraswathi-Lakshmi, a bunch of burning agarbhathis, aroma of being steamed kozhukattai in slow heat on charcoal fire, redolence of boiling milk and the medium size vada being deep fried in shallow pan - all these though disturbed me a bit, yet my focus on the lord remained unwavering.


    The Pooja and neivedhyam completed.


    Awaiting the crescent moon to sight and conclude fast, I looked up surveying the sky East to West from street level. It was all murky hazy. Every now and then, my mom and sister peeped outside to find the moon. In this process, few hours gone by.


    From middle of the staircase leading to the terrace, my sister at the top of her lungs uttered my name repeatedly told in Tamil “theriyaradhu- theriyaradhu” (visible -visible). According to mom’s almanac that was the moment crescent ought to have been spotted.


    I darted toward staircase, climbed two steps at a time and reached terrace looking upwards. But alas- it was the moment a huge group of vast huge twisted bundle-like gray cloud, several miles long moved in snail’s pace that completely blocked my view. As I’ll luck would have it, it was followed by wide set of clouds which stood-still for a long time.


    I told mom and sister that they better go to bed and I would return to terrace little later to carry out rest of the chores. Reluctantly they went to bed.


    It was past 11 o’clock. I was in dilemma. The moon had risen already. I can possibly look at risen moon only. In that event, would Lord grant me palan (boon) in full or proportionately!


    I finished with studying a particular chapter in TIMO SHENCO’s theory of elasticity & strength of materials. Packed up and slowly climbed the stairs.


    Half-way up the stairs, some whispers, sweet-nothings, blandishments, I heard - stopped me on track. It began drizzling though unusual for the season and I bewildered began back tracking.


    It was the moment, I remembered the other tenant - a couple - living adjacent to our portion, but divided by a common wall were issueless over a decade, were reportedly guided by an astrologer that they should unite under crescent moon-light to beget a heir.


    Next SHC moon crescent raise 8:02 p.m IST @ co-ordinates 13.05 & 80.18 on 28th September 2018.
     
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    @Thyagarajan Sir,

    It is said, faith moves mountains. I too did this vratam for many years in the past.

    Finally, could you break the fast that day/night?
     
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  3. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Enjoyed the write up on the upto the point of celebration with you mother and sister making the modakams.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  4. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Modakams have so many stories to share behind.In 1963 we were living in ondu kudiththanam in mylapore.No drainage.Only septic tank system.Kitchen and bath room water left into open space and used to water some plants.There were some 25 to 30 families. A mami while taking bath found out that one of her diamond rings was missing from her right ear.She searched everywhere in the house in vain.At last a thorough search was made in the open drain. After three hrs' search, the small jewel was found among the muddy slush half foot deep by the side of a tree root. Even while searching, the mami vowed to make 1,00,008 mothaks to the vinayakar at the street corner.Now jewel having been traced she had to fulfill the vow. How to make 1,00,008 kozhakattai on a single days.?many mamis joined the meeting. Normally from a big ripe coconut we could make 100 mothaks. we needed nearly 1000 coconuts. They had to be broken, scrapped and made into pooranam.All the women in the street participated and started scrapping while gossiping about love marriages. elopments, girl seeing, marriage stopped and so on.One male cook helped to prepare the dough at 3 A. M. The dough was distributed between 80 houses,with necessary poornam.Each house wife prepared around 1200 mothaks as though it is their prarthana.At about 4P. M. Prasadam got ready. All the 80 families carried mothaks prepared in big vessels to the temple. Prasadam was distributed among the devotees.All the children in all houses had stomach full of mothaks to the full satisfaction.They had to empty the vessel the same day, as there was no fridge. Around 10 mamis felt severe back pain, some three had nausea, some experienced shoulder pain due to excessive strain on scrapping coconuts.All the mamas became wild and commented on the foolish vow taken by the lady who incurred the displeasure of one and all. Just to please her many women had to face the wrath from homefront.Some relationship was cut off. Total expenses were three times the cost of the jewel.
    Prartahana should be backed by common sense.

    Jayasala 42
     
  5. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    Now a day's many follow this vrath. Awesome post which made me feel I was there.

    My grandmother had prayed to Lord Ganeshji that she will make 1008 kozhakattai for my sister's marriage to be successful. Before my marriage she died of cancer and told me I won't be there but my asirwadam to you. With her blessings I got a gem of a person from her place
     
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  6. Adharv

    Adharv Gold IL'ite

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    Wow as always lively and lovely write up, Sir :worship2: what a memory :thumbup: writing your experience as if this happened recently...Awestruck :clap2::clap2: I do remember nah heard a story about full moon and new moon day and how ganesha is connected to it....sadly I don't remember much of it :facepalm::facepalm: enjoyed reading and thank you for this information abt Kk. It was cute know about ur role, sir :lol::lol: loved it. :thumbsup:

    Good night.
     
  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri Thyagarajan:

    Your Vrada reminded me of Dr. Abdul Kalam's struggle in MIT to find money to go and see his sister in Rameswaram and he ended up giving his book as a security to get some money in the Moore Market. He passionately remembered the shop owner carefully returning the book to him later.

    I am glad to know that I am one of the three writers who motivated you to write this snippet. If I am going to get this kind of a feast, I wouldn't mind writing more of such snippets. Like I said in my snippet, Ganesha's fulfillment of wishes is directly proportional to how motivated each person is to get something done (Sankalpa). A young man attending classes, making Kozhakattai and still waiting to see the Moon before eating, etc. are great level of devotion and I am sure you found the way to the fee to MIT.

    This reminded me of how my brother got admitted into MIT. My father was very nervous about the merit-based admission and how my brother would qualify with so many competing to get a seat. My father being a very humble man walked in addressed the Principal with great respect. After initial verification of grades, the Principal casually asked what my father does. Folding his hands, he carefully answered "I am an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer qualified from College of Engineering, Guindy". The principal and my father exchanged batch information as he was also qualified from the same college. Then the Principal politely asked, "Did you study when Sitaraman was the principal?" My father politely responded, "Yes. He was my father and I stayed in Guindy campus principal quarters during my college education". They figured out they were batch-mates and my brother was given admission immediately despite my father vehemently telling him that my brother be admitted only if he meets the criteria. The principal proudly said, "You are proving that you are Principal Sitaraman's son. I know your father would never ask any favor from anyone".

    Incidentally, my father was a big worshiper of Lord Ganesha too.

    Viswa
     
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  8. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    T Sir, your narration kept me glued until the very end but you left us on a cliff hanger. What happened to the moon sighting? Did you or didn't you? Did the vrat work? And finally which school of thought bore fruit for you - the crescent sighting one or the crescent avoiding one?
     
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  9. Amulet

    Amulet Platinum IL'ite

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    Nice modhakam story:clapclap:. Enjoyed it very much. I bet some maamis asked why a vairathodu wearing maami has to live in a ondukudiththanam :confundio1: housing. I thought about the size of the modhakams. Did they go down from a normal size to a miniature size ... like a wedding sambar for the 4th lunch seating would get more and more dilute, or doctored up with flour/spices to make up for the loss of thickness (viscosity) ?
     
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  10. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    I too had similar doubts.Diamond ear ring was a hereditory jewel,not purchased by them. Evidently that had no connection with their monthly earnings with which they could get along in ondu kudiththanam only.Further in those days they viewed everything in the security angle and community angle only.,not bothering much about comfortable living.

    Jayasala 42
     
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