MOON, BOON, LORD & KOZHUKATTAI 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.