HAPPY GOLU COMEDY (Festival COMMENCES from monday 26th Sep 22 in India) HAPPY GOLU TO ALL IL’ITES. For Neighbourhood devout Hindu LADIES, impending nine days going to be hair-splitting ; as a result of exchange of visits, there could be accumulation of gifts in various shapes and sizes - some useful and some not. My mom used to have a prominent place with beautiful backdrop by her precious saree behind the make-shift gallery for marapachhis- dolls made of dark brown wood which is seldom seen now-a-days. She would make only prescribed “sundals” in the afternoons and no gifts to guests as we had limited wherewithal’s. Evevnings, I used to enjoy listening to sonorous keerthanas rendered by few invitees in their cracked and uncracked tones. Few sing in nasal tone. Many were throaty. It was all akin to blunt needle playing HMV record in a gramophone. NOW it is fashion to give away gifts to the invitees. It is a head ache to ensure received gifts not re-gifted to same person from whom it was received. My friend follow a simple trick. The moment she reaches home, to every gift she attach suitably a name tag indicating from whom gift is received. Another friend would take received gifts to shop and exchange it. Many of the gifts in plastics like comb mirror erc are a total waste. One lady announced she would come home to deliver gifts and for sure she arrived but with calendars of current year of which nine months already gone. My mom indirectly announced to the lady by telling her accompanying little girl that she has huge stock of such gifts only to be given away to little ones like her . My mom used to say, a hand measure of strung flowers given as gift would be considered far superior than other useless gifts. Next category of gifts received are invariably of framed or unframed photos of God and Goddesses & Sai Baba books. Many orthodox iyer or iyengar home, they don’t mix and keep photos other Gods and Godesses. They are very particular about keeping only idols and photos of our tutelary deities. Some devotees of Sai are under the impression that it is compulsory for them to thrust photos of their choice into the hands of their invitees which is no less than canvasing for their God. No god or Goddess is expecting disciple or devotee to canvas for Him. Next item of gifts of importance is none other than 2x2 Blouse Bits. The lady gifting this item at times even go the extent of demonstrating its quality. Some even take time to explain how good the quality is . The thing is recipients of this gift would always suspect its quality in terms of colour fastness to light and wash. Bit could even be small for slightly obese receiver. This gift is rarely converted into blouse by the receiver. At best many short-bits are used only as dining table wipe. Once during the golu season, for sake of curiosity, before gifting away brand new blouse bits, my neighbour aunty inserted between the folds a small note with her dated initials in them. She found it during next year golu, few of them returned to her as gifts! That was the moment she felt it was like “Mummy returns” or and “Karma returns”. Next, one must consider gifting fruits with Thamboolam. Instead of fruits, coconut would be more useful as a gift item.. During golu season, in all probability many fruits received and re-recived were once upon a time stored in antiquated refregirators of different homes. Mediia was abuzz with reports about such wilted & shrunken fruits were offered to a cow & lady in her final trimester found cow “lost her sombre mood” turned rebellious, dashed her face into the pregnant lady’s protuberance. The spherical turmeric and or Gopuram turmeric powder too deserves some comment here. The solid round crudely spherical or cylindrical turmeric would contain numerous tiny holes evidencing the “borer” in it. It is natural because it was gathered and stored since ages in fridge. In the Gopuram-golden coloured packet of turmeric powder too, one notice that after passage of time, it turns into charcoal-like powder. But then, it is rarely cut open during this festival time and it will go on in circuit along with betal leaves for ages! It is almost akin to WhatsApp message forwarding. Whether at the other end receiver reads or not, “I shall continue forward as if it is my pristine duty shall firward. It is more like, “Whether the other uses or not, I will continue to perform this holy duty of forwarding”. What ever be the sanctity or sacredness in the gifted turmeric and vermilion, if receiver is not using it, the giver is not going to gain any punya. Instead of giving away such gifts that are just only for recirculation among group of kins or kith, it would be wise to giving useful items such as fresh groceries or dry-fruits or even cash as gift. It would do the receiver, a world of good and the giver too might be credited with punyam! Those who invite their friends for the Golu are in next door or in next street or within one’s locality, one can easily visit them. But then, when one receives invitations over phone or WhatsApp or card sent by courier requesting to visit their GOLU on a particular day and time in far off places - it is a Tall order. Whatever be the comedy part in these festivities - still I welcome Navarathri Golu. A few men get sober up or freshened up - seeing group of ladies draped in new-factory-fresh sarees - criss crossing - is like a breath of fresh air! .