One of the joys of middle age is letting go. Of so much baggage, fixed notions, of an image one oneself. and being open to new experiences, ideas and new ways of doing things. Not that one is completely transformed but it seems delightful when little events show up different ways of thought. And wackiness amuses instead of being disturbing.
This morning my husband was content to usher in the New Year with just a lighting of the lamp. It all felt very light and nice to let go of rituals which usually brought a great deal of tension when they had to be done before he left for the hospital. I had cooked a few special dishes and we were happy to enjoy the eating .Before I used to think we were doing it all to maintain some sort of continuity for the children. Now who was I kidding?
But the evening found me participating in the ‘ther’ of the Mariamman temple. This is huge event for the whole district and the town is absolutely crowded, roads are blocked street vendors are out, noise levels are high and it lasts for 24 hours. All good enough reasons for me to avoid it altogether.
City living, parents who believed in ‘rational thinking’; convent education which wasn’t countered by a strong religious base as in many Indian households, I’ve never been a temple goer. Associated rituals like the ‘ther’ never figured as important to me.
Today strange chance, found me part of the queue waiting to throw salt on Mariamma to say ‘ here I am , bless me’. And the crowds, the noise the colorful displays on the street side shops all seemed so wonderful.
I wished I had a camera to capture it all. But then a camera separates you so much from what is going on. You become a spectactor; so I was glad I was there more to enjoy it all with myself than to record it.
My friend and I looked keenly at every display of bright articles. We wanted to buy something but what? She wanted a kaleidoscope. I wanted a watch from the man who could make it out of pink striped candy on a stick. I never could buy this when I was young because it was forbidden and I was the ‘good girl.’ ‘ How much of life gets wasted because one is trying to be good’ she said with regret. You can’t go back and things pass you by.
Yesterday I went to buy fish for the small new pond . Last week, the man there had said, he would be getting some great fish which was better suited for the outdoors. Yday he said ,' oh new pond, you have to first try it with some dam fish and then if they survive, you graduate the pond to a more delicate species. I didn’t curse him for not saying all this on my last visit which I would have done some time ago when I lived my life in a series of things to do. Now I have more leisure and the spirit to appreciate him saying that all the fish needed to eat is lots of ‘dirtys’.
And time to check on the fish often.