“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it,not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your owncommon sense” – The Buddha
My reference point on compulsions to follow anything in general,traditions in particular, is as above. Having said this, my keeping Golu for the first time last year, came upon as a surprise to some. My objective was simply to pass on the joy I experienced when I was a kid, to my children too.
My childhood memories are from an apartment complex which hosted a good amount of houses with folks who kept golu, including mine. Preparations used to start in full swing a week before and my dad used to bring down those heavy wooden boxes from the lofts. It was the sort of treasure chest kinds. Precious they were, in a way, as dolls were inherited and passed on from generations to generations. Come golu, it was all about getting dressed up in traditional paavadachattai, carrying that little box of kumkum and a door to door invitation “enga aathula golu vechiruka,vethala paaku vaangika vaango” (please come home for golu).
It was a pleasurable exercise then, sizing up the golus from kids view point of view, almost an impromptu “very nice” or “wow” after a two minute glance, checking the ‘whats new’ dolls of the year and grading the top golu houses – which invariably used to be A1 paati or A15Maami, who had maximum number of steps and all rare inheritance dolls from their yester years. Then again, those which had big parks and maximum mud, clay and fancy objects got huge brownie points.
That was one time of the year when we wouldn’t hesitate to knock door to door. Along with the fun element, came a silly kiddish greed for…..sundal & goodies, which would either be fancy accessories or the never out of fashion plastic dabbas. But to claim the delightful sundals with the usual vethla paaku seepu kannadi hampers (betelleaves, comb & mirror) , we had to cater to a traditional request of singing songs . When you hound in groups, like we did, for sure there would be voices of nightingales, capable of honouring such demands and the likes of me, usually got away under their hide.
Incidentally, our gang was a good mix of girls and boys. However since this was more of a girls thingy, it required strategic planning. So we worked hand in glove. We would in advance tell the boys, the houses we are going to…and they would follow us to the same houses, a few minutes later, asking if we came there ‘by any chance?’. Children were children no matter what and the benevolent maamis would give the boys sundal packs sans the vethala paaku.
Now sundal had a very special significance in the whole scheme of things. That is because all of us would call it a day by 8 – 8.30 pm and assemble on top of a motor room with the collections for the day. Every variety would be pooled in and distributed. We, the children, would share, gossip and finish all of it and get back home, looking forward to covering the next set of homes, in the following days.
Those were days….hmmmm….yes those were !