Jatre, The Village Fair
Jatre, The Village Fair7 mins 1.0K 7 mins 1.0K
It has been a long wait since Spoorthi came to Thatha's house for vacation, now finally the day arrived. It was the day of the Jatre, Village fair..
Pretty early in the morning Spoorthi's Amma came from the city. Along with her came Spoorthi's uncle who worked in a factory in the city. Spoorthi was elated to see them, she hugged and kissed her mother. As they settled down on a Cup of coffee, her uncle asked Spoorthi to bring the his suitcase. She immediately knew it was a gift her uncle has got. She opened the suitcase and looked around, there a brown bag which she opened .. it's was a silk Langa Blouse, A dark green blouse with zari and Red bottom langa with a broad golden border zari.. Spoorthi jumped with joy, she took that and showed it to her Ajji, thatha, Murali and her friends playing outside, she wanted to wear it immediately but Amma warned that she has to wait until evening when the fair starts.. !!!
The entire village was busy, the ladies has cleaned the front of the house, neatly wiped the floor with cow dung mixture and drawn elaborate rangoli on them, some houses had the traditional design and few went on to experiment with design of peacocks, a mini village drawing and messages to welcome everyone for the fair.. the streets were decorated with Toran of Mango leaves, Bale kandu- the banana stems and flowers everywhere. The entire village had It's festive look.
Spoorthi and friends were playing hopscotch outside as her mother called out. It was time to get ready for the bath. Amma sat on verandah juguli platform outside the house and made her sit on the floor. She took a handful of luke warm castor oil and poured over Spoorthi's head and gently massaged her head, it's a heavenly feeling when mother does this, Spoorthi would go to sleep in the process .. After her it was uncle's turn. Spoorthi joined her mother and applied the oil to her uncle rubbed and massaged his body, this was fun.. She helped Amma to put the wood to the fireplace to boil the water on huge drum.. Once the water was hot .. Amma gave her the headbath which put her into sleep soon after !!!
While Spoorthi was asleep, her Ajji and mother were preparing for the god's offering to be presented to temple in the evening. They prepared a special sweet made of Peanut and jaggery, six cone shaped towers were made from the mixture. They also made Bellada Deepa, cotton wickers dipped in pure cow ghee and placed inside the jaggery cubes. These were believed to be favourite for the village deity.
It's was about 4 pm when Spoorthi woke up suddenly to realise she would be late for the fair. She washed her face and wore the langa blouse and decked up wearing the cute little ear hanging, red bindi on forehead, eyes lined with shiny black home made kadige and jasmine flowers tied to her hair. She looked adorable, Ajji put her a small black dot on the cheek which ward off the evil eyes from her. Murali her friend popped into the house, he noticed something was still missing ... Yes it was the turn for bangles.
Spoorthi's uncle asked Murali and Spoorthi to join him to the fair and she can buy bangles there. Both ran out with him. They went around different shops that were setup around the temple, various kinds of sweets, toys, snacks were on sale. Few stalls were setup with games, shooting the balloons, Ring the bucket, Fishing etc., They first went to stall which had a bunch of balloons stuck at end, the shop keeper held a gun with pellets. They paid 10 rupees for a turn, Murali went first he aimed with all concentration and took a shot pop went a balloon and got a toffee as the prize. Spoorthi went next, the gun was long and heavy, uncle helped her hold it on shoulder and she pulled the trigger, she lost her balance and fell back, pop went another balloon and to their surprise she got a doll as the prize. They went further from the shop all happy, Spoorthi turned back and saw a man standing behind the screen where balloons were placed and he was poking the balloons with a pin when someone took a shot, they all had hearty laugh seeing this. They went to the far edge of temple and there was an old man in dhothi and white headwrap seated on the floor with a bunch of ladies and girls surrounding him. He was the Balegara, the Bangle man. The place was filled with sound of jingling bangles all trying out different colours and sizes of bangles. Spoorthi made her way inside by slowly crawling between the elders. She spread her tiny hands in front of the man, he saw her beautiful silk dress and pulled out a combination of red and green glass bangles glittering with golden stripes in between. Balegara looked up and saw her uncle, he instantly recognised him as head man's son. He told Spoorthi that his mother also used to come to him for bangles ever since she was of Spoorthi's age.
They went around the temple for sometime ate some hot Jalebi and other snacks. Uncle reminded them that they should head back home as the fair procession started from their house as head brahmin of the village. Folks came with drums and dholkas, kids following them dancing to the beats that went in a rythmic fashion. They arrived at Thatha's house. Ajji offered the men in drums some rice, jaggery and fruits. This was a way to thank them and also start the procession. Thatha performed puja to their god and signalled towards Ajji. Spoorthi's mother lit the Bellada Deepa, lamps and carried them along with the cone shaped towers holding them on top of her head. As they walked through the streets of the village more families joined a the ladies carrying the offerings on their heads. This lit the streets brightly. The kids thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the drums and led the procession from the front. Spoorthi held on to Ajji as they walked to the temple. Once they reached, Thatha moved to the front he welcomed the State Minister of culture and also the local MLA as the cheif guest for the fair. He was given the honour to perform puja to the deity first. The deity was decorated with a bright and fresh tumeric paste across the idol. The priest had also put a nice red silk saree for the deity, several colourful flowers were hung across the temple surrounding. After the MLA completed the puja, it was turn for Spoorthi's family as the head brahmin of the village, the Bellada Deepa was used to perform aarthi to the goddess. As prasad one of the peanut jaggery cone was given back to Spoorthi. Several families followed the same routine. There were lot of visitors from outside the village. People offered rice, jaggery, pulses, fruits and vegetables as offering. Once the puja was done people sat around in the garden area of the temple, cultural program followed with bhajans and Keerthan in praise of the deity. Meanwhile the temple kitchen got busy preparing a feast with all the offerings they got. A heartful meals was served for the people who had gathered. By the time all of this finished it was already about midnight. As a custom at midnight the village would offer an animal sacrifice and plead for mercy and good rains for the year ahead. A buffalo was tied up and was being readied for the sacrifice. The mere thought of sacrifice sent shivers down the spine for Spoorthi's family. After the dinner they left for home. The rest of village continued dancing to the drums which was now beating even more rigorously for the sacrifice to happen. They steadily headed towards home and the sound was fading away. Once they reached home Ajji spread the beds for them to sleep. Spoorthi didn't want the day to end as next day she was to go back to city with her mother. As they laid down, Spoorthi looking at the stars recollected the fun moments she had this vacation she wanted to stay for more time but she also remembered her cute little cat Krishna who she missed as much. As she dozed away a fun filled vacation came to an end....!!!!