Thursday, September 06, 2007

4 September 2007: Happy Birthday Krishna!

When I got back to the house from dance class this afternoon, full preparation for Krishna Jayanti was underway. I realized that this is like the Thanksgiving-Christmas season in the west, with one festival coming after another. And indeed the altar looked a little like a Christmas tree, complete with blinking colored lights. Gowri Ganesha (on my birthday this year) is evidently the big one for South India. Dr. Srivalli said that normally she wouldn’t make such a big deal for Krishna Jayanti, but her daughter and grandson Arnava will be gone by Gowri Ganesha (which she does celebrate in a big way), and Arnava wanted to do something, thus the big to-do. I helped Arnava stuff the Prasad bags with different snacks. People came over between 6:30 and 10, and the proceedings were similar to the Lakshmi festival I attended my first night in Mysore. Arnava dressed up as Krishna, which was very cute, but then he had a temper tantrum and tore off his costume. He begrudgingly allowed it to be put back on a little while later when more people came over, but then took it off again. I was able to get a few pictures of our little “angry Krishna.”

Lots of people came over, both relatives and friends. I finally found out why people introduce relatives as “my husband’s brother’s wife” or “my mother’s sister’s eldest daughter.” It’s because in Kannada, there are words that are that specific. So that while in English, my mother’s younger brother and my father’s younger brother, and my father’s sister’s husband are all “uncle,” they are soderamawa, chickappa, and mawa respectively in Kannada. And if my father had an older brother, he would be dodappa. I need a chart to keep it all straight!

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