Monday, October 3, 2011

Navaratri Festival

I’ve been celebrating Navaratri by spending a few relaxing days at Kamakshi and Mohan’s house on the outskirts of Mysore. Kamakshi is Savithri’s sister who further continues the Vermont/India connection because her son graduated from Middlebury in 2002. She and her husband are incredibly interesting and accomplished people who have lived all over the world, but what I appreciate about them most is their overwhelming hospitality, encouragement for me to take a few breaks from Indian food for some pizza and “gooey chocolate cake”, and patience when explaining the rules of cricket.

Speaking of, after a few days at Kamakshi and Mohan’s house, I am now an avid cricket fan (and when I say I’m an “avid fan” I mean that I am just starting to understand the rules). I am ashamed to say that I might only be hooked because, like most of the Indian populace, I have developed a major crush on Brett Lee, an Australian player for the Kolkatta Knight Riders. AND he sings.

Moving on. There are many Indian tourists from all over the country in Mysore to help celebrate Dasara in the place where it originates. Many offices, restaurants and shops are closed and because I had a busy week working on my project, we all decided the timing would be good for me to be at Kamakshi and Mohan’s for a few days. We’ve had our own Navaratri celebrations here including several lunches with relatives:

Kamakshi and Savithri at a Navarati lunch

Helping Savithri by ringing a bell to get the attention of the gods during her worship of Durga (Chammundi) and setting up her dolls (idols of the gods and goddesses) for the Navaratri:

And less traditional ways of celebrating, like buying matching elephant nightgowns with Kamakshi and having a photo shoot:

Lemon cake at the nearby beautiful Green Hotel:

Reading novels in my favorite spot at their house:

Shilpa decorating my hands with mehndi (henna):

Visiting several temples and sights on a bus tour around the hills of Mysore (more on that to come):

And absolutely falling in love with this place, most especially for its juxtapositions like this:

Happy Navaratir!

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