pachai maamalai pol mene

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cracking the nut in an agraharam temple



Cracking the nut in an agraharam temple

In our Ganapathy temple when coconut was cracked, we young boys used to ensure for ourselves that we gathered in the most advantageous positions around the stone earmarked for that (that stone is an archival piece..carrying with it the dreams and tears of many a boys over the ages) and got hold of the biggest pieces of cracked coconuts..... 
Usually the coconut was cracked by someone else, a devotee and hardly by any of us of the Agraharam.. 
For us coconut wherever and whenever available had better uses.... .
And if the coconut did not break into reasonably small pieces, and if one fellow picked up a very large piece.. thenga moodi, all others including senior villagers (except the parents of the fellow who seized a big piece) would clamour for a re-breaking of the coconut..
The bullies usually would snatch away the pieces of coconuts picked up by smaller boys..

Sometimes, there will be fight between brahmins, high caste non brahmins and lesser groups on the protocol and precedence of gathering around the stone when coconut was being cracked..

And I have a small abrasion and a permanent scar on my scalp as a memento for standing eagerly awaiting to snatch a piece of cracked coconut when one "Jolaing Krishnan" cracked the coconut on my head instead of on the stone.. may be an error of judgment..

Indeed cracking coconut in Ganapathy shrines had its effect in the welfare of people, if not exactly for the devotee making the offering but for those that hang around the temple..

Coconuts were really costly all the time.. and mothers would be searching for the whereabouts of their boys (and some tomboyish female offspring too) to run to the temple, when they sighted some devotee heading towards the temple with one or two coconuts in hand.. and it would be festivity all around if someone was carrying a gunny bag ostensibly full of coconuts and walking towards the temple... 

And there would be disappointment all around if it turned out that the gunny bag contained only coconut shells or the chakiri (the dried fibrous external peel of the coconut) for Ganapathy Homam..