It was 7 years back when I got the last chance to decorate the Mandir at our Nani’s home for the special occasion of Janmashtmi. Since then things have changed drastically; we moved out, things moved on and now when I am not even 3 km away from the same divine place, I cannot go there for our the biggest festival.
I know we, read Mummi, brothers, all share the same feeling of missing the place very much and when I am decorating the pooja ghar at our home I miss our Nani so much. I believe that there was some energy in her that had bound things so beautifully that even Shri Krishnaji, Laddu Gopal, looked so cute, innocent and perfect child in front of her grace, charisma, simplicity and strength.
The way Shri Krishnaji was taken care of as a small child and the way the festival was celebrated at Nani’s home, I always found Shri Krishnaji very close to me. I remember believing and loving Shri Krishnaji and Shri Hanumanji since the time I have got consciousness. I always have respected Mata Saraswati ji the most.
We used to get papers of different colors, decorative ribbons, golden paper specially to make The Sun at the background of the mandir, some artificial flowers, and many other things. The glue was used to be green and we were warned to not to taste it even by chance, as it was said to be poisonous. Nana was used to get extra milk to make all the pooja deserts, special flowers, bouquets for decoration. Mummi, Nani, Mausis used to arrange clothes for all Bhagwanjis, and shape them with appropriate sizes; make sure that every ornament is clean and all Bhagwanjis are getting royal treatment for the big day; and every dish is perfect to taste as we were never satisfied with only one turn of any of those dishes after the full day fast. Cleaning, decorating Bhagwanjis and full arrangement of all dishes for pooja was used to cover the full evening and the night as well.
But very long before all this, we used to decorate the mandir. First, the old decoration of the mandir was used to torn off brutally by all of us. Then the mandir was cleaned thoroughly. There used to be pile of kachra then. Then the process to make paper flowers was used to start. I got to see bhaiya doing craft of making paper flowers with mausis and mummi when I was very small. Bhaiya was/is always very good in crafts, arts and that had always motivated, inspired and guided me to get me involved with all this. There were used to be 5-6 layers of different colors. Their sizes were used to decrease from the bottom most paper to the top most paper. The bottom one was always the green one, showing the leaf at the base. Then the colors changed to like red, yellow and the last one was golden one giving it the final touch. We used to make a daliya full of these paper flowers. Then, the full mandir was decorated with the colorful paper. The paper flowers were pasted at different places over the colorful paper. At the background center of the madir, The Sun was used to be designed with utmost care. When I was very small, this task was done by mausi, and then bhaiya was used to do it. I also got opportunity to make it in later years. Once everything is placed, the decoration of the outside of the mandir was used to start. Different ribbons, artificial flowers, everything had got some place or other to add to the entire beauty of the divine place.
When I was very small, Nani was used to make a display of the complete life of Shri Krishnaji with all the toys she had. It was used to be a big one. Those times, we were used to sleep before the pooja used to happen or might used to be sleepy at 12 midnight; we used to see the display in the morning. That was used to be THE first thing that we were used to see. We were always amazed to see those beautiful tiny sculptures depicting the full life. The little jhoola of Shri Krishnaji was the most interesting thing for me. I was used to imagine the life of Shri Krishnaji at Gokul and I was quite fascinated of it. In later years when Nani was not well, we used to miss this display very much. I still miss it with the core of my heart.
When everything was done for the mandir, all Bhagwanijis were carefully placed at their right places. From this time onwards, the contribution of we kids was used to be very low. Those days there were not many things on TV and 12 midnight still looked so late. Till 12th standard, we used to sleep by 10:30pm maximum, so 12 midnight was herculean task for all of us. Even if we tried very hard, we were almost on bed by 11pm. Then we were asked to get up just before 12. It was a big burden for us and by the time we reached the Madir, the pooja was used to start. Shankh, Ghante everything was announcing the arrival of the divine Shri Krishnaji. The complete pooja was used to take half an hour and that half an hour were the best moments of our life. We used to forget everything in those great sounds. Then we had prasad of pooja and the dinner after that. We all loved panjiri as we could fume it on others by just saying phoophaa. The next day always seemed so refreshing after this biggest festival.
In sometime we are again going to celebrate the same function at our home, but without those people, without that mandir, without those decorating sessions, without the completeness of everything of that time, I feel I have missed so much by living 10 more years of my life.
Happy Janmashtmi to all!!!
I miss our Nani so much!!!
P.S. I wanted to write what I feel about Shri Krishnaji but that chapter would have been incomplete, had I not described the origin of everything that I feel about Shri Krishnaji today.