The tale of the Upanayanam

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11-year-old Aditya went up to his mother.
"When are you going to have the Upanayanam ceremony for me?" he asked.
His mother was confused.
"Why, oh, well....umm, soon, dear!" she said.
"Why are you delaying it so much? Amma, I'm 11 ! Innum podalena thappu!!" said he.
"Nee ipdi kekarche podaama iruppoma? We'll do it soon. " said amma.
Adi smiled and left.

Adi's major reason to ask his mother to hold an Upanayanam ceremony was because he wanted to get some attention to himself. Somehow he had felt that all his relatives had quite forgotten him when his older brother left to study abroad. They all fussed over him so much that in between Adi had felt there was a period when everyone had even forgotten his existence. He had had to pack his lunch bag even himself - put the towel and spoon inside, and oh, get the water filled in his blue bottle (which, incidentally was broken, but since no one was bothered, he had to manage with that).... He was so angry that he had to so much of work when he had to study and also play those regular tennis sessions in school. One of his class mates had then suggested that this would be a good way to remind people of his needs and wishes.
"Hey, that's a nice idea...how come I never thought of it before?" he thought. And then started his implementation of the idea.

Slowly, after the first time he asked his mother this idea, he began to ask the others in his home too. He realised that the best people to pull on his side were his grandparents (who, incidentally, had been pushing for this from quite a while ago).
Well, the idea seemed to be working quite well, for his mom decided to talk to his father about the whole issue.
"Paarungo, avaney ketutaan...We have to do it soon...and besides, he's 11, and that's a perfect age for the ceremony!"
After some more talk, dad finally gave in.
"Yes, let's do it. I'll ask appa to ask the shastrigal for a good date during this month....if we do it in July itself, it'll be good as he won't be having any exams and won't have any problems taking time off from school..." suggested dad.

Soon, things started going in full swing for Aditya's poonal ceremony. Amma fretted about for pattu veshtis, pattu podavais, madisar podavais et al. This impressed little Adi greatly. He felt grateful for the friend who had suggested this idea. "What a brainwave," he thought.

The d-day arrived quite soon. Adi could see excitement rising up his spine as he was asked to do various things. The shastrigal, though, were pretty strict.
"Nanna balamma mantra-thai sollu...."
or
"Kiaya ipdi vechukanum....un ishtathuku pannapdaathu",
which made Adi wish he didn't have to go through all these procedures. But things got exciting again soon when his father taught him the "secret" : the Gayatri mantra with the pattu veshti wrapped around them. He also got wildly excited when he had to ask for bhiksha, though he would have done it without that droning Bhiksham dehi he had to say everytime,but still he derived a lot of pleasure as all mamis and atthais lined up to give him his bhiksha.

Then came the part which he had anticipating all this while - the presents. He could barely conceal his excitement as friends and relatives poured in with gift wrapped boxes of various kinds and size, and some with cash (he was not very happy with cash, he knew he would have to hand it to amma or appa the next day....presents were anytime better, assuming, though that the people had enough sense on what to gift a 11-year-old).

As soon as they got home after the Upanayanam ceremony, Adi wanted to open his presents. Amma and appa were very tired, but they let him open them nevertheless...at least that would give them some hours of rest, without any new nagging from him.

Adi felt his hands shiver with excitement as he opened the presents. Mama's present seemed very inviting. Before he opened it, he thought what it could be. Maybe a PS2? He had been asking dad for one for quite a long time...and probably appa had told mama about it...and mama had got it.....

He found his dreams soaring. Unable to contain the excitement, he opened it. His dreams came crashing on to the ground. Lay inside a set of Scrabble. And that too, the same set he already had. The rest were no better too, except for a set of beautiful Parker ink pens from Uma atthai and a blue digital watch from his best friend.

God! He couldn't believe that most of his presents had turned out to be damb squibs. Well, at least the ceremony had reminded people that Aravind had a younger brother called Aditya who needed to be looked after, too. But he felt sad nevertheless.

His sorrows did not end there, though. Very soon, the troublesome priest from the ceremony came home to teach him how to do the sandhyaavandanam. He felt utterly disappointed and irritated. He had to do this twice a day, and that too the second one at 6 p.m. when he would be playing! It had never struck him as bothersome when he had seen his father do it every day. Dad seemed to be very excited at the prospect of his younger son doing all this that for a whole two weeks, he came home from office early so that both of them could do the sandhyaavandanam together.

Soon, things became worse. Now all that everyone wanted to know was whether he did the sandhyaavandanam regularly everyday, not excepting that nagging priest, who also dropped in at least thrice every month and oversaw his prayer. If Adi skipped the prayer even once, his mother would pounce upon him and say "Idhukkudaan sonnen, it's too early for the ceremony-nnu....yaara kaetaa dhaane!" She seemed to be taking a new stand now, though she had convinced his father that it was high time Adi got his poonal.

Adi soon fell sick of all the attention poured on him. He tried his best to divert them toward his brother, but even when talking over the phone to his brother, all that his parents said were complaints that Adi wasn't doing sandhyaavandanam properly. "Konjam avana panna sollen da," they would say.
"As though you know he does it regularly there," Adi would mumble.
So much for 'brainwave' ideas and getting attention, Adi thought.

P.S: No questioning on the traditions; I've just written what I vaguely know.

35 comments:

Ram said...

nice description of the ceremony- do u have a bro? am impressed if not :P.
11 year old ku abroad la annanaa? i assume Aravind is doing his UG there. illenaa, i'd have gone, "iraNdu koindhaingLukku idayila ivloa vidhyaasamaa? nambavae mudiyaliyae" :D

Krish said...

Nice story....Attention Grab panrathukku, Poonool poatrukka vaendaam ;-)...n yeah..U hadnt missed out anything...I had seen that...every other relative that comes to the house, would pounce on me asking"Ennada, innikki sandhi panniniyaa?"..That too, I would be asked to do that maadyaanigam in the morning...so it would be double load in the morning...the other fixture is called "Sammidhadhaanam"...though none does that now-a-days, just because my grandfather was some saastrigal, I was asked to do it for two times a day for 5 years..till I got to 10th....then as usual, public exam saved me from Sammidhadhaanam..but nothing could save me from Sandhiyaavandhanam till I got to hostel in my engg...

Harish said...

too good description...really u have a damn eye for observation
I remember how stupid i looked in the veshti (i had a poonul kalyaanam after i finished my 12th std :-))
For an entire year after the ceremony everyone kept asking me the same old question "Sandhyavadhanam paniniyo da"...i said "hmmm...pannitaen"
In truth i was refering to the vadanam to the next door chick Sandhya :-)
Who's gonna realize that :-)

Vani Viswanathan said...

hi minimal ego!
enna picture change-aa?
oh yes, adi's bro has gone abroad for UG.
and no, i don't have a bro..and hey,that's flattering!!!

krish,
hi!!yeah..i remember there are 2 things you got to do in the morning, but i didn't remember the name...adhaan vituten...

harish,
"sandhya"vandhanamaa? lol!!!! and thanks again, you flatter me!! :)

Harish said...

Vani
Aana onnum punniyam illa
"Sandhya" Vandhanam panniyum paakatu aathu Kadiravan kooda poitta (enna paer otrumai...iva Sandhya..avan Kadiravan..pullai poranda avankku Udayasuriyan nu paeru vekkalam)
hmmm....yen vaazhkai thaan Irundu pochchu....he he he

Vivhyd said...

Vani.. u reminded me of my upanayanam.. I guess I was 13 then.. :) .. thgh I didn't ask 4 it.. nicely written.. It was a gr8 ordeal to sit amongst fire for so much time thgh . althgh I was complimented on asking 4 bhiksha very well... how many namaskarams.. uff.. well thgh now I feel guilty.. abt not doing sandyavandanam ... nice post...

a said...

Me no brahmin..... so me no know all this..... but i m reminded of my friend.....

but i had one friend of mine who did sandhyaavandanam without any complaint..... think of it.... a guy in some hostel far away from house yet he still does sandhyaavandhanam sincerely..... in his school days he either studied or was in the pooja room...... and usually he spent more time prayin....
only after becomin his friend my belief in god soared to extreme heights.....

Harish said...

yebbaaa! idhellam enakke nyabagam illa.. scene memory po!

Harish said...

But I do remember the 15k I earned! ;)

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Sweetie..hilarious Post!!! :))..Very troublesome kid no, Aditya is??? ;)

Leon said...

Well.. Being a christian, I only know what I've heard from my brahmin friends.

Quite a few of them crib about having to chant those mantras after bathing daily.. lol.

~phobiac~ said...

aagaaa....vaaaanieee....

next week aug 19th aavani avittam....yenna timing posta ?.....

next gayathri jabam with all that smoke....nenaikave bore thaan !

gayathri-ya paathu jabam na ok.....

Vani Viswanathan said...

harish,
sandhya avalukku yaetha aaloda poitaala! :P lol!!

vivhyd,
you can atleast do 'gayatri' jabam !!

a,
your friend is a really good boy! i have one friend here too, who does all that!

Vani Viswanathan said...

harish,
15k -ya?? adapaavi!!!!

anu,
thanks :) yeah, i know, adi's really troublesome, man!

leon,
oh..who actually recites all these mantras these days?? i'd be surprised if anyone does that!

phobiac
now that you said that i remember all those 1008 gayatri stuff....
hmm....harish ennadanna "sandhya"vandanam-nu solran...nee ennadanna "gayatri"jabam-nu solre....cha....very nice!

Sheks said...

"I've written what I vaguely know".Terminology-a correct-a use panniyirukkae.Adhuvae periya vishayam.

the first time i wore a veshti,i looked like a palakkad cook.

Vijay Ramamurthi said...

Hi,
I dont remember If I have commented in ur blog before, but have been reading it for quite a while.
This is a nice post, u write well.

I seem to notice a pattern. The last story I read was also regarding kids + gifts. It looks like ur too affected by kids getting disappointed by gifts that they receive. Just for curiosity sake, any particular reason for that?

Vani Viswanathan said...

sheks,
if you'd worn a pattu veshti in the panchakacham style you wouldn't have looked like a cook for sure!!!

vijay ramamurthi,
hi!! actually you've been around in my other blog a number of times...and as for your question...well, i don't think there's any reason for that trend..i must say it has happened quite accidentally...but i think as kids, we would hardly be satisfied with what we get...like Adi here doesn't feel happy even though his plan of getting attention worked...i mean, it's almost like a generalised mentality of kids to always wish for more! and well, i love writing for kids...they amaze us...we were like this too, when we were younger...so it's just some silly efforts to try to capture all those innocent moments!!

Vijay Ramamurthi said...

Thanks for the reply,

as for this
"so it's just some silly efforts to try to capture all those innocent moments!!"

Oh no!, silly effort, pleazzzzze engala ellam intha mathiri insult pannatheenga. U write well, good work keep it up.

Chakra Sampath said...

very well written... i used to nag my parents right from class 3 or so up until class 8. Reason was coz I saw during my cousin's upanayanam, they had this video coverage, which was not very common in 1986.. at last i had my upanayanam only in 1994 and I am guilty of not doing sandhyavandhanam properly till date.

>> But things got exciting again soon when his father taught him the "secret" : the Gayatri mantra with the pattu veshti wrapped around them.

- That is Brahmopadesam.

I am not sure what the dad tells his son during that.. you may be right that it might be Gayathri japam, but I am not sure and i don't remember. Perhaps, I will know that during the upanayanam of my now 3 mth old son.

Praveen said...

Same thollai enakkum!! :)

Chinna vayasula spashtama Bhagavad Geethai solluvaen-nu, edho oru aarva kolaaru-la enakku poonal podungo-nu kaettu...en bakthi-a paarthu my mummy-um ok sollitaanga :D

Sandhi panna solli romba naala asking paavam avungalum...first konja naal pannaen..then stopped...then started again...stopped....ippo recent-a chamatha sandhi pannaraen morning-la mattum :D

Vani Viswanathan said...

vijay,
uhumm???well, thanks, anyways! :)

chakra,
yah! i knew brahmopadesam!! and yes, it is the gayatri mantram that is taught during that whole 'secret' part! :)

praveen,
aaha! see, my story worked perfectlty, it's so real!! :P ayyo, enna chamathu, morning-la ellam sandhi panre!

Sriram said...

OK OK... nice story,, now, it would be nice if Adi had gone to "Muniyandi Vilas" for a round of chicken biriyani , mutton 65 and crab curry ;)... and yes, me is back from my trip . Peace!

F e r r a r i said...

Avani Avittam munnitu ulaga blog il mudhan murayaaga special story :-D

Harish said...

hey vani
Enna aachu?
Romba naala blogla onnum update a illa??
Aavani Avittam munnitu Leave vittutaangala enna???

Vani Viswanathan said...

hey 'peace'!
adi is 11 years old, not a 20 something year old to bust rules like that! Muniyandi vilas?? Adi?? Please!!!

Ferrari,
hahaha, yes, avani avittam special. Miss that Sun TV tone.

Harish,
Yes, the next post's up!!

Vani Viswanathan said...

And to all the Poonal poatta guys out there, Happy Avani Avittam! :D

Melissa said...

Hi Vani!=) How do u come up with these stories...really interesting and well written! =) Altho i couldn't understand some of the phrases..heh. And, (in ref to ur previous post) i hate the freezing air -con too! crazy air-conditioning system...

paige said...

I really liked the info on your site about study abroad - nice work. I've just started my own study abroad secrets blog and would really appreciate you stopping by

sarvamitran said...

nice post :)
i love doing sandhyavandhanam and chanting mantrams.

didnt expect ps2s though :D
i was thrilled with a tetris game i got - played it until all the buttons fell off.

Lalitha said...

Hi,
Im Lalitha.
I was browsing the net for info regarding upanayanam.
Saw the article by you. It was very interestting. There was also a sketch of a small boy doing his sandhya vandhanam. I liked it very much. But I couldnt find the same now in your blog. I do need the sketch. please mail it to me, if possible. My mail id is lalith_97@yahoo.com
Thanks and regards
Lalitha

Vijay said...

@Harish

"vadanam to the next door chick Sandhya"

lol!!!! nice one

GSK said...

I really enjoyed this post .
I am planning to have my son's upanayanam soon and I'm sure he is every bit the Aditya you had mentioned , His name is also Aditya.
Your blog has helped to me understand the perspective of the young kid , I will at least take care to ensure that he enjoys the process.
Heartfelt appreciation for this wonderful post, keep writing.

Rajesh Iyer said...

The ceremony part reminds me of my poonal days. Though during initial days I felt sandhyavandhanam is the most important thing in the day, soon I felt otherwise when I started realising that I was missing on so many other things like roaming with frnds, chatting with frnds at hotspots :), watching TV and most importantly sleeping.. So, I slowly reduced frequency of doing sandhya vandhanam to once in 2 days, once in a week(sunday), once in a month and now once in a year (on aavani avittam)...
BTW, Thanks for the story...

deepak said...

It was a nice... really some thing similar happened to my cousin.. reminded me of that

Adithya said...

As someone called Adithya, who also did ore the adampudiching for Upanayanam ( though solely for the purpose of getting gifts :P) a few years back, I LOVE this post!
i remember my mind voice telling "vada poche" after checking out the gifts I got, which mostly consisted of just pens and Moi kaasu :(
Awesome Blog :D