March 30th was Chaitra shuddha paadva, celebrated as the Hindu New Year. It is on this day that Lord Brahma created the universe.
Gudi Paadva is a big festival in Maharashtra. It's a public holiday and people spend time with their family and friends.
Like during any other Indian festival. :-)
Since it always coincided with our school exams, for few years Gudi Paadva was strongly associated with butterflies in stomach. Not any more. Now, not just paadva, but any festival brings back happy memories and smile to my face.
We used to have Satyanarayan pooja performed at our place. The Guruji used to be super busy with many pooja to be conducted during the auspicious period. So he used to come to our place early in the morning. We used to listen to the same Satyanarayan katha year after year without getting bored. Of course we had the delicious prasad and panchamrut tirtha to look forward to at the end of the pooja.
Mom used to prepare the bitter-sweet-sour concoction of tamarind and jaggery, spiced with cumin and a little hing. The delicate neem flowers floated on the surface. What a yummy way to start the New Year! Without being preachy, the elders taught us to enjoy our share of bitter-sweet things in life.
After that we used to do the Gudi pooja and erect it on the terrace. It is said that on this day of Gudi Paadva, the people of Ayodhya welcomed their beloved king, Lord Rama by erecting gudis to celebrate his victory over Ravan. The Gudi which is decorated with a silk sari, neem leaves, flowers and a kalash is a symbol of hope and joy. You feel that you are part of a big celebration when you see these beautiful gudis dotting windows, terraces and balconies.
Though we were not with our parents and other loved ones to celebrate the New Year, we tried to do every small thing that we could to capture the essence of the festival.
Since I mentioned "butterflies in the stomach" let me give you an update.
If you know me, I'm sure you will know that I'm a sucker for business quiz or just any quiz. So, after a long long time I got the opportunity to participate in one organized in my office. And it was every bit the fun that I had anticipated! And every single butterfly that fluttered in my stomach looking at one brilliant question after the other was worth it.