Adi Lakshmi Namastestu Parabrahma Swaroopini
Yasho Dehi, Dhanam Dehi, Sarva Kamamscha Dehi Me
The first two lines of the Lakshmi Stuti beautifully sums up the ode that is to follow hereafter to the Goddess of health, wealth and good luck. Since, I was a child; I have been attending Lakshmi Pujo at my grandmother’s place. For decades, it has only been about the food- From fruits to Sandesh, from Pulao to Luchi, from salad to sugarcane –all my favourite delicacies were present on the table only at this time of the year. But with changing times and mentality, the Prasad too saw changes. Soft Drinks, chips, chocolates and even wafers were added as Prasads (maybe on my insistence!).
My grandmother is no longer as fit as she used to be. Well, she is a wise old woman of 86 maybe 85 or well forget it, above 80! But her physical strength has given her away in recent times. A day long fasting has been reduced till midday fasts (and I have completely given it up on my part!). Also, with the declining audience, the frequency of the dishes and offerings on the table has started to decline as well. (And yes I have given up on the additional stuffs!)
This year she performed the pujo at midday contrary to it being held in the evening for decades. Simple dishes like Pulao, Payesh, Alur Dum, Luchi, Cheere Makha (puffed rice mixed with grated coconut and jaggery/sugar) and Sandesh graced the offering table. The smell of the incense sticks filled the air. The small Thakur Ghor (altar) was decorated with marigold flowers. Earlier, the same room had been decorated with flowers, alpana, rangoli which extended right to the gates. But incapability or inability of resources has led this year’s pujo to be a very small homely affair. After my grandmother performed a small ritual of reading out from her books which have become old, dusty and are now covered with newspapers to keep them intact; we proceeded for lunch.
Interestingly, this is the first time that I was invited for Lakshmi Pujo by my friend Monideepa. She is a very bright student at NSHM and hardly two months into college she is doing wonders in her field. I truly loved the time spent at her place. The beautifully decorated altar with loads of food- From fruits, Nadus , almost 5 types of fries and many others. It reminded me of my childhood days. I will definitely thank Kakima for packing some great food and Monideepa for making those tasty Nadus. It was great meeting Alimpan who I had last met at the SMIPKol in 2014.
On my way back, I managed to have a sneak peek of most of the Pandals near my house and checked on their Lakshmi Pujo. Here are some of the photographs that I took.
Do keep a lookout on Instagram for more photographs and videos. Thanks.