Jai Mata Di: My Navratri Celebrations

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Please forgive me for being away from the blogosphere. I do know how desperately you wait for my blog updates. While in the past, the delay used to be due to lack of ideas, health problems, or family responsibilities, this time the blame is entirely on the ongoing festive season.

Actually, I was not so religious while growing up. In fact, my neighborhood aunties who, at the slightest hint from their religious calendars would deck themselves up along with their puja thalis to visit a temple, which was unfortunately located behind my home, would change their route if they saw me playing outside. I was definitely not the devil they made me out to be; rather I was an innocent child just curious to know why they flocked to the temple when God could listen to them even if they prayed at their homes or in their hearts.

But ever since I found my own religion, I have realized that praying at home is a tad boring. Sure, we can carry out a few rituals at home every day, but going out is highly invigorating and addictive.

If you are turning up your nose at my religiosity, I want to inform you that not all religious people are dumb or terrorists. Almost all of my close friends in real life are highly religious and they are also the most gentle and loving people I have ever known. We respect each other’s beliefs. Of course, there are religious people who are also evil, corrupt, or violent, but I keep away from them and condemn them for their evil practices, not for their faith.

A few days ago, when my friends started posting their festive pictures on Facebook, my religious sentiments also got aroused. I considered various options to pay my respect to Goddess Unicorn during the Navratris, such as:
1. To observe honesty for nine days
2. To read nine literary books in nine days
3. To learn nine ragas from Hindustani classical music
4. To learn the dance moves from Gangnam Style
5. Walk/jog for five miles everyday
After much deliberation, I opted for the last one. My husband also showed some interest. He took leave from his work and we explored various walking trails to celebrate the Navratris. Ma Unicorn didn't disappoint us. We found some wonderful trails very close to our house. We even drove to neighboring towns of Helen, Hiawassee, and Tallulah Falls to walk on different trails every day. We were awestruck by the manifestation of Goddess Unicorn’s glory in the nature.

I felt so much invigorated and inspired after the Navratris that that I have taken a vow to walk for 2-3 miles every day and to go on different trails for longer walks on weekends.

Our devotion must have certainly made Ma Unicorn very happy, as she has already blessed us with health and happiness. My health problems have gone away and, albeit late in life, I have found a little happiness at the discovery that my husband and I have at least one common interest. Here are my Navratri pictures:

Etris Road: The approach road to our home and also our regular walking trail  


Leita Thompson Memorial Park: A mountainous hiking trail near our home

Big Creek Greenway: This concrete-and-board trail runs through Roswell, Alpharetta and Cumming

Brasstown Bald: The highest mountain in Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls, Helen

Tallulah Gorge: You can spot my husband in the center of the picture

Stairs to the bottom of Tallulah Gorge

Lake Unicoi, Helen

Horsetrough Falls Trail at Chattahoochee National Forest

So these days, I have become more tolerant towards people of different faiths, who carry out their religious activities outside their homes—on roads or at temples—as long as they don’t interfere with my daily routine, because I know how boring it is to walk on a treadmill at home, day in, day out.

18 comments:

  1. You are one after my heart; I dig walking too. And what you've said very humorously is indeed true. I feel similarly. Have you seen OMG the movie? You must if you haven't so far. And, I for one, really look forward to your posts, Giribala!

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    1. Thanks Rachna!! Yes, we enjoyed watching OMG :D

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  2. Yes i missed your posts Giribala and those are lovely pictures. If I get to have these places closer home, I would be staying only outdoors coming home to just change and eat. :)

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    1. Thanks Jas! It is indeed very beautiful outside, but the weather is not pleasant all the time :-)

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  3. I wish we had similar trails around Delhi.
    I am very jealous of your Navratre celebrations.

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  4. Yes,I agree with Rachna.Those who want to get further clarification,watch OMG

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  5. That was one of the best celebrations of navaratri, Giribala. The pictures are lovely too. Religion need not only be chanting and praying. It is anything that does good -- to yourself and the world at large, as you have discovered :) Ma Unicorn indeed would be pleased.

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    1. Thanks Zephyr! Ma Unicorn will now certainly be pleased because of your recommendations!

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  6. W A L K I N G -----------------it is so tiresome,but i would love to walk if i had your surroundings !

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    1. Yeah, people often find other people's religious practices tiresome! :-)

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  7. Is there an undiscovered ancient kali temple near Tallulah Gorge?

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    1. Undiscovered Kali temple? Hmm...I thought about this while I was at Tallulah Gorge. There weren't any temples at the surface, but you can find temples of most of the 330 million Hindi deities plus temples of all other religions if you dig approximately 12,756.1 Kilometers!!!

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  8. Good to see you back :) We should have laws to protect atheist sentiments in India.

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    1. Thanks IHM! :-)
      Personally, I have always been lucky to receive love and affection from all my religious friends. Never had any bitter moment over each other's faith.

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  9. Very creative way to make your readers envy you! Away from the blogoshpere. Hmmmph.

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    1. It is all right to envy! Btw, it has gotten cold outside these days....

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