This has been my most favorite festival since childhood. More than the pujas, pattu paavadais and sundal what attracts me most is the 'Golu'. Clay, mud and paper mache dolls, all adorned and colorful, arranged creatively on the steps make it one exiting package. I use to spend hours and hours in helping my father set up the steps and Paati, sister and I would arrange the dolls. I, especially loved to set up themes and parks on the floor. I loved 'Golu' for another reason. It looks like all your favorite people are at one place. The place wears a festive look and whomever and whatever in all shapes and sizes are there right in front of your eyes. And they are not talking! On the tenth day when we pack up all the dolls in their respective cases, it would seem like a function is over and all your relatives and friends are leaving you.
Post marriage I continued this tradition and this is our fifth Golu. Little V is super excited. He patiently accompanied us as H and I we walked up and down North Mada street in Mylapore and the exhibition stalls at 'Kuralagam' to purchase a new set of dolls. We ended up buying five different dolls.
I must mention here that as with everything else the quality of dolls and craftsmanship is deteriorating. I am doing all that I can to pilf...err... procure some old dolls from my grandmother. Someone has to do something about this. Most of the newer dolls look like they were modeled on film actors and actresses. We bought a small 'Thiruvalluvar' doll and it was nothing but a replica of the statue at the Marina beach. Thankfully, the Sri Raghavendra that we purchased did not (for a change) look like Rajinikanth!
We came home, arranged the steps and the dolls while V was sleeping. The new additions included a 'Thalai aatum chettiar' pair (The chettiar pair indicates the merchants who sell all our daily needs) which were given a special place in the bottom-most step. I promptly placed V's discarded (note the relevance) kitchen set and the set up looked like a 'Ratna Store' and I quickly put a placard that said "Chettiar Stores (Firm)- All products available in all sizes!", pretty pleased with my endeavors, when V sleepily walked in
He gave one look at the arrangement and smiled broadly. He pointed out to all the 'ummachis' (baby talk for God) that he knew and then did what we were dreading all along. He went straight to the 'chettiars' took his kitchen set and started playing with them....after two full months upon discarding them!