If there’s a bigger household de-junking exercise than Diwali cleaning, it’s the one that takes place before a wedding in the family. All the hoarders in the house have been busy sending out bags full of things we don’t need, to make space for the new.
Ma (a.k.a. chief hoarder) found an old pencil box stuffed with over a dozen decade-old Suzy hand blender key chains, and decided to turn them into tiny dolls. Since all roads currently lead to the wedding, these dolls would go on to become the Gaur Parivaar (goddess Parvati’s family), the central characters for our pre-wedding Gangaur puja.
The Gaur family comprises of Isar (Shiva), Gaur (Parvati), Kaaniram (Shiva’s brother), Rova Bai (Shiva’s sister) and maalin (a farmer’s wife). The relationships within the family and the relevance of the puja have all been woven into fun folktales and marwari songs, some of which ma narrates here –
It was a delight to watch the little Suzy hand blenders turn into cute, Lego-like deities. Dough made of bread and Fevicol first gave them faces, ears, and hair pulled back into a bun for the ladies. Ma then rummaged through boxes full of beads, thread, and old rakhis to dress them up for the occasion. Once all was in place, they got a smear of bright paint on their faces and were finished off with features.
Until their big day in December when we’ll all gather around them for some song and dance, the dolls are sitting pretty in their individual showcases – inverted tennis ball tumblers! Don’t they look adorable?
Gangaur puja was beautiful! We sang at the top of our voices, shared stories woven around Shiva-Parvati’s family (which reminded us so much of the relationships within our own), and laughed throughout! Once our puja was done, I handed ma’s beautiful Gaur parivaar over to my new family. Here are some photos (by J&I Studios) from the festivities –
This story was published in The Lookout Journal as part of a wonderful set of stories on handmade things. Check it out here.