About Me

Someone who fell in love with the natural world early on and has been smitten ever since. A blade of grass, a mighty mountain, a tiny raindrop, a roaring waterfall, all fill me with awe and wonder. Nature feels home, filled with warmth and love. It pains my heart to see this home being ravaged. This blog is an effort to find tweaks in modern living to preserve the sanctity of this home. I sincerely hope that you join me in this green karmic journey.

Monday 25 September 2017

This Kanjak Pooja, Worship Little And Big Goddesses In An Eco-Friendly Way

It's kanjak time! That time of the year when little girls are pampered, worshipped and made to feel very, very special and important. They are showered with food and gifts...aah gifts!! Pure bliss!

While the spirit and menu have remained unchanged over the years, fast-paced life has redefined the way this festival is celebrated. While some still like to invite little girls home, others like to take goodies to their home. 

In whatever manner you celebrate, you can choose to green it with a few tweaks:

1. Use reusable plates: 

If you invite kanyas to your home, use steel/ ceramic plates and cutlery. If you want to use disposables, use banana leaves or traditional leaf plates and bowls.

It's easy enough to follow that at home. Load the dishwasher with extra dishes. Pay extra to your help to do the dishes. 

Think of it as a part of worshipping Bhoodevi - the Earth Goddess. Don't trash Bhoodevi to appease other goddesses. Believe me, they're all related and angering one would anger the whole sisterhood! 

2. Ditch disposables in all forms:

If you are going with the goodies to girls' houses, do not carry food in styrofoam  containers and Ziplocs. The best way would be to carry all the food in separate reusable containers or in that classic three or four tiered steel tiffin. When you go to a home, request the host for a plate and transfer a portion of goodies there. This is the easiest and the best option as it honors the first R of the 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' mantra

The only glitch here would be your hesitation and the 'what would people say' syndrome. In this day and age of disposables, why would anybody do this? 

If anybody asks, say it's for everyone's health. Our earth and oceans are spilling with trash, making life unlivable for many creatures. The fact that you are doing kanjak pooja points to the fact that you worship Devi. If you throw trash on that Devi in order to worship her, contemplate on what kind of worship it is and do you really want to continue a tradition mindlessly.

Just to make it easier for the first time, it's a good idea to inform all parents beforehand about how you would be doing it and why. Trust me, it's not that difficult. I have started carrying my own reusable plates and cutlery to get-togethers and 
once people know the reason behind it, I get appreciated (and wondered at!). 

It also raises awareness and inspires others to do the same. More on this in a later post. I just wanted to touch upon it to emphasize that it can be done and no, you won't be ostracized socially. 

Food served in plastic, styrofoam and aluminum foil is not only bad for the environment, it's harmful for health too. You wouldn't like to harm little devis, whose blessings you seek, in any way, right?

If you must use disposables, go for leaf bowls and plates (hunt them as it's getting difficult to find them these days), uncoated paper plates or bagasse plates. You can also consider gifting steel plates with food served on them. Again, keep away from melamine or plastic versions.

3. Say 'No' to plastic bags of all kind:

Avoid using Ziplocs or plastic bags for giving gifts. A paper bag would serve just fine. Do away with plastic toys or gifts. If you don't know what to give, just a bit of money is good enough. When I was a kid, I used to love getting a 1 Rupee coin from each house. Adjust for inflation and you're good to go. When you're 6, it's a great feeling to be the sole owner of a few precious coins or bills. It makes you feel truly goddess-like and royal!

Last, but not the least, 

4. Don't mix it up:

Those single boxes, where halwa mingles with chana, and pooris try to cover it all up, are a no-no. My daughter refuses to eat such a mix.

As you also know, little girls are highly sought after on ashtami and there's only so much that they can eat. It's the parents who end up finishing most of the stuff and trust me, eating a mix of these goodies is no fun for either kids or adults. A chana-halwa mix is served as prasad in temples, but as kanjaks are cosmopolitan now, they might not be used to that taste. So if you want the little goddesses to eat with interest, serve smaller portions and serve them separately. That would avoid unnecessary waste.

Have a beautiful kanjak pooja and worship the Goddess right. If you have other ideas to make the celebration eco-friendly, I would love to hear them.