On the day of the Paal Kudam, women assemble at a nearby temple (not the Amman temple but another one) with turmeric and kungumam smeared pots (sombu) filled with milk. After a brief puja at the temple which is sort of the Ready-Get-Set-Go, the women walk over (run rather) to the Amman temple where wooden barricades are put up to regulate the crowd. Policemen and police-women wait at the Amman temple bracing themselves for the “Om Sakthi-ParaSakthi” chanting women force. It is believed that if you pray for something and carry the paal kudam, whatever you pray for will happen before the next Paal kudam (within the next year).
|That’s my husband and that’s me behind him.|
These paal kudam laden women are force to reckon with, they shove and pull in order to cut through the line. You’ll have to be strong and gutsy to get out of this crowd. When your turn comes, the milk from your pot is poured atop the Amman. After everybody’s milk has been poured, the Amman is washed, dressed up and adorned with jewels and a final puja is done.
The seer varisai plates are usually odd numbered – 11, 13, 21 etc. How many do you think my family would choose? Yeah 21, of course. So one plate will be mangoes, another apples, cashews, honey, pattu pavadai (silk dress) and so on. Serve guests dinner. After a brief puja at home, the seer varisai plates are handed over to as many women (21) and they walk to the temple to the music of Melam and Nadhaswaram. At the temple, the seer varisai plates are offered to Amman, Amman is adorned with the Pattu pavadai and flowers and the maangalyam is finally tied. A huge force of young men (like Karthi’s workers in Aayirithal Oruvan), lift the decorated Goddess on to the huge decorated open-type palanquin amidst a lot of shouting, directing, swearing and cheering. Then the grand procession of the final day is started off by the Dharmakhartha (trustee) after honouring the sponsors and workers with flower garlands and Prasadam.
Throw in two spectacularly mischievous kids and that’ll complete the picture. In between all this, I had to get my kids to eat, get dressed, undressed, away from the kuzhambu and koozhu, away from each other and other kids, eat, clean up, get dressed, un-dressed, do homework and then put them to sleep. My husband pitched in quite a bit yesterday with the kids, otherwise I think I would have just hid under the bed (running away is too much work).