Tejomay’s lifeskills program for children “SanskarVarg” organised number of small activities in the months of, Sept/Oct. Hands on experiences are an important part of skill building. We need to be in the environment to really know the nature of the work, efforts/time put, skills required etc… and then we can make a decision whether we are interested in it or can follow it .
On 5th Sept – Ganesh Chaturthi festival…senior batch students (those present) got hands on experience about the celebration. It was a six hours session from 6:30 am to 12:30pm. It wasn’t a religious session instead we made students understand the reasons behind the celebration, different traditions/customs and encouraged them to make their own decision/choice to follow such customs or not. They had learned number of life skills & values through this experience like patience, efforts/time needed, creativity, team building, dignity of labour , respect etc. Some of our students wrote down their experiences , please go through their write ups and encourage them.
By Kriti – 5th Grade
The day Aparna aunty told me about the plan about meeting at 6:30 am on 5th September and collect flowers and Durva , make modakas and chant ganesh atharvashirsha 21 times I was over the moon! Days past as I was waiting for 5th September. On 4th September night ,I set my clothes and got everything ready for the big day. Finally the day had come , at sharp 7:00 am , I wore my clothes and rushed down , there was chilly breeze and then I saw my friends collecting several , beautiful flowers. After collecting many flowers we went to an open area with the wet ,green grass . But , there wasn’t only grass , there was Durva too. Durva is a type of a plant that has 3 blades. We made dozen of bunches of Durva . Then we went to aunty’s house and made , guess what we made? We made GARLANDS! That to by ourselves! I made a pretty garland. The boys made the Rangoli . We took a bath and came fresh at 9:00 am and made modakas. And then came the fun part , chanting ganesh atharvashirsha TWENTY-FOUR times!!!! After that we ate many,many modakas . That evening we had to chant ‘ Jaise Suraj Ki Garmi’ and again atharvashirsha . And it was a super,duper hit!!!! I loved this day ! I learnt many things ! THANK YOU!!!!!
By Aryan – 6th Grade
“Ah,” I said as I yawned and stretched my legs, “What a fine day for a holiday!” But then I racked my exercising brain and thought about, what was the holiday about. Suddenly, it all rushed back, I along with my Lifeskills class were going to participate in the preparations for Ganesha charthuthi celebrations and going to do lot of fun activity. In a second, I was out of my bed and got ready to do the 1st task. It was 6.30am.
When everyone had come, we went to collect flowers and durva from the garden. The first on our charter was flowers. Me and my friend Omkar went to the greatest flower areas in the supreme apartment. Our first stop was the marvellous apartment path. It was right behind the gates. Coming to the point, we both collected a number of sweet smelling flowers, we didn’t pluck any flowers we just collected the dropped flowers. Mostly the flowers were yellow and white normal, but once in a blue moon you would get spiral white flowers. Before this day, I never knew that our garden had so many flowers and of a variety. We wandered around and found a huge variety of unique flowers. Some were hibiscuses, some pink, many white, many yellow and some orange flowers. After the enthralling experience, we moved on to collect Durva (three bladed auspicious grass) I and the class collected Durva. It was a tough task.
When that was that, we went to my house to create garlands for the almighty lord of beginnings, the MAHA Ganesha. There were some more flowers and needles and off we went. I was making garland for the first time, I took my superior flower – Ganesha’s favourite – the hibiscus, and laid it out. While time passed, we made our beautiful/colourful garlands.
After the garlands was the hard part, we boys had to do a rangoli. I asked god for an idea and so it came. With the utensils I had, I got a fork and created what is called abstract, after spending an hour on it. Then, after an hr break we came back for the puja in the traditional dresses. During our break girls made modakas… later it was 10:30 am, some preparations were still going on… we waited for sometime and finally we started reciting “Atharva shirsha” for 11/12 times. We started fine, but after the 7th time of recital of the Atharvashirsha, it was seriously getting tedious, sitting at one place for so long and reciting continuously, uhhh…tough task… After around 11/12 times, we were done. Then we sang few bhajans and ate prasadam…
Finis autum amnia bona, All things must come an end and this was no exception. We had finished 6 hrs of the Maha Ganesh charthurthi celebrations. I had a great time!!!
By Omkar – 6th Grade
It was the 5th of September and I was at my friend’s house for celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at 6:30 a.m. I was scheduled to 1st go down and collect flowers that have fallen on the ground. We had to as the apartment’s rules prohibit people from plucking flowers from the plants. Anyways, getting back to the point, next, we were bound for the golf course to collect durvas.
Later, after we got back, we were to make a garland for offering our own Ganesha idol. Afterwards, the 2 boys, me and one of my best friend, Aryan, were set up the task of making rangolis. On the other hand, the 2 girls had to make modakas. While the boys made rangolis, the girls had to go home to take a bath, get dressed and report for cooking duty at 9:45 while we had to do the same while those 2 were busy in the kitchen and report at 10:15.
Soon after that, we were to conduct the Pooja which consisted of a recitation of Artharvshishamm, a sloka on Lord Ganesha 21 times and have the aarthi done. About 5 minutes after the whole thing was done, we would have to accept the prasad and then report at the club house for a couple of performances.
One would be the film bhajan ‘Suraj ki Garmi se’ and the 2nd was the Artharvshirsham which we would have already recited 4 times (4times*6people-3times because of stumbling here and there=21times).
Now, to begin. I couldn’t sleep the whole night just thinking how much fun I was foretold to have and owing to this, I woke up at 4 a.m. I couldn’t wait for the fun to arrive and when I went there in great hope that we would start right away, I found Aryan reading the Deathly Hallows.
Soon, at 6:45, we had another visitor and right then, we went to collect flowers and at the same time, wait for the 3rd and final participant of the celebration. As I mentioned before, we had to abide by the rules of the community and collect the flowers that had already fallen down.
While the girls only collected flowers of a single colour (white), I, along with Aryan started roaming about the whole half of the apartment where there were flowers on the Earth collecting flowers of a variety of colours, yellow, orange, pink and what not. When all of us had successfully completed the task of flower collection, we set for the golf course to collect the lot of durvas which we would eventually require for the pooja.
We put aside our footwear for this task. It felt very fresh too walk on the grass which was wet as the ocean thanks to all the dew drops and sat there collecting as many durvas as we could. After we fulfilled our requirement, we started making bunches of 21 durvas each until we set for the indoors to commence our next fun activity which is very common for major poojas like this, making a garland of flowers.
The head of this lot taught us how to make a garland using a needle. We were to use the flowers we collected and save a few for offering our idols. She also provided us with a second hand set of marigolds, roses etc. and also suggested us to use red as Ganesha admires the colour red.
1 of the girls started hogging the supply of flowers provided and even took the basket to herself and as we took it away from here, she exclaimed “You can’t take it all for yourself,” whereas that was exactly what she was doing. But what is done is done. We can only look at the positive side of it which was that it was the 1st time we each made a garland.
We took pictures of our garlands with us and as soon as that task was accomplished, the 2 girls set for home while I and Aryan proceeded with the. Just as that specific girl hogged up all the flowers provided, Aryan had an over-share of white which is the major colour of a rangoli just as a monitor is for a computer. Well, it was a good thing we had loads of it and I can’t blame him either as he required that much as seen in the end.
I made a scenery consisting of 2 mountains with several hills at the bottom and a sunrise. On the other hand, he did abstract art just as he always does. On the other side of the set, the girls were to go home, take a bath, and report for kitchen-duty at 9:45 sharp. We finished our rangolis just as they arrived and then we set off for the same joy except for the fact that I had to conduct a pooja at my house too.
I arrived at my house and handed over the bunch of durvas, the garland and the flowers saved for offering to my parents. My parents were shocked (in a good way) at the fact that I myself made the garland and bunch of durvas. They complimented me for my work and with that, I was set for taking a bath.
Just as I finished, I was welcomed by my closet and began to choose my attire for the pooja. On choosing my kurta and jeans, we started the pooja. Just as it was concluded, I dashed for Aryan’s house as it was 10:20 and I was 5 minutes late only to find the girls who hadn’t even started the modaka making task set up for them.
Instead, they were decorating the table and the doorstep of the Lakshmi idol. I even found Aryan who proposed me a game of cards and I readily agreed. We played bluff and by God’s grace, I defeated the bluffmaster from a position when he had only 5 cards left and he said that he took ‘pity’ on me for I was in a position to lose and allowed me to win and I did not believe that. However, it could have been a fluke and a stroke of luck.
After the girls finished the cooking, we commenced with the pooja. What was supposed to be a 4 time recitation ended up being that into 1.75 times recitation and I can’t believe I finished that as my throat was sour as soon as we completed the 5th time recitation. Soon after we finished the aarthi after that long 7 time 11 stanzas sloka recitation, Prasad distribution was about to take place.
In fact, the only one who didn’t hog anything was the 2nd girl as I hogged up 4 of the 10 modakas. Soon after that, I and Aryan went downstairs for the apartment aarthi only to find it over. Then I proceeded for my house to find myself unusually weak. It continued till 3:00, the time I was supposed to perform.
I made a huge fuss on the fact that I could only do 1 of the 2 displays but I couldn’t persuade my mother for this. I was forced to do both and to my surprise, after the 2nd performance, I felt way better. My energy could even endure for some more time but I didn’t want to. So I decided to abolish my celebrations here and set for my house, relieved.
It was a great experience. I learnt many things such as patience (it takes a lot of it to collect durvas) and this was the end of my Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.