Ayudha Pujai is a south Indian festival, means worship of instruments, and is celebrated by all working people towards their occupation of tools. Ayudha Pujai had once been my favourite festival next to Deepavali and Pongal, and I always looked forward for this day (until my maternal uncle was alive) since our house was attached to my uncle’s Maruti (car) workshop. My parent’s was an inter family marriage and my dad married his sister’s daughter, so our relationship with my uncle doesn’t need an explanation and we are close enough to celebrate it as a family festival, calling close relatives, along with his co-workers the festival will go off enthusiastically.
Actually it was the night before the festival day we (me and bro) enjoy lot. Throughout the night the employs will involve in activities of cleaning the workshop, whitewashing the walls and repainting the tools and machineries. The employs were like brothers and uncles to us and a step outside the home will land into the workshop which means we often end up playing with the employees and have fun during their free times. And when a night and day is left to spend with them, how could we miss the fun in helping them and decorating the workshop to look colourful for the festival. Even our parents put us in bed forcefully, we couldn’t sleep really and mind kept thinking about going out and joining the workers but we make certain being outside till midnight or uncle warns to go to sleep.
|Photos from the archives of 2007 celebration|
On Ayudha Pujai, the day begin with a fresh feel looking at the workshop, free from all the greasiness and floors washed off and walls painted neatly in white with colour papers and festoons adorning the workshop. We play songs in tape recorder to keep up the celebration mood and two big banana trees will be tied on the entrance of the workshop and all our vehicles will line up in front of the garage with flowers and sandal sprinkled on them after the water wash. The items for worship like aval pori, fruits, sweets and snacks will be bought in bundles and after puja (or worship) the items will be distributed in carry bags to workers, customers, drivers whoever attend the festival and also to nearby shops and friendly neighbours. Pori (puffed rice) is the main part of the festival, so mostly it would be a big sack to go into many carry bags and I also like watching how it take place along with fruits and snacks. Added to this a set of cloth (to be stitched as shirts and pants) was given to each employ apart a month salary as bonus.
I don’t think anyone would have given such benefits to their employs like how my uncle did. He always cared and been generous with his co-workers, friends (whom were standing beside him when he opened the workshop) and anyone comes in need of things. I would say he has been a philanthropist throughout his growth and until he was alive; and our comfort level has risen almost because of him and the love and affect he kept on us. For anyone their father used to be their hero but I would consider him. During the festival our close relatives (whom were cousins overall) is invited and all our aunts were honour by saris and sometime we all have dinners together. As kids joining with cousins doesn’t need to say anything and its joyous occasion overall. Today we quite miss the fun and celebrations; since my uncle passed away (in 12/2001) things turned different and faced an end.