Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Navratri Golu - Down Memory Lane and Back to the Present with How Tos, Whys and Whats - Part 1



Down Memory Lane 
Navratri – The name always conjures memories of garba and golu for me. The garba dances we used to enjoy avoiding when we were younger (around 10 or so) and dancing when we were a little older (in our teens) where I grew up; the golus in various Tamil homes in our colony – including my favorite one – ours! Mom made out the list of invitees – all the ladies in the colony – on sheets of paper – arranged in the order of their addresses – with a column for them to sign in and let her know if they could attend and when. My job (and I always had my best friend with me) was to walk around the colony up and down stairs, ringing bells and convincing everyone (they did not need it though as they always enjoyed the display and the food that mom laid out each year) to attend, and of course, sampling the sweets, savories, and the yummy drinks many of the aunties invariably ended up giving us as we must be tired with all the walking. 

The photo below is of a Navratri Golu from years ago with my paternal grandparents who were among the simplest and strongest people I knew, and smartest too.

Navratri Golu Padi
The Steps – Earlier and Now
Setting up the steps was an event in itself – wooden planks from shelves, books, biscuit tin cans, random pieces of furniture all made their way to the golu setup area – and we arranged them all to get our 7 steps. Now, mom uses the readymade metal steps for golu each year.

Here in the US, I worked with makeshift golu steps too all these years.  They have been made using, as mentioned earlier -  books, planks from bookshelves, and other random pieces of furniture put together. That requires a lot of imagination on how we can use the things we have around the house (the ones that are currently usable at that time!). This time, I was without a few important furniture pieces needed for the makeshift steps and decided it was time to make one that can be dismantled and stored easily at the end of the festival for use next year.
Thanks to posts here at ThinkingWood and here at Love & Lentil, we were able to build our first very own padi.

Items we used:
Total Cost ~$120



What we did: 
Mark and then drill holes into the wood pieces where they need to be joined. 
The bolts used to put the pieces together - the L-shaped ones were used to attach the horizontally running supporting planks (that attached the two stair risers together) with the stair risers; regular screws with nuts and bolts were used to attach the vertical supports to the stair risers. 
 
Photos of how we attached them together (from both sides) below
 


So here it is - in its I-am-waiting-for-the-planks form - our 5 steps golu padi. 
Dimensions: 
4 ft length by 4 ft depth by 3 ft height
 
The planks were then arranged on the stair risers (no need to nail or screw them on!) - just place them on the stair risers. Once that is done, cover with cloth of your choice - based on experience and tradition, I have noticed that plain white works best on the steps so the dolls placed on them will be displayed to the best advantage. Maybe I should have stuck to a plain color for the background too where I have the maroon with gold leaves but I am going to see how this works this time.  


Completed picture of the golu with the dolls will come soon. 

More coming in Part 2 ..

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