"A while ago a friend I haven’t known long or very well gave me something really pretty. I got barely a glimpse of it as I left her place and she only told me that she hopes I don’t mind her giving it to me, because it’s Hindu mythology. I glared at her for imagining I’d ever take offence at something like that, she grinned, we hugged, I rushed off. "
Everyone who visits this blog knows of the recent bloggers' meet at my place. I was not sure if I would be repeating what the kids already had. So I decided to get the moms something. After all, in all the celebration of the kids, we often forget to reward ourselves.
A lot of people liked the coconut ball painted with the Orissa style Jagannath in "Corners of our home." So what began as a gift for Blogeswari, who is doing up her home, ended up being the chosen one for the other ladies as well.
I had a Christian friend who had a Hindu name. She seemed secular enough till she rejected the vibhuti from a temple a colleague offered with a look of scorn ( no problems with the rejection- the scorn was unnecessary) . I have had Ganeshas returned by Hindus because they are Vaishnavites!! I have had a troll admonish me for celebrating Christmas despite being a Hindu.
A seemingly innocuous gift, you could just delight in its beauty, forget any religious significance. But Good intentions aside, a gift should bring joy to the recipient.
I had to be sure- so I asked the Mad momma- though I guessed that despite her trademark strong opinions about a lot of issues, this would be a non issue to her.If it in music or books - I ask if the person already has that one and replace it if they do. And I gift money when in doubt or when I do not have the time.
Now a little more on the decorative coconuts as I gathered from the artist at Dakshin Chitra-
- The coconut flesh is scooped out , I had thought it was on a copra ball.
- Then the shell is smoothed.
- A fine fabric is stretched and glued onto the shell
- Then some kind of paste is applied and dried
- Usually a Jagannath, a form of Lord Krishna native of Puri in Orissa, is painted on, along with floral patterns
- Since the painting is done with veg-natural dyes which are NOT water proof, for cleaning them only dust off, do not wipe with a damp cloth.
- The coconut balls are available in Orissa handicrafts and at Dakshin Chitra in Chennai.