January 17, 2011 – Puja Ceremony Before Moving into a New House
I was invited today as a special guest at this ceremony . My friend, Laxmi, has been in the process of building a house for the past 2 years. It has been an uphill struggle the entire time and only through the good will and assistance of many wonderful people (making sure she would not have to take any bank loans), she was finally able to finish building this house and arriving at this auspicious day chosen by a priest.
This is a family that has been through very difficult times. Her’s was a love marriage, highly advised against, and with terrible results. Her husband turned out to be a drug addict and after two children, she finally left him. She has been supporting the family as a massage lady at Dr. Arora’s clinic all these years and works very hard at what she does. Her mother-in-law is a great help to her, living much of the time with her and her children.
Up until now they were living in a one room house where they all slept, ate, did homework, played etc. No bathroom, a kitchen out in the yard…no running water. They now have a two story house which must seem like a mansion to them. Upstairs there are three rooms. One for Laxmi,
one for her children and mother-in-law
and the third a living room. Off the living room
is one of THREE toilets/showers!! Remember, this is after living in a house with NO toilet or shower!
This, so that the room can be used for guests easily, or even rented out to earn money. Downstairs is another large room and another toilet/shower built to be rented out. SEE THIS LINK FOR FULL ALBUM ON FACEBOOK
And upstairs is also a full kitchen and another family toilet/shower.
The house is very plain and simple but will be a wonderful new home for this lovely family.
Built in Indian fashion, sort of “figure it out as you go along” style, there are things that no westerner would put up with…just one example. The shelves in the kitchen are so high that the only way to reach them (for EVERYTHING needed for working in the kitchen) is to climb up on the countertop!!
I imagine in time shelves will be added at a normal height but for now, Laxmi seems to feel the kitchen design is fine!
Anyway, I was at the puja (religious ceremony) to sanctify the house and guaranteed it would be blessed with all good things and it was an interesting morning for me.
I’ve taken photographs but due to the cramped quarters, not sure if you can get a real feel for the place…what you can see, is the definite cramping of the entire neighborhood with others also building homes, with no zoning laws or permits needed…just do whatever you want, wherever you want, as big as you want and as close to your neighbor as you feel like. A shame, but people here just seem to regard it as a positive sign of development and upward mobility.