Happy sunday friends !! Since the beginning of Navarathri my heart i have been brooding over the fact that i could not be part of ‘ Bathukamma celebrations ‘ this time . I f you do not belong to Telangana or AP states , there are few chances of having heard about ‘Bathukamma ‘ .But for us it’s a part of our lives . No one can separate Telangana and Bathukamma from each other . No wonder when the Telangana movement ( Before separation from AP ) was in full bloom Bathukamma was played everywhere regardless of season .President of an organization ‘TELANGANA JAGRUTHI’ MP Kavitha has penetrated the masses ,could reach and flatter many women hearts during the movement by organizing many nonseasonal Bathukamma events and encouraging local women to participate in them. Then the events were organized at many temples, schools ,colleges even offices .Her gracious presence in each of those places with Bathukamma had won crores of hearts .There was no meeting , no rally or strike where Bathukamma was not celebrated .Bathukamma has almost become an icon for Telangana .
I know I am going into too much of politics . I have no interest in them . My love for Bathukamma began in my childhood . As by the age of 4 or 5yrs ( as far as i remember )we are allowed to and ordered to take part in it. Before going into all the things let me give you a short (hi)story .
Bathukamma is not just a festival for women. It is a festival to worship feminity in the nature ,where flowers represent women.Mythological story tells about Goddess Gouri after feeling humiliated by Lord Shiva’s comments on her dusky complexion , prayed for Brahma who eventually gave her a golden color . That is why in the center of every Bathukamma there will be a turmeric lump representing her . There is another story of a King who was desperate for kids but all his male new born babies end up dying . He requests all nearby saints to bless him with a heir .So when the Queen gives birth to a baby girl ,all saints come to bless her ‘Bathukamma’ ( literally means ‘long live amma’ ) .
It is celebrated for 9 days .The first day is called ‘Boddemma’, the last day is ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ . Everyone of the household will be busy for those 9 days. It starts in the morning all old children and teenagers are sent to market to buy heaps of flowers . After a short siesta the real work starts . First thing is preparing Bathukamma ;it is an art . Flowers arranged in various rows in a cone shape.It actually takes more than 2 hrs .Second stage is making a snack. It is not that simple cause you have to for at least 20 people and you have to make one special item each day . Third is getting ready for celebration. In childhood it was almost like a fashion parade for me. Mom used to pick one kind of dress for each day like midi one day ,parikini one day ,frock ,saree,half saree etc etc .
Once everything is done by around 5 in the evening , women and children with Bathukamma and snack boxes in hands start for the venue .In our place it is the bank of the river’Godavari’ . Where everyone will gather to divide themselves into small groups who arrange all their respective Bathukammas and snack boxes in a circle ;start playing around it singing lovely songs.
The songs seemed to me really playful in childhood but now when i think about them i can find stories , histories (mainly of Kakthiya Dynasty) ,mythology ,anthropology in them . They pass from one generation to other . My grandmother taught me few.
While the women sang songs and played ‘Bathukamma’ in circles , kids run and play in sand. With the creeping darkness , they would declare end of that day’s session . That would be a great news for us as we get to have snacks . Women with help of elderly children walk into the waters of the river ‘Godavari’ to release ‘Bathukamma’ ,then they ask children to go in batches to distribute the snacks they prepared . Everyone gets chance to taste snacks of everyone else . Boy!! It was like a huge feast . And this happens daily . No wonder used to get craving for the festival throughout the year .
It is so sad to say that becoming a doctor has ruined my festival. These days i hardly get chance to go down to my place.
I spent all these navarathri days in guilt and gloom . I really hope to participate at least in next ‘Bathukamma’
Photo courtesy – my buddies Manasa and Kavitha .Thank you babies!!!!!!!
If you guys are interested in watching a visual on Bathukamma there are many videos.One of it is linked below