Avani avittam is an annual brahmin festival that involves changing of the ‘sacred’ threads we wear. I dont know the significance of the event, but I imagine it to be the time I seek pardon for all the misdeeds in the past year and promise not to do any. Every year all the folks in our building gather in the terrace to change threads under the guidance of a sasthrigal. The one thing I dread about this is the prospect of walking in public with nothing but my dhoti, my head gets filled with these visions of the dhoti slipping away or being blown away and leaving me almost naked. Somehow I have managed to prevent it from happening so far and hope that it never happens, for the embarassment involved is directly proportional to age(it would be less embarassing had it happened when i was 13 than when i am 30).
I also have a reason to like this ceremony, it is the one occasion where I am the slimmest guy in a gathering, watching the other elder folks around with saggier man breasts and bigger beer bellies gives me a sense of happiness that I am at least not so much bad in shape.(pathetic:( ) However, the difference between them and me seems to be decreasing with each passing year, which is rather unsettling. (damn, i should start working out).
We usually have an old sasthrigal along with his apprentice who supervises the proceedings. Age seems to have finally caught up with him, and this year sadly he has decided to retire from this service. This has opened up the door for the young padawan learner (ok, not so young, he is 40) to lead events. While the old guy knew all the incantations by heart, the apprentice needed to refer to his notes every couple of minutes. He also seemed to lack the charisma, the authority and command that accompanied his teacher. What the heck, in today’s world nobody is bothered with these things(neither am I, it was just an observation), people want to get things done fast and easy.
Anyway, only one half of the procedure is complete, I still have to go through the remaining tomorrow, which involves reciting a mantra 1008 times. I have never managed to complete the 1008, the closest i think i ever came must be around 900. This time I hope I can surpass my personal best.