“Namaskar! Ya, basa!” If you have been taught this greeting even before you could pronounce your own name properly, chances are you were born into a Maharashtrian family. Whether in Maharashtra, or any other state or country, Maharashtrians are a staunchly proud lot and very protective of everything Marathi. We bring to you some defining moments that growing up Marathi brought to your life. Major nostalgia coming up!
1. Mom’s wrath on messing up the Rangoli
Most of our Aajis were very particular about having at least a very simple flower adorn the courtyard. As such, chasing your baby sister and running over your Mom’s painstakingly created Rangoli in the process was Not. An. Option.
2. Staple Food: Poha
Kande Pohe, Aalu Pohe, Daane Pohe, Dadpe Pohe. We Maharashtrians are the authority on this snack for the Gods and can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Poha is such a significant presence in a Marathi household that even arranged marriages are fixed around it!
3. Diwali Abhyangasnan
Diwali is the season when Marathi moms go nuts! Kids and elders alike experience a thorough scrub-down in the form of the ‘Abhyangasnan’. Maharashtra’s very own spa-treatment is an oil massage followed by exfoliation with a fragrant Ayurvedic herb mix. And because you emerge looking all radiant and pretty for Diwali night, would you complain?
4. ‘Khau’ transactions
Visiting relatives would shower their ‘love’ upon you in the form of currency. And then? Civil War. Even if the money did reach your hands under your Mom’s disapproving gaze, you still had your siblings to deal with. Word of caution: If you are an elder sibling, you might as well just forget the cash and return to your sorry existence.
5. Walking around in shoes
Many Maharashtrians are still gripped with guilt for walking indoors in shoes. Don’t laugh, we’re conditioned that way! Endless threats about how you’d flunk your exams if you accidentally stepped on a newspaper, or your mother frowning at your muddy footprints as if a landslide just happened in the living room, we’ve seen it all.
6. Shivaji Maharaj
We all grew up believing that this man was a legit superhero. So many of us have fond memories of huddling up close to our elders and feeling enthralled at stories of the Chhatrapati’s exploits!
This is a peculiarly Maharashtrian ceremony, which, frankly, is tragic for the kid whose Loot it actually is. You were dressed up in funky fake jewellery and a crown and were showered with candy which everybody except you could eat. Still, it didn’t stop us from being very excited and we all have pictures of us decked up in all our fake-royalty glory!
The festival brings out the best in every Maharashtrian. Otherwise quite laidback, we all would be hopped up on Modaks and spend endless hours decorating the Makhar (shrine) at our place, helping our mothers prepare the Prasad and chanting the five aaratis in unison. We still do all of these with the gusto that only Bappa’s visit can generate in us!
Another festival! Maharashtrians sure celebrate a lot of these and Pola places the spotlight on the unsung heroes of agrarian Maharashtra, the oxen. Every Marathi kid’s own version of Trick-or-Treating, Pola also meant having a make-believe pet for a day which we would meticulously decorate and strut around with.
10. Marathi literature
Maharashtra has had a rich culture of literature for centuries and you’d be a disgrace to the clan if you hadn’t at least heard of Sant Dnyaneshwar, Bahinabai and Mangesh Padgaonkar. Acronyms like Pu La, Vinda and Ga Di Ma will only make sense if you’ve grown up in a Marathi household.
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