Griha Pravesh

My across-the-way neighbor, whom The Prof uncharitably refers to as “Goiter Lady” is moving out today. I spoke with her briefly last week to wish her luck, and to offer my assistance with any last minute items she might need to attend to. She’s been chronically ill with a variety of things, most notably a worst-case-scenario condition of diverticulitis. It’s the diverticulitis that finally decided her to move out of her condominium and into an assisted living community.

While I was talking with her, she asked if I’d seen the housewarming the new neighbors held at her house on Monday. When I said I hadn’t, she described some of it for me. The people moving in are Indian Hindu, and held a Griha Pravesh. She described in some haphazard detail a ceremony involving prayers on the doorstep, a sack of rice just inside the door, the setting up of an alter with different figurines, and the boiling of milk with sugar and spices on the stove creating a drink/desert (I wasn’t clear which) that everyone partook of after the ceremony. The women showed up in traditional saris, and the men apparently wore a variety of outfits from traditional Indian to more Western garb.

I had never heard of this ceremony, so I did some research on the web after we spoke. The ceremony sounds fascinating, although it would seem that my new neighbors were forced to Americanize some of it. Apparently in India it is traditional to lead a cow (and sometimes her calf with her) through each room of the new dwelling to bless it before boiling her milk over the cooking fire. I’m continuing to research this in hopes of being able to develop it into a short story. Premise: Looking out the window of your traditional American two-story McMansion to see a Brahma cow and her calf decorated with red paint and flower wreaths being led out of the back of a trailer parked at the newly sold next-door-neighbor’s house and taken into the living room via the French doors off the patio. I should be able to make something out of that.

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  1. I’m not a fan of Starbucks(the coffee’s too weak and bland for my tastes, and the flavoured drinks aren’t my thing), but I’m a fan of your descriptive writing.

    We live a short walk from a street full of espresso bars. Our favourite is in a C19th building, pleasantly run-down, with excellent coffee and with the bonus of two fat tabby cats patrolling the premises (one of them loves laps).

  2. Gotta go with Deb on this one regarding the cookies! Our local Fair sells giant chocolate chip cookies marketed as "Cow Chip" cookies, which would be wonderful with the boiled drink/dessert!


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