So, today was the Puja Day (entire day dedicated to worshipping the Almighty) in office. Though I am not a very big supporter of performing religious duties in office or doing the religionisation of the office but I just allow them to go ahead for the only reason that the sentiments of the larger section of the group under my jurisdiction are not hurt. The fundamental principle of my professional life is ‘Work is Worship’ and it many a times fits well even in the personal life. I still fail to understand as to which God will be happy and shower His blessings on you if you leave your work for performing the religious duties.
The Ayudh Puja or the Astra Puja (the worship of weapons) is a grand festival celebrated in India especially the southern India and Karnataka in particular. This is celebrated on the ninth day of the Navaratri (Nine nights) festival. The weapons do not literally mean the guns or the swords, but the weapons or the tools used by the technicians, engineers, doctors, mechanics or a person involved in any profession, even the computers for share traders, billing clerks etc.). The sentiments towards celebrating are so strong that it reflects in the dedication. Be it the technician, the sweeper, the office boy, the driver or anyone else of that cadre, everyone becomes the master and the expert for the celebration.
Though I had tried my best to ensure that the festive spirit doesn’t affect the day to day work but the enthusiasm of decorating the entire laboratory, making beautiful rangolis, enhancing the decoration with the banana and mango leaves and stems, cleaning the entire area to the maximum permissible extent etc. were the high time consuming tasks that were not possible in half a day or so. Surprisingly, if there is a holiday on the day of actual puja, the celebration masters shift it to the previous working day with all other factors being the same.
Anyways, I didn’t want to be a show stopper (or a Mahishasura) as I could see that the sub-ordinates are just waiting on the edge to receive a ‘yes’ from me. Even a delicate yes from my side was enough for them to jump from their place and expand their horizons towards the ritual. So I did that with a flyer that any loss whatsoever in the process of puja readiness shall be compensated by the individuals in the subsequent days.
And today from morning the atmosphere was festive. The boys were in colour dress (we have an uniform) and the girls were wearing the best attire from their collection. The silk sarees (full and half), designers kurtis etc. and were looking gorgeous. Few boys were in traditional kurta payjamas too. I had given a window of half an hour for completing the rituals. Finally at the launch of puja all important tools and instruments (even a laptop) on the dais were arranged and in the process there is tradition of breaking the pumpkin. For this, the white pumpkin if pre-injected with vermilion and stuffed with coins secretly. Then with burning camphor at the top, it is taken outside the main door and smashed to the ground. The pieces thus produced are put on either side of the door. Coconuts are also broken and the puja is complete. The participants were provided with prasadam and then relaxation for the entire day. No work further. Luckily I had my PC supporting me, so I continued working on it and letting others enjoy the freedom.
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