I am just over a year old. I am at my grandfather’s place. It is some special occasion, a festival maybe. Arrangements for some kind of Pooja are going on. Pooja is a prayer ritual to host, honour and worship the deities.
The ladies- mom and grandma, are dressed in Soula. Soula is a set of separately washed clothes which are only worn on sacred occasions such as this one. Nobody (with regular clothes) is allowed in the kitchen, let alone near the ladies in Soula, for it challenges the sanctity of it.
My grandfather is sitting at the Pooja platform with the Guru ji, placing idols of Gods on the platform. The platform is decorated with fruits and flowers. It all looks exquisite. On the other side of the platform, Laddoos – ball shaped sweets – are sitting in a huge bowl.
It is early morning and every one has bathed already. I have just been bathed too, and left undressed, for I may not understand Soula and go in the kitchen anyway.
As I come out towards the Pooja area, the platform catches my attention. I see the fruits and flowers of various colours. I see the Laddoos. The Laddoos are Prasad. Prasad is the food offered to God. After completion of the ritual, it is distributed in His name as a good sign.
I see the Laddoos and start running towards it. I pick up a laddoo and run into the kitchen. The whole scene would have been blasphemous if I were a grown up. But everybody starts laughing. I run to my mom and take a bite from the Laddoo, with my face buried in her saree.