Last night I sat mesmerised watching David Attenborough. I love the man. The sensitivity and sensibility he displays while dealing with and explaining his subjects is brilliant. The connections he makes are awe-inspiring, to the point of leaving me speechless. I watched him sitting among a group of Chimps, very amused. I was captivated by how seamlessly he navigated through topics and landed at ‘culture’. The term is loosely defined in my head, but it did get me thinking and I was off on my own tangent.
Ma is Kachchi and Dhun is Parsi. I am the resultant mongrel. Yes, I am the one, that through school checked the ‘other’ box in forms where they asked about ‘Religion’ (though now, I’m not sure how religion figured in any of those forms). That one tiny check-box got me so confused and I struggled, while my peers ticked away with clarity. I suppose I was comfortable with the idea of not belonging to any one space and the idea of having to choose, threw me off.
I enjoyed the union of cultures that pervaded my life, but last night I started scanning my memory for instances of customs followed in my house. I stumbled on one that right now, is intriguing to me. On any festive occasion (not necessarily Parsi), my Grandmum would go around the house making a certain kind of pattern, mostly at every entrance/door. For years together I saw it happen and I never asked why. I am now very curious and I have only Google to ask. For shame.
The ground is first wet with a mop, chalk powder filled in the stencils and almost slapped on the floor. The writing with the Fish motif says ‘sukhi raho’. I’ve seen the fish motif recur in mithai, rangolis and making an appearance in other forms on auspicious occasions, but I have no clue why.
What does it signify? Anyone want to shed light on this? Any ideas/vague guesses?