Bhagavathi Sevai Payasam

Meera Balasubramanian


Sweet, Kerala

Meera Balasubramanian

Meera was born and brought up in Madras, Tamil Nadu. She graduated from Stella Maris College with a BA in Sociology, and got her MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Manila. She has enjoyed living in Manila, Istanbul and Hong Kong, and currently lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.

My parents, Brahmins from Palghat, Kerala, were great devotees of Goddess Durga. In the 1970s, they often conducted Bhagavathi Sevai, a special puja for Goddess Durga, at our home in Madras on Friday evenings. I fondly remember the excitement of the preparations as well as the hustle and bustle of the extended family.

My father conferred with the vadhyar (priest) to prepare for the veneration. My mother went to the Mylapore market to buy the fruits and vegetables, flowers, banana leaves, cotton wicks, camphor, kumkum and rose garlands. She hired a cook to help prepare the elaborate evening meal, while her brother, Raasha mama, made the Bhagavthi payasam, also called nei payasam, the traditional sweet offering (prasadam) in the Kerela Durga temples.

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