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A half day of Maun Vrat

Date: 13/12/2020

From 22:00 yesterday, I had been on a 15-hour digital fast and maun vrat (yes!). It ended at 13:00 today. Here is a brief recap of the “silent” times.

22:00 to 8:00 – no problem at all. Lay around dreaming of vacations and drifted off to deep sleep.

Woke up and wordlessly bowed with folded palms to my darling mumma and dear little sister (R), while a voice within me chirped, “Buddha be blessed.” My mum amusedly bowed back while R bowed back energetically. She also pulled my leg by asking if I would not respond or speak, and exulting. This, has anyway, been the uniform reaction of my near and dear loved ones, when I had mentioned taking a maun vrat. (You all are reading this and you know who you are!).

I have to add that my grandmum’s help, Mallika Akka on learning about my maun vrat said, “Nalladu. Inniki Nimmadiya Irunga”, to my mum, roughly translating to “Good, have peace today.”

Now comes the highlight of the fast. As it is in every self-respecting household in Madras, we have a separate tap from where we get “Metro water.” In this house that we live, the metro water tap is located in the kitchen, along with the tap for the groundwater, and a tap connected to the metro water storage tank. So, in all, we have three taps fixed over the kitchen sink which is deep enough to hold a bucket inside.

We get metro water at 6:00 a.m. from Monday to Saturday, and at 7:00a.m. on Sundays. The water has to get automatically collected in the tank. But then, it is too mainstream and unexciting for my household. The pipe connecting the tank to the metro water inlet has water pressure issues. So, we have a water hose pipe, the flexible ones used to spray water in gardens, connecting the metro water tap to the tank. This pipe is connected to the metro water tap when the metro water comes and then is either left as it is or attached to the groundwater pipe so that we do not witness Bernoulli’s principles in action along with a resulting deluge to be mopped.

R has a muscle tear in her right hand and so is not supposed to carry heavy things. Today, she needed help to fill in some metro water in my grandmum’s washroom and so asked me to help. I readily responded. While the kitchen sink is deep enough to hold a bucket, it is not convenient to pull out a filled bucket as the gap between the three taps and the sink edge is too small, and requires an intricately practical understanding of working with angles, tangents, and dynamics.

Given my understanding of all these three, I confidently plonked the bucket in, filled the water, and lo, behold- could not pull the bucket out without risking copious water spillage. Somehow, I applied mathematical physics and managed to wriggle the bucket out when suddenly I was getting showers of blessings from above, or so I thought. Just in time to see that I had yanked the hose pipe off the tap and was holding it to my face- Bernoulli’s principles and the filled water tank took care of the rest.

As I was on a maun vrat I could not yell out to my dad for help. Hence, I stood. Struggling with the bucket in one hand and fitting the hose pipe with the other. Eventually, the situation was suitably repaired.

In the meanwhile I had these 5 incidents cropping up in my mind, simultaneously-yes, that’s how my mind works.

  1. I thought of my mum, when she had her tracheotomy, was bed-ridden, and could not speak. She used to hit the edge of her bed with a spoon to summon me. The first time she did it, she wore a triumphant look at her jugaad, while I was torn between tears and laughter at the situation.

  2. I thought of my dad, every time he has to answer my mum’s calls from the adjacent rooms when he is in the midst of gorging on a laddoo- even if it is the gigantic Tirupati laddoo, father of mine likes to try and devour it as much as a whole as possible. So essentially, his mouth is full with absolutely no space for anything to enter, and none at all for sound waves to exit.

  3. I thought of my Amama/maternal grandmum who lost her ability to speak as she grew old with Alzheimers. She would hold my hand and laughingly convey something which I could never fathom.

  4. I thought of R, when she was a baby of 1.5-2 years. She would excitedly wait for me to come from school in the afternoon (I was all of 4 years old), and jump excitedly going, “Di Di.” She could say only so much but it is an enduring memory for me.

  5. I thought of myself as a school kid, when I used to keep falling ill with a cold and fever and would wake up with my throat hurting and unable to speak. My mother used to tell me that gargling with warm water and salt would help my badly sore throat. I would dutifully gargle and then try yodeling as someone had to carry on the legacy of Kishore Da!

The rest of the maun vrat was a breeze! Thank you for reading. Cheers until next time!

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