Monday, January 09, 2012

"Bhaan" - big bellied pot

Good evening friends! It snowed here today. Was so divine. Reminded me of the movie Black. Amitabh and Rani on the bench. Posting the link so all of you can relate. I was listening to the song "Ishq Sufiyana' the whole time. Made for a romantic commute to say the least.

Imagine a life without modern facilities for a nice hot shower after a rough day. It would be miserable wouldn't it? But people in the past did not sit tight. They were creative. They made maximum use of the materials that they found around them to make their lives comfortable. They made the Bhaan to boil water. Now, Bhaan is a konkani word for a big bellied pot. In fact, people with big stomachs are often teased by calling them Bhaanas. The Bhaan is buried in cement half way. The cement square on which the Bhaan is mounted has an opening at the bottom. Firewood found in the backyard is collected and placed inside the opening and lit with fire. This boils the water. Believe it or not, we still have a Bhaan in my parents house. See below for pics.

We had this ever since I was born. The Bhaan comes with a tappil which means a mug. (The small golden mug by the side in the pic.) The tappil is used to take water from  the Bhaan and pour it on the body for a bath. I love taking a bath this way. My Mom calls me balanti which means a brand new Mom. Normally a balanti is given a very hot oil bath till all the hot water from the Bhaan is over. This is to make sure that the Mom is very tired and goes to sleep and get the well deserved rest. It is also believed that the hot bath and the massage will increase the milk in the mothers breasts, so the baby can be well fed. Whenever, I visit my parents, my Mom makes sure that the Bhaan is ready for me. I associate the Bhaan with the diwali festival. On the first day of diwali, Trayodashi, my Mom decorates the Bhaan with flowers and rangoli. On the second day of diwali, Narakachaturdhashi, when Lord Krishna killed Narakasura, Mom fills the Bhaan up to the brim with water and decorates the entire bathroom with rangoli. She writes "Narakasuranthakaya Namah" (end of Narakasura) on the wall. After this, my Dad does a Puja to the Bhaan. The entire family then has a hot oil bath. Awww, I really miss those traditions. I wish my children could experience it. Since they are born here, they cannot relate to these things. Maybe when they grow up, they will want to know more about our culture. I can only hope.

1 comment:

  1. ah the bhaan, brings back old memories ;-(. Miss my mamama and ajja's house.