Just before the prayers for the house started, all I could do was to walkabout, sat down, walked, checked the full moon outside, sat down, walked and then looked at the watch.
It was my first “major” prayers and I was anxious to see what happens but the long wait was killing me. Then I got an unexpected break. My father in law arrived in KL for the prayers and needed a ride to the new house. His other son-in-law could not make it, so I volunteered to go instead. It was a better way to kill time instead of lazing around in the new house.
So evil of me, I dragged my brother to go along with me to keep me company during the drive there. We picked up my father in law from Puduraya at about 2.30 am. Surprisingly the area near Puduraya was congested with cars and people despite the time.
Of course, there were some suspicious-looking characters waiting along the dark alleys but made a quick disappearance when a police patrol car stopped by.
We returned home by 3.00 am and an hour later, an old beat-up Proton Iswara stopped in front of the house carrying 2 priests (father and son team) and their young assistant. The younger priest and their assistant quickly arranged the things needed for the prayers whilst the older priest chit-chatted with us.
I was wearing my shorts and a T-shirt which the older priest quickly noticed. He reminded me that during the prayers, I need to be in dhoti and no shirt is allowed.
By the time, we were ready for the start of the prayers, it was already 4.30 am. I quickly changed to dhoti with the help of my brother and my leather belt to keep it steady, otherwise, potential embarrassment might be caught on camera. So, make sure those dhotis are tight and safe. Without any shirt on my back and being so early in the morning, I was almost shivering as I walked down the staircase.
My wife faired better as she was wearing a comfortable sari. We got down and sat in front of the priest who was sitting in front of the deity pictures (my favourite Lord Ganesh was in the middle). The rest of the family members sat around us and my sister took charge of the camera.
The prayers started off rather simple, chanting couple mantras and blessing with flowers. After almost 15 minutes, the priest started the fire in a specially prepared container. He added ghee to fuel the fire whilst getting ready the things that we need put into the fire.
I noticed several nuts, barks, roots as some of the items for the fire (most cannot be recognized). While he chanted the mantra, we slowly added those items into the fire. Since we were doing the ceremony in the wee hours, it was rather comfortable sitting down in front of the cosy fire.
Once done, all of us were ushered out of the house where the priest continued with some mantras and asked me and my wife to sit down at the main entrance of the house. I recalled the time as just passed 5 something in the morning. Once we have sat down, the priests poured cold water on us whilst continuing the mantra. It was seen as washing away the bad luck but at 5 in the morning, that was unexpected torture.
We left standing shivering for a while before we were allowed to go back into the house for a quick change of clothes. At this juncture, I need to remind those will be doing the same – make sure you have an extra dhoti and more importantly extra underwear. Luckily I had both, so I was spared the potential embarrassment.
We returned down with dry clothes and we were ushered into the kitchen for the “cooking of milk” ceremony. Since we had not officially moved to the new house, what we did was to bring along a portable gas cooker (small one).
But what we failed to check was whether it was working properly. We had to do “on the spot minor repair” before we could start this ceremony. So, the next reminder to you all is that make sure you have something to “boil” the milk.
Once that is done, breakfast was served (all vegetarian) and among the first to be served is the priest who had done a superb and well-organized job (compared to similar prayers done by another priest). They were rushing for other prayers in Banting, so their breakfast was a quick one. The older priest gathered us around and informed us on some of the things that we needed to do for the next few days and once we had moved in.
By 6.30 am, it was all over and the priest left. More relatives dropped by then and we were busy entertaining them. Most were given a “guided tour” of the new house whilst others were exploring the neighbourhood. I sat down on the living room enjoying the morning sun as it hits the house interior.
It was tiring and by the 11.00 am things were getting calmer. We finally managed to get a short nap in the new house. It felt good after “marathon” that we had for the last 2 days.
The only side effect from the prayers is that I have caught a bad cold and feeling a bit feverish. There is still about 2 – 3 weeks before we make the big move to the new house permanently.
For that too, in God, we trust to be done well.