Meet Pooja

Pooja, who goes by the name of Pooh (not the bear) is the quintessential young girl with red and purple highlights in her waist length hair. 

She loves to wear ripped jeans and crop tops and has a skull shaped tattoo on her wrist much to the chagrin of her mother.

Her day begins at nine in the morning when her mother douses her with a jug of cold water and says,  “Don’t come crying to us if your college debars you for inadequate attendance!”

Pooh is everyone teacher’s nighmare and every boy’s daydream.  

She prefers to saunter inside the class lazily every morning, casually dismiss off her teacher’s reprimands and wink at the boy sitting next to her. 

But there is only one time in the year when this IndiShe has to shed the Pooh-avatar and become the good-two-shoes Pooja. 

This she does to please her favourite deity, Ganpatiji. 

On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi,  Pooja is born. She gets up early in the morning to oil her hair and makes one neat braid. Her cropped shirts and jeans are tossed aside in the favour of a bright hued silk sari stolen from her mother’s cupboard.

But she does not let go of Pooh’s fashion sense and stylishly drapes her sari to accentuate her waistline much to the dismay of her strict grandmother. She hides her tattoos under her chunky gold bangles filched from her elder sister’s jewellery box.  Her skull anklet is replaced by tinkling silver anklets on both the feet.

“Pooh,  are you ready for we have go welcome the Ganpati? ” Her mother asks.  

“It’s Pooja now for the next ten days, mom!” Pooja says.

Ganesh Chaturthi is the time when people welcome Lord Ganpati into their homes by bringing his idol. This God of all things sweet and good is worshipped for the next ten days. Numerous goodies are prepared to offer to Him.  

Pooja who refuses to even lift a spoon helps her mother prepare a plethora of sweets like modaks,  puranpolis and ladoos. A stream of people keep visiting the house to pay obeisance to the God and seek his blessings. 

Today, Pooja, whose sentences begin end with a variety of expletives, is softly seen singing bhajans and playing the harmonium.  The street dancing queen breaks out into Bharatnatyam to please her favourite deity. 

She fields away the marriage proposals that the neighbours ply her mother with.

 “Your daughter is cultured and beautiful. I would love  for her to marry my nephew, Varun.” Mrs Kapoor, her neighbour says. Her mother beams with pride. 

Pooja looks at her mother venomously and slithers silently away.

 After immersing her favourite deity (made of organic materials) in the building pond,  Pooja morphs into Pooh once again.

Her boyfriend zooms into the building complex on his bike. 

 Pooh calls out to Mrs Kapoor sitting on her balcony on the first floor, who had so diligently offered a marriage proposal to her mother, “Auntie, give my regards to your handsome Varun!”

The gobsmacked lady eyes Pooja. 

“Is that you, Pooja?  Why are your clothes ripped and what is this devilish mark on your arm?  Your mother needs to hold a puja to erase Satan’s marks. “

“Call me Pooh,  auntie! ” She smirks and rides off to the next party leaving being a bewildered neighbour.

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