Folk Tales of Gujarat (and Jhaverchand Meghani)

by Vandana P. Soni | 2014 | 98,532 words

This study represents an English translation of the Gujarat Folk tales composed by Gujarati poet Jhaverchand Meghani (1896-1947). Meghani was born in Chotila and left an important landmark on the history of Saurashtra and Gujarat folklore, Indian poetry, journalism and other literary sciences....

Chapter 14 - Noli Nom

[On the ninth day of the Shravan month a woman having a child observes the ritual of ‘noli nom” by eating only one chapatti made of millet.]

The childless Brahmin couple earned their livelihood by begging flour. One-day the Brahmin; went out. Once unfortunate Brahmin lady relaxed by making the door’ s thresh -hold as her pillow. When she lied down her sight fell on the roof of house and she saw a marvel. What marvel she saw? A male and a female sparrow were sitting. A female sparrow was building a nest whereas a male sparrow was spoiling a nest. Again and again a female sparrow continued to build a nest and a male sparrow kept on spoiling a nest. A female sparrow asked ‘Oh Chaka Rana, Why are you spoiling our nest?’ A male sparrow replied. ‘Oh Chaki Rani, husband and wife of this house are childless, there is no little child. Thus not a single morsel of grain will ever be scattered in the house. Think, think oh Chaki rani in such a house what our progeny shall eat? How will they grow up?’ The talk of ‘Chaka” and ‗ Chaki” made lady cry. A Brahmin returned home. On coming home he asked, Oh, Gorani, why are you crying?’ Gorani told him about the whole talk of a female and a male sparrow. Next day a Brahmin went to beg. On his way, he watched one mongoose that was hunted by dogs. He lifted the mongoose and brought the wounded mongoose home. On arriving, he informed the Brahmin woman ‘Oh woman! Nourish it, feed it, enjoy and forget your pain of being childless.’ Gorani reared up mongoose like her own child. Because of this goodwill, she also conceived. Due to mongoose’s blessings after nine months, she delivered a baby boy. A son grew day by day. One day a gorani went to fetch water. She suggested a mongoose: ‘Please look after a brother, ok! If he cries then make him swing. I am going to fetch water. By nodding its head assertively mongoose gave assurance to mother that he will look after the child. Sitting near a cradle a mongoose rocked a cradle by a string that was tied to it. Suddenly one poisonous dark black snake came near. A mongoose noticed it and sighed with fear,

‘Alas! Soon it will kill my brother!’ By thinking so mongoose ran to save the child, he held a snake by its mouth and made seven pieces of snake.

‘Now rush fast and give good news to mother.’

After thinking so mongoose crawled, lat pat, lat pat forwardly but immediately near the water pump on the middle of the road mongoose came across a mother. Mother saw that mongoose was littered with blood. Stains of blood were apparent on mouth, stains of blood were seen on leg; stains of blood was on each part of body; the whole body was smeared with blood. On seeing this; lady became panic. She took it for the granted that shameless mongoose must have strangled her son. She felt that as mongoose was a beast; it did not consider the care and nourishment that he had received! The lady lost the temper and resentfully threw a pot at mongoose. Soon delicate waist of a mongoose broke. The lady started panting; she became panic and ran at home. On reaching home she saw her son happily licking his thumb and making joyous babbling sounds; and noticed that near the child there laid seven pieces of a snake. ‘Oh! I am a killer! I am a culprit! I sinner, have killed mongoose who saved my son.’ By making such an intense bewailing she fell asleep by keeping her head on the thresh hold of house. Meanwhile with a broken waist mongoose in a dragging manner fearfully entered into home. ‘How can it feel better without a brother? How can it live without playing in its mother’ s womb?‘After entering into the house it fearfully intruded into the pot of churning buttermilk.

The lady got up very late in the dark evening. Due to excessive and heart-wrenching cry the eyes of lady had turned red. In the dark she poured butter milk into the pot and added some boiling water into it. In affliction she started churning buttermilk very fast. Dham!

Dham; a churning stick started to revolve in the fast motion. Buttermilk became ready.

But when a lady took butter out of it, then she found pieces of mongoose in it.

‘Oh! Oh! I am a killer! The remaining one, I the sinner has completed it!’

She put an idhoni on head, took a pot of buttermilk and carrying child the lady rushed out of home. She panted severely. Tears consistently rolled down her cheek.

She came across one old lady who was sitting on the way. The old woman asked ‘lady, where are you going?’ ‘I am going to make my mongoose alive otherwise I will give an end to mine as well as my son’ s life.“Would you please massage my head first?’

‘Ok mother, now what is the question of time when the right time has slipped away? There is no question of fearing anything when one has lost every thing.’

By saying so, the lady put down her son as well as a pot of buttermilk on the ground. By putting her every work aside she sincerely started to massage old lady’s head. As old woman bruised head started getting relief simultaneously on the other side in the pot of butter milk along with the sound of dabk, dab…k; the pieces of mongoose that were lying in the pot started getting life. Soon a mongoose became alive. A mongoose leaped up and sat in the lap of the Brahmin woman. The lady embraced mongoose lovingly and cried her heart out with joy. On recognizing an old woman as a goddess the Brahmin lady touched the feet of an old woman.

On getting pleased goddess advised ‘See lady, observe Noli Nom every year. Don’ t eat wheat on that day. Don‘t make dough of wheat flour. Don‘t churn buttermilk. On that day don‘t eat ghee, butter, milk curd or butter milk.‘

‘As Noli nom ma was pleased with the lady, may she be pleased with all!’

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