So. In my mother’s endless quest for more grandchildren than she knows what to do with, I have been instructed to buy a panchang. For those of you in the dark (from me, who has had an occasional glimpse of light and winced) a panchang is a Vedic calendar based largely on the phases of the moon with an occasional nod to the sun, the nine* real planets in our solar system and two mythical ones (Yes, we have mythical planets. Don’t you?).
The panchang is pretty much the how-to-live-every-day-of-your-life guide for all good, religious, Hindus (I score exactly zero out of three). It has every single day of (however remote) religious significance marked out on it and if you’re even borderline familiar with Hinduism, that is a LOT of days. There is ekadashi, which happens once every month – I know some people fast on this day, there is amavas, which is essentially a moonless night, so I’m assuming people switch on the street-lights this day, and a whole plethora of other days which I have no clue about. All I know is that some involve fasting, some involve feasting and some involve wearing yellow clothes and feeding cows (unless this one of my mother’s twisted little ways of getting a laugh off her children).
’What does this have to do with my mother’s potential grandchildren?’, you might ask.
‘Apparently, lots’, I will say.
You see, since my mother has realised that mere badgering has done nothing to increase her tribe, she has switched to plan B i.e. tempt your daughter with the promise of “super” offspring. Apparently, doing the deed on days specifically earmarked for er…such activity will ensure that the resultant bundle of joy will be the kind of bundle of joy that is the very epitome of joyousness. As they were wont to say in shady seventies Hindi movies, “Heera hoga, heera!!" (He will be a diamond, a diamond!).
But it’s not as simple as it sounds. You can’t ‘just do it’ (sorry nike) on the days circled in red marker. There is A Process. The two parties involved must first have gone though a period of celibacy (ten days, I think). On the designated day, when the clock strikes the magic hour, both parties must bathe, wear clean clothes and light a diya in front of bhagwaan-jis of their choosing. They must then invoke their individual ancestors, inform them of their intentions to further (deepen?) their gene pools, seek their blessings and then get down and do the dirty.
Because of course, *nothing* gets you in the mood like the mental image of an audience of stern-faced gods and grey-beard ancestors watching you as you get it on.
*or is that eight now?