Friday, September 20, 2019

Mot Mauli

To the Kolis she is Mot Mauli. Goddess discovered like a pearl in the sea. She was found by a Koli in the 1600s. Established in a place of worship. The colonizers turned her into Mother Mary on the Mount and built a chapel. Yes now you know her as Mount Mary.

I remember as a child we went to the Mot Maulichi jatra. Entire Colaba Koliwada went in ST buses hired specifically for the purpose. We would start from Colaba and reach Vandre now Bandra by dusk, sing songs along the way. The songs however were mostly of Malhari Martand, Ekvira Aai or Tulja bhavani. On reaching the foothills we would hop off the bus and climb the stairs uphill to the basilica. The steps lined on both sides with paraphernalia for offerings, candles, wax figurines shaped in various parts of the body. It was believed that whatever you offered to Mot Mauli you received in blessing. My Gopi atya, who took me along always made me choose a wax book. She always wanted me to study well. I think I was blessed.

After worship in a brightly lit and decorated church we then went to the nearby garden and the entire community of Colaba Koliwada who were visiting would sit down for a picnic dinner under the open starry sky.

On the return journey we would sing Bambai se aya mera dost and fall asleep immediately after a funfiled evening tired to the bones, reaching Colaba mostly after midnight. A trip to Vandre was like traveling so faaar for us Colabkar in those days. Vandre back then was not the dense concrete jungle it is now.

So much has changed while its still much the same. As a child I remember finding the basilica an imposing structure on the hill. Today it looks cowered down by the neighborhood buildings on the hill. The door and arch looks smaller as I step in. Yet Mot Mauli appears the same, perched on her high altar and looking down kindly on the head that bows at her feet. She has been vandalized I know in more ways than one yet she still gives peace.

Fact update: A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. Wikipedia.

This was an outing with my husband Ardaviraf. We later went to Bandra sea side for cool fresh air. A very memorable evening. 

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