Monday, August 24, 2009

Michami Dukkadam

I've always been a great believer in confessions: maybe all those stories of Hindu mythology where repentance equalled a spiritual and karmic cleansing, coupled with my convent education, have super-glued it to my sub-conscious.

When I was a teenager and did things or thought of things that I was too embarrassed or afraid to tell my mum, I confessed to my diary, spelling it out frankly, sometimes hoping that mum would pick the diary up, and read it, and I would be absolved of all guilt. That she was fiercely adamant about giving me my own privacy, is a different matter.

Marrying into a Jain family, and living with Jain in-laws (I live in a joint family: you do know that right?!), I've come to value the ritual of Michami Dukkadam immensely. On the eighth day of Paryushan, the Jain festival of fasting, on Samvatsari, Jains wish one another, big and small, with a firmly clasped Namaste and a body posture bent at the spine, asking for forgiveness, for hurt caused through thoughts and deeds, knowingly and unknowingly committed. One day when you must ask for forgiveness even from your enemies. It's a gratifying scene to witness grandparents bowing to grandchildren, young children bowing to their friends. There is no age for the asking of forgiveness, no gender, no economical or social status.

My sincerest Michami Dukkadam yesterday went to Nino:
For those first five days when I made him feel unwanted, unwelcome and insecure. For my lack of patience; for my inability to understand that his boisterous ways are not as much a lack of discipline as it is in his nature; for exposing him to the complications of adult relations and for taking it for granted that he does not understand the undercurrents of tensions. For my inabilities, for my excesses, for my demons, for my errors and for my tears: Michami Dukkadam, dearest son.

Amma always said bending makes you stronger: and yet I failed to bow yesterday and respond to Nino's Dad's greetings of forgiveness: there were too many currents flowing within me and the froth of the churning waves refused to let me surface and reciprocate, perhaps because I knew the gesture was only ritualistic. And yet, it deserved a reply, because I too have much to be apologetic for, my whip-lash of a tongue being predominant. It is not easy to live with someone who is a fierce critic: I've seen it too close to not know how damaging words can be.


Aneela Z said...

NM...with you today and in the days ahead.
I wore blue nail enamel (on my toes) for one of the wedding neel kamals should stick together!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nino's mum, you express so well! I hope you are able to forgive him, whether he seeks it or not... because he does seem to be a good person from what comes across from your blog. And you do seem like a generous person, regardless of the fiery temper :)

And i could identify with most of the feelings you had with your little one! I think you are a swell mom!


sole said...

Beautiful and touching! Back with a bang NM.

I learnt something new today and its such a heart warming ritual.Wish every religion could mimic something similar, and let go the big E. Realizing one's short comings/mistakes is already a step towards success and a happy future! Well done NM. I am sure the next time around you will be more forgiving, with some blessings from the almighty too!

nitya said...

Ah,we all get to fall in love with Nino again...
Arjun is not sure but he thinks he may have seen Nino when he was a baby... :))
Hugs to the both of you!

Altoid said...

What a neat idea NM. I am so impressed with this little ritual. Do realize though that letting go is a slow process, rushing it will only ruin the results. So take your time :-) and while you're at it, smell the roses!

much love

Choxbox said...

hugs nino's mum.

its so easy to say michami dukkadam to randon folks you meet in the kshamaapana sammelan. its toughest to say it to those nearest.

the way i do it is that i brush off any irritation i have with whoever fits into that category and mentally forgive them or ask for forgiveness. then after a few hours i go to say michami dukkadam and its much easier then.

my ILs who are not jains also ack this ritual now.

however idealistic this ritual sunds, i have seen it work. my uncles once had a nasty tiff (business related, what else?) and it almost blew up to ambani like proportions. kshamaapana divas saw some major egos geing set aside and brothers embracing.

Choxbox said...

(sorry for all those typos)

ra said...

maybe you will both be able to ask each other's forgiveness at a private time.

Choxbox said...

came back to tell you this - we are bound to meet some time somewhere. just read your comment at ra's. my roots are in kachchh :)

Sands said...

lovely post. I had heard about this ritual from a good friend and thought it was a lovely tradition. So much peace can come from practicing this from the heart :)

Suku said...

your post about your mom left me speechless, almost teary eyed. i am sure she is very proud of you, wherever she may be.
and my michami dukkadam will also go to my two little ones....
you write so well.

Suku said...

i am sooo sorry..nino's mom..i meant the post about your 'grandmom'
first time de-lurling and what a stupid mistake i made. please accept my sincerest apologies.

Solilo said...

NM, Just yesterday a friend told me about this ritual and now after reading this post, I would love to follow something like this. It is not easy to pardon or to ask for forgiveness and of course compulsion shouldn't be there reason but at least people get a chance to think.

I am tweeting this post. Touching!

Anonymous said...

what an amazing ritual, I never knew of this. Thanks for sharing.

Winnie the poohi said...

It doesnt matter when you ask.. but you are asking for forgiveness now! Thats the best part :)


hitch writer said...

touching post.. !!

I was born in a jain family but somehow drifted away...

from the religion... not the family !!

but Michami dukkadam is a good thing...

Nino's Mum said...

Aneela - thank you and hugs. I like the sound of the neel-kamals!

Anjali - He is - That's where it gets tricky :)Thank you dear friend.

Sole - you nailed it. The ritual is performed after worshipping god, where you ask him to help you truly seek forgiveness. I missed out that bit. :) spoken so wisely, as always.

Nitya - I thought of you when I uploaded it. much love to Arjun - I hope he gets better soon.

Alty - :) i know. Although, sometimes, forgiveness needs to be offered quickly to truly soothe.

chox - love you loads, chox. I've yet to see the inherent miracle that is in this ritual, and I am glad to hear the story of your uncles. Kachch? :) yay!

Ra - We did. Yesterday.

Sands - thank you: and send me a link to your blog, now!

SBora - :) not to worry. Thank you for your kind words. welcome here.

Solilo/Preeti - thankyou! hugs back.

Winnie the Poohi - :) welcome here. well said!

Hitch writer - nice handle. we've all been there: hope you find what works for you.

Smitha said...

This is such a touching post! I had heard about Michami Dukkadam earlier- but you have explained it so so beautifully! I think it is such a beautiful thing to follow.

dipali said...

What an amazing ritual. How wonderful a tool to reduce the ego's interference in the the heart's relationships of love.
This is seriously something worth emulating.
It's great having YOU back!

dipali said...

I love Nino's pic in the header! Such a lovely smile:)

Nino's Mum said...

Smitha - thankyou!

Dipali - It's good to be back :) Thank you! Nino's stuffing his face with chocolate cake in the header pic.

Swati said...

Hi, this is beautiful, but don't berate yourself unnecessarily - there is a time for everything, even for forgiving.

Here is something to distract you: a new game. Check my last post at

In love with my life said...

Dear NM...what you did with Nino is not easy. To accept and acknowledge is a big step.
Hoping both of you are able to forgive each other and but this behind you soon.
Hugs ,and lots of prayers for you.

Sands said...

it is :)

Tharini said...

“There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.” goes a quote I heard recently. Sometimes, i think we take this road all too less.

Na? :)