Ever since the boys were really small (about a year old i think) they have been fascinated by the little altar at home. They enjoy watching us pray in the morning and in fact have a cute ritual with Dad where they ask him to name the different deities in the altar who they then proceed to salute with a reverential namaste. They love puja time and enjoy listening to some of the aartis.
I let the boys play with the puja stuff…they have been carefully observing and when they play it is interesting to see how they do some of the stuff they have seen us doing. Sid, especially at the temple, is worth watching. He stands in front of the idol, his eyes closed tightly, praying in his mind for God alone knows what. Then he puts his forehead down on the ground before lying prostrate and offering his namaskar. Then he leans towards the incense or the diya and guides the smoke with his hands to his head. I look at him and wonder how this same boy can be running around the house jumping on and off sofas and grabbing anything his brother takes!
They love to do their own puja. So they sit with all the silver puja stuff…the little plate, the incense holder, the silver lamp, the little puja bell and can be at it for quite some time…and look so happy doing it. There is a little brass idol i have of baby Krishna that they really like to include in their detailed puja play!
And, they are slowly learning some of the prayers…one for the morning and one that we say in the evening when we light a lamp. Of course, the words are quite garbled and the kids have substituted some words with others that make more sense to them. I heard Sid very seriously singing “shubham karoti kalyaanlaa” instead of shubham karoti kalyanam” …He knows that there is a place called Kalyan and i guess for him it made more sense to say Kalyanla (at kalyan) rather than kalyanam which is a sanskrit word they are unlikely to have heard outside of the prayer context.