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My Blessed, Bangalorean….Laptop? Pujas Bless More Than Buildings!

When I heard that my new work laptop had finally arrived at the office I was like a kid in a candy store, super excited to start using it.  While awaiting its arrival I’ve been working off of a desktop PC for a few months now and it has been killing me.  I haven’t felt so limited since back in the 90s when I worked off my last desktop computer because since 1999 I’ve pretty much only worked for high-tech start-ups and travelled quite a lot for work so I’ve always used the tiniest, most lightweight laptops possible.  So…hooray, my new laptop was in and I wanted it now, now, now!

I headed downstairs to pick it up and when I did I was a bit shocked.  I really thought that I was going to receive a shiny, new laptop but that’s not what I was given at all.  The guys handed me a laptop with huge smudge marks all across the lid and the thing looked like it had been run through the mill.  I made a comment like, “I’d be happy to wait a bit longer for a new one” and the guys just looked at me with a quizzical expression and replied that it was indeed new.

I pointed out all the smudges and marks and they smiled and told me that my laptop had been puja’d.  I’m sorry, come again??  Yep, my laptop had a religious experience before it was given to me and it took part in a Hindu puja ritual.  Aside from the standard migration and configuration setup that the systems guys needed to perform, my new laptop had also been blessed before they gave it to me.  The puja ceremony was presided over by a priest from Bangalore who reached out to a deity or two with an offering of flowers, food, incense or other gift and asked that this work tool (the laptop) be blessed and that the work performed on it bring good fortune and prosperity to the company.  During the ceremony the priest marked my laptop with special ointments, coloured white and red in this case, to symbolise that it was now blessed.

In the U.S. and Spain, religion never played a role in anything we did at work.  In fact, in the U.S., I remember the year when even sending Christmas cards became politically incorrect in California given that there is more than one religion and companies didn’t want to offend anyone by excluding their religion – or forcing a religion that wasn’t theirs upon them.  From that year on, Christmas cards became “holiday” or New Year’s greeting cards to avoid any issues.

Okay, I wasn’t there so have no idea if our priest looked anything like this fabulous guy but in my mind he did 🙂

But like most things I encounter in Bangalore, traditions here are night and day different to anything I’ve ever known.  This is India and religion plays a positive and active role in life, even at the office.  We have posters around the office that my team just recently designed that have inspirational messages that reference God.  We hold weekly puja rituals on Friday at our Bangalore HQ that take place in a quiet room with a small shrine, which contains a picture and statue symbolizing a God (I try to go up if I’m at the office on Fridays and take part as it calms me somehow and I really enjoy it).  And we hold company-wide celebrations a couple of times a year that include a very ceremonious in-office puja with a priest to bless the company that is attended by everyone from our Chairman on down.

Once I understood, I was pretty jazzed about having a blessed laptop with those visual markings on it but alas that’s not what I was given in the end.  I mean, come on!  How many Californians will ever have a blessed laptop?  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still have the exact same laptop and I’m very happy with it.  However, after my initial reaction to the “smudge marks” the systems guys thought they’d be sweet and wipe it clean for me…not knowing that I would have loved to carry my puja’d Indian laptop with pride until the markings wore off.  Ahh…bless them for it though!

XOXO Angela

© 2012 Angela Carson

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. PencilGirl

    Hahahahahaha.. 😀 😀 I loved this post!
    Don’t worry though. Wait a few months, and you can get it re-puja’d on Ayudha puja. (Actually more than just a few months. It should come by sometime around October. Maybe around your birthday. :D) Ayudha puja is when all gadgets, houses, vehicles etc. get blessed. You’d probably enjoy it. 🙂

    1. angela_carson

      ohhhhh I am so looking forward to that festival now! I’m a gadget and tech girl so I’m going to really dig in and write something good for it 🙂 Hope you are great, xoxo

  2. Khurshid

    Oh dear! you did make me laugh out loud reading your blog today. You are surely blessed to enjoy such experiences here in India.
    Take care,

    1. angela_carson

      Really? I love to think that is true, thanks for taking time out to comment 🙂 -angela

  3. Mary

    THAT explains why I saw a man dotting markings on the headlights of a car the other day at Chumundi Hill/Chamundeshwari Temple! I was confused! It must have been new…

    1. angela_carson

      My driver blessed his car recently during one of the festivals and it was fantastic. Flowers, markings…it really looked like it was ready for anything 🙂

  4. diamonx

    Dear Bangalorean puja’d laptop customer, today we are just releasing a “puja’d Antivirus”, that can run only on the puja’d systems of infinite versions. If you need one, it could be downloaded from this link for absolutely free with “puja’d- Parsadi” http://www.puja'd_laptop/puja'd antivirus.Bangalore ?????

    1. angela_carson

      Why are you taking the piss out of my sweet puja’d laptop? 🙁 haha

  5. Joseph Hall

    I think I need to get my Laptop blessed in that case!

    1. angela_carson

      Hey Joseph, I think you should… I feel the good vibes seeping into my work already 🙂 -angela

  6. Rahul

    I am quite new to your blog and watever i’ve got from the four posts I’ve read is that you have made it a point to see and highlight the brighter side in everything that is INDIA. Kudos to you on that. This is quite unlike some (not all) of the other India focused blogs by expats who see negative in every positive.

    Another thing that I really liked was your focus on enjoying the good life here, amongst utter chaos.

    I find your “blessed laptop” post quite amusing not because your laptop was puja’d before being handed over to you,but because I don’t think any company will allow this to happen as a standard procedure.

    Yes i do agree that Indians are quite religious and have specific festivals wherein they conduct special puja for all their tech equipment, but haven’t seen or heard of it esp. in the nouveau IT-BPO sector. Maybe in small companies they do.

    However my best guess is that the IT guys were having a wee bit of fun at ur expense.

    1. angela_carson

      Wow, thanks for your comment. I like that line “enjoying the good life here, amongst utter chaos” a lot so be prepared, I might steal it for a blog title soon 🙂 (if that is okay!).

      And we really have a wonderfully unique company in that there are weekly pujas, we hold ceremonies to bless the company and all computers, floors, sites periodically. And believe it or not, we really do have all the biz dev and executive laptops puja’d. Our company is rich is history here in India and I really like that aspect of it very much. In Spain or SoCal we have happy hour with booze to celebrate milestones so imagine how cool this is for me 🙂 –Angela

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