Mrs. Bhanumati’s Diary


Brahmin woman in her sixties, married and living with husband, one adult daughter living abroad. Educated to secondary level. This diarist did not write an account of her religious practices.

Note: As she has no children living at home, and has a full-time cook as well as a maid-servant, her household duties are not very onerous.

1/7/75 Tuesday

5-6 am. After getting up from bed and washing, clean the puja shelf, light the lamp, worship the deities kept in the pooja shelf, prostration and pray for a good day.

Read a few lessons from religious literature and songs invoking Lord Siva, Goddess and Lord Subramnya[1]. Then take coffee. Attend to the details of the milk stock and preparation of coffee for other members of this family if they are with us.   See that the servants – cook woman and servant woman - take their coffee.

6 am to 8 am. Take a cursory look at the Hindu newspaper. Read the headlines, give instructions to the part-time gardener [about] the clearing the garden, watering the plants etc. give instructions to the cook[2] re menu for morning lunch.  Get ready the vegetables and other materials required for cooking. Check the stock of provisions in store, supervise and give the correct instructions to cook while preparing the special items for meals. Prepare milk and curd and keep ready everything for meals. In the meantime see that this servant woman cleans the interior of this house and washes the flooring properly.

8.30-9.30 am. Relaxing a little. Glancing through the weekly and fortnightly Tamil magazines for (to) which I subscribe and then take the bath and dress for the day and relax a little after worshipping deities and putting flowers and placing rice bowl before God and then getting ready for meals.

10-11am. Morning meal i.e. lunch. Then after setting apart meals for the cook and servant, keep a few items such as sambar, rice and such vegetables as could be preserved for afternoon tiffin and for night meal. The rest will be given to the servant woman. See that kitchen is properly cleaned and the servant woman washes my clothes and hangs them in [on] the roof for drying. After she goes away lock the gate and go for rest.

11am-1 pm. Lying down on a mat read the Hindu [newspaper] fully and portions of the few magazines [for] one hour and then take a nap. Get up at 1 pm. Instruct the cook to get coffee ready, take a cup of coffee and give the cook a cup of coffee.

1 pm to 3 pm. Give instructions to the cook to prepare tiffin. Collect the required articles for such tiffin and sometimes prepare the tiffin myself. In the meantime, read a few portions of the magazines and get by heart some of the songs learned by me and get [to] ready the songs to be taught by me.

3-5 pm. At 3 pm, husband will take tiffin and tea. At 4pm I take my tiffin and orange juice or ? milk.

5-8.30 pm. Short visit to a friend (neighbour), short walk. Reading magazines (Tamil as well as English). At 7.30 pm take a cup of oats or boiled rice porridge.

9 pm go to bed.


1. It is unnecessary to repeat this routine programme for each day as it follows the same set pattern every day

2. Special activities

The special activities programme is generally on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays

Every Tuesday 1-2 pm. Teaching Sanskrit slokas[3] to ladies (friends in and around Shastrinagar and Besantnagar)

Every Thursday 5.15-6.15. Attending bhajan[4] class held in the club premises and learning and singing bhajan songs.

Every Friday. 1-2 pm. Teaching Sanskrit slokas to ladies (friends) whenever convenient

7pm worship at temple.

3. Once in a week whenever convenient between 4 and 6 pm pay a visit to one or other of the relatives or friends.

4. Observing all festival days. Doing puja at home and if convenient going to temple for worship (Besant Nagar temple, Tiruvanmiyur temple and Adayar Ananthapasa mandala swami temple) on important festivals days or Fridays.

* The banner photograph is of a group of women belonging to one of the organisations studied. It is not a photograph of diarists.

[1] Subramanyais another name for the Hindu deity Murugan or Kartikeya is the Hindu god of war and victory, Son of the lord Shiva and Parvati, his brother is Ganesh. Other common spellings are Subrahmanya, Subramania and Subramaniam.

[2] She was the only diarist to have a cook, who would have also been a Brahmin. Note that she distinguishes between the servant and the cook.

[3] Sloka is a verse of two lines in praise of God, usually in Sanskrit.

[4] A Bhajan is any type of devotional song