Her huge thematic golu displays are the talk of the town and she comes up with interesting and thoughtful themes every year. Though there is a dip in the excitement surrounding golu hopping because of the new normal, Nandhini doesn't want to stop doing what she loves the most — she has displayed nine thematic golus at her house for this Navarathri. "From last month onwards, people started asking about the golu festival at my house. Since the celebrations are subdued, I didn't want to go overboard. This time, I have kept traditional golu padi, mupperum deviyar, perumal, krishnaleela, ayyappan 18 padi and 3,500 Ganesha idol collection. The highlights of this year's golu decoration are ‘corona’ ganesha idol and kolam tribute to SP Balasubramaniam. The 7-foot tall idol of Ganesha has eight hands. On the left four hands, he holds doctors, police, NGOs, and conservancy workers and on the right four hands, he holds a sanitiser, a mask, a family image that depicts bonding and immunityboosting veggies," says Nandhini.
Another highlight of Nandhini's golu set up is her kolam tribute to legendary singer SP Balasubramaniam. "His death was a shock to many. So, I decided to pay tribute to the singer by creating a kolam depicting the singer. I have also made a Siva lingam made up of bangles. Every year, around 5,000 to 6,000 people visit my house to see the golu set up during the nine days. It's a huge celebration not only for us but for the entire neighbourhood. Owing to the pandemic, I have already announced that visitors aren't allowed this time. I might be doing a Facebook live in the coming days so that people from across the globe can view my golu festival at home," she smiles.
Known as 'Golu Gopal', Harigopal and his family from Mogappair have been keeping golu for the past 35 years. Every year, they invite people to visit their annual golu display. "Though we want to cut the chain of coronavirus, I don't want to cut the chain of golu keeping tradition. We will be displaying golu but won't be having any particular theme as such. Also, we are not inviting anyone like previous years — it is not easy to manage the crowd,” quips Harigopal.