I have forgotten the year when I got married to Haladar Das Mohapatra. Before my marriage, I was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. My day begins with his name only. After my marriage, when for the first time I saw Lord Jagannath, I felt it was Him only. That's how time flies.
I was told that my husband was born after a lot of puja-patha and his mother had conceived him when she was almost 50. His father had passed away when he was only eight.
Over the years, he struggled a lot. I have been a witness to that. Now because of His blessings only, we are comfortable. In fact, being the wife of a daitapati we consider ourselves as the sakhee (friend) of the Lord first, then comes husband and the family.
I have been blessed with three sons and all of them are now married. I have been lucky that due to the blessings of the Lord, I have got three beautiful daughters-in-law.
All of them are inclined to Lord Jagannath culture. I continue to tell them that whatever we have got in our life, it is because of His blessings only. Not only me, but also my daughters-in-law have realised that they have stepped into the house because of His wishes.
When I got married, Puri was not the big town it is today. During the month-long rath yatra, we never used to treat guests in our house. It is the same today. Even if my parents came, they were politely told not to enter. In fact, we maintain a life of austerity and our life sustains only on rice, mung dal, green banana and spinach. We also abstain from vegetable that are not allowed inside the temple during rath. Besides, we live on the mahaparsad, coming from the temple. Over the years, I have realised that such restrictions are good for us and help us maintain a disciplined life.
My husband is very reserved and a man of principles. He has already led the team of daiatapatis to search darubrahma during Nabakalebar. He is very particular about not breaching any rule or custom. He will tolerate anything, but not compromise on principles. I am happy that my sons, though highly educated, are following in the footsteps of their father. When I notice them going to the temple bare-bodied with just a scarf, I feel really happy and pray to the Lord that the age-old tradition continues.