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Archive for the ‘festival’ Category

Ganpati Bappa Morya/Eid Mubarak

Ganesh Chaturthi is almost upon us and I feel that familiar longing for my dear old city again. Most times I miss Hyderabad, but it is during festivals that my heart aches.

Eid was special because my friend always invited me to their place to have yummy sheer korma. Knowing that I was a vegetarian, she would instruct her cook to keep my share of the yummy dessert separate from the other stuff being cooked in the kitchen. The sheer korma used to be heaven on earth. A few of my muslim classmates also brought the dessert to school for all of us.

Ganesh Chaturthi festivities started a few days before the day itself, when I, my sister and mom would go out to buy clothes for us, then on the way back we would shop for all kinds of sweets. Then a day before Ganesh Chaturthi we sisters and dad would hop on our scooter and go to old city to get our family Ganpati. Most years me and sister would get our own special, small clay Ganpati to be decorated and maintained exclusively by us. The day of the puja itself would dawn with us having a nice oil massage and basking in the sun for a few minutes and then having a nice long bath, wearing our new clothes and going out into the garden to fetch flowers and leaves of all kinds. We would also make a trip to the neighborhood temple to collect ‘durva’ (3-pronged grass) for the puja. Thereafter we would get home, by which time dad would have installed our Ganpatis on a pretty pedestal, and we would set out with decorating them with our flowers and leaves. All that done, tata would start the puja while we all watched. Post the puja was lunch time! There used to be so much food that even sampling every little thing would fill us to capacity!

Every evening after that we would be invited to each of our neighbors’ houses to see their Ganpatis and to have yummy food at their places. After we came back from our neighbor’s there would be a arti and bhajan at our place, which was the best part of the evening. The 10 days would thus pass in us singing, eating and making merry. Sunday afternoons we went driving around town to see the best Ganpatis, notable among them would be the one at Khairtabad. The day of nimmajan or immersion would find us making a beeline to our local temple to drop our Ganpati off with the chants of Ganpati bappa morya, in the later years we used to perform the nimmajan near our backyard mango tree, because we switched to clay idols.

This year our celebrations were on a much smaller scale than I am used to back home. The next 10 days are sure going to be fun, singing ‘Sukha karta dukha harta’ every evening!

May Ganpati bring good tidings to one and all.

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Sankranti

Happy Sankranthi to you all.

Sankranthi to me meant lots of fun. When my sister was still a baby it meant preparing for her Bhogi Pandlu, where we would invite all the kids from the colony and she would be made to sit on a low stool, me holding her there, and one by one all the aunties coming and pouring a lota full of ber/regi pandlu and coins over her head and all the kids scrabmling to get their hands on the fruit. The first year she cried like she was being lynched, but over the years she got used to it and would scramble with other kids to grab the most fruit!

When we both were a little older, Sankranthi meant preparing way in advance, practising various rangoli patterns so that on the D-day we would be ready with the biggest and the best rangoli in the neighborhood. My mom is an expert at this and she would draw the pattern with the muggu powder and we would follow and fill the patterns with pretty colors. The rangoli business was an early morning thing and we would get up at 5 or 6 am, take a shower, wear new clothes and set about the business of colouring the rangoli. Sometimes we would go overboard and also write stuff like Happy Sankranthi and Mera Bharat Mahan(hehe, I know…weird!) in chalk. Rangoli done, we would saunter inside and follow mom about, trying to see what she was cooking.

Afternoon, post lunch was time for patang! My dad would have taken us to the patang shop a couple of days in advance to pick up what we all liked. Usually I and my sister would get cheap but shiny ones(since ours usually got cut in a few minutes), and my dad picked up the sturdy but light but not pretty, slightly expensive ones. My dad was very serious about his patang flying high, and flying longer than others’ and he took to it like business. After dad tied the ‘kanne’, with precise finger measurements, I was given the job of holding the patang and throwing it high in the air to give it a lift. Our patang would then fly high in the air, like it was destined to, until dad gave it to either me to my sis so he could catch a break. That was when the neighbourhood competitors saw a chink in my dad’s armor and cut our patang mercilessly to the ground! It ended like that EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

Evening was time to go around the neighborhood, distributing sesame laddoos and saying Til Gul Ghya God God Bola. This was fun because we got to see the various Bommala Koluvus(an arrangement of dolls) , and we kids mostly passed judgement as to whose was the best(unofficially, of course). And thus, Sankranthi ended, after we kids had all kinds of fun during the day, and we would wait for the next one, to have as much fun.

Now all we managed this year was some kheer, and some rangoli on paper!

So what did you do on Sankranthi?

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The much promised video

So the Dandiya/Garba happened last evening. Here is a video of the event.It is a very bad quality but you can hear the excitement in the air clearly!

It was fun fun fun all the way and my feet still hurt from all the dancing and the twirling. Needless to say, some poor souls had squished toes,  sticks in their eyes and broken knuckles thanks to my less than perfect dancing and dandiya wielding skills. One twirl found me with a different group of dancers, and my group suddenly found themselves one short! I had to rush back to my spot on the group so as not to disturb the rhythm, but started with the wrong step, so the people who found themselves opposite me were aghast at my crude and non existent dancing skills, but I bravely danced on until there was no one else to dance with! At one point we all joined a long row of dancers, and in less than 5 minutes the line was reduced to us 4, we attributed that to those dancers’ fatigue than it having anything to do with our arrival(I hope).

Garba/dandiya was a different experience, what with everyone getting to dance with everyone else, making it a community affair. I liked the overall camaraderie, smiling at strangers and dancing with them, joining a new group in step. Some people went about it like it was serious business, with a smug look on their faces, and throwing dirty looks at those of us who missed a beat…..which happened quite a few times…hehe. Here are a couple of videos, the quality is not good, but you can certainly find the tallest one in both videos, in a sea-green/blue ghaghra!

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Its been such a long time since I last posted and my sis seems to have slipped into a comfortable hibernation, I thought I shall break this hiatus with a post on the new year. This Ugadi was good as we cooked a lot and ate a lot :D.

Maamidikaya Pulihora(my version)

2 cups rice(sona masuri)
1.5 cups grated raw mango(kairi)
1/2 cup peanuts
Popu/tadka ingredients(chana dal, oil, mustard seeds, jeera,curry leaves, slit green chilies)

Heat some oil and add all the popu ingredients. Toast for a minute.
Add the peanuts.

When the peanuts turn light brown, add the grated mango and heat for 1-2 minutes.

Cool the grated mango mixture and mix thoroughly with cooked rice.
Yummy pulihora is ready!


Pongal

1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 to 3/4 cup jaggery

1 spoon ghee
1-2 cups milk
chopped toasted cashews
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut

Mix the rice and dal and cook in milk until rice is cooked and the dal tender.

Add the jaggery slowly until its thoroughly melted and mixed.

Add ghee to this mixture and stir until the mixture thickens.
Finally add the cashews and the coconut and mix and enjoy!

We worked hard to make a traditional meal and enjoyed the heavy lunch!

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