Monday, January 08, 2007

Pongal O Pongal

In a few days in the South Indian Calendar a plethora of holidays is bound to come through...which just reminds me sometimes how unfortunate I am sitting in a foreign country and leaving eons of traditions away...but then hey, this is the life I chose so no complaints and I am glad that I have the memories to celebrate and enjoy albeit in a small way...

I remember my childhood during Pongal season...for the last one month mom would have been waking up real early in the morning to clean and decorate the entrance of our house with kolam...and then the day would come when mom woke me early in the morning and we would both clean the entrance of our house. Mom would then bring the few things that she had prepared to destroy for Bogi and we would light it up like the rest of the neighbors smoging the entire city...Ya...This was Bogi...Marghazhi than odhi pochu Bogi achu....naaliku than thai porakkum thedhi achu....Bogi marked the ending of Marghazhi and beginning of the wedding and ceremonial season once again after a month long break...

The next day, once again we would wake up early and mom would cook an elaborate brunch. I would be in-charge of cleaning the terrace and draw a sketch of a pot with overflowing pongal, four sugarcanes-two on each side, the mighty sun, and general other stuff and also color the sketch. Mom and dad would then bring the pongal and the rest of us including my brothers would look up to Sun god and yell three times, "Pongal O Pongal." After the ritual mom and dad would pick up all the food and return to the house while I would sit with a plate to see if any of our ancestors in the form of crows came to feed on the food left aside for them...Once a crow started eating I would run down screaming that the crow has tasted the food...then on the rest of us would enjoy the food till we would burst... All the eating would be followed by TV programs
The next day I would call all my friends and wish them "Happy Birthday" and also tell them that I have bought special bells, ribbons, shawl, colors to decorate them as it was "Mattu Pongal!" Loads of fun we would be trying to get the better of each other...

Finally the last day of celebrations was marked by Kanum Pongal, a day where mom advised all of us to stay put in our house as she did not want us to risk taking the crowded bus or trains...Everyone is visiting each other and mom just did not want us to get crushed in the crowd...so this was a dedicated family and local friends day...we would not venture very far from home...the bakshina's made from Pongal may still be in the fridge and that would make for awesome snacking!!!

I miss those days from my beautiful childhood...Wish I could go back...

4 comments:

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Are you/were you in Chennai?

Anu Russell said...

Hey Bish!!!

I was in Chennai, beginning of December for about 5.5 days!! Thas all...Was way too short for my liking...Just when I started to enjoy my stay it ended...still sad :(

abhay k said...

Hi Anu,
Wish you a very Happy New Year 2007!

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Waiting for your next post..