Back to childhood

Back to childhood

We are Maharashtrians from Konkan region and my family consisted of my parents, grandma (ajji), an aunt and three children — me, my elder brother and little sister. Many of our festivals express gratitude towards birds and animals. Snakes are considered a friend of the farmers as they kill rodents.

Hence, they are worshipped on Nagapanchami, which falls on the fifth day after full moon in Shravana masa. Farmers do not plough their fields on this day.

At our ancestral home, five snakes used to be drawn on a wooden plank using chandan. Their pooja was performed and ‘puran’ made from ‘channa dal’ and jaggery was offered as ‘prasad.

We were not supposed to fry, cut or grind anything that day. So a special dish named ‘dindi’ would be made for lunch using ‘puran’ and wheat flour. The healthy and delicious dish has been passed on for generations. Preparing it requires a lot of skill and the rich taste and flavour of the dish lingers in your mouth for long.

Those days, we would have a holiday on this day. Early in the morning, a snake charmer would come with his snakes and show us tricks like pretending to hypnotise a snake by playing an instrument called ‘pungi’. We children used to be so excited to see the snake dance that we would call all our friends over.

On one such occasion, my brother and I invited a few friends to join us in savouring the delicious and steaming dindies which my grandmother had made. My mother was surprised to see eight to nine of us lined up for lunch. Now when I look back and think about it, I feel my grandmother and mother would have had a tough time preparing and serving us!

Till date, every time someone mentions this dish, my mouth starts watering. My grandmother used to make them and pour rich homemade ghee on them. She would then serve them on lush green banana leaves plucked from the backyard of our ancestral home. And if it was raining that day, the fun would be doubled!

Today, while children are lured by unhealthy and junk food, a dish like ‘dindies’ can perhaps introduce them to our rich tradition and healthy food habits.

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