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A summer of contrasts

A summer of contrasts

It is in our houses that the mother of democracy shines and thrives

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Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 00:16 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 00:16 IST
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April 2024 has all the makings of an eventful month. Just as the sweltering heat left the brain numb to the senses, Ugadi came by. The scorching sun did little to stop us from shopping. Tradition in the family dictates that we buy new clothes for ‘regular’ use during Ugadi and ‘grand’ dresses for Deepavali. But in my house, Eid adds a special dimension to our wardrobes, so we have a year-long supply of clothes for all seasons. We still try to stick to shopping for festivals and not fashion, contributing our tiny bit to a sustainable lifestyle.

Ugadi is all about freshness. The delicate, fragrant flowers of the neem, generously infused with jaggery and lemon juice, hit the palate, and the bitterness quickly jolted the brain alive to the cacophony of general elections. Thankfully, the raw mango chitranna (flavoured rice) successfully soothed the senses. Holige, with its sweet stuffing and ambode, a savoury fritter made of Bengalgram, coconut, and green chillies, demanded a siesta that one was only too willing to indulge in.

Growing up in a typical Mysuru household, Ugadi is not complete without panchanga shravana (the Hindu almanac read aloud) and chandra darshana (sighting of the moon). This year, the moon sighting as per the panchanga (that my mother follows, and as with everything else in my diverse country, every sect has its own almanac with minor differences), was the following day on April 10.

As we waited on the terrace to sight the moon to conclude the festivities in my mother’s house, an Imam somewhere was waiting to sight the crescent in the Indian sky so the festivities could begin in my in-law’s house after a month-long roza during the month of Ramadan.

The aroma of chitranna quickly gave way to the sizzle of chicken kebab. My children moved seamlessly from listening to panchanga and eating bevu-bella in their ajji’s house to savouring biryani and reciting kalmas at their daadi’s.

The change of scene in my vegetarian kitchen was less dramatic as it went from holige-payasa-ambode to Mysurpak-custard-dahi (curd) vada. Even our wardrobes slipped into shararas from saris and into kurta-pyjama from shalya-panche.

The powers that be may deride the ‘sultans of tukde tukde gang’ and judge a person for what s/he wears, but it is in my home, and several others like mine, where chitranna and chicken curry are relished with equal zest that the mother of democracy thrives.

Now, as we move on to buttermilk, panaka, and kosambari for Ramanavami, a summer of contrasts continues to enrich our lives.

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