Archive | January 2014

Festivities Day 2- Makara Sankranthi

As I mentioned earlier, this festival is celebrated for 3 days straight. Today is called Makara Sankranthi.  For these three days, people put gobbemmalu (as described in earlier post) and farmers start harvesting the crops. This is the beginning.

I called my uncle up this evening and he mentioned they were planting rice plants across the fields. They perform pooja and pray to various gods to help them yield the crop without any obstruction. If I can, I will be visiting my Grandma’s village and my uncle’s farm tomorrow. I am so excited with that thought itself.

I digress, so today my cousins and their families came over and yet there was a tragedy to the plan of flying kites. My aunt’s dog bit her and it resulted in my cousins visiting and consoling her.  Prior to this incident, I made an awesome Pulav which was so delicious and nothing was left to have it again (And the picture is of left-overs). I hardly cook.. but when I do cook it better be great.

Vegetable Pulav

Vegetable Pulav

I have been working remotely in EST timezone and have been up until late into nights and so I failed to do rangoli this morning. Nevertheless, my mother and her crew did a fabulous job by coloring it beautifully and they have added “Ratam” (the one with wheels) & Pot (The circular one to prepare a sweet dish called Pongal) without which the rangoli for Sankranthi would not be complete. Here is the picture that I captured later.

Sankranthi Muggu and Ratam

Sankranthi Muggu and Ratam

I stepped out and found this kid being was so excited to fly the kite he was holding and there were few kites up in the sky, my phone camera could not capture that so well..

Kid with kite in his hand

Kid with kite in his hand

as always, the evening was fun with family members chatting around and having a dinner together. This goes into my memories. It makes such a difference to be with them and in their presence than speaking/skyping/whatsapping/vibering/facebooking over from long distance.

See you tomorrow with more festival fun!

Plenty of sunshine

Well as you all know, India lies just above equator. When I speak about just above.. we are just literally above and no wonder southern part of India is usually the warmest during winters.

This is one such blessing where plenty of solar energy is being used as an alternative to electricity. Oh no.. I am not speaking about solar panels that is the current and most happening trend in India in general.. I speak about these small yet important things that helps us use natural resources.

We Indians, consume least amount of electricity, one such thing is not to have washer or dryer at home. So we use natural sunlight to dry our clothes.. and here is another picture that you find vividly almost all across India.

Drying clothes under natural sunshine and air

Drying clothes under natural sunshine and air

Flowers bloom at this point of time..and you must have seen in my earlier post of how goddesses have been decorated with loads of flowers.  Here are few flowers bloomed right in front of our home … and yeah those were planted by my dear mother. She loves gardening and she does best use of what little space we have.

Ganneru puvvu?

Ganneru puvvu?

And another of god’s favorite.. so they say!

Nandivardhanam puvvulu

Nandivardhanam puvvulu

And again, I am loving every bit of being here.. the warmth of family, sun and love all around.. 🙂 

Festivities of India – Sankranthi – Day 1 – Bhogi

I am finally be able to attend first ever festival in almost last 8 years. Yes, I’ve been living in united states and never been part of festivals until today. And it feels great and how I look back and miss all this fun and excitement. I feel lonely being there and how I feel content and complete being in India with family.

Instead of me telling what Sankranthi is all about, I’ll waste no time in writing about it and let you read here in wiki.

Today is the first day called – Bhogi, this is a winter season and on this day people gather to lit a fire and warm themselves up. Unfortunately, winter is like summer here.. and we decided to go against it. .. yeah I’ve been sweating graciously under the sun and got all the tan and I finally regained my original skin color. Oh.. people in India are generally obsessed with fair skin and it is their way of conveying this message to me. Be in india and you’ll become Indian :).

I digress, so we ended up making a beautiful rangoli filled with sparkling colors.. It took almost 2 hours of effort for 2 people to finish it.. and I am so glad I got this opportunity. I sooo loved doing this.

Sankranthi Muggu

Sankranthi Muggu

And later my mother ended up making “Gobemmalu”, made out of cow dung, decorated with “turmeric” and “red kumkum”, flowers, sprinkled 9 -different types of various grains and seasonal fruits onto them. I used to make them as a kid by myself and now I must have become too lazy to do that.

Here is the closest view

Gobbemmalu

Gobbemmalu

My mother made some mixed vegetable curry as per tradition, a dessert, and some south indian snacks that were so delicious. The day also was good with my brother making it for this event and we were all together spending time as a family… a feel wonderful factor. And then my mother took me off to a priest who was performing a goddess Godha Devi’s wedding event. It was heart-filling and amazing. I felt so good after attending it. It has been such a long ago that I’ve attended something like this. The sounds of mantra’s that they chant were so divine and gives you some kind of peace and calmness in your life. Infact, I say just for non-religious belief try listening to “Lalitha Sahasranama” or “Lakshmi asthothara” or “Hanuman Chalisa”, you’ll really feel great after listening to it (And yes, you can find them on youtube). Not necessarily that you understand what it means but just the sounds has so much calming power that reaches your brain. They are positive vibrations and the wavelength at which they strike our brain has definite impact.

Godha Devi's wedding

Godha Devi’s wedding

And after the wedding event, the priest asked some of his followers to speak about what good has these prayers helped them. Although, they emphasized the fact of how much these prayers and spiritual rituals helped them achieve their goals.. It is hard to believe but these prayers will make you grounded towards achieving your goals. Fills your life with some purpose and brings calmness during your tough times.  So here is a small girl who is dressed up for the occasion started explaining her little journey.. which was adorable..

She spoke of her journey... aaah a 5 yr old.

She spoke of her journey… aaah a 5 yr old.

Finally, it was concluded with lunch session that was sponsored by one of their follower and what a wonderful time and a great food. How this makes it for a great memory.

Here is the final picture of the decoration they did and after wedding event of the goddess was complete.

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And a beautiful and fun time with family in the evening with so much laughter and teasing with cousins. Loved every bit of it. And how I wish I stayed back here forever :).

On that positive note.. Wish you all a very happy Sankranthi (aka Pongal). May this festival bring you all the happiness, health, wealth and success in your life.

More tomorrow.. Stay tuned!

India – Here I come ! Priceless!

 

 

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Tree Swing

Yes, It’s a Neem tree and a swing. That’s my neighbors place where kids come play with that swing made of Cloth (Indian Saree). How I love these small things that I miss being in United States.

And did I tell you, almost every other home has neem tree planted in their home, for the reason being.. it has great medicinal properties and it purifies air. Here I come to breath fresh air.. 🙂