Festivals and Happiness

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  (adapted Quote)

July 2012 and August, were disturbing months for the seven sisters of India.  Issues that took national importance virtually bringing a collapse in harmony of our culture.
Ethnic violence spread itself through messaging systems throughout the country.  Thousands of people left cities going back to their griefstriken homeland.  It was a festival for some traitors to humanity.
We blamed our neighbours. Neighbouring countries are always our reasons of ethnic issues.  In August 2012, still there are fresh memories of violence.

I saw a KSRTC bus conductor hit a passenger for arguing with him.  I went to the vegetable market to buy grocery for the onam lunch.  He was hitting like Salman in Ekk tha Tiger, poor guy was beaten up like Ekk tha Kutta(Kutta = Dog).  I had to keep my vegetables bag shielded from the blows and kicks.  Non of the fellow passengers reacted. Violence is spreading in our hearts. 

Pakistani man Kasab is still expecting some mercy from India.  He got special blessings from his mother.  His father was poor  living a life like any average pakistani.  His father might have told him about India during his childhood.  So he knows India is a beautiful country far far ahead than his own country.  If he were to blast a hotel in his own country  he would have a gun shot in return. In India he becomes a speciality.  Indian govt  has invested Rs 50 crores  on his trial.
   Today we all wait to see an Inidian Soldier hang the poverty striken dry fruits Pak man. 

By contrast, August  is also the beginning of many a celebrations in India.  A season just for happiness reason.  But there are more good Indians in India that makes our culture flourish beyond prosperity & happiness. 
Even the last good Indian will die but preserve this beauty of India.   He will win and celebrate the goodness of life.  He has no reasons to fail. 

There are many religious festivals during this time starting with Ramzan to Ganesh Chaturthi to the week long Diwali celebrations in October and ending with Christmas and the universal New Year‘s festivities when the air is thick from the smoke of fireworks.

Down south in the cozy corner is my own land, I call it God’s own. Truly it is. 
In Kerala this weekend all Malayalis worldwide like me, whether they be Hindus or Christians or Muslims would have wished each other a Happy Onam although Onam is a Hindu festival unique to the state.  People in cities go to hotels and book sadhyas.  Corporates book huge lunch parties for their staff.  In the villages, family gets together for a time in the year to celebrate Onam.  Onam is my favorite.

Tradition has it  that during Onam the good king Mahabali visits the homes of his people and so special feasts are prepared and a carpet of flowers laid out to receive him.  Today it is celebrated by one and all throughout the world. Who would not like to share in a delicious “Sadhya“?

I wish we all can find more such happy reasons to come together.

Malli  told Sudama , ” Once again, I felt like that little girl who walked into the classroom , after a long vacation, fearing if friends would welcome her back into their group , still share same level of closeness or feel some sort of discomfort:  to her surprise, she was delighted to notice that warm smile on her friend’s faces.”

That’s exactly what we experience, a  note of reassurance and support, while spending time through our best relations. Sudama exclaims,” I was elated, to say the least!  The knowledge that someone really kept caring  regulary for you and eagerly waited for any happiness from you”.
“What was that made them finally happy to see you, made me feel really happy.”

“What is happiness in today’s world?” 
“Making Social friends all aroud you to feel as if you are in a group of people”
“But to be social you need sound economic dimension. Social dimension is related to economic dimension. ”
“Economic dimension. What is that?”
A human is defined by lot of  factors.  One way of defining a human’s behavior is classified into several dimensions.
“Social dimension, Economic dimension, Mental dimension, Spiritual dimension, etc.. Economic dimension is the most important one.  Without it our social capabilities and mental dimension weakens.”

“Some people though are mentally very strong. ”
“Such people are free of internal conflict.  They have the ability to take decisions intelligently even in crisis.”
They discuss about a lot of things.

Its already time for Onam festivity.  Sudama and malli are celebrating Onam. They have a special guest this onam. Both of them love every moment of togetherness.

Thiruvathira Kali is a form of art in Kerala, ...
Thiruvathira Kali is a form of art in Kerala, especially during Onam seasons and Malayalam month Dhanu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For them  HAPPINESS IS NOT A STATE OF ACHIEVEMENT. Every festival is happiness.

“Thank you for letting me know that I was missed and for making me feel special .  As I sit here listening to the  crickets chirping outside and clock ticking fast way into midnight, my heart calls out to go for a quick visit  to the native and a quick get together; There we go and spend the greener memories of life…. ”

I remember my childhood. On those days when I celebrated Onam regularly (every year with my grandparents ), leap-frogging from one dish to another, following winding trails of faded memories, leading to another forgotten taste, my grandma who has been a strong follower of our tradition,   help my mother with the original names of many snacks as she was an expert in variety snacks.

I live by saying ,”It was as if   y’day i thought about those Onam’s…i was not aware that she was not there……..but I

remember one thing, she had taught me to make life a celebration…”

Onam has a speciality. The lunch in plantain leaf.  With an impressive list of  dishes it is one of the most beautiful feeling you get once in a year.  There can be anywhere between 13-25 dishes for Onam and this number can be higher.  The most common Onam Dishes are

Red Rice, Sambar, Avial, rasam, pulliserry, Thoran – Cabbage, Beans, Cabbage & Carrot, Kovakka, Inji curry, Puliyinji, Erissery,Kaalan,Olan,Kootu Curry,Theeyal,Pachadi  EthakkaPachadi, Vellarikka Pachadi, Pappadam,Achaar, Upperi,SharkaraVaratti,Pazham, varieties of Payasam – Semiya Payasam, Sharkkara Payasam, Aval Payasam, Pradhaman – Mambazha Pradhaman …

List goes on.. They were “something more with arippodi(rice powder) . You call it kali odakka ….but i dont remember if we made it on onams…anyway, lets see more ways  to stuff the Onam sadhya leaf.
i havent thought about  anything else in a while.

Last there was a cake making ecperiment. Making Cake using the pressure cooker. 
If you put a pinch of sodapodi(baking soda) to the cake dough, it becomes very soft. Yes, it has always been a great feast for  entire famiies during the christhmas time .
Well more on that later.

We love to serve when we have some impromptu guests.  I remember my mother packing snacks after school time with a hot glass of tea that was heights of tea-time pleasure for anybody!  Tea and parippu vada.

Malli recollected,” During her stay here, my mother made few delicious snack once to satisfy my pregnancy cravings.  To make perfect Uzhunnu vada was difficult at home. Though we used to make a similar one at home. She suggested putting a hole in the middle to add to its overall aesthetic appeal. ”
“Why do we put a hole in the vada? .”,I used to ask her.
“It is the chakravuh shape. It is related to puranas.”, her grnadmother will tell her.
 Putting a hole in the middle is more of a  technical reason, as it helps in cooking the dough evenly. 

“Parippu vada at the nair’s hotel was a treat to eat.  Having a parippu vada and sip a cup of hot tea. The next vada comes as soon as the first goes vanishing. ”

Every Indian snack is so tempting.  

Headline of the day : Wipro and the University of Massachusetts have jointly launched a 12-month fellowship programme in the US to train 120 school teachers in the next three years.

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