This post is dedicated to my best friend, Fire who is getting hitched in a day.. She is the one who introduced me this great festival and included me in her celebration almost every year that followed..
Pongal is said to be thamizhar thirunal but unfortunately it’s not celebrated in our place.. Neither we celebrate onam that well as I hail from a place where we are considered neither thamizhans nor malayalis (Kanyakumari district of course😂)
Pongal is certainly a cheerful festival which pulls and binds family members together with everyone’s active participation.
This is the reason why I visit her home every year on Pongal…
We sit on mat and breakfast is served on banana leaves.. It usually has idli, dosa, ulunthu vada, aama vada, sambar, two types of chutney, chakkara pongal and susiyam… Yum yum menu.. Her mom is a great cook with hands that add extra taste even for simple dishes..
Then comes ven pongal which is the hero of pongalo pongal.. After putting a kolam, a small brick stove is set on that, infront of the house.. A decorated clay pot is placed on it and the ingredients like rice and water are dropped in it.. We people sit around this and start our photo shoot.. I should mention, Fire is photo freak and my mobile camera is dusted and used whenever I meet her and my photo freak cousin Shina..
When pongal starts steaming and frothing, we shout,“pongalo pongal” and try to make that lo-lo-lo-lo-lo sound, with one person capturing photos or videos… Ven pongal is ready.. But it should be accompanied by pongal kuzhambu for a tasty meal..
I start drooling as a think about this pongal kuzhambu.. It is the yummiest dish I’ve ever tasted.. Fire’s mom, please post its recipe as the perfect recipe is not available in any website.. It is made using all vegetables available except bitter gourd which is prepared as a separate kootu.. The concept is, all vegetables must be made use of, as it is uzhavar thirunal.. Veggies peeling and cutting is done at the living room,which involves everyone’s participation.
The same mat and different banana leaf for lunch but with yummier dishes.. Ven pongal with pongal kuzhambu and paavakka kootu..
It is mandatory to put Rangoli infront of the house.. So, with all the colour powders available, me and Fire, who is also a poor kolam-putter, start our project rangoli.. We browse for the simplest rangoli available and draw an outline using kola maavu (white powder).. Then colouring is done using colour powders.. At college I had this habit of accompanying Rangolians telling them,”I know coloring” (even though I had zero practice in it).. So using our little exposure, we manage to complete the so called Rangoli..
Another thing that I like about pongal is catching up with Fire‘s paternal grandma who likes to be called Aachi.. She is so modern that she owns more than two smart phones and is active in facebook and WhatsApp.. She changes her dp more often than I do.. The best thing is, she uses Ponds Age Miracle.. She updates herself with the latest cinema news that even youngsters are not aware of.. She owns a digital camera which captures most of our group photos.. She attends a yoga class and practices yoga everyday.. I wish every elderly people have such happiness and positivity..
Dear Fire, wish you a happy married life.. Hope we will celebrate upcoming Pongals together with our families..🙌