What’s more special than Onam in one’s own house?

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An Onam when you have your parents with you:) Happy Onam, and hoping that you are having ad much fun as we are!

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Onam Greetings!

Happy Onam everyone!

Hope you all had a more festive Onam than we did – thanks to my laziness. We did make the Pookalam, and the payasam is in progress – I decided to go for the easier, quicker Semiya Payasam. Daughter loves it and had specially requested for it, and I can’t deny her everything festive about Onam, can I?

Not that she minds – after all she got to do what she most wanted  – to make the pookalam. We made the Pookalam on the first two days of Onam – we were in India then, and I had promised her that we would do it here, if we have enough flowers. One look at my garden told us that we were hoping for too much. So we saved all the flowers for Thiruvonam, and this is what we made. Just a make-shift, simple pookalam, but enough to satisfy daughter.

Deeps’ post on Onam, recounting Namnam’s interest in the background to Onam, reminds me of some Maveli related stories that I keep forgetting to jot down. Daughter got interested in Onam last year. We were in Kerala, and she was fascinated by everything. Most of all by Maveli. All she wanted was for Maveli to come home and meet her. Finally her wish came true(well, partially), when she met Maveli at a shop, when we were out shopping. I actually thought she would be terrified, but she was just delighted.

This year, she has been analyzing the story, and is not too pleased with it. Surely, it was sneaky of Lord Vishnu to do something like this to Mahabali. After all he was a wonderful king. Why did Lord Vishnu do it? If Asuras were bad people, how come Mahabali was good? And other important issues like how did Mahabali get pushed into Patala? Was there a hole in the earth ? And more importantly, how does he come out every year? Does the earth open up?

Can someone please help me with these questions?

So wishing you all a very Happy Onam, and hoping that Maveli visits you, in one form or the other 🙂

Onam and other random mutterings…

I have no business posting, not when I have a million things yet to be done. Which includes emergency grocery shopping, because I have almost run out of essentials like rice..

But sometimes, a girl has got to do what she has got to do!

The whole day has rushed past, I managed to avoid doing my grocery shoppng which means that I will have to go to the supermarket tomorrow, Friday, when every other person would be there trying to avoid the weekend rush. To add to it, tomorrow is Onam, but I just don’t feel like preparing a proper sadya. All I can probably make is a payasam for that festive touch, and a pookalam – for which I still have to figure out where to source those flowers from.

Daughter is totally excited about Onam, she is waiting for tomorrow morning, when I have to wake up early, do the pookalam and make her favourite payasam. And fry pappadams – something I keep putting off – thanks to my aversion to frying.

Seeing my lacklustre Onam mood, daughter has been threatening to go off to Ammamma and Achan(my parents). She is already upset that she is not their daughter. My dad explained to her that it is much better to be a grand-daughter, because he never scolds his granddaughter while his daughter always gets scolded. Pat came the reply, ‘That is because I am never naughty and Amma is always naughty!’. Sigh! If I don’t make that payasam, I am sure she will disown me with no further ado.

While on the subject of daughter, she is now year 1 and considers herself a BIG girl. Where does time fly?

So those of you who do celebrate Onam, what plans for tomorrow? Can I please gate crash into somebody’s sadya? Pretty please? As for me, I have a whole load of grocery shopping to do tomorrow.

PS: The sun is finally out in this part of the world!!!!  Onam magic, do you think?

Poohi’s Holiday updates

Poohi had a rather colourful time in India. Here’s a wee summary of all that she(and I) have been up to.

– Cows eat rubbish. One day, in Wayanad, we saw a cow grazing and chomping down grass, when Poohi exclaimed, ‘Oh look, this cow likes grass!’. She had seen quite a few cows eating rubbish on the roads, on our travel earlier, and accepted ‘rubbish’ as part of cows’ diet. It took me a while to convince her that cows are not really supposed to eat rubbish.

– She has adopted my parents as her parents. She was not too keen on having me as a parent. Just this morning, she asked me if she could go back – while I stay here.She wants to have a ‘parent-free’ holiday.

– She is totally cross with me because I am not as much fun as Achan(my dad, who she insists on calling Achan, instead of Ammachan).He used to spend hours at her beck and call. Pretend play with him was one of the highlights of our stay.

– She loved, loved making the Pookalams every day, and I was quite amazed at her sense of symmetry. She was quite good at it.

– Every day would be a marathon session of fun, and food. And she would wake up at five, if she were allowed to.

– Her collection of books have increased three-fold. My parents got me a copy of a Bhagwatham, which I grew up on, and I was so delighted to read it again. I had planned to read it to her, but I think I am having far more fun reading it 🙂 Infact, I have been rather sneaky. I have been reading it on the sly, so that I can read it in peace before I read it to her 🙂

When I look back on our holiday, I am just so grateful that we get to spend this kind of time at home. She gets to know her grandparents and bask in their love. It is such a precious time. I hope that she will remember and savour the feeling for years to come, just as I still remember and cherish the time I spent with my grandparents. It also makes me so glad that she gets so much time close to nature, that would have been impossible, had my parents settled down in a city. There is something about growing your own vegetables, and living in a house surrounded by greenery. I can only be thankful for it and count my blessings.. Precious memories forever..

Has it really been that long?

I can’t believe it. It has been a year since I started blogging.

Of course, it is another story that what blogging then was so different from blogging now. I started simply because I thought I wanted to write.. and shared the url with very few friends -very select friends of mine initially. One of my friends commented on my first post – and I did not even notice it until a month later! I was so clueless and had no idea how magical it would become a few months down the line.

Though I started writing in September, I did no posts in October as we were busy with moving houses(and cities) and it was in November, when I got hooked onto reading other people’s blogs. I was taken aback at the number of blogs and from then on – used to read blogs like mad. IHM and Mr Vinod Sharma were the first people to comment at my blog – apart from my friend who I had ignored so badly 😦 I think it was mind boggling to me – to think that anybody would  care to read what I write..I can’t say how encouraging their comments were, at that point in time.

And then slowly, blogging became much much more than a hobby – it became an obsession 🙂 The blog world is such a amazing place. The number of ideas, the different perspective on various things – has all helped me broaden my outlook. So many things , I have taken for granted, I am now thankful for.. Similarly, in a lot of areas, blogging has opened my eyes to a different reality.

The most fantastic part of this journey of mine, has been the people! Every one of you – I want to say thanks – for reading, for commenting and showering me with so much of love! I don’t have a single post of mine, that I consider special – but your comments – so many of them,  are so so special! I can’t thank you guys enough!

I don’t know how long I will continue blogging, but one thing I am sure is that I will cherish every minute that I have blogged.. It’s been an amazing experience, a learning experience, and an unforgettable, unmatchable one.

Just a quick Onam update , we had a lovely lovely time 🙂 Poohi had the time of her life with the pookkalam and the food – for a change, she ate without a murmur 🙂 , and had the most lovely time with her friend D. We were up till 11:30 in the night – a very very rare occurance in our home.  And we all struggled to wake up today.

Leaving you with the picture of our modest pookkalam, made with all the wild flowers that I picked from the nearby woods at 6 in the morning 🙂

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Onam wishes and dishes

Onam is here, it’s tomorrow! And a lot of us have been waiting for it..

One of the things I enjoy about not working is the fact that I get to celebrate festivals better.  The first time I made a Onasadya was last year – before that, the day would come and go. The last time I actually celebrated Onam was when I was at home with parents, a long long time ago.. Those days, I was not particularly fond of the sadya. I was more fond of north indian cuisine. When I got married to a non mallu, funnily, he turned out more fond of the sadya that I was. But over the years – probably, thanks to the fact that I hardly get to eat it, I have been craving mallu food.

Last year, I did make the sadya and had a friend over for lunch and we had planned to enjoy Onam – but daughter had other plans. She managed to fall and hurt herself and I managed to spend the afternoon in the accident and emergency in the Hospital and my poor friend did not even get to have lunch 😦 This year, hopefully, it will be different, good different hopefully. I also plan to make the pookalam, the flower carpet, welcoming Mavelli home, which I hope daughter enjoys too.

Today, some of us planned to have a virtual Ona sadya – to make some of you drool 🙂 So here are my contributions… Avial and Pal Payasam. Please hop over to Deeps’ for more info and more yummy recipes!

Avial

Avial is a sort of mixed vegetables. And it has been a favourite of mine since years.

Ingredients

Mixed vegetables  – 2 cups.

Vegetables like carrots, yam, raw mango, green beans, drumsticks, snake gourd sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces – something like french fries.

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 2 (I use 2 as the chillies I get here are super spicy – please use according to taste)

Cumin seeds  – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Oil – 1 tbsp

Curd – 2 tbsp

Method

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed dish.

Add turmeric and cook the washed and chopped vegetables  on a low flame until they are cooked.

While the vegetables are getting cooked, grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and curd into a smooth paste.

Once the vegetables are done, add salt and the coconut paste and coconut paste and the curry leaves. Cook until any excess water is evaporated.

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And now for the dessert.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients
Milk 1 litre. (Full Cream Milk)
Sugar 100 gms
Water 1 cup (120ml)
Rice 4 tablespoon (I use Basmati rice)

Garnishing
1. Elaichi 3 powdered – I am not too fond of the taste of elaichi – so I normally avoid it.
2. Cashewnuts and raisins – as per taste

Method

Use thick bottomed pressure cooker with vent.
1. Boil Milk – adding water .
2. Add the washed and cleaned rice in boiling milk.
3. Keep the pressure on and cook on low flame for 35 to 40 minutes. (no whistle required).
4. After the pressure has cooled down open the cooker.
Mix thoroughly, boil for 5 minutes in medium flame.
5. Now add the Sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with the dry fruits

Slurp up!

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Here’s wishing all of you a very happy Onam. Onaashamsakal!