Friday, January 14, 2005

Pongal

Here, I am staring at a sugarcane with a Thirupaachi in hand preparing to peel it off. I finished off 1 full stem of sugarcane yesterday and plan to finish off three more by the weekend. When the will is strong the sword ( thirupaachi) will fly my way. People have different techniques of peeling off the sugarcane before getting to the pulp! There was a time when my mom did it :-). But now I have to go through this painful process of peeling it! Pongal in Madras sux! No seriously, it sux! Nothing happens here. As per the tradition, some stuff was burnt on Bhogi and the smog it created stopped trains. So people were promptly arrested for that.

Celeberating the arrival of the harvest season through the Pongal festival is more prevalant in farming-based villages. In villages (okay..towns) down south like Palayamkottai or even Thanjavur my neighbors white-washed their houses on bhogi. It was a big thing there. When we were there, we Madras folks were considered not refined enough to celebrate Pongal! We were just staring at our neighbors, who kept pongal pots in front of their houses and shouted "pongal O pongal" like Axl Rose in the last few segments of sweet child o mine. They wore new dresses wished each other. Pongal was deepavali in such places. We just did this in our kitchen banging the stainless steel vessels against each other to make the requisite noise.

I have never seen the "Jallikattu", the pride of Tamil Nadu. The south indian equalant of the Spanish matador taming. I have never participated in "Kanu Pongal " outing. I often wonder if I missed something there. Although the idea of taking mixed rice and other food items to a zoo or some open space and eating it with zillion other people sounds like a nice idea, the crowd is a nuisance. Everybody is somewhere outside and that makes insides of the houses empty and the outside pretty full ( seinfeld ki jai ho!). The colors of the dresses people wear 'outside' is the butt of all jokes in Madras. But if you are in the villages don't make fun of it! The thirupaachi will peel you off! Just say " ah!..mmm colorful". The bullfight (or is it bull taming) , it seems, is representative of man's power over the Bull. The Bull is used for ploughing and if men can tame a bull, it indicates that they can do so in the fields and so all is under control. Now this was too much for Vivek, the comeian, to take and he suggested that since nowadays tractors are used to plough fields, why dont people tame a speeding tractors instead.

BIG SideNote: Reading the novel DaVinci Code has surprised me with a lot of information. Man! its a scandalous book!!! How did they allow this book to be published. Its the Satanic Verses equalant of the RC church! Since I read this book only once a week in the train for 20 minutes, I am moving at a very slow pace, but still the book is dynamite! I usually don't take the side of the author because, he is heavily biased towards the opinion he is presenting and so he will set the mood, the bias and the events to validate only his opinions (which is what this book does. it creates an environment where things like sun rises in the west is an accepted fact). He does so by having an incredulous woman (representing the readers point of view) asking question we, as readers would ask, and two "experts", indulging this lady ( and indirectly us) with a lot of "factual information". A virgin is what they describe her(and us) because she doesn't know the facts. So I reserve judgement until I talk to some really sensible people, to find out if this book is anything beyond fiction.

Anyway the reason for digression was that The Egyptian god of sex is Amon ( which is apparently resulted in Amon condoms). The symbol for Amon is the Bull with its pointed horns showing the masculinity of man. Which is how the words horny (the horns) came from ( you are all saying...aaaah! so thats where it came from! aren't you?). End Side Note

Anyway Pongal to Amon was a big jump! So half my apartment folks have kept the traditional Kanu podi (food items) in the terrace for the birds before taking bath. The other half keep it after bath. "It is meant for our brothers", says my dad. As per tradition; Girls and ladies get lot of moolah from their brothers today.

So I am off to take my bath and dig into the mixed rice things like puliyodarai, lemon rice, cocunut rice etc. I am not sure if people can go to the beach today! I wont go anywehere near the beach today, thats for sure. Too colorful is reason :-)

Went to Mayajaal yesterday, they had pongal special things going on. For 20 bucks you can sit on a elephant. For a 10Rs parking fee, you can get to see the Elephant's dung also ( no seriously). But let me not go into the elephant dung part. Its too risky a topic. Saw an elephant after nearly 10 years (?). They havent changed much! :-)

To all the readers wish you Happy Pongal . May your Bulls be true, the ploughing deep, and the sugarcanes sweet! :-)

Song Playing While writing this blog: "kurai ondrum illai" (instrumental version in Global Space Satellite Radio)

P.S: (
inspired by a fellow blogger..I'm planning to start this neat little tradition of putting this 'song playing ..' )











2 comments:

Arvind said...

Badri, good to hear that elephants still look the same! On the subject of 'horny', does history suggest that only men were associated with lusting? Women are as capable of being 'horny' as men!!
Glad to see you had a fun pongal - all our festivals have been reduced to temple trips and special meals here.. I long for the real experience.

Stitch said...

Um... the DaVinci Code is FICTION read & think at your own risk Check your facts in the Bible, History (His - story) the actions, attitudes & opinions of true "Experts" & So... WHY are women always the guilty or wrong ones? "Only women bleed" you find the author of that quote. Hint received an award for it....
Stitch, yes, a male