Happy Ugadhi! Memories and lessons...

 Wishing you and your family a very happy Ugadi - to new beginnings 🙂🙏

Happy Ugadhi
This festive lunch was at my sister Umakka's home when I visited her 5 years ago. Brings back memories. She was healing from surgery, my niece was studying for her 10th exams. We were all together that day. All of us lent a hand, amma made all this yummy food. During that period, we started to worry about Umakka and her future. 
We decided not to stay far away from each other geographically. Staying thousands of miles away from family had its bag of curses. I dint want to stay away when my family was going through this pain. 
Thinking back, it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life ever. The best. The moments I spent with my sister, mom dad and little sister were priceless. It did a lot of good to me and my kids. Though we went through a traumatic time and all of us suffered, it also made us a stronger family. It put my whole life into perspective. It taught me to love unconditionally. I learnt that money does not make one happy, but you need it to pay the bills. You need money to take care of family and it is a very important aspect of a secure environment. I also learnt that every moment is precious, nothing is in your hands. You cannot hold anyone to stay, force things upon anyone. When time comes, we all have to part, we have to learn to let go.  Be it death or separation, it is inevitable. Its not in your hands. You need to let things be. 

Ugadhi festival food

This year's lunch picture is at Umakka's place again. Im out of the country and Umakka is here in spirit. Festivals bring back all the years we spent at amma's kitchen. Umakka and I were amma's little helpers growing up. My mom cooked up a storm, so many yummy dishes, all in a span of a few hours. 

Umakka and I would be woken up early. We'd have a hair wash, fill the garden and house with colorful rangolis. I remember fondly, Umakka would adorn her creativity with white rangoli powder, and I would fill it with color. We would clean the huge devarmane - gods pooja/worship room, wash all the metal dieties with tamarind paste, then wipe clean, arrange and apply a paste of sandal and turmeric. Top that off with a kunkum bindi. Once that was done, we would decorate the deities and numerous pictures with flowers and a ton of incense sticks. 

Once this was done, we would run to the kitchen to help Amma. Umakka pretty much mastered all of Amma's skills, culinary, creativity and speed. Cutting vegetables, grinding the obbattu/holige filling in the manual kallu horalu / stone mortar pestle was so hard. It was so much fun to think of it now. We spent many festivals the same way. I guess this is where I discovered the power of spices, learning to cook from the pro and take in all those intoxicating aromas. Below is how a traditional South Indian mortar looks. You will find this in most homes, even today. It comes in handy when there is no electricity to run your mixer. The taste of dishes made with a stone mortar are delicious!

My little sister Chinni on the other hand was a star basketball player, she would be out of the house before sunrise most days, practice long hours even on weekends and holidays. She missed out on all the festive tasks and come back drained and tired. Like they say hard work pays off :-) She was always in the papers winning tournaments and playing nationals most of her school and college life. Chinni's favorite is obbattu rasam. Mine is obbattu - I seriously have a sweet tooth. Umakka loved both.