When Pumbaa met Khloe…

…we anticipated much circus — jealousy, aggression, mad barking, general crazy behaviour. Only, nothing happened.

Pumbaa
…has not changed. He is still scared of other dogs. That Khloe is only half his size did not seem to give him any false sense of superiority! He walked in, did not seem to register who I was (irrespective that I was overjoyed and screeching with love :D), was in search of refuge from this new doggy person and quickly hid behind my brother! Khloe came around to him, and they sniffed at each other. No barking, no aggression, no pangs of jealousy — nothing. We were surprised, and pleased. One less thing to take care of ;)

Khloe
…was not scared at all, of course not. She calmly went around to him, sniffed at him, and was generally curious at the presence of another 4-legged companion. That he is almost twice her size did not seem to affect her in the least. Having lived all her life with a group of/in the presence of other dogs (all Beagles, in her case), we knew she would not be scared of him — but the size difference, at least, was expected to have some bearing on her. None at all.

It is really endearing to see how they both are very curious about the other one’s presence. I am pretty sure Khloe would like to have his companionship. Pumbaa, I’m sure, will take his sweet time to break the ice and be pally with her. I remember how things were when Spike, a friend’s Cocker Spaniel, spent a week here with us long back. The first two days, Pumbaa pretended Spike did not exist. Even when we sat them opposite each other, Pumbaa would slowly either look away, or look at the ceiling, or look over Spike’s head (again, Spike was tiny when compared to Pumbaa). Like “If I cannot see him, I’m sure he doesn’t exist”. The third day, the ice began melting, and Pumbaa started trailing Spike everywhere. On the fourth day, he was seen actually playing with Spike, having mock-fights with him, and even falling all over him :D By the time the friendship was formed, it was time for Spike to return home :P Secretly, though, I think Spike was glad to go ;) After the initial days, Pumbaa did not let him have one moment to himself :D

Pumbaa and Spike -- from scared to paired ;)

Pumbaa and Spike — from scared to paired ;)

Pumbaa and Khloe
…have not become friends yet. She is very interested in him, and is probably baffled by his behaviour. I can almost see a thought bubble constantly hovering over her head with the words “Just when I thought I had some good company…why is this guy so weird? Pffft!” I can almost see a thought bubble constantly hovering over his head as well, that says “Oh my God! This woman. Just does NOT let me be. Can’t she see I have no interest in her? Well, almost no interest…

When they first met...he kept a safe distance

When they first met…he kept a safe distance.

Then he decided to pretend she did not exist!

Later, he decided to pretend she did not exist! :D

And then he decided to get to know her...

The next day, he decided to get to know her…

And then he again decided to pretend she does not exist! :P

…and decided it was safer to pretend she does not exist! :P

After she settled down with a bone, he heaved a sigh of relief and settled down with his.

After she settled down with a bone, he heaved a sigh of relief and settled down with his.

But when I tried to make them exchange a few words, he again pretended she did not exist! :-o

But when I tried to make them exchange a few words, he again pretended she did not exist! :-o

Later, as he sat watching the world go by, she joined him.

Later, as he sat watching the world go by, she joined him.

And as I almost heaved a sigh of contentment at this new bond, she gave him a kissie, and he ran off! :D

And as I almost heaved a sigh of contentment at this new bond, she gave him a kissie, and he slowly got up and ran off! :D

Pumbaa is pretty miffed that the house (and people) he owned all these years have to now be shared with this puny little thing who keeps harassing him all the time. “Stop following me around, can’t she? Duh! Do not take my submissiveness as lack of courage. Grrrrrrrrrrowl” says his thought bubble.

Playing hard to get, huh Pumbaa? ;)

I used to OWN this place. Duh!

As Pumbaa continues to play hard to get, Khloe is slowly realising that someone can actually be scared of her! “Scared of me, tiny lil’ me! Yay!” says her thought bubble now ;) And another one says, “Just because you can bark loudly and occasionally growl at me, I am not going anywhere. This house (and these people) are as much mine as they are yours.” Khloe is clearly not very impressed by Pumbaa’s strange behaviour :D

You don't impress me much...Pumbaa.

You don’t impress me much…Pumbaa.

Aside: Today, Khloe had her first taste of rice and beef. And boy, did she love it! All these days, she totally refused to eat anything else apart from bread and boiled eggs, and milk. We tried giving her everything, she would take none of it. After Pumbaa arrived, Khloe seems to appreciate variety in food ;)

  • He dropped a few tiny pieces of dog biscuit, and she gobbled them up. This, after I had tried my best and failed to make her even lick a piece of it all these days!
  • The moment he puts down the bone he is chewing on and goes off for water or a loo break, she quietly claims it as her own!
  • And today, after making her taste a tiny spoonful of Pumbaa’s “beef biriyani” as we call it, she could NOT wait for it to cool down. So we made her a share, gave it to her, which she wolfed down! And then she made a move to his share as well! He “grrrrrrr”ed at her, but of course, did nothing; pouted and went under the table. The husband and I had to then form a human barricade and block the hungry girl on one side while I fed the distraught boy on the other side!

Sooooo much fun :D I think the circus we had anticipated is just waiting to kick off ;)

Pumbaa, sooooooooo happy to have you back (even if for a while)! You are such a sweetheart :)

More pumbaastic updates

It’s been long since I wrote this and this about him. It’s time for some more.

  • In another 3 days, he will turn two! Oh my god. How time flies. Beeg boy he is now; only, he doesn’t know that, and refuses to even want to know ;).
  • He had an attack of gluten allergy recently. The last time I was home, no matter how lightly you pat him, anywhere on his body, he’d be extremely ticklish. Took him to the vet who said it could be a gluten problem. Asked us to avoid giving him his favourite chappatis and cake and generally all things sweet. Poor baby. :(
  • Whenever my brother raises his voice (generally in frustration at technology issues), Pumbaa runs to pacify him, thinking his presence can make everything alright. And well, works like a charm, every single time :)
  • Whenever I video chat with my folks back home, I call out to Pumbaa, with a few words ONLY I use on him. He comes, peers at the screen for a while, registers my face…and then goes mad, wags his tail furiously…and eventually jump on my brother or Amma, whoever is sitting there :D
  • The moment he realises he may have done something wrong, he bolts and hides under the sofa :D He thinks we can’t reach him there. Happened twice last time i was home, and how much I laughed! We were all sitting around the dining table in the evening, having tea. Pumbaa was also lying beside my chair. Amma slowly stepped around him, and in the process knocked over her cup of tea. And I loudly asked “What are you doing Amma?”…and Pumbaa bolted. ROFL. Took a lot of convincing before he believed he was not at fault for the spilt tea. A day later, I was playing tug with him, and as I let go of his toy, he jumped towards me with the toy dangling from his mouth. It came and hit me on my nose, right where I’d pierced it. And I went “Ouch”. In fact, I did not make a sound. I just stiffened, and clutched my face. And he bolted. ROFL. Despite the pain and the million stars dancing around, I had to get down on all fours to convince him he didn’t do anything, and was still my sweetheart :)
  • He gets two boiled eggs every morning, between 10 and 12. Wherever he is — terrace, near the gate, in my brother’s room, in a slumber — at the sound of shell cracking, he’s at Amma’s side! :-o
  • Whenever Amma goes out, he goes into depression. From the time she dresses up till she actually leaves, he’s this nicechild — all love, convincing her that it’s absolutely safe to take him along too. And when she actually does leave, he cocks his head to the right and looks at her, asking “How can you!?” Awww moment it always is. And no matter what treat she leaves him with, he refuses to eat till she’s back. And when she returns, he grabs the abandoned treat, goes to his ‘snack bar’ and munches on it, as if to say “Oh!I’m busy, and don’t really care you’re back, you abandoner!” :D
  • Amma made him an excellent bed, got him accustomed to using a pillow and everything. It lasted for 2 days. He prefers the settee in the living room :D Being the sensible one he is, he knows NOT to get on it during the day. And when it is bed time, dad brings out his bed sheet and covers the settee with it. All the while Pumbaa keeps trotting from one side to the other, impatient to get on it. It is only when dad says “OK” that he gets on it, though. Darling.
  • He hates ticks being plucked out of him. but the moment we take on out, he gets all restless, and has to be allowed to peer/sniff at it before we kill it :D Such a funny sight it is!
  • He loves the fisher woman that comes to our place. All the while that she’s at work cutting and cleaning the fish Amma buys, he sits by her side, giving her company. He does NOT lick at the fish. He has no plans to run off with a piece. No hidden agendas. Just wants to patiently sit by her side, making sure she doesn’t feel lonely. She loves him too, which is a good thing. Calls him her “muthu” (pearl/something precious) there. Cuteness overload. :)
  • Whatever we buy — stationery, clothes, all non-vegetables — have to be given to him to sniff, and approve for use :D It’s funny how he religiously sniffs every single item, then walks away without claiming any of the items. Chakkara. :)
  • Dad buys a kilo of beef every Sunday, then chops it up and divides it into 6 equal packs and stores in the freezer; taking one measure out everyday for his meal. Every Sunday, as Dad chops the beef, Pumbaa sits beside him patiently, drooling a sea around him, catching with precision the few pieces dad tosses at him :) Want to learn the art of patience? Be with Pumbaa during Sunday beef session :D

What hasn’t changed

  • The ass sniffing ;)
  • Understanding every.single.thing we say about/to him :)
  • Loving us unconditionally; being loved right back, equally unconditionally :)
  • Being a blessing :)
  • Being a joy to be around :)
  • Being the light of our lives :)
  • Being Pumbaastic :)

That’s all for now. Again, for certain people who “turn to mush seeing his pics”, here are some of the more recent pics on his very own page. Scroll right down!

Been a while since…

…I blogged last — not just posting on mine, but commenting on the million other posts I religiously read.

…I cooked a proper meal. Like, a complete lunch/dinner the way I used to.

…I really got down to gardening. I force myself to water them frequently to keep them alive.

…I spoke to my best buddies from school.

…I sang a full song, loud and clear.

…I’ve met some ex-colleagues I’ve been really wanting to meet (some things just do NOT happen).

…I’ve gone about taking random photographs. The camera is dying under a layer of dust (not literally).

…I’ve been fired by anyone for a really weird reason.

…I’ve done something mindless.

…I spent some real good time with family.

Been a while since I’ve been me. Sucks. Bah.

In Life. Just be fair.

I’m tired of writing come-back posts. So, don’t count this as one. For, I’m almost sure I’ll go off again.

Blogging, when in a bad state of mind, is not something I do or even want to do. Hehe…too many people may get hurt, shocked, whatever. So I’m not here to explain why I have been hibernating, for the umpteenth time. I just wanted to tell you…

I’m still kind of reeling under the effect of a major insight into what we fondly, angrily, exasperatedly and hopefully call ‘Life’! That no one has any right to judge another person—no matter what that person may have done or said.

I’m not the kind who sees or meets someone, judges them immediately (as being funny, nice, trustworthy, full of attitude, creepy, and so on) and compartmentalise them. I take my time, give them their space and study them well before I decide if I like them, love them, trust them, dislike them, hate them… But yes, over a period, I do end up judging them—as being good or bad. If they do/say something that is so against my principles and what I consider ‘right’, I do judge them. I suppose it is human.

And when I say we should not judge “no matter what that person may have done or said”, I mean it quite literally. Now, if you ask me if we should not judge someone who has committed a heinous crime—such as a murder for instance—well, I still think we shouldn’t. While you may judge someone for a physical murder, you may reach a point in life where you murder someone’s spirits, kill them mentally. As long as you destroy a person, it does not matter how. The end result is the same in both cases.

So yes, whatever whoever does—there is always a reason. The only thing is that their right maybe our wrong. What we cannot fathom, must have come so naturally to them, thanks to a lot of catalysts. Someone hates his parents, someone cuts off her best friend, someone falls out of love, someone cheats on a partner, someone walks out on his marriage, someone takes another person for a ride, someone steals, someone kills… They all have their reasons which we may never even be a million miles close to finding, ever.

So, when we judge someone, I think we need to know that at some point in time, invariably, we will find ourselves in that spot—the spot where that person we judged stood. At that time, our eyes will open wide, something will go smack in the head, make us stop in our tracks, feel our body go limp, sense our jaw drop…and we’ll be like ‘Oh my God…I never thought I’d ever be here /do this /say this…”

But one day, you will. We all will. I did. And I’m still shocked. I did NOT have this in mind, ever. I did not think I’d ever be where I am right now. But the fact is that I am…and I’m really shocked.

I guess the best we can do in life is to be fair—to the ones we love, hate, hurt, respect, bear with… Just be fair. Be fair, but don’t be sacrificial. Give them their chance at life, but not at the cost of yours. Grant them their happiness, but don’t lose yours.

OK, this is a little strange right now. I’m bad at these kinds of talks. So let me just admit I’m shocked, but I’m not sad about it. It could not have been avoided. Really. I did try. Quite many times, in many ways.

God, I’m shocked. :-|

Some more Pumbaastic updates :)

It’s been long since I wrote this about him; and boy, has he changed!

  • He is now a year and 5 months, almost; a grown(p)up ;) but he refuses to acknowledge that. He still is (and looks like he always will be) a kid. :P
  • He devours bananas. He takes—one at a time—from a bunch that’s kept on the fruit tray below the dining table, goes to his snack bar, peels it, eats it and leaves the skin there. The first time I saw this happening, I gaped. :-o
  • He eats dates, most carefully. He devours it like it’s the last morsel of food he’ll ever get—and then he slowly lowers his head and rolls out his tongue, from which will roll out a spotless date seed. :-o
  • He is no longer the aviyal-loving, curd-loving, give-me-anything-home-made-and-I-shall-eat sweet little thing. He has preferences. :-/
  • There are days when he just decides he does not want to eat on his own. So he’ll look at his plate, walk around, look at one of us, walk around…generally letting us know “I’m hungry, but I am not going to eat by myself”. When one of us (mostly mom or me, no one else falls for these :roll:) take it bit by bit and feed him like feeding a little kid, he finishes every morsel of food on his plate :roll:
  • When in one of his moods, he hunts out every single piece of chicken/beef/fish from the rice-meat mix we give him and leaves every grain of rice there! :P
  • He does NOT appreciate Pedigree or anything similar for more than a day (or two, max!) at a time. :-|
  • The ONE thing he cannot stay away from, and drools till there’s a sea around him, is “the cake”! He cannot even control himself from jumping up and biting it right off your hand (without hurting you of course!) It always amazes us, his greed for cakes :D
  • He understands every.single.thing we say about/to him. How he responds/obeys, is totally dependent on his mood though :roll:
  • The one command he obeys unconditionally is “Stay”. For every other command, he obeys or ignores based on the presence or absence of food in the commander’s hands :D
  • When we ask him where his “toy” is, he scrambles all over the house like mad till he finds it. After that, he expects us to play with him till he tires out. And if we try to ignore him, he catches hold of our legs (one paw across a leg, holding it close to his head so we wont move!) and makes sure we say “OK, let’s play!” :)
  • Every time he comes with the toy to play, if we tell him “I have work, Pumbaa. I’ve to cook/eat/clean up. I’ll play with you after that”, he puts the toy down and lies beside it, following our every move. The moment that particular work is done, he comes to us with the toy, almost asking “You’re done now. Can we play?” :D
  • We have different names for his toys, and he identifies each one when we ask for a specific one by name! :D [Yes, I know some kids who can do that :D]
  • He is in love! With pretty little “Twinkle”, a Beagle that stays in our neighbourhood. Well, I’m in love with her too! But this is like serious love! The minute she reaches close to our gate, she starts pulling on her leash and makes sure there’s a stop at our gate. As for Pumbaa, whatever he is doing right then, he ditches it all, and bounds down the stairs. Then there’s much kissing and licking and pawing from two sides of a gate. It’s the cutest sight. Really. And when Twinkle is led away and looks back forlornly, her owners promise to bring her the next day, and she lets out one tiny woof and goes off. Replay happens next day evening :D
  • He gets extremely jealous if he sees any of us hugging/kissing someone other than him. Suraj hugs me, he jumps at Suraj. My brother hugs me, he jumps at my brother. My brother hugs my mother, he jumps at my brother. I hug my mother, he jumps at my mother ;) OK…looks like my mom and I are his alone!
  • There are times when Suraj leashes him to our living room door (for too much mischief), and he lies down there patiently. Till he sees that I’ve sat down beside Suraj on the couch. He can no longer sleep, but he would still lie there, watching us all the time. I would then slowly lean on to Suraj…and Pumbaa would invariably sit up straight and let out pathetic whines. And then Suraj would put his arm around me and hold me close—and Pumbaa would be on his feet, whining, barking, pulling at his leash and being generally pissed off till we both say “OK…we won’t touch”. He then becomes quiet, and sits, but not quite happily, till I go pet him. He then goes off to sleep till I sit near Suraj the next time :D
  • He thinks anyone except Amma is allowed to scold him. Amma, however, is his playmate. No matter what he does how, she is NOT supposed to scold. He sulks like mad if she does :D
  • He sniffs our backsides all the time :D I read somewhere that that’s how dogs collect data/information about people. Why he has to collect data on the same people every time they get up from their seats, beats me! There are times we have to stand pressed to the wall and say “No, Pumbaa. No!” and he gives us a forlorn look and backs off. Not for long, though. He has even learnt to do it discreetly. The embarrassment, however, is when he sniffs and then blows his nose loudly and forcefully, shaking his head, like he just inhaled some hydrogen sulphide! :D

That’s all for now. Waiting for him to finish off his 2-month vacation, to come back and give me fodder for more updates :D For certain people who “turn to mush seeing his pics”, here are some of the more recent pics on his very own page. Scroll right down ;)

when life throws lemons at you…

I haven’t been blogging for quite a while now; life got on to a roller coaster (which has happened before) but got derailed this time (which has never happened before) :D No major casualties, but definitely left a few bruises will stay for quite a while.

Too many changes happened. Some were planned, some were expected (but hoped not to happen) and some just took me by utter surprise.

I don’t take too kindly to that kind of utter surprise. Sudden changes in decisions, plans, dreams, life, so on and so forth, do not really fall in my list of “I love”s. I am the kind that actually needs time to accept a change and adapt to it well. Even an unplanned movie plan can put me in turmoil. I’m not kidding, it really can. Ask Suraj, if you need evidence :D As someone who absolutely LOVES giving surprises, the poor thing has to think a million times before he can give me one (and finally, he always decides not to). :D

I always need time to prepare myself to major changes: like job changes, relocations, letting people come into and go from my life…

So, when life suddenly throws lemons at me, my first instinct is to duck under the table, rather than make some lemonade out of them.

To start with, I had to quit a job I liked because of certain people and reasons. Then a relocation was briefly considered, which I finally decided will NOT happen. Then my parents relocated back to Trivandrum (and took Pumbaa with them for a while). And then we decided to move houses, which further depressed me, for I’m quite comfortable in the house we live in, and is totally in love with Koramangala (I now totally understand what she meant when she wrote this. And then a few other things happened, which I really do not want to talk about here. So basically, life’s not been too good so far. I don’t think I like 2012 too much :D 2011 was fun and generally stress-free.

The good things: I’m still in the same house; I’ve got myself a new job (which also gave me a laptop, though I still miss my T410…but well, it serves the purpose well enough); I’m still in my ‘initial days’ at work, making me generally jobless and helping me get back to my blog; I participated in a Blogstar competition at work, and both my posts got featured in the top 15 of a total of 56 posts (yay!!) :D; I’m back to my travel-by-volvo days, and enjoying it much; I am back in charge of the kitchen, since the senior chef ran off to Trivandrum forever…and I’ve held on for a month and half now, without eating out most days like we used to before the parents came to B’lore (makes me pretty proud of myself ;) ); I’m back to gardening and talking to my plants and making sure they’re happy—which is actually because of Pumbaa’s absence (he used to make sure he got all my time and attention).

So yes, there are a few good things that make me happy; but the bad ones are quite phenomenal, and damn depressing. I try to push them to the bottom of the pile, but well, they keep coming up for air every now and then. Basically, am not very good company now :D So, be happy none of you are we-talk-daily friends with me :D

I’ve been reading all your posts, ‘liked’ some of them and just quietly left without making my presence known on some others. While it makes me happy to know happiness is happening to many of you out there, I’m also quite frustrated that I’m not in the frame of mind/life to be able to be blissfully happy that way.

While we are at it, I’d like to thank my brother, Hobbes, and Vimmuuu (without knowing at all that I’m in no mood to tolerate his nonsense), for making me laugh like mad in some of my down-in-the-dumps moments and making me momentarily forget that I’m dodging lemons. :D

Life, I tell you! Sigh.

Pongala: for the Devi, by the devis

Looks like if I’m not travelling, I have nothing to write about :D

Well, not entirely true. I did write a love letter, for CB‘s latest contest “love is in the air”. There were two parts in the contest: on was to create badges, and the other, to write a love letter. Well, halfway through the design, I realised the deadline had passed :D so i gave up. Which meant I also gave up on the yet-to-begin love letter, till CB extended the deadline. (Damn! There was no excuse i could give after that :D)

Today is Pongala, and I thought I might write about how we celebrated it.

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For the uninitiated, Pongala is a religious festival celebrated by Hindu women. ‘Pongala‘ means ‘to boil over’ — and on this day, women devotees get together for the ritualistic offering of payasam: a porridge made of rice, sweet brown molasses (or sugar), grated coconut, nuts and raisins.

It’s celebrated across a few temples in South India, but it’s been made famous by the Attukal Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It’s the one time when the sleepy Thiruvananthapuram city witnesses a night that’s longer than the day ;) Women from all over South India (I guess there are people from all over the country now) gather in the city, near or in the temple premises, stocked with the ingredients, round earthen pots, bricks and tiber from the coconut trees.

On a day or two prior to the festival:
Women travel to the city and set up temporary homes on the roadsides. They book their spots on the roads, lanes, footpaths and shop fronts in a radius of several kilometres around the temple (fighting for the one nearer to the temple). The bus stands and the railways station are NOT the place to be, if you’re not a devout devotee, and especially of you’re a member of the male gender ;)

The roads are filled with vehicles bursting with their occupancy. The city dwellers don their hospitality hats and wait their turns to help the devotees. They let their courtyards be used as tent spots, let the devotees use their precious toilets, offer excellent home-cooked suppers and comfort elements — for they consider the very act of a hospitality a means to please the Goddess!

A visit to the temple is mandatory on the previous day; so is a fasting. If you are a man, you will not be allowed anywhere near the areas where the festival is in progress—unless you’re a badge-donning member of the temple volunteer group or the police force.

On the Pongala day:
All the arteries of this tiny town—less than a hundred and fifty square kilometres of land area—becomes look-alike rows of make-shift stoves ready to be lit. No vehicles ply within the city; the police and volunteers stop them at the outskirts. Volunteers set up free food-and-lemonade stalls at every 500 meters!

Security is the biggest concern of the government on the day—what combo could be worse than crowds of women and fire!? Over 5000 police men and 500 women constables plus more senior officials. Volunteer organisations work around the clock to provide medical aid, food, water and help. And the day experiences an uncanny pleasant demeanor by all people, and there is no bossing round, no bad attitudes, no negativity.

A cannon sound reverberates when the priest lights the hearth within the temple. The flame is quickly passed from the sacred hearth to others, and in an unbelievable and superb gesture of community participation, over a million hearths burn up class, creed and sects on this day, as the Devi replaces everything in their hearts with devotion and prayers.

The city is then enveloped in a cloudy cloak.

While some struggle to light a hearth and handle the smoke, sun and the streaming eyes, there are others who, having participated for many years, handle up to a 101 hearths: an auspicious number for everything divine. Another cannon announces the “boiling over” at the temple, and then the wait begins — for the temple representative priests to sprinkle the offering with scared water, as a sign of the Goddess’ blessing. Once the holy water is sprinkled on each one’s earth, they’re ready to head home.

Women also use this opportunity to exchange addresses and goodies. Traffic begin its craziness and vehicles make a slow-moving bee-line to various parts of the city and out of it.

Over 2 million burning hearths and twenty square kilometres of land! Fire, gender security, pollution, traffic problems, the concerns are numerous. But they’re all overcome and the pongala continues to be a success year after year.

After the festival:
The city is a mess after the festival: miles of blackened bricks, firewood and earthenware. You may not have seen where the food-and-lemonde stalls were, but the left over cups and the paper plates will tell a tale. And before one knows it, its time for the sanitation workers to jump in for the rescue of the roads. By late night, the city is back to what it was two days back ;)

A ceremonial rain (which has marked its presence every single year) washes down the pollution and the smoke: Nature’s certification of a festival well-celebrated.

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Of the pongala tales I’ve heard, the one bit that has been vivid is that it used to be a festival for the poor. Apparently, in the olden days, the house helps were the ones who used to participate in the festival. It was considered a festival / a day off for them, to revel in the Goddess’s blessings and attention. But over the years, as the festival became more popular. it became a matter of ‘participation’, I guess. And today, like everything else, we have a pongala that’s commercialised. Media channels interview ‘stars’ who ‘share space with the non-stars, the lesser mortals*rolling eyes*! It’s no longer a day that allows the “poor” to have a dedicated day with the Devi. Sigh!

Anyway, today being pongala, Amma was busy and ‘not-on-kitchen-duty’. Though initially she had been all sad she wasn’t at Thiruvananthapuram to be a part of it, when we decided “God’s everywhere” and she could easily “boil over” up on our terrace, Amma was thrilled :D Well, heaven was just a little further up than three stories high ;)

Amma's little terrace-temple ;) and the pongala payasam in the making :) Pic courtesy: my brother

After a long time, I was put on kitchen duty for the day :D But of course, I woke up late, and Amma had to take care of breakfast. Boy, was she pissed!

After all the scoldings and everything for ‘almost’ spoiling her day, I went to the kitchen :D And while she sat out in the hot sun, lit a fire and made the pongala payasam, I stayed back in the cool kitchen and made Mushroom Biriyani for lunch ;)

The Mushroom Biriyani I made and we binged on ;)

Pumbaa binged on it too :D He wagged his tail, licked me and (almost) said “Pumbaastic lunch that was!” :D :D :D

Took the recipe from Nag’s Edible Garden and added my own 2 cents (i tnd to do tht all the time; mostly, the result is yumm, but i’ve had my share of yucks too) :D

Personally, I’ve never quite liked this festival — only because pongala, as far as i can remember always constituted an off-work day for Amma: but she’d be out the entire day and would come back in the evening tanned, tired and tyrannic :D Well, she had a migraine problem and over 5 minutes in the sun could give her a headache…so imagine a whole day out there in the heat, smoke and pollution. Pongala evenings were always of payasam, and “be quiet, i have a headache” and us tiptoeing around to give Amma a quiet time. No, not a good, ‘fun’ festival :D And a sun-hater myself, I’ve NEVER been out there for a single pongala!

The only good part was the holiday at school and college — but again, since the traffic comes to a stand still the entire day, the ‘holiday’ always went for a waste and we were all stuck at home. I really don’t think such things should be imposed on the entire population. What of the people who do not participate, the ones who do not believe in it, the ones who might have an emergency? life cannot come to a standstill just for the sake of a celebration :(

Anyways, after a rather long time, I enjoyed this year’s ‘pongala‘ — one that was minus the crowds, minus the pollution, minus the smoke, minus the heat, minus an Amma who comes back home in the evening with a bad headache and a badder mood ;)

The payasam was extra tasty this time! :)