When a certain
mischievous (what's the word I'm looking for? impish? charming? oh, just fill in the blank here!!) food blogger put out an invitation to join in her Durga Pujo event, I thought "what fun!!" followed immediately by"but what can I contribute here?". Those who know me, will immediately know why the question popped up in my mind.....but then I got to thinking and little by little the post started taking shape.
I don't have many memories of Durga Puja, Diwali being the main festival that is celebrated in our home. I haven't done much pandal hopping either, even though my best friend is Bengali (I used to wait for her to bring back parshad for me!---this was many moons back, while we were in hostel. The university had a very large Bengali community which meant that Durga Pujo was celebrated with aplomb!! and I would tag along with her to the main extravaganza to eat my fill of delicious Bengali food. I had never before in my life had a potato dish so good (aloo poshto) or other nameless (because I can't for the life of me remember their names. But I can still remember the taste and aroma and atmosphere, like I'm partaking of it right now) delights put out in front of me. Someone out here in blogland mentioned in one of her posts that you can try to replicate the flavors of the food from bhog, but you will never really achieve it. I agree. I have tried to make langar food at home, but it always falls short of expectations. Maybe that pinch of magic, that laughter and camaraderie which goes into its making is missing. Sometimes, too many cooks manage to create magic.
Somewhere else on blogland I read a story recounting the magic that a community created during the annual Anandamela. I have to agree wholeheartedly. Because daddy was in the army, we moved a lot during my formative years. The communities I grew up in were always a mishmash of people and personalities. It was the India of my dreams, where every color and language coexisted (I have vivid memories of celebrating pongal, replete with banana leaves!). I, in turn, turned out to be a mishmash of cultures. I absorbed every culture I had the privilege to live in. Because my mom was so immersed in the arts, I also acquired an appreciation for the local traditions. The life of an army brat was a good one and the community was just that, a community. All festivals were celebrated and the kids had a ball. My mom tells me that we had participated in a few Durga Pujas along the way, but I somehow have no memories of anything apart from the rasogullas (I know, I always tend to think with my tummy in the foreground!).
Which brings me to the community that I am most interested in right now, this community that we have lovingly built. You, me, us. I am honored to have read all your lovely posts as you shared your memories with us. This post is for all you lovely people out there, those who celebrate and those who don't, for each of you who is willing to open your heart and let in some of that magic....
May you have a beautiful celebration. May there be lots of this:
May there be loads of this.......
Sabudana tikki. Recipe from here. Thanks Sangeeta!
Maybe some of these:
Stuffed kulchas. Recipe here.
May your kullad (cup) brimmeth over...
While you're gorging on food, don't forget mother nature's bountiful gems:
Yup, tank up on those antioxidants!!!
May your evening be bright, may your diyas be lit....
Don't forget the main reason behind the celebrations, may you have a blissful Puja!
While you're seeking blessings, remember to put in a little prayer for peace on Earth. I just did.
Dear Pree, this one's for you. Post submitted to "Beyond Five Days of Durga Puja".
Credits: All pictures taken by me at home. Please do not use them without my permission. (I'm quite approachable and won't turn you down if you ask. )