Saturday, April 09, 2005

Ugadi in Dubbay

Happy Ugadi to you all!! (If you know what that is...)

Well, its Ugadi Today - the dawn of a new year for us Hindus from the S. Indian state of Karnataka (not sure if it applies to any other state) . As I squat here in Dubai, miiiiles away from all that, ..... Memories of the many U's spent with family play like bollywood movie trailers in the mind - clear, bits n pieces, and teasing the heart for 'more'...

What 'appetising' days they were the Ugadis ... when mom coaxed you to gobble multifarious 'ghee'-laden labour-intensive sweets till your tastebuds cloyed,... and how 'Indian' it felt - with all the festive look around, guests pouring in thro the day, a moving gallery bright new silken clothes all around...
My duty for the day was always: to craft a 'thoran' of fresh mango leaves first thing in the morning & tie it above the main door (across the door frame) - a tradition - to encourage the entry of fresh & cool air to fill up the house on a hot summer day as this.
The highlight of this day is however, a 'bitter-sweet' tradition - to eat a little mixture of tender neem leaves & jaggery - this represents the golden rule of life - that life is never all smiles or all cries, its exactly like what we eat today - a mixture of bitter & sweet, of joy and sorrow and one must accept this fact of life sportively. Traditions apart, Neem has a cooling effect on the body, and also purifies the blood - so clever forefathers we had eh!

Well, those are only 'memories' now... Here I am in Dubai, away from all the festivities and fuss.. I confess, I reaaally miss them (though I didnt really care for all the noise back then) specially on such special days of the calendar spent with mom & dad. Since the time mom told me about Ugadi, I've been thinking of turning it to a great day here. Sat down to think what to cook. hmm.. well, whatever it is, the fridge needs to be filled up first, its as barren as the desert around. Pooja? Need to go shopping for flowers.. New clothes? cant afford right now - just bought 2 expensive paris of shoes - could wear the new footwear though (heehe)! How about the Neem & Jaggery? Jaggery...yes I have it. Neem is out of question. How about making this year sweet and sweet :) !
Nevertheless, I can still do something about it. So, I sat down with eyes wide open as the clock ticked midnight, as Sandeep snored - blissfully unaware of the U-turmoil I was passing thro- and listed down the things I could do in the morning. Not bad, but list turned out to cost me 2 & half hours of sleep. "Will power," I thought as I tucked into my blanket. It turned out, the strong Expresso I had in the evening, worked overtime on me and kept me struggling to find some sleep... 12:30...1:30...2:40.. was the last I bothered to check the time . Well... So you know what hapepned. Down the roach-infested drain went my plans ... "to wake up before the garbage van came at 6:00, clean the pooja 'cabinet' like a good girl, cook all the (at lest some of the) yummies mom does back in b'lore like a good wife, peform elaborate Ugadi pooja like a sacred Indian woman, et al.
It was in fact, later than usual :. So, there goes Ugadi; and there goes me to my same old office, in the same old Dubbay! (PS: thats the way Dubai is called traditionally ...something like Bangalore is called Bendacalluru:).. no fee for that gyan)


At 4:21 AM, Blogger Arul Prasad said...


That was a good post.. Brought me some sweet old memories too..

Well, in Kerala the equivalent of Ugadi is called 'Vishu' and in Tamil Nadu, its just tamil New year day. And they both fall on the same date - April 14th.

We do have all these poojas and stuffs there too, but the coolest part is, I was not supposed to wake up (rather open my eyes), until my mom wakes up, arranges lot of fruits and jewellery and money and many more things in the pooja room, and finally comes to wake me up, and blindfold me with her hands, to take me to the pooja room.

We were supposed to see the most prosperous things when we open our eyes on this special day. (poor thing, no one does that to my mom!)

And as a kid there was much more fun on that day.. We, me and my sisters, were given 5 / 10 Rs on the morning of Vishu, by my parents, and were let out to all the other elders in the family. And we used to compete, over who collects the most money from others. EOD, I used to collect like, some 25- 30 Rs.

And as I grew up, my role slowly changed, from being a observerer of all this fun, to being a part of the organizer.. I had to buy my mom all the fruts, get her that special yellow flower she would arrange in the pooja room, get my dad a lot of change in form of Re. 1 coins to give over to kids coming home the next day, and late at night, helping my mom arrange stuffs in the room. And finally when my mom comes to wake me up on Vishu day morning, I would fake to be asleep, just get feel the fun.

This time my collection would go up to as high as a 100Rs!

Later, things changed.. somehow I started drifting away from all this...

Last year I was home, for Vishu, and I had a chance to give over money to my dad, mom and sisters. I gave them all 500 each. Man, I did feel proud to that, though I had to wash out my bank balance :-)))

And this year, I am planning to be there, the next day, after Vishu..

Life sometimes, is too unfair.. It is..

And I do remember all those 'sweet chapathis' or 'obattu' tat you used to bring.. It was for Ugadi right ?

Hmm.. sweet old memories!


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