Happy New Year 2011 (and yes, I know it's already 2 weeks into the New Year.)
And, Happy Pongal, to those who celebrate it. I've been wishing all my near and dear ones a Happy Pongal every time that I pick up the phone in the last couple of days.
I'm very far removed from the agrarian roots of my father's boyhood days in the village, and can create no semblance of all those sights, sounds and smells in my urban kitchen. Even the pongal is a starkly utilitarian, ultra-hygienic recipe, with prewashed dal and rice, brown sugar from bags, instead of jaggery, melted butter instead of fresh ghee. Small wonder that the taste never matches up to the original that I used to partake of in my grandmother's house.
And yet, the urge to wish all and sundry a Happy Pongal still persists. Who am I kidding, is it for me or for them? It's for the memories that the word conjures up, I guess; and can't pass on in any direct form to my kids, except in these brief reminiscences, should they ever deign to read them some day.