Which were your golden days? What would you answer if someone asks you this question? To me, they were my childhood days. And I am sure, many out there reading this post would say in their minds – mine too, mine too. Having said that, I am not someone who often looks back at her childhood and starts feeling nostalgic now and then. Who has so much time these days? Everyone is busy in living the present and making plans for the future. We open the old suitcase named past only when we need to find something that would make our today better. Yes, you are correct. Right now, I am also sitting and brushing the decade old box full of memories. As a matter of fact, I am occupied with this job since last two days. Makar Sankranti is the excuse this time.
Makar Sankranti once again invoked the child in me and took me back to those golden days where any festival meant relishing on sweet dishes. We also call it as Poush Sankranti (the last day of the Poush month in Bengali calendar). A wide variety of pitha (prepared mainly with rice flour, jaggery and coconut stuffings) and payesh (kheer or rice pudding) forms the base of the feast. Needless to say, women in the house used to remain busy in kitchen on that day.
I remember my father used to tell stories about the way he and his siblings used to celebrate Makar Sankranti in their childhood. Just a day before the Sankranti, they would build a small hut (they called it Buri Ghor, don’t know why) with the help of hay and bamboo in the courtyard in our village home. At night, all the siblings and their friends cooked non-vegetarian dinner and dined under the open sky. The very next day, ignoring the teeth rattling cold January weather, they used to wake up very early in the morning, take bath and burn theBuri Ghor.
My father’s eyes brimmed with joy every time he mentioned this story. I guess, he felt nostalgic thinking about the golden days from his childhood. However, building a hut on one day and burning it later looked like an impossible wild adventure to me. After all, it was not a wise idea for me and my younger brother to continue this same tradition on terrace, the only open space we had in our city lives. Moreover, building something needs a lot of planning and hard work, a job quite unsuitable for a lazy bum like me. I was more than happy and content with my oral exercise of pitha and payesh.
But alas! Gone are those golden days.
Fast forward fifteen years, things have changed drastically. Now I am the one who is supposed to prepare those pithas and payesh for the family. And, I am still the same person who prefers gulping pithas rather than making them in the kitchen. And, on top of that, there are other things like blood sugar and calories to take care of too. My last stint with sweet dishes on the Poush Sankranti was the one after my marriage three years back. Only the Almighty knows how an inexperienced sole ended up preparing ricekheer and not-so-soft Malpuas in the kitchen. Feedback from husband helped me to understand that preparing pithas can never be my forte.
If you ask my opinion, then sweet dishes tastes even more sweeter when prepared by your mother and grandmother. What do you say?
How did you celebrate Makar Sankranti this year? Or should I say Pongal? Enjoyed a feast? Let me know in the comments 🙂
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