culture ethnic Family feelings festival Food Happiness language life New Year


by: Rithika Palvayi

Hmmmm, if I’d have to choose between “3, 2, 1…..Happy New Year” and, “Ugadi Subhakankshalu”, I’d go with the latter, any day. Because apart from wearing our traditional outfits and clicking some of the best pictures, there’s much more than you’d expect there to be. You might be appalled by the revelation, but I’m guessing you won’t be if you kept reading. 

If you’re also thinking, “what the hell?”, you should take a trip to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (went by alphabetical order, no biasing) – the two profound Telugu states of India, during April, more or less. That’s when our New Year celebrations take place. The fun in waking up to the smell of the tamarind paste/juice stands unparalleled. The special delicacy we make that day is not only our favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner but also holds importance and much meaning in our lives. 

Bet you’re curious to know what’s so tasty about it. Let me walk you through.

I had to ask my Grandma for all the information. I definitely prefer her over Google and I’m intransigent about it. 

We start by grating off slices or chopping up fine pieces of jaggery which is the purest form of sweet. And it happens to represent happiness in our life. And we add much more jaggery than any other ingredient because we love to believe that no matter what, life would turn out well in the end. 

Then comes the unripe mango, also small pieces again. Preferably so, because it stands for the surprises thrown at us during this journey. I bet not many are fans of that surprise element, huh? 

Maybe they also have the greater good motive, we never know. 

Remember the tamarind I was flaunting about? Ah, yes. Woefully, being so tasty, tamarind happens to represent the feeling of disgust. That same feeling I happen to experience when I see pictures of couples on my Instagram. 

The real surprising element here is the neem flower. It depicts the sorrows. You might not know but it tastes bad. If you ever taste the ‘Ugadi pachadi’, do not bite on this flower. It’ll ruin everything, just like sadness does. Watch the movie Inside Out, you’ll know that sadness is the enemy. Did you also know that neem has antifungal properties? 

And then comes the Telugu people’s most favorite vegetable – chilies. I prefer chili powder to this, though. It’s here to show the anger. Be it pent up or that had been taken out on your soft toys. We add this in the least amounts of all because of obvious reasons.

This one ingredient makes its presence known. Yeah, it’s the salt. It represents fear. Maybe that’s why my mom adds extra salt into my glass when I have this because generally I’m a brave person, but you put on a horror movie, I’m scared more than a scaredy-cat.  

My mom also adds bananas for the sweetness. It only ‘engorgio’s the taste. Another choice could be sugarcane pieces too.   

You should also know that Ugadi means ‘Start of a new Yug’. This tradition of celebration was started by a great king, Gautamuiputra Shatakarni. Note that he put his mother’s name before his. On a side note: RESPECT WOMEN AS MUCH THEY DESERVE.

If you’d noticed, I womansplained six simple tastes to you all. They’re called ‘shadh ruchulu’ – literally meaning six tastes. Unlike most of our lives, this ‘pachadi’ has a balance of taste, which wishes the ones having it to also have proportionate amounts of right feelings and balanced life. 

Hope you visit the  Telugu states and have this beautiful and the tastiest traditional concoction which, I promise also is a cleanse to your body.

PS: Having too much on the same day might result in sitting in the bathroom the next day for a long time, so I’ll go charge my phone already. 

life New Year Thoughts

2020, Hope and A New Year

Author: Riddhi

Firstly, a very happy new year to all. Wishing all my readers good health, joy, and success in abundance. I spent new year’s eve on my apartment’s terrace with my family – dancing, singing, having fun. There was no sense of euphoria I felt this time, like I usually do, at the beginning of a new year. I felt rather quiet, calm. Like I am present but only existing in the background. 2020 has been a roller coaster ride for most of us. Lives were lost, relationships were tested, businesses shut down, the global uproar on social issues, political unrest, and so much more. But we made it this far.

‘Pandemic’ has been named word of the year 2020. There’s a sense of ickiness that is accompanied by this word, that makes my stomach churn. Pandemic, endemic, glycemic, uremic. Feel it? If I had to choose a word for 2020, it would be ‘hope’. Hope, I think, is what kept and continues to keep us going. The past year tested us in unimaginable ways but with an unwavering sense of hope, we waged through it, we survived. Pat yourself on the back as you read this. I had a conversation with a friend about this, and he seemed cynical about this concept of hope. True, 2020 made things look bleak for quite a long time. But I like to believe that hope triumphs experience. That people like clinging on to hope, that it gives them a tad bit more courage to face life, for it is hope that keeps you going when there’s nothing else left.

I spent a major part of the year cooking, reading, and painting. I also spent plenty of time being grateful for everything. I kick-started the first morning of 2021 listening to ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone. It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new life, and I’m feeling good. I sure did feel good. This year, I intend on doing more of the above-mentioned things, things I’ve written down in my journal. Over the years, I’ve grown to dislike the word ‘resolution’, puts one in a box. So no, these are not resolutions, these are just things I plan on doing more of. Things sound more doable, and therefore, raises your chances to stick to them.

No matter how unwelcome 2020 has been, I still like to believe that 2021 is going to be full of joy, prosperity, and success. We have 12 months, 365 new chances at living life unapologetically, making memories, and giving back in whatever way we can. To wind up, I feel it apt to quote lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine, a timeless beauty –

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”

Have a great year, y’all!

life New Year Thoughts

Hindsight is a Gift

Author: Shreya Volety

2020. *Sighs* Alright, here we are. 

A comedian I adore once said, 

“A nineteen-year-old is never in her prime,

Hindsight is a gift, 

stop wasting my time.”

Hindsight is a gift. And even while this year was being abysmally wretched, we continued living it. We didn’t stop because hibernation, while tempting, is not a viable option for human survival. And even the worst kind of living contributes to who we become.


2020 was about individual stories of strength, struggle and survival. 2020 was also about the human experience, the collective human experience. 

We were isolated.

But not alone. 

Which is to say, I was lonely but not alone in my loneliness. 


The truth is, I’m stalling. The purpose of this piece was to try to document my experience of 2020. But who wants to relive this year? 

Not me.


Hindsight is a gift. 

So I’ll stop wasting your time. Let’s go.

JANUARY, 2020.

“City of Stars

Are you shining just for me?

City of Stars,

There’s so much that I can’t see…”

~ Justin Hurwitz, La La Land

One thing I imagine I will miss when I become older is the bright narcissism of youth. In January, things happened only to me. The charm of a new year heightened my sense of apparent individuality and freedom. I was finally familiar with the rhythms of university life and classes. There was a fest everyone was excited about, clubs just finished recruiting, and I was convinced that this would be the year. I was never more sure of myself, my friendships, my self-concept. I was disorganized, messy, not eating well, but content. Happy. 

FEBRUARY, 2020. 

“Fly Me to the moon, 

Let me play among the stars,

And let me see what spring is like on

Jupiter and Mars”

~ Fly Me to the Moon, Frank Sinatra

Nobody explains what it is about a concert in a student fest, that is thrilling. Because, after the first time, it perhaps isn’t. 

But the exhilaration of that first concert,

When you’re with your roommates dressing up,

When you’re standing in a long line to get to the stadium and complaining about having to wait,

When you’re swaying to a song you’ve never heard of, in a language you don’t understand, by an artist you’re only vaguely familiar with.

But your friends are smiling and laughing, and maybe some of them are singing along, and you’re happy because they are,

And you take pictures before all your makeup runs down your face in sweat,

That thrill – is unique, it’s like dancing in starlight. 

A lot happened that month – some relationships grew, some broke, some changed for the better, some for the worse.

We passed the exams we had to write. 

We were a little tired. But it was fine. We were fine. 

MARCH, 2020.

“Yeah it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do?

We’re fated to pretend

To pretend”

~Time to Pretend, MGMT

I was homesick, and tired. And I wasn’t really studying, but I didn’t think that would be the theme for the rest of the year. There were too many people around me all the time, and I thought I could use a break (not a 9 month long one though 🙂 ). And for the first time, I was more cognizant of beloved covid-19. A lockdown was announced and the university sent us home. All of us roomies huddled in our room and cried, because it was sudden, but none of us were really complaining. At least, I wasn’t.

Perfect timing, I thought.

I was home. Yay.

2020 was such a cruel witch. 

APRIL, 2020.

“Hear my heart go ba-do,

Boo’d up

Biddy-da-do, boo’d up”

~Boo’d Up, Ella Mai

I love reading. And I was reading a lot. 

Book recommendation you did not ask for: Normal People by Sally Rooney. 

I was optimistic. I started learning embroidery. I even started a new workout routine.

Being more productive was, after all, one of my 2020 resolutions.

Ha. ha. Ha. 

MAY, 2020.

“I think of what the world could be

A vision of the one I see

A million dreams is all it’s gonna take

A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.”

~ A million dreams, Anthem Lights

I was feeling a little tired of staying at home all day. The paranoia was real, and I hadn’t even gone up to my terrace for a month. I missed my friends, but I was also comfortable at home. It was okay. I was used to going to sleep in a room I shared with five other people. It was getting harder to sleep alone. Meh, it was still okay. We were busy making plans for what we’d do when we’ll go back to campus, and how to decorate our rooms. I even decided on taking the lower bunk in our new room. There were plans for club lunches and trips to Pondicherry. It was all about what we’d do once we’d get back to normal. Normal. 

Cruel Witch indeed.

JUNE, 2020.

“And so I wake in the morning

And I step outside

And I take a deep breath and I get real high

And I scream from the top of my lungs

What’s going on?”

~ What’s Up? , 4 Non Blondes

The concept of reality is deeply flawed. We all lived in this shared reality, but it isn’t real for each of us individually. Until it is.

When a parent tests positive for a virus that has scared the living daylights of the entire world, you don’t know what to do. When members of close family also test positive in close succession, you’re just numb. Helpless. Because here it is, the esteemed covid-19, and suddenly you realize, you’re being counted in the statistic they’re displaying on TV. It wasn’t horrible. It was exhausting, and frightening, but not horrible. I realized my neighbours were lovely people. I realized, in a way, I was stronger than I thought I was. 

And just like that, everyone tested negative again.

P.S: Isolation sucks. 

JULY, 2020.

“You’ve got it all

You lost your mind in the sound

There’s so much more

You can reclaim your crown

You’re in control

Rid of the monsters inside your head

Put all your faults to bed

You can be King Again”

~King, Lauren Aquilina

New semester. New teachers. New friends. New connections. It wasn’t necessarily great. But it was different. I was glad for it. It was a strange semblance of normal. Our new normal.

AUGUST, 2020.

“Wise men say, only fools rush in.

But I can’t help falling in love with you.”

~ Can’t help falling in love with you, Elvis Presley.

August was a blur. A happy blur. I really love Elvis and this song. 

If August sucked for you, I’m sorry. Truly.


“Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly

Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night”

~ Blackbird, The Beatles

I started to think a lot. My world is technicolor bright, and it feels like everyone else is color blind. I had a lot of time to ruminate, and a lot of time to revisit things I had done. Hindsight is a gift. But when all you can do is think, and think more, it’s suffocating. I still hadn’t left home, and I was sick of my room. I was unlearning, contemplating, and relearning, but I was also tired and anxious. Everyone has their limits. 2020 was starting to push mine. 

OCTOBER, 2020.

“And God

Tell us the reason youth is

Wasted on the young

It’s hunting season and this lamb is on the run

We’re searching for meaning

But are we all lost stars

Trying to light up the dark?”

~Lost Stars, Adam Levine

For the love of God, let this godforsaken year end. Seriously. 


This is where the music stops. I don’t have the patience to be poetic anymore. I am truly exhausted. I am disoriented all the time. I don’t like classes. I don’t like holidays. I’m stuck in a limbo. I’ve realized that relationships and friendships and daughterships and siblingships take a lot of energy and effort. I have no energy left. 


Unconditional love is so difficult to give and receive. I look back and realize that so many people over this year have loved me, silently, quietly, in their own way. I recognize how incredibly privileged I am for this year to have gone the way it did. I recognize how you can disappoint people repeatedly, but they don’t give up on you, because not all relationships are purely transactional. Some of them, just stay. 2020 has not taught me to love. But I think I’m starting to get it slightly. Hopefully, I will learn to love the people in my life, and myself.

I am not sure if 2020 went on in this exact sequence for you. Perhaps it didn’t. Regardless, I believe you’ve had people in your life too who have been there for you. I believe you’ve grown this year, even if it is inside the four walls of your house. 

Whoever is reading this, I might not know you personally, or I might. Either ways, I wish you a rich 2021, a year where you grow and love and laugh and live.

JANUARY 1ST, 2021.

“We’re gonna get it, get it together, I know

I’m gonna get it, get it together somehow

We’re gonna get it, get it together and flower

Woah, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

We’re gonna get it, get it together I know

We’re gonna get it, get it together and flow

I’m gonna get it, get it together and go

Up and up and up”

~ Up&Up, Coldplay

Happy New Year. 

life New Year Thoughts

It Goes On

Author: Sneha

A year is ending, and as we all know it’s the bittersweet 2020 that we all have been eagerly waiting to say goodbye to (How not to end a decade ft.2020). It’s been 366 days since our last countdown. The last time we had our party poppers ready for the clock to strike 12, we had no idea what we were in for. No clue that we would all quickly be shoved into our homes for safety and that the next time we would go out without having to protect ourselves was probably next year. Well in actuality, we can’t be sure that the year that’s only hours away will bring us that joy, and we can’t even be upset with it. Vexing, isn’t it?

What we do know however is that the people that left us this year aren’t coming back.

The ones that made it back from the ICU unit are the ones that had their life swinging between life and death and that they won the battle.

The ones that had the virus and didn’t know it themselves because they never had any problems are blessed in a way. The virus and China were the highlights of the year (honestly China what did you do!?).

All that aside, the fact remains that every year we lose someone, maybe to death, to misunderstandings, to distances and whatnot.

Every year something bad happens, something we wish didn’t have to happen to us; something we wish we didn’t do to someone else.

Constantly yearning to meet the people you couldn’t.

All these things are the kind of things we wish to leave behind. Somehow, we end up believing that with the new year, the new dawn, those things won’t matter anymore. That it will be washed into the past and that you now have nothing to do with it. You see, that thought is flawed. There is no such thing as starting the year with a new you without your baggage. Whatever you did this year is going to follow you for the rest of your life, just like the things you do every other year, whether you like it or not.

Hey, don’t fret. All the bad things aren’t the only stuff you get to take to the new decade. You get to take all the good things too. The bonds that didn’t break this year. The people that became closer than before. The hobbies you revisited or the new ones you started this year. All the binging of every kind you did from movies to books and food. The mini family reunions (I mean, almost everyone I know went to meet theirs at some point). The joy you felt when you were eating food that wasn’t made at home after so long.

Even though we all thought it would be impossible to meet new people or feel truly connected even if we did, we did meet new people. The closest we got to ‘hanging out’ was a video call. 

In conclusion, 2020 may have been a disaster in a million ways. But it wasn’t all bad though. Some parts of 2020 were definitely warm and memorable. There are a few things you could do only this year, only because of the pandemic. We began to cherish our daily routine and love all the people that were almost always by our side a little more.

Let us just hope and pray the year and decade that is coming has good things to offer us and that the whole pandemic situation becomes better. That we can go back to our old routines again and finally meet all the people we couldn’t this year.

Also I would like you to remember that no matter how every year goes for you, things just keep going. All you can do is make the best of it. This is me wishing you a lovely and splendid new year that brings as many delightful memories for you as it can and asking you to not give up! May all your tomorrows be better than your yesterdays.

Happy new year!