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culture ethnic Family feelings festival Food Happiness language life New Year

TELUGU NUTHANA SAMVATSARA SUBHAKANKSHALU

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. 

Categories
life Poem Uncategorised

Ode to the Son

Poet: Ashwin Shankar

At the break of dawn,

You rise;

Radiating a certain profound brilliance,

You ascend.

Although straight up

Is the way you go;

There is an ever-present tilt—

An axial shift in your stance.

As concurred by many,

You are a bringer of joy.

Even with just happiness as a reason,

You play a major role.

On days with thick cloud cover,

For some the sight is an eyesore.

And when the skies are trimmed,

You show yourself much more.

Depending on time and place,

Varied appears your size.

The angle of observance,

Tends to play with the eyes.

A bringer of life

You are to man;

And a bringer of life

You are to many more.

In every religion or culture

You have a different name;

In some you are respected,

In some you are shamed.

What you are called,

Depends on what each man is.

For a historian, a phallus;

And for a scientist, a penis.

Whether you are the son of man,

Or man is the son of you;

Is a paradox of life,

That not many can construe.

Categories
change life society Uncategorised

The First Step

Author: Shreya Volety

Recently, I watched the Amazon Prime Original series, Bandish Bandits. The show is well written and well-produced, but this piece is not about the show but rather one particular moment in the show. The show is set in Jodhpur, a city with old palaces and rooted in even older traditions. And patriarchy is the founding tradition of old, and if we’re being real, even contemporary India. 

The particular scene I’m referring to is one where the woman of the family, who for thirty years of her life has not dined with the rest of the men in the family, is invited to sit at the table for the first time. Everyone at the table hesitates for a second, and then the head of the family pulls her chair out for her and she sits at the table.

She is the first woman in 12 generations of the Rathore family to sit at the table.

Now, I don’t mean to glorify this moment, because a tradition as archaic as this should never have had a place in the 21st Century, democratic India. But it does and despite understanding the full scope of misogyny in this world, I can’t help but be moved by a 30-second scene in a TV show. 

I live in a world, where people are philosophizing progress, while slowly regressing backward. 

What this 30-second clip represents to me, is the first step forward.

All we need to take sometimes is the first step forward to

Listen,

Acknowledge,

Try to understand,

Act.

We are living in our heads. The whole world is the world we have created for ourselves. Max Ehrmann said in his poetry,

“With all, it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

And that is only because every world is a world of our making. And we can take the first step. If we can redirect even 30 seconds of the time we spend on invalidating people, their thoughts, and emotions to listening instead.

If we can spend 30 seconds not 

Dehumanizing,

Oppressing,

Dismissing,

and looting people of their identity, we at least have a reasonable shot at creating a better world.

All it takes is the first step forward.