Summer

Down the Memory Lane…

It has been raining a lot in Bangalore these days. The weather has become like warm, heartening mother’s love. Summers always bring lots of memories along with itself… doesn’t it? Suddenly the sunrises are early and more golden. The constant rain has brought back the soothing greenery and chirping happy birds everywhere. The Koyals are making these already bright days even more colorful with its constant coo-cooing and fills up the longing hearts. The mouthwatering smell of the ripening mangoes and litchis encompasses my heart and mind with the unimaginable joy… Aren’t summers beautiful?? Well to me, it holds a special place in my heart and will always do.

At home during summers years back, in those sweaty, prickly, hot afternoons when the electricity use to play hide and seek most of the times, we use to be least bothered about anything. The colorful hand decorated “bamboo-pankhas” and different types of lassis and aam-pannas were the only rescue from the hot weather those days. Most of the afternoons would be spent running around and playing with the cousins or sitting in a quiet corner of the house mastering the art of hand embroidery. Ah how I use to love doing those! This summer, I tried my hands back on making some ribbon and stumpwork embroidery. Well, I am happy that atleast I remember to hold my needle properly and make some of these lovelies!

Hand, Ribbon, Stumpwork EmbroideryPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

I remember that at home Saturday being “Shani” bhagwan’s day, it was a custom to make “Khichdi”. Actually on this particular day, something yellow has to be made and Khichdi being everyone’s favourite gave us the excuse to eat it as a delicacy on every Saturday without fail. There were varieties in which it was cooked. Some days it would be a simple moong daal and rice one and the other days it use to be filled with masalas and seasonal colorful veggies. During Durga Puja, it was made specially with mutton and served as prasad in differnt puja pandaals. Whatever goes in this humble, cozy, heart-warming food, it was always served with it’s five partners. There is a saying in Hindi which goes like this – “Khichdi ke hain paanch yaar – dahi, chokha, papad, ghee, anchar” 🙂 🙂 (Khichdi has got five friends – Curd, Mashed potatoes(chokha), fries, Ghee and pickle). I totally agree with this. I too wouldn’t feel content or call it a khichdi meal without eating it with it’s five partners. It is a must! Even on those afternoons when it rained or the chilling nights of winter, khichdi always stood as a saviour to us. Those days when the heart and stomach wanted something simple and soothing yet hot and happening, each time this humble dish came to our rescue. Till date, whenever it rains and I just want to lazy around yet long for the comfort of home, I make Khichdi. It certainly uplifts my spirit other than contenting my heart, stomach and soul.

Khichdi, Summer, Rain, Comfort FoodPhoto courtesy: Balakrishnan K | www.utopianhere.com

If we see deeply, the joy of life is in the simplest things which gives happiness in their own humble ways. Isn’t that wonderful? I hope everyone enjoys their rest of the week. The weekend is soon to be here 🙂

Cheers!

Mango Mania…

Where I grew up, there was a massive, enormously fertile mango garden right in front of our house. Every summer the trees would get laden with lots and lots of mangoes and children would start hovering over to steal and fill their stomach with its sour-sweet flavour escaping their lunch. The branches hung low and welcomed everyone gracefully to come and get a taste of what it had to offer… it welcomed everyone in its cool shade and gave them memories to cherish a lifetime! I remember spending the hottest summer afternoon lingering around the garden with my sisters and brother. We wholeheartedly gave them the adoration they deserved.

My mother would collect loads of mangoes in the morning while sending us off during the morning school. It was a routine to get up early (around 4:00 am) and get ready as soon as possible so that we could help mom collect them. We would count it as big achievements holding the morning picks in our small palms. Simple joys of life! I remember, mom sitting in the afternoon, escaping her afternoon nap, cutting mangoes in cubes and then making them into pickles. There were huge glass jars, which she pampered like infants and we were always prohibited from touching them. But, how much ever she tried, we would always open the jar lids and gobble the pickle as soon as it was kept in the sun…

Every afternoon, mango-mint chutney was a must. The sweet mango pickle she used to make was my all time favourite. The aam-panna which was made by cooking raw mango in firewood in the evening, was a drink we always looked forward to in the summers. No guest would be allowed to leave before drinking the refreshing sherbat.

And when the mangoes ripen, there would be someone or else who would come from the village with sacks full of mangoes and those would be stored neatly over newly placed hay on the floor. It was the mango season and all we did was eat, drink, play and cherish THE MANGO! Ahh… good old childhood days!!

Aam ki phirni

Back to the present. I can’t run around in the mango grooves anymore as there are none around my house. That’s why me and my husband are content eating this aam ki phirni for today 🙂 🙂

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and the rain and not to forget the magnificient AAM. Kyunki aam ka season baar-baar nahi aata 😉 🙂

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