Imagine a child’s joy when it joins its parents after being lost in an endless crowd. Thats how I feel whenever I step on the soil of Honnavar. I always feel like a lost soul in Bangalore. Words fall short to explain how I felt when bus I was travelling entered my very own familiar area. I could feel my adrenaline pumping high each second by the mere thought of going back home. I was there at the door of my house, on the day of new year.
After long time I was experiencing Ugadi at my home. I didn’t even remember when was it last time I celebrated it at home. Festivals are always good. You get to eat different kind of kajjaya. My mouth started watering by the thought of kajjaya even before I entered my house. All my family members were there to welcome me. It was a dandy feeling. Everybody out there, take care of me.
From that point of time I switch off my brain and follow what elders insist me to do. That is like being in safe mode. I find myself following the instruction given by them like an obedient soldier. Instructions might be as simple as, “Go and get yourself a bath, then come and have breakfast“. “Did you pray god? Go and pray. We are nothing without god.”
And interrogations follow. “Where is your bindi? Why don you keep bindi? What happened to the bangles I gave you last time? What the hell happened to your hair? I can make out that you have not oiled it since you were here last time, what kind of haircut is this, ili kadid tara?” and the cry goes “these days children have become so smart that they dont even listen to what elders say.” Sometimes I am irritated when they yell at me.Very next moment I think what am I going to lose if I listen to them, Afterall they are the ones who care most.
As it is festival day and some Pooja is being offered I see people all around, busy arranging paraphernalia’s required for pooja. On a festival day like this its better if I dont roam too much inside the house. Coz the things which are to be offered to God should be untouched until the pooja is over. All these things amuses me, I start thinking, does really God get a chance to eat the food. We just show him what we have prepared and end up eating it ourselves. I ask my mom, “Why should you prepare the food in MADI? Why shouldn’t I touch the food you have prepared?” I have a habit of asking the reasons behind the archaic practices and I practice only if the reasons convince me. This habit of mine has annoyed my kins many times. Unlike others my mom patiently explains me. “Look, when you pray to god, prayer is complete only when you are pure at heart and mind. When you wear a pure cloth like silk or naru madi naturally there is a serene feeling, hence there is a rule that we should cook in MADI, and you should not touch the food since your hands might have been infected with bacteria. If you touch the food to be offered it will spoil the serenity of the food. There are scientific reasons explained in Vedic age for every practice and ritual we perform, unfortunately down the line we have failed to understand the meaning behind it and we have ended up performing it in a wrong way. You guys question things and argue it as baseless.” I am convinced at my mom’s answer. I think it’s so important for elders to explain the meaning of rituals, practices and culture in a convincing way, without which so called Generation Gap develops. So I settle for the best job suited for me, cleaning Banana leaves, which is the only work I can do efficiently on a festival day, other than eating ofcourse.
I wait eagerly for the Mangalarathi to get over to eat Prasadam. Mangalarathi is like a green signal to all of us who are waiting for lunch. I ask my mom again, “Can I have lunch now? I am damn hungry“. Permission is mandatory coz Guests are first priority on such occasions.
Wow.. finally the moment I was waiting for arrives. A spoon of Ghee poured on Banana leaf before anything is served kicks off the lunch. I reluctantly eat Bevu Bella as it is a must on Ugadi and wait for the rice which is going to be served with tambali, huli and hashi(typical,simple uttara kannada recipees). Delicious Hayagreeva(I have no idea why it assumes that name) served with Ghee.. Yummy.. I bet you, nothing is like food prepared at home.
I am the star of the day. Everybody is concerned about how much I eat, if I like it or not. My relatives complain, “Look at Ambika, she has become so thin, are you on dieting or something?”. I smile at them and tell to myself “they seriously need an eye check up” .
I am overwhelmed with joy for their care and concern. My eyes are filled with tears which are an indication of both joy of being at home and sorrow of missing my place, my home and parents.