Thursday, October 9, 2008

a little bit of tradition!

It is that time of the year again! The time of the year when I yearn most for home. It starts with Ganesh Chaturthi and lingers on till after Diwali. This is the time that the memories flood me, and i see a flashback of events generally forgotten in the hustle bustle of what we call life.

- of getting up on festival days and listening to the reassuring clatter of vessels in the kitchen. Of oil baths and visits to temples. Of visits to the grandparents where we would seek the blessings of the elders present. Of the vibrant colors of the rangoli and the heady fragrance of the jasmine flowers...and of course the food. Of smells taking my olfactory senses for an aromatic drive. of stomachs being put to their ultimate test of capacity...of eating my grandma's lunch..(My grandmother would always equate love and food and it showed in every morsel that entered our mouths.)

These are memories of laughter and love, of beliefs and prayers, of events and impressions, of bonding and a sense of belonging.

Of course things have changed a lot now. We do as we please, we wake up when we want, we are masters of our day, we believe in ourselves. The 11 yr old is very astute and does not believe in God as much as he used to when he was 3. I would like to think it's because we've taken care of his emotional needs that he does not feel the need to turn to someone...

Coming back to the festival, yesterday was Dussehra...and i thought i should get in touch with the traditional side of me. So in a bid to indulge the nostalgic homesick child in me, i cooked a traditional meal...which "included" kadubus (we grew up on idlies steamed in those special jack fruit leaf moulds)with yogurt based curry, rasa vada and a payasam...for a family of 4.


The offering to the deity done, the table is set, a pleased dad and a satisfied mom look at the spread proudly...

only to hear two disappointed voices...'you made glass idlies? are we going to eat this? no pasta?!!!" the pitch increasing with every discovery...

and then a resigned 'sigh...can i at least eat it with ketchup!!!"

And every time i try to recreate that bit of magic, I wonder, is it time for me to set aside my memories and continue making theirs?

but no way are you, my dear kiddos, getting pasta on a festival day!!!

and yes, hope you all out there had a great dussehra.

retrospect:: this is just a rough attempt to pen down a state of mind...i agree that the onus is on me to put as much or as little, of tradition in my day...

23 comments:

Compassion Unlimitted said...

Very beautifully brought out conflict of generation next and our attachment to tradition..tradition plays a vital role & instead of pushing it ,keep the gentle exposure on..I know I dont have to tell you that

TC
CU

Joy said...

I can relate to this. My 5 year old used to love payasam. Now only I eat all the goodies if I ever make. I liked the line where you said that S might not believe in God as you have taken care of his emotional his needs. Its very thought provoking...Its true in earlier generations people took whatever they got but not it is very different...

Hope you had a Happy Navratri!

Rambler said...

i am a little disappointed you know..seeing that our next generation..[yep you heard me right..I am attaching myself to the older generation here :D, hard to believe isn't it?:)]..its really disappointing to see younger generation not getting to taste the vast food variety we had, and also the culture which I guess we are so proud of

Mama - Mia said...

oh well! i can pretty much imagine the scene! well we used to behave like that with our parents at times too!

and then when got married, i have been struggling to do just a l'il something! and now that i have cubby i realise how ill equipped i am to pass on the traditions to him much before he reacts to them with disdain!

hope to do a l'il better in future!

the food made my mouth water! send over some! i rpomise i wont make faces and ask for ketchup! :)

hugs

abha

Preethi said...

well put.. but sometimes pasta it is.. here at least!! and we celebrate thanksgiving and Christmas with pasta!! At least its not turkey!!

Prats said...

I wholly understand your state of mind. Traditions and their values were added to bring out values in us. BUt it was not restrictive, it was all in the name of God, fun and food....
Now kids are living ni the instant age...so things have to be speeded up...but if you carry out traditions in your own small way, they'll soon come around. and they'll retain memories for a lifetime.

And glass kadubus, or not....food must have been one good meal..

ceedy said...

Its a big conflict....well try to do the best of both the worlds...so no one feels sad..

maybe its time to recreate pasta with a new twist...like some fusion food ;)

Suma said...

CU...
yes, i do that but i think with every generation, the reverence is getting diluted...

ugich konitari said...

You put into wonderful words what so many of us are going through, vis-a-vis traditions in an age of instant-everything. My children are MUCH older than yours, but they still behave similarly at times....

noon said...

Nice post. I too feel the need to celebrate festivals to pass on tradition but I don't enjoy it much unless I have family around - just me and B and the kids - somehow I dont' have enough enthusiasm to cook a whole spread - esp if it is a week day. Then I feel like - why bother...and the bit about emotion and God - true - that might be the case!

onlooker said...

hmm strikes a chord in many i guess. sometimes its a frightening thing, the responsibility of a parent, you never get over it entirely, the magnanimity. So trying to pass down a bit (tradition)even if it be a teenie weenie bit, it does help i guess, and has to be done.

WhatsInAName said...

awwww, dont you despair, Suma. Its the same story everywhere, even in India. And itsthe times that have changed. We need to change with that. If it was not for my MIL staying with me, I wonder how many of the traditions, I would have been able to really follow!

Good to know you are trying your best and I am sure the kids will surely appreciate it some day, if not today :D

brocasarea said...

yeah!!!....those kadubus with chutney are a really a awesome!...
now a days we dont burst crackers but atleast we get up early for that traditional oil bath[or else amma will scold us like anything]...:))

rayshma said...

i don't knw what i'll do when i have a kid!! can barely cook to let the little one live.... SIGH!
happy belated dussehra, gurl.
i'm gonna spend diwali all alone here...:(

Sumana said...

Not sure why my earlier comment did not come thru. All of what you say is true. After moving back here, things have been a little easier, with parents around and stressing on culture/tradition. But don't you worry, all these will haunt them and you as sweet memories and they would come back to ask you to prepare the glass idlies.

Pavi!!!! said...

U seem to have voiced every parent's worry..or for that matter every NRI's worry...One gets so caught up with the daily routine that it becomes hard to celebrate each festival...I just made sundal for Dusshera...there was no time to do more.

Diwali is my fav festival.I love the early mornin oil bath n new clothes, draing rangoli n delicacies..everything minus the crackers! But alas...its a working day here...

Well anywez im planning to have a Diwali party over the wknd n prepare dishes like Thatai,murku, coconut burfi etc...Hope the plan gets executed!

pink dogwood said...

Suma,

I sometime wonder if it is fair to force indian food upon my kids - I have stopped doing it. They will come around and learn to love it one day if they do - otherwise is fine too. I just want them to eat healthy - whichever cuisine they pick - that's all :) The funniest thing is that ever since I decided not to force them to eat Indian food - they have started trying to eat it more and more :)

My kids don't eat any Indian mithai - so last diwali we made cinnamon buns for prashad :) I am thinking of sugar cookies this year :)

kurtnirvana said...

Nostalgic, i would say.

Suma said...

ugich...
true....its an instant generation but one with their heads firmly on their shoulders


noon...
it is quite cumbersome to prepare a lavish traditional meal and i think everyone now has the luxury of taking shortcuts...i too love festivals when its with the extended family around...

WIAN
having grandparents in the house helps a lot in maintaining a bit of those traditions...i see a lot of difference between my kids and their cousins(who live in a joint family)

brocas...
oh yes..the oil bath was a must on diwali mornings...it used be agreat feekling to get up early and wave those sparklers in the early dawn ...

rayshma...
its too early for you to bother about that...

but awww...hugs...Diwali here is not going to be too great ...

Sumana...
i agree, it must have been a welcome change for you, in that respect ...

pavi!!!!
hope you enjoy your diwali in the way you want...how's the new job?

pink dogwood...
one of te rare ocassions i would disagree with you...its not so much a matter of forcing..its exposing them to traditional food so that they know that this is how it used to be...of course as they grow they will have their own preferences...and just as i've taken my shortcuts in celebrating festivals, so will they

in any case this way i get to eat food i don't normally cook...:)

kurtnirvana...
yes...it is :)

Deepali said...

I think this is a dilemma every parent struggles with. How much and what they should pass down to their kids is not as simple as it use to be in the past. Life is a lot more complex. There are a lot more elements added to life now.

Sometimes I feel bad I don't know much about my culture and it's traditions (for the sake of knowledge) but on most days I don't care cause I am happy I don't have to follow things I don't believe in. I think the right balance is something every individual family needs to figure out.

Happy belated all the festivals that have gone (Navratri, Dassera, Ganesh Chaturthi). Happy Diwali in advance :)

rm said...

thanks for commenting on my blog..so nice of u to passby on such a dry area

Just Like That said...

LOL!

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