Happy Karthikai Deepam

Happy Karthigai Deepam!

Every Karthigai Deepam the person I miss the most is my mother-in-law Girija. She made the world’s best Adai and paniyaram to celebrate Karthigai Deepam.

The boy and I lit lamps around the house and made adai with lots of coconut pieces. It is my way of paying homage to my mother-in-law Girija.

karthigai-deepam-ambal-balakrishnan

 

Holidays Almost Here!

In a mad rush through the evening chores, I went to the backyard to drop off some plastic stuff in the recycle bin and saw this beautiful sight in our neighbor’s yard.

Don’t message me with – “Ambal, WTH? You are beginning to lost it yo. It is just a bunch of (bull) blurry lights.”

The lights remind me that the holidays (and much needed down time for me and the family) are not too far away. Yipee!!

Come on. Admit it. Are you not excited about the lights?

I really like how this week is beginning to slow down to get us started for Thanksgiving.

Puliyogare in Poratassi

Tamil Calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar and predates it by several centuries.
You can read more here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_calendar

Poratassi was always a very special month when I was growing up. Lots of Lord Perumal/Balaji related festivities both in our household and near by temples.

Appa always told me that nobody can make puliyogare like his Iyengar friends. Even when was I a child, I understood how special it was when we brought back puliyogare prasadam from a Perumal temple or from one of his Iyengar friends kitchen.

Today is the last Saturday of the tamil month Poratassi.
It is a very speical day.
Because, I have absolutely yummy Iyengar household puliyogare in the Kumar household.
Thank you Latha Iyengar for packing your love in this bottle.

Don’t ask me which clan I fall under – Shiva-ite or Vishna-vite. I am beyond those boundaries because I was foruntate enough to grow up in a household and neighborhood that had enriching influences from both sides. I have huge respect and love for both sides and everything that lies in between. After all, the end goal is the same – moksa.

Anyways, today my moksha is through tasting Latha’s puliyogare.

Happy Weekend Y’all!!

Happy Navaratri

You can’t see or smell it. But, humor me. Will you?
Just use the power of your imagination and experience that terrific smelling perfume right in the middle of my hand.

We experience life through our 5 senses – smell, sound, sight, touch and taste.

The sense of smell is so powerful and fascinating. Our neurons shape our memories by smells. Don’t take my word for it.

Read this: Understanding How Neurons Shape Memories of Smells

As I was growing up, I was surrounded by the scent of flowers almost everyday.

Appa and Thatha would bring all kind of flowers (malli, jathi malli, thazambu, vada malli and so much more). Amma would tie them in a string to take to temple, adorn the various God’s pictures and idols in the puja room or adorn our hairs. Also, as I passed my temples, there would be flower vendors….strong into huge garlands. The fragrance would be overwhelming.

So, during Golu visits over the weekend, when my friend Jayanthi Krishnan applied some flowery perfume on my hands as part of the Nalangu (adorning)…..my brain was flooded with so many past memories of the flowers that had passed me by years ago.

India produces such awesome organic natural perfumes that would put the rest of chemical based perfumes to shame.

But, how do I capture the beauty of that perfume, that fragrance, that moment in words?

In utter awe and deep gratitude for all the special people and moments that this Navratri Golu is sending my way.

An Ode to Badam Kheer

What does that look like?

A cup?
A cup filled with some creamy looking liquid?

Well, it is not.
It is a cup full of thoughtfulness.
It is a cup full of yummy badam kheer.

Since I drank some of Raji’s awesome tasting badam kheer in Raji’s Golu last year…I have been waiting for Golu 2016 to arrive.
It did…but, there was a slight problem.

I was out of town at my friend’s daugther’s arangentram when Raji hosted her Golu last weekend.

Appa always told me never to miss anybody’s invite….”No matter what, make it work. Always, show up.”

So, I worked out a time with Raji….who was gracious to allow for me to come take a peek at her Golu during one of the weekday lunch slots.
As I was getting ready to leave, guess what happened?
She pulled up some of her (her mom’s recipe) for badam kheer.
I swear….my heart melted.
She had put away some in the fridge for me.
I was in a rush…..so, I took the badam kheer in a to go cup and savored it during the ride.

I know Golu hopping sounds crazy. But, year after year, I continue to do it…..it is my way of remembering the lessons that Appa taught me….”Show up when somebody invites you…no matter what.”

Now, I wait for Raji Parameswaran’s Golu 2017….because that is when I can taste this yummy badam kheer again.

I know….I know…Golu isn’t even over…but I am already beginning to suffer some severe Golu withdrawal symptoms.