Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Of kozhakattais and paper umbrellas

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi people! This is one of my favourite festivals! Kozhakattais being only one of the many reasons why.

I have some lovely memories of Ganesh Chathurthi. When my Grandmother was living with us, I remember her frail frame swathed in a nine-yard cocoon of silk. She would sit on the kitchen floor and make her famous sweet and uppu kozhakattais, making delicate petal shaped cases for the sweet and savoury fillings. My sister and I would pester her and she would reluctantly agree to let us help. Our own cases were either too thick or too thin, but she would always include them in the pressure cooker telling us that they were just fine.

I remember going with my mother to Madavidhi in Madras and picking out our mann-pulaiyar and colourful paper umbrella to stave off the opressive heat.

I remember the giant puliayar statue in my college courtyard (I went to an unashamedly hindu college) that we would chat with every morning before heading to the day's first lecture. The day before chaturthi we would have a big puja and all of us would head back to class clutching sweet boondhi and some mixture.

I remember my first visarjan day in Bombay. I had no idea why people were packing up at 12:30 in the afternoon and getting ready to go home. A colleague dropped me under the Mahim - Bandra flyover and I remember walking home passed throngs of people carrying Ganeshas of all shapes and sizes, shouting out an unheard slogan 'Ganpathi Bappa Morya!'

I remember a year later, driving home from an office party on visarjan day and watching the famous Lal Bhag Ka Raja being escorted to his watery abode. It's a sight I will never forget. It was about 2 am and there were thousands of people lined along the road side waiting for their beloved saviour to give them darshan. The float itself was gigantic. Priests walked alongside it distributing prasad to the devotees.

This year will give me no memories of floats and kozhakattais. There will be no Nepean Sea rd Ganpati Mandal playing songs and dancing outside my window at 2 am. But there will be the memories of all the Ganesh Chaturtis gone past to give me comfort. (And Sundal and paysam that would have made my paati proud)


Dreamvendor said...

" But there will be the memories of all the Ganesh Chaturtis gone past to give me comfort."

Share the same thoughts. Been missing India

I used to get those man pillayars with no paint, then help my neice paint it. Miss all the fun...

apu said...

We had a little Mann Pillaiyar with just a hint of gold, amd my mon has really outdone herself with the food this time...Appam, Kozhakattai, Sundal and Vadai...Yumm

apu said...

We had a little Mann Pillaiyar with just a hint of gold, amd my mom has really outdone herself with the food this time...Appam, Kozhakattai, Sundal and Vadai...Yumm
On a related issue, the efforts of the govt to reduce these papier-mache etc pillayars which float around in the sea seems to be paying off; I though I saw more mann pillayars this year than previous years..

Kaps said...

I miss all the delicacies. Ganesh Chathurthi in Chennai will never be complete without the usual rains. It does rain quite regularly during Vinayakar Chathurthi.

i used to force my parents to buy a colourful folding umbrella for the Pillaiyar.

Sorry for nitpicking...can you change the spelling for DesiPundit in your blogroll.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

dreamvendor - know exactly how u feel

apu - lucky! kozhakattai AND appam? not fair! glad people are being more eco friendly too

kaps - i agree... there's no place like home for a pandigai! sorry about the typo :)

Sunil said...

Vinayaka chathurthi nalla valthukkal....too bad there aren't any kozhakattais for you (there aren't any for us here either, though the wife has promised to attempt making some)

Ash said...

Wish you a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi. Hope you had good day, and here's to a festive year ahead :)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

sunil,ash - same to you! and thnx for the wishes :D

TomCruiseChellum said...

Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia,nostalgia.
In the next episodes of this serial you will find:
Pattu pavadia and deepavali
Lakshmi vedi and diwali bakshanam

followed by
Chundal and navarathri
Navarathri the singing season for Chundal
When he was a little boy, TomCruiseChellum also used to go around collecting chundal from the neighbourhood.

Charu said...

happy pillayar chaturti. and yo to kozhakattai power!
sadly, the mann pillayar is becoming scarcer now - the garish coloured ones are taking over :(
and yes, for the uninitiated, bombay visarjans can be scary and overwhelming.

Jane Sunshine said...

Ganesha Chaturthi greetings. There was Kozhkatai galore in East Ham. Still, I missed my mom's.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I can even taste the coconut bits.

I should go away and suffer in sterile splendour for a year. Then come back to all this ... this .. technicolour!


IdeaSmith said...

Greetings from the city that loves Ganesha...and Ganapathi bappa morya! May the lord of auspicious beginnings bless you wherever you are...

Shyam said...

I've been dreaming of kozhakattais... weird but true. I used to help my mom and ended up making the ugliest ones :) Not on purpose, it's just how they happened - the cases too thick, the filling oozing out from 2-3 rents. But I still ate 'em!

Sridevi said...

My feelings exactly, about kozhakottais and Ganesh Chathurhti in aamchi Mumbai. I made my own attempt at the kozhakottais this year, in DC. Its really not the same.

Anonymous said...

What a great site »