Tag Archives: winter

A Beautiful day

Sunshine in Winter (Sardi ki Dhoop) has often been used as a sign of soothing beauty in Hindi poetry. I was never convinced about it being soothing until today. Today morning I woke up early because the room seemed to be too bright. I was a bit grumpy but when was surprised when I opened the curtains. After weeks of rain and snow, it was sunny today. The temperature had risen by a few degrees. I decided to spend the entire day outdoors. The best way to start was by thanking God Almighty, so I went to the Sri Venkateshwara temple. Every building, shop, board and even the leafless trees, on the way, seem to be enjoying the sun. The temple too seemed to be shining in the sun and encouraging everyone to enjoy this day.

The Glorious temple

The Glorious temple

I was so inspired that I went to the community park. The entire park seemed to have come to life. The kids were just too happy to be outdoors.

The sprawling park

The sprawling park

After spending weeks with heavy woolen clothes, it was a relief to walk without sweaters for a day. The kids were running from here to there. Their laughter and cheer just made up for the missing flowers. The pets just couldn’t believe they were finally out for a long walk. The entire park seemed to be like a colorful pleasant picnic spot. Infact I felt so light that I walked for more than 2 miles at a stretch, a feat I could never achieve even on a treadmill. The sunshine seemed to have rubbed on everyone, as every person I passed had a broad smile. I left only after it started getting cold.

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I think this applies to our lives as well. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we grumble whenever there is a change. But just remove the curtains and you will be surprised as someone truely said, Opportunities are like Sunshine.

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Celebrate the Change

Yesterday evening, it started snowing. It was the first snow of this winter in Pennsylvania. My room had become so cold that I lied down underneath the blankets. After a few minutes I called up my aunt and mom to tell them about the snow. Both suggested making Khichadi. Its a dish made of rice and lentils. The very name of Khichadi brought pleasant memories. During my school days, my mom used to make khichadi regularly in winters. As I was not fond of vegetables, she used to add them in the khichadi. I still remember the hot smoke from freshly made khichadi along with fried fish and tomato chutney.

Finally I got out of the blanket and started cooking khichadi. As a tribute to my school days, I also added some veggies. The aroma and the warmth of kitchen removed the laziness of cold. I made up my mind to enjoy this change of weather. I was so energized that I fried prawns and eggs too. Here is the platter after cooking.

Celebration of first snow with hot Khichadi

Celebration of first snow with hot Khichadi

The aroma seemed to warm up the entire room as I sat eating. I went near the window and saw a beautiful sight where the snow covered cars seemed to shine in moonlight.

Had I continued to stay inside blankets, I would have missed such a great sight. On a philosophical note, like season changes, we also face sudden changes in our lives be it work, friends or family. It all depends on us whether to hide inside blankets and resist it or celebrate it with hot khichadi. So how did you welcome the climate change at your place.

A date with snow

Every year as december approaches all the movie channels show movies around christmas. As a child I used to dream about seeing snowfall. I had been at tourist places covered with snow but somehow I wanted to see how it started.

Early morning rains

Early morning rains

It was 26th nov’2014. It was chilly with temperature at 5 degree celcius. Further it was raining but there was something different about it. The water was way too cold. Slowly we saw snow flakes falling with water. After a few minutes, there was no water only snow. I couldn’t resist standing out. The snow kept on falling. Soon everything seemed to be covered with a nice white sheet.

Rain and snow flakes

Rain and snow flakes

Snow covering everything

Snow covering everything

Snow covering everything

Snow covering everything

Although it was cold, still me and my roomie went out for a walk. Standing under the trees with snow everywhere around I remembered the following lines:

Under the greenwood tree
who loves to lie with me
and tune his merry note
unto the greenbird’s throat

A snow covered tree

A snow covered tree

A snow covered roof

A snow covered roof

There are times when we dream and just keep it aside thinking it may never come true. I think sometimes they come true and when they do we are so happy that we forget to thank almighty. Let us remember how many of our dreams have come true and thank God. If there is any that is yet to be fulfilled, don’t lose hope, you never know when it may come true.

Celebrating Holika Bonfire

Celebration of Holika bonfire

Celebration of Holika bonfire

There was a mail on friday for holi celebrations in building on friday. Holi is on 17th march this year. The night before holi is a full moon night and it is called phagun poornima or doll poornima. A bonfire is made using dry sticks and dung cakes. This fire is made as a mark of respect for Prahlad who was a strong devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is the killing of holika, the demon, to protect Prahlad. A mark of victory of good over evil. Hence it is also called Holika Daahan.

This bonfire is generally done in the neighbourhood and so it is attended by all the people. As I saw the kids playing around, I was reminded of my school days. I have early memories of going to see it with my mother, much before I came to know its reason. The fire is bounded by small bricks. Ladies come with water, sweets and coconut and these used to be offered as a part of the prayer. One such plate is visible in the photo. For kids it marks the start of holi. Holi is a spring festival and so it is celebrated with colors. We already have the colors at home and the pichkaris(water guns) ready. On the day of holika daahan, we used to fill the pichkaris with plain water and start using it on our friends. We used to plan out the time when we would start playing with colors the next morning. Even today I saw a few kids playing and one of them even had an idea to dry up “I got wet while playing and then dried up in the heat of the bonfire”.

Although it was a bonfire, but it used to give everyone a reason to meet up and greet each other. Holi also was the last festival of the academic session and right after it, we used to start preparing for final exams. As I saw the bonfire today, I couldn’t help wishing for the carefree school days. Happy Holi to everyone.

A colorful sky

Today is 14th january. This day is celebrated as Makarsankranti/pongal/Uttarayan in India. This is the first festival of the year and probably the only festival to have a fixed date every year. I was brought up in Gujarat and loved the celebration of Uttarayan. Even in the chilling january, people used to go to terraces or playgrounds and fly kites. This used to be a whole day activity. People also take their music systems with themselves thus enjoy music with flying kite. The sky seems to be a collage of different colored kites. People just love the sun in the chilling winter. This combination seems to add extra energy in them. We used to meet up our entire neighbourhood on their respective terraces.

Festival also implies eating delicious meals. Jaggery has a special place in most of the dishes of Makarsankranth. In western India its gudpoli and chikki wherease in eastern India its pitha. My mother used to make pitha and thus we used to have a nice exercise of climbing up the stairs to the terrace for flying kites and then climbing down the stairs to eat pitha. The preparation has to be made a day before. A holiday is declared in most of the organizations.

Pitha

Another kind of pitha

Today special kite flying competitions and fairs are held. Shops are filled with readymade sweets but what was made by mothers and grandmothers still has its special place in my heart and mind.

Happy MakarSankranthi
Happy Uttarayan
Happy Pongal