We are not mumbo-jumbo religious but the longing to follow tradition seems to pull at my heartstrings as I get older. I also want my boys to know their roots and understand how we grew up. So the stars seemed to align and we decided to have a jashan to give thanks to the universe for looking after us in our new home.
And what a perfect day it was. Cool crisp clear. The sun radiant in a crystal blue sky. Mum in her gorgeous green saree. The kids in their “formal” shorts with prayer caps on their heads. So sweet. Two little munchikins who drew on their secret strength to sit still for nearly an hour. Mr Foodie and Big Daddy Foodie on their best behaviour… And me, quite relaxed that morning (the previous day spent in preparation was hellish, but let’s focus on the good stuff)! And our family and friends. All gathered around the fire as the dasturji started his prayers. His deep sonorous voice filled the room with warmth and peace. Flashbacks to my childhood, the crackling of the fire in the afarganyu (the sacred urn), the flowers, the fruit, gentle wisps of smoke filling the air…
Once the final prayers for health and thanks were recited, you could see people start to strain their necks to look at the dining table. Oh I wonder what Kaety has cooked for us today, oom nom nom they said in their minds. Grrrrrr, feed us, feed us said their tummies!
But not so quick people. We still had to perform one other ceremony and then we could eat. So mum acted as mother/mother-in-law to my gorgeous cousin’s wife and we performed her agarni. Once that was done the real fun began.
Like stampeding bulls we charged to the table to stuff our faces with daal chaawal. The daal swam sunnily over steaming rice and beautiful white plates, the fluffy papeta pur eedu gobbled with gusto (and for this dish alone, I take credit). People ate pātio as if it was going out of style. (Dad made that and wasn’t shy to tell us all who the best chef was)!
We ate till we burst but like true bawas we still left some space in our dessert stomachs. Out came the rava, thick hot white sweet condensed milky goodness, sprinkled with slivers of almonds and raisins cooked in ghee. Add to that, special agarni ladoos, bright yellow boondi squeezed in to cones, and legend has it that if you eat the tip, you will be the next one to have a baby.
Oh kill me now as I sink into food oblivion. I’m so lost in paradise I will have to upload the photos in a day or two. So watch this space and if you don’t hear from me, please call or email. I may still be tucked under the blankie fast asleep! Dee x