Traditions and Lifestyles – Day 14

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Once again my brain seems to have frozen. Did I really promise you guys that I will be back with something better today?? I had a lot to do today and in fact still do.  As I’m typing away I am keeping an eye on the milk which is sitting on the range simmering away. I’ll be making kheer for tomorrow. I also got the peas stuffing ready for the peas kachori for tomorrow. Back in Calcutta on the occasion of Makar Sankranti most of the Bengali homes have many types of sweet dishes made today. You’ll find most of them devouring homemade sweets, peas kachori and dum alu for dinner today. But that’s not happening in my home today. I realized it was the Sankranti a little too late and didn’t have a lot of the stuff needed. So I decided I would delay the celebration by one day. So I thought why not get some of the preparations out of my way, and then tomorrow I can just do the final cooking. And the kheer anyways tastes better after it gets enough time to sit and chill.

I really didn’t know the significance of the festival and believe me pretty much never cared. It is only a few years back I was told that Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival just like Pongal. To me it was a fun day of eating my favorite sweet and savory dishes. After getting married since more or less I have always been here in the US , somehow or the other I never quite got it done. Every year after the said day I would hear from family and friends about their feast and curse myself. This year even though once again I forgot all about it but still I made it a point to do at least some of the stuffs even if its one day late.

You know these days I also find it difficult to keep up with some of the traditions because of the life style we lead. We mostly avoid any kind of deep fried dishes but tell me how else will you make kachori if not deep fry it. So even if we leave our inhibitions for one day but somehow there is something that is gnawing at the back of our minds. Another thing is often there is the unavailability of important ingredients. Like Makar Sankranti  calls for the use of nolen-gur a kind of liquidy jaggery. Till date I have never been able to get my hands on this winter favorite. The other problem is there isn’t anyone to distribute the goodies you make. The place where we live there are hardly any Indians, so who do I give some of the sweets that I slog over in making?? It clearly doesn’t help your or your spouse’s waistline if you take up the challenge of finishing everything all by yourself. But at the same time I don’t want to let go of the traditions, not yet anyway.

Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors as today there is a big time constraint and if I get to correcting then this post will not see the light of day.

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