March 30, 2006
My roomie: "Hey, Pavan! Lets go out and eat"
Me: "Why?" (remembering that I have only $2 left in my bank account, till my next pay check comes in on Friday)
Roomie: "Dude, Its Ugadi today"
Me: "Yeah right, wasnt it your cooking turn today?"
Roomie plays "Ghar aaja pardesi tera desh bulaye re" from raaga.com.
And then, after sitting under the tubelight glow, started his discourse in a stentorian voice:
"Partha, Dont you feel we are slowly getting alienated from our culture? Dont you feel the bond with our festivals, rituals and practices anymore? Imagine if we act like this today, how would our kids even feel the Indianness or the Gult pride?"
Another friend joins in, saving my ears from bleeding with blood.
My roomie asks him: "Hey we planned to go out for dinner, wanna join?"
Before I could react, he asked, "Whats the occasion, Pavan, are you graduating huh?"
Roomie: "Arey yaar, its Ugadi today"
Friend: "Its also Thursday"
Friend: "Yeah, so what if its Ugadi, are you sponsoring?"
Discussion ends instantly.
Ugadi, a.k.a. Gudi Padwa (for my Marathi friends), is just another
day for the many vidyarthees here (USA), who swam the seven seas
seeking higher knowledge (or is it hara pattas?). The only things we
might do today (situations vary, conditions apply) are:
1) If we didnt take bath this week, we might 'take head bath' (shower properly)
2) Call India and wish parents, uncles, foofa, foofi, bua, nana, etc. till
the calling card is depleted
3) Cook food if no one has any deadlines
4) Pray to God (because we havent graduated yet)
Turning back the wheels of time, I cherish the good-ole days when we
had holiday on Ugadi. Mom would wake us up early morning to M.S.Subbalakshmi's voice. I would take bath early (a rare phenomena then), and used to wait eagerly for the Ugadi pickle. There were days when I used to overeat the pickle and end up sitting in the loo. Anyways, the pickle's significance was explained by my grandfather, which put by my half-baked knowledge translates to:
The prime ingredients of the prasadam are:
- margosa flowers for bitterness
- Jaggery for sweetness
- raw mango for vagaru
- Tamarind Juice for sour taste
- green chille for Hot taste
- salt for salty taste
Banana slices and other items are optional. This mixture of all the
tastes, is similar to our lives- a mixture of peaks and nadirs, joy
and sorrows. And we pray to God to give us the strength to overcome
the difficulties and succeed, and are thankful for showering happiness.
The belief goes that Bramha, the creator of the Universe, started
creation on this day, which is Chaitra Suddha padhyami. Hence,
it is a "Brand New Day" (a song by Sting). The great Indian
Mathematician Bhaskaracharya proclaimed that the day of Ugadi is the
beginning of the new Year, new month and a new day.
Symbolically, Ugadi signifies thanking God and celebrating the bounteous crops as well as signaling the end of an old era and the beginning of a new period. Prayers for health, wealth and prosperity are made and this time is considered to be auspicious to launch new ventures.
Hmmn, bleakly reminds me of Makara Sankranti. How different are they? Reasons for celebration are different, but the spirit is the same (trrrng wrong! not Bacardi, the gist of shedding-old-and-starting-new).
Speaking in westerner's language, this marks the first day of spring
(Spring forward! Daylight saving begins Sunday). The cold chilly winds of winter are fading, and flowers start to bloom with the onset of Spring. It's
also that time when you see shorter clothes, and still shorter clothes. This is like a trailer to the approaching Summer.
Offtopic, yet interesting: Yesterday, the astronomy lovers had another
reason to celebrate: There was a total solar eclipse in some parts of the world. Hmmn, now what is God trying to tell me? A Solar eclipse before Ugadi could only mean one thing: "its time to graduate".
Math problems? Call 1-800-[(10x)(ln(13e))]-[sin(xy)/2.362x]