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Readymade Ugadi

E-age Ugadi is pleasant because you get a holiday and lots of readymade goodies from the thoughtful neighbourhood store



In the midst of a chaotic life, we actually find time to celebrate festivals. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

ALWAYS ON the run. It's still a mystery how days fuse into weeks, months and years. In this mad roller coaster of a life — of a demanding workplace, a cranky kid, and a chaotic home situation — my maid suddenly announces it's Ugadi. Thank god for her, she brings me back to the life around me, every now and then.

It's not that one hates festivity. I love new bangles, new clothes, scrumptious food made from the season's best. But if one has to do it all, year after year (several times a year, in fact), without waning enthusiasm amidst a crazy schedule, it doesn't excite in the least. Each time a festival comes knocking, I go through this part-guilt, part-defiance journey, over and over again.

Not that it stops me from wondering each time what it is that drives people of my mother's kind, to great heights of enthusiasm. How they can battle the zealous shoppers at the market, patiently sieve through those muddy piles of neem and mango leaves to pick the most tender one (of course, those neem flowers in that bunch are a must). How they can go into an ecstasy discussing the right proportion for kaayi holige, the nitty-gritty of mango chitranna, and what the right temperature for seasoning is and how red the chillies should be roasted. Beats me how they remember the texture of the ground gasa gase for payasa the previous year and how it was the best in all those years and how appa just loved the golden-brown crisp potato bajjis.

Phew! What does one do with a self that grows weary just listening to such animated conversations? "You girls of this generation, you are incapable of any faith. After all, festivals come once a year," comes an admonition. Who would want to waste a holiday sweating it out in the kitchen? And that too when there are such fantastic home industries such as Subbammana Angadi, waiting with open arms for the likes of me.

It's difficult to explain that it's such bliss to be able to stretch one's feet and not do anything, particularly to a generation that defines itself by what it does for the family. But the tough battle is constantly on. Tough because for centuries, the baggage of tradition clings to the women's sturdy backs (the good women even reason that it gives them a purpose in life). So much so, I, the e-age woman, admit that even in this time and age, I find it difficult to completely shed it.

Life, however, is more blissful, owing to the support system we have in an industry that has burgeoned just for the working woman's cause. I'm a hardcore liberal who appreciates everything from the plastic mango torana to rangolis that can be stuck on the threshold to readymade ambode and holige from Subbammana Angadi. Doesn't that give me time to go for that massage I've been longing to have for months and which I richly deserve? After all, it's a festival that reinforces the stoic acceptance of the bittersweet things of life!

A holiday, readymade goodies, and a massage, Ugadi is truly a time to celebrate. More so, because this year Amma too felt convinced to get her holiges from the neighbourhood store.

DEEPA GANESH

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