As a kid growing up in an industrial town, I had no idea what the Pongal celebrations were about. But, I didn't care because I loved to eat sakkarapongal. Served warm, and with mother adding even more ghee to my portion.
Once, my brother and I got tired of chewing on the sugarcane, which is also integral to the Pongal celebration. So, we decided that we would make juice out of it.
The idiots we were, we thought we could cut up the cane into pieces and throw them into the blender--the "mixie" as it was called then. Which is what we did.
Mother stood there watching us, smiling all the way. It wasn't after the event that we understood why she was smiling.
We threw the chopped up cane pieces into the blender. With great excitement we turned the machine on.
Not the kind of juice that we thought it would yield.
We asked mother what the deal was. Which is when we understood why she had been smiling throughout--she preferred to teach us a lesson by not teaching us the lesson. I suppose we learnt the difference between a mixie and a juicer.
Hey, those kinds of adventures in the kitchen are also why my brother and I have no problems now fixing foods ourselves. So, there. Stop laughing!
And, of course, this kid's favorite for that season--the cricket test match in Madras. Make that Chepauk. I was a kid excited about cricket those days, with the radio and The Hindu as my trusted guides.
It was Ananda Vikatan, I think, that had an extensive feature on the visiting England team, and I remember finding it hysterically funny that a player's name was "Old." "How could somebody have a name "old"" was all I could think of then. Thanks to the web, I could immediately verify the year of that test match: Pongal of 1973!
India fielded the names that I would remember forever.
India won that test match. I loved it.
Ah, those were the days, my friend! Those were some days, I tell ya.
I called home and asked if they would be making the usual Pongal stuff. "It is not as enjoyable when it is just us eating" was the response.
"Have an additional serving for me also" I said.
If you readers make sakkarapongal, make sure you add a teaspoon of warm ghee, and think of me as you relish the taste of it.