Happy Pongal and Makar Sankranti to all my Sai Friends.
On Jan 14th I had work. So my Mom did lots of work inside our compound to arrange the place where we keep Pongal. My Father also helped her. When I came home, Mom was not well and she had a breathing problems. As usual, whenever I run ads in StarSai, My Mom gets a breathing problem. I have experimented it thrice. This month, I spent some money to renew a few accounts. So I felt its good to run some online ads. As soon as I placed ads my Mom was sick. My Ma used to say, I am old. So I get sick. Do not relate what you to with my health issues.
Anyway, I decided to take away the ads because I know Saibaba wants to keep StarSai clean from any clutter. Its something strange and he alone knows the reason. I switched on my P.C and found the Internet is not working. The phone was cut. I went to the terrace and fixed the Phone wire.
I uploaded the old files, removed all the ads, and then had my dinner. I asked Ma to drink Glucose water and mixed udi with it. Mom said, she feels better now. I told her “I know, you will.”
So what’s so special about StarSai that Baba doesn’t allow me to make even 30$ out of it every month? Maybe Saibaba means to say “I have given you a job to take care of StarSai and your life.”
On Jan 15th, 2015, I had a dream as if there’s a mountain and I am trying to do photography of a bird. The mountain is too far but the bird looks too huge when it spreads its wings. I am clicking two pictures of the bird.
I decided to do Photography with my DSLR Camera while parents make Pongal. I don’t want to complain that my Camera got old and tried my best to take good pictures to show you all.
Note: All Photos are copyright protected which means unless you write to me and I give you written permission, I do not allow it to be used in other websites or print media. Thank You.
Celebrating Pongal with Amma and Appa
We keep Pongal outside our house. Mom has learned it from her grandparents during her childhood and she continues to cook Pongal in 3 pots especially kept for making Pongal. Ancient Indians are very smart. They applied Visualization in various aspects. Since Pongal is kept outdoors, there’s no wall to consider a particular area as Kitchen. So this wall is created artistically by painting a border along with doors on every side. Look at the below photo. You can see that my Dad had painted the border. That’s our Virtual Kitchen for this year’s Pongal festival.
The beautiful plant which gives birth to flowers to offer all Gods and Shirdi Saibaba every day gives us good shade.
Tumeric roots are tied around the pot traditionally since it brings us all auspiciousness.
This year, since the old man who works in our house, Dhottappa is feeling sick, he won’t be coming to have Pongal. It’s just 3 of us. Me, Amma and Appa and we might give to few. So Amma did not use the big pot. All pots were small in size.
Amma asked me to cut a few Banana leaves from our neighbor’s house. She stood near me and said, “Cut here, Cut in the center.” She says “Banana and Coconut trees are like Children. They get scared of us if we treat them harshly.”
Banana leaf is laid in one corner of the Virtual Kitchen along with various auspicious items. The first being a Yellow Ganapathy made of Tumeric powder.
Pongal is Tamilian’s Harvest festival. We all have been once agriculturalists or have done any kind of labor work. There were no Indian Railways or Coal Mine or TCS or Intel or Big Banks or Search Engine or Social Media company to work with, before 100 years. We must not forget our roots no matter what work we do today. For thousands of years, most Indians were farmers, somewhere doing labor work and some were artisans. We lived a simple life.
Those days, Our livelihood was directly dependent upon gift of Nature – The Sun God, Surya Dev and the Rain God, Varuna Dev. On the whole, we were actually thanking Mother Nature for blessing us with good harvest and a happy life.
Mom also keeps auspicious Rice kept as offering in what she calls as Padi.
I always wonder how Amma makes Pongal so tasty. This year, I kept asking her “What are you doing now?”, every time she did something to these Pongal Pots… he he..She answers me but I honestly don’t understand how Pongal is made.
I just documented everything like a Photo Journalist.
Mom is now pouring water along with Rice in the Pongal Pot.
While Amma did all these arrangements, Appa started collecting the sticks to burn under the Mud stove and kept it near him. He used little Kerosine and some Newspapers to lit these sticks.
While my Appa was busy cooking Pongal, I looked at the sky to thank Sun God Surya.
I tried to help my Appa saying, its too hot. So I shall take care of the fire. He was not satisfied with me as my focus was only on doing Photography. he he..So he made me get up and managed him himself. So how it Fire God, Agni dev blesses us to cook pongal.
The Fire used to cook food on any festival day becomes auspicious in nature. When I was taking below photo, My Amma asked what can you see in that. I said “The fire will be divine and beautiful”.
After few minutes, My Amma saw in one pot, the Pongal was about to be made. My Appa was about to stir it but I asked him to wait as I liked to photograph the bubbles.
The above Photography was slightly under exposed. So I kept taking many. I just wanted to see the Sun light being reflected on each of these bubbles.
Thus, Pongal was made. Tasty Pongal !
I could not photograph the part in which my Mom offered Jeera to make Sakarai Pongal especially since I was also making a video to send Katya.
I was a bit busy Photographing. But once Appa broke the Coconut, I also joined in the Pooja and Thanked Mother Nature and Sun God, Shirdi Saibaba for blessing us with a good life. They gave us food, shelter, good health, prosperity and peace. So we must thank them with love.
I love this simple offering to Surya Dev, Mother Nature, All Gods I pray and also Shirdi Saibaba. I felt blissful.
My Mom told the Gods that she wishes to see me get married and celebrate Pongal. This could be a genuine desire of a Mother but it touches the deepest walls of my heart and made me worry a bit.
I sent a small video to my Sister and her daughter. Though they live thousands of miles away, she could feel our tradition when she saw the video. This is why, I spent hours writing this article. We must keep a record of our traditions.
Hope you felt like tasting sweet Pongal. My Mom was praying t
Every Mother can make Pongal but the one my Amma cooks carries love embedded in every atom of the rice.
Its the same for everyone of you. The food cooked by your Mom comes with love of your Mother.
Happy Pongal friends
To my Sai friends in North India, Happy Makar Sankranti
Note – Many Sai devotees think that when they worship Saibaba, they can completely leave all other pooja and traditions followed in the family. Shirdi Saibaba is your Guru but Sai himself has encouraged many of his devotees to follow the tradition their ancestors followed. One incident during Baba’s life time is – A devotee tells his problem to Saibaba. Sai then tells him “Go to such and such place and worship the Stone, your ancestors worshiped as God.”
The devotee does the same and gets relieved from the problem. I am not telling the exact story but there are several incidents when we can understand the way Saibaba gives importance to one’s one tradition. Every year, I show photos of my parents and myself during Pongal festival to StarSai readers. Somehow, this year, I wanted to just show photo of the pooja we did. My parents are worried about my life. So let Sai bring happiness to them. That alone is my prayer, if there is one.
Sai ki jai