Rashmi Pappu » Photographer


I am a Hindu. I don’t define myself by my religion. We were not very religious growing up. We certainly followed all the wonderful  holidays like Diwali, Holi, Ugadi but more often than not, I had very little knowledge of what the holiday (or rather holy-day) was all about. I just knew an oil bath and good food and new clothes would be involved. And prayers. The prayers are in Sanskrit. Due to various reasons, neither my sister or I really studied any indian languages in school.. so reading Sanskrit is unfortunately not something we know. We did know a few prayer hymns but did not know the meaning behind them. So we just sat or stood in front of the Gods (yes, there are many) while my grandparents or mom or aunts recited the prayers.

We also celebrated Christmas.. a tradition started by my mom in 1984.We landed in England on Christmas Day and it was absolutely magical to see the lights everywhere. That plastic christmas tree and ornaments travelled back with us to India and we decorated it every year. One year (1986?), my sister saved up enough pocket money to buy me this lovely Roland Rat set.. with a notebook, pencil, eraser. I still have it. I was so rotten, I did not save up and did not buy her anything in return. She has never let me forget that.

While we didn’t celebrate Id, I had friends who did and there was always the yummy biryani to eat. And during Ramadan, there was haleem.. something I never grew fond of.. it is an aquired taste.

I had Parsi friends and once, when we were in boarding school, my ‘day scholar’ friend Persis invited us over to her place for some Dhansak . It was very very delicious. Perhaps made even more so to a very hungry boarder who lived on bread and beans (don’t get me wrong.. the food was horrible but I made some fantastic friends in boarding school).

Food traditions are fantastic. The comfort of knowing that for Thanksgiving there is turkey. Now I admit that I am not particularly fond of turkey.. and its carcass lying in the fridge the day after makes me absolutely want to weep… so if it is just the 4 of us, we make something else. So much so that my American husband once insisted on biryani for Thanksgiving. That did not feel right even though it was far more delicious than turkey.

So Easter is around the corner. Did I mention I am a Hindu? But I am also an equal opportunity eater-of-food and holidays are a great excuse to make good food. Easter means Lamb. My preference would be Goat but goat does not seem spring like. hmm. I don’t think I have ever had Ham.. i don’t wish to start now.

Oh my goodness. I am rambling on about food again. This was supposed to be a post about Evil Eyes.. i will come back to that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, what is on your easter menu? And if you were born more than 10 years ago, please tell me what you did in lieu of plastic easter eggs stuffed with candy and other rubbish that will go in a landfill? Seriously? In 2009? When climate change is a scientific fact? It is really really frightening to me.. the lack of concern. Disposable eggs. Disposable little junk toys. Even disposable easter baskets. Sad.  Of course my kids are excited by it. There will be a neighbourhood easter egg hunt (when did a hunt mean ‘spotted easily because it is lying there in plain view’ ?). I am not disillusioned. I love traditions. Really people.. the kids would be JUST AS HAPPY if there were REAL coloured eggs (hard boiled!), HIDDEN from plain sight. Now THAT would be an easter egg hunt.

xoxo, Rashmi

  • Lana - My MIL and I are making Easter dinner and inviting friends over. Pineapple ham, augratin potatoes, green beans, corn, salad and dessert. Probably rolls too. I never had ham in my whole life till meeting the ILs. My mom and brother are allergic to pork so no ham in our house growing up! My MIL makes amazing brown sugar pineapple ham so I am happy with the ham now!
    As a kid, we had easter egg hunts with real eggs that we had dyed. And we ate some of them after we found them- gasp! My mom was a health food nut and no way was she going to give us a basket full of candy.
    Have fun on Easter!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Don’t know what we’ll have. I think I could happily be a vegetarian if necessary. I think my dad is making ham and mashed potatoes. I am side-dish girl myself.

    I’m glad you mentioned the “hunt” of eggs in plain sight. What is that????? I never went to a big hunt in childhood, just the kind around our house/yard, so we had real eggs that were actually hidden. It doesn’t seem very fun to “hunt” eggs that are just strewn about the grass. However, I’m taking Max to the hunt at Matt’s (and mine now too, I suppose) church tomorrow. He won’t have a clue what’s going on, but I’ll enjoy seeing the other kids.

    Happy Easter & Happy Eating!ReplyCancel

  • Rashmi - Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sarah and Lana. Still undecided on easter lunch.. and I am secretly relieved it is raining this Saturday morning so we can skip the neighbourhood easter egg hunt. We are going to be colouring hard boiled eggs with dyes, hiding them in and around the house and giving the kids a clue list to find them. I think that will keep them busy for an hour or so (woohoo!). I think next year I will start early to get the message out there to STOP THE PLASTIC EASTER EGGS and get back to basics! Lana, many people take hardboiled eggs for overnight trips and picnics and such without refrigeration.. so I think they are fine for a day. :DReplyCancel

  • Keet - This is a most thoughtful post. There is an alternative: use the same plastic eggs and the same basket each Easter, throwing nothing away. We’ve had the same set for each of my kid’s 4 years, but really they are everyday items, played with A LOT. She loves to haul toys around in her basket and play with the eggs with her other pretend food year-round.ReplyCancel

  • Aparna Pappu - Haha yes – that Roland Rat set – and you wonder why L eyes her sister’s presents at christmas – there may be more in common you two have than you are willing to admit heeheee.
    I was going to do easter eggs, the hunt all of it but lost all interest – more fun if there are multiple kids – I wasn’t organized enough to make that happen this year. But yes being pan-religious like this is great – Bujji’s nanny was so surprised we celebrate christmas – it never occurred to me how odd that might seem to people. Need to add some more religious festivals to your roster btw – how can you not love Latkes!ReplyCancel

  • Rashmi - Keet.. that is a good thought.. just reuse year after year.ReplyCancel

  • eating crow | Rashmi Pappu Photography | Alexandria, VA | BlogFolio - […] I am having a little crow snack. Remember when I posted about those hateful plastic easter eggs ? Well, I can’t say that I love plastic or fake egg hunts or candy but, today I have learned […]ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *