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.