I had always known Ugadhi as the first day of the Hindu year for the people from Andhra Pradesh and that Ugadi means, as ‘beginning of the new age’. But only when I was in college, I have realized that Ugadhi is celebrated by so many states in India, though with little different variations. Unlike in USA, here in India, most national holidays do not fall on a fixed date, as we follow a calendar, which is based on Lunisolar calendar. Ugadhi is special to me for many reasons. Like any Indian festival, Ugadhi gives a reason for friends and families to get together. Second reason is Ugadhi Pachadi, a special drink/soup, which instantly lets one experience six different tastes (bitter, sweet, hot, sour, tang, salt).
My elders and teachers used to indicate that it symbolizes the fact that life is mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise), and should be accepted together and with equanimity through the New Year. If you do not believe, Wiki confirmed the same . BTW, three decades ago, we used to say “I heard it on Radio, it is TRUE”. Later people started saying, “It’s published on the newspaper. It is TRUE”. Now many say, “I saw it on Wiki or Internet. It is true” (though they do not realize … you know what) 🙂
I did go to Wiki this morning, to refresh my memory to get to know once again, the ingredients that make the Ugadhi Pachadi so unique. Here are those six reasons:
- Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness
- Jaggery and ripe banana pieces for sweetness, signifying Happiness
- Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste, signifying Anger
- Salt for saltiness, signifying Fear
- Tamarind Juice for its sourness, signifying Disgust
- Unripened Mango for its tang, signifying Surprise
Getting all the above ingredients to make the drink itself is an adventure. I occasionally used to accompany Mom and now Radhika to the local farmer’s market, specifically looking for Neem Buds and unripened Mango. However, making the drink is not as easy as one would think. Illogical ratio can easily ruin the taste, and similarly illogical usage of senses, can create serious havoc in the life too.
Until a decade ago, I remember most neighbors used to exchange Ugadhi pachhadi. Little kids used to knock the door with jar that contained the liquid, and used to pour few glassful of drink, with cute and shy smiles. I used to spray them with random questions, for which they used to blush and run away. It brings back me, the memories of tasting so many distinct flavors of Ugadhi pachhadi. Now that I live @ Indu Fortune Fields, where I hardly know who lives next door to me, no one knocked my door this morning. To be fair, I also didn’t send my kids to next door to offer drink made by Radhika. I wonder if Revanth or Aniketh would have accepted my request to do so.
Third reason (just in case you are counting), Ugadhi gives another chance at taking ‘new’ New Year resolution, for those who gave up on the resolutions pledged on Jan 1st. I did pledge for healthier living (yet once again), but I ended up consuming zillion calories today. Below pictures paints several thousand words on how I did that. Revanth, Aniketh, and I drove to Parent’s house, and relished Mom’s food. She actually mixed Brinjal Masala (one of the zillion reasons to return to India) and served it to me along with super hot and tangy Alu Bonda. On the way to my cousin’s house, we stopped at Griffin (newly opened French bakery), and succumbed to temptation of New York Cheese Cake topped with Blueberry sauce (who said, you can’t best of both worlds while you are still at home in Hyderabad). Radhika made in her usual satvik/healthy way, Dal Makhni and Bendi/Tomato curry, which keeps my health sanity in check
Few of us ‘Cignitians” also celebrated Ugadhi @ Cigniti today, where I met super cute Indrani (my colleague Sairam’s daughter) and bantered with her on her upcoming participation in drama where she is portraying the role of Rama. It was a meditative experience interacting with Indrani. She was very easy to chat & banter with, given her multitude skills. Since my cabin represents different events that I have experienced in my life in last few decades, I have asked Indrani to check out nifty souvenirs, paintings and more. Here is 82 second footage from the same, captured on my Samsung S4
Here are the pictures that made my day.. another memorable one.