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Ganesh Chathurthi Pooja Prasadham September 3, 2008

Posted by live2cook in General.
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Happy Ganesh Cathurthi!!!

Ganesh Chathurthi Pooja in our home

Ganesh Chathurthi Pooja in our home

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A Cook’s Memory August 11, 2008

Posted by live2cook in General.
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“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” ~Rudolph Giuliani

Sometimes, I wish that grand parents were granted a very long life that even the youngest of the grand children got the opportunity to spend some good time with them. I believe that those are the valuable memories that lead the children throughout their lives. Grandparents are like library that you can refer to whenever you get to solve an issue in the course of life.

“If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.” ~Italian Proverb

“The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandpa’s lap.”  ~Unknown author

Wow! I adore these sayings. But, the hard fact that gets me is after a while, grand parents won’t be there and vanish leaving behind only the memories. Whenever I came across a situation and wanted to ponder about it with my grandparents, all I am left with is a big sigh, “Oh! they left”. They just leave and make us wonder where they are. As Ellen DeGeneres quotes it nicely,”My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is”. 🙂

If I have to define my grandfather, I would say “A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart”. He was a freedom fighter and lived as a true Gandhian his entire life. He passed away when I was 5 years old. If we consider that a child will start understanding the society from around 3 years, then I got only 2 years to spend with my grandfather. But, I can still remember those days we spent with him. I can still hear him singing the songs from “Ashrama Bhajanavali” every morning.

My Grandfather - Sri Krishna Iyer

My Grandfather - Sri Krishna Iyer

When Pooja asked us to contribute to the event “Theme of the week” with our independence day as the concept, I decided to write about the wonderful incident that was told by my grandfather to us. India was under the British rule and the people were fighting for freedom. There was “sathyagraha” going on all around the country. Leaders were guiding people in various states towards the huge goal. Groups and groups of people were involved in the sathyagraha movement. They were all away from home and family to serve the country. Every member would contribute in all possible ways he could. My grandfather was involved in sathyagraha under the leadership of our first governor general, Rajaji (C.Rajagopalachari). He assisted Rajaji in his daily chores including cooking.

One day, my grandfather was preparing simple meal for himself and others in his group. Rajaji requested my grandfather to draft a letter for the viceroy. As that was a high priority work, my grandfather hurried and drafted the letter as suggested by Rajaji. After finishing the letter, my grandfather noticed that there was a mark of charcoal in the letter that got imprinted from his hand. As he hurried to draft the letter, he didn’t notice that a small amount of charcoal still left in his hands.

He mentioned about it to Rajaji and suggested of drafting a new letter. Rajaji insisted my grandfather that there was no need to draft a new one and they can send the same. Since the bond sheet that they used to write the official letters on those days were so costly and can’t be bought so easily in remote towns, Rajaji took the decision to send the same. To make my grandfather not to feel guilty about it, Rajaji said that,”Let the viceroy think that Rajaji can’t afford both a cook and a secretary or that I have a well educated Cook!”.

My grandfather used to tell us this incident to show the generosity of the leaders of their age. Whether we understood the concept of sathyagraha or the freedom of india, we used to tell that my grandfather should have washed his hands clean. But, when I think about the incident now, it makes me feel so great to know the efforts they made and my grandfather’s contribution. It makes me happy to think that somewhere in the files of Government of India, the letter drafted by my grandfather with the charcoal imprints, resides as a proof of his contributions.

Along with these memories, I am sending the tricolored rice cakes (Thatte Idly) to the Independence Day event hosted by Pooja. I thank her from my heart for hosting this wonderful event that brought back my childhood memories.

Tricolor Thatte idli

Tricolor Thatte idli