Mango Phirni and tribute

This past weeks has been very eventful. In a sense it is an end of an era, things that make me feel that every new day I am growing old and the world around me is getting older too.  Sachin Tendulkar retired finally. I cannot remember Indian cricket with out him. I am not a Sachin fan, much less Cricket fan. But, he is a part of my life, my memories. Those were the days when everyone in my family, all my neighbors, my entire city watched cricket; those were the days when there would be a curfew like atmosphere on the street every time India played a one day match with Pakistan;those were the days when Door Dashan was the only channel to watch on TV and if there was power cut in between the match, everyone would call the K.E.B (Karnataka Electricity Board) and yell, curse the poor folks at the other end. It was a different time, but feels like a different world.
I remember that time when middle order collapse was the hallmark of Indian Cricket, Sachin still at the crease meant a convincing chance of victory. He was the man who could deliver, who could be relied on and most importantly we gave us hope. I stopped watching Cricket long long time back. The last complete match I watched was the one in which India exited the World Cup in Eden's Garden, eventually Sri Lanka went to win that World Cup. I was never a big fan, I do not miss much. But I miss those days. Cricket than was an occasional treat but now it is reduced to just another routine like the soap operas,nothing special about it.

A few days back Srikanta Datta Narashimharaja Wodeyaar passed away. Having lived for a long time in the Shankar Mutt area of Mysore, he was a constant presence. He had contested elections won many, lost many. He would come to a school near my home to cast his vote with his family. We would occasionally catch a glimpse of him when we walked through from one gate to the other gate of Mysore Palace. He stood for a different era, he was still the Maharaja, the man who was destined to wear dark shades because his direct gaze was supposed to bring hardship to his people. He did hold a private Durbar during Dasara full with regal splendor. With him and that he does not have any male heirs, comes to end the grand tradition of Dasara.

Then it is my own grandmother. She passed away last week. She was in the eighties. She is the one that made the best ever Idlis, Sambar, Chutney and sweet chutney. I cannot remember any other Idli that was better than the ones she made. She also make very good Bisibelebath. But I am not glorify her in death. I am very aware of our tradition, we do that. A scrooge in death becomes the man with the largest heart. But I want to be realistic about what my grandmother and her death mean to me. She played favorites all her life. She preferred my cousins over me and my sister. She made her dislike very clear, in life and death. She was apathetic when I was sick but went into frenzy when my cousins were sick. She glowed when my cousin came home with small accomplishments at school, but was not happy when I or my sister came home with trophies in state level competition. All her happiness and all her tears were for my cousins, she had nothing to give us. Yes! sometimes I wonder how a parent can play favorites with her own kids? Now that I am a parent myself, I cannot bring myself to play favorites but she did. When I was young, I resented her preference but as I grew older, I accepted the fact. We were very civil to each other. But the day I got to know that she was on the verge of death, I cried, so much that I did not know she would elicit in me. After a few days of mourning, I was wondering why at all was I sad? I loved her no doubt, though she never returned it. I cannot remember fondly any moment she spent with me, any 'grandparent' moment that everyone has. My own father remembers all those fond moments he spent with his grandmother. I know a lot of people who tell me that I am lucky to have played in my grandparent's yard. Naturally grandparents are associated with pampering. I am not the lucky one though. Pampered we never were, not by my paternal grandparents. That part of my life is a big hole and sadly I should say, I missed the 'grandparent' moment even though my grandparents were very much alive into my thirties. With her passing away it is another 'end of era' moment. I remembered the days when she did make Rotti with loads of ghee /butter and oil to her loved ones and ask my mother to make Rotti without any of those for us. She reminds me of an era when cost of food was very important. She reminds me of an era when we had to go to fair price shops, stand in the line for hours to get our monthly quota of food supply, she reminds me of an era when her favorites ate different foods than us lesser mortals. She reminds me of the dangers of playing favorites. Now she leaves behind a great deal of bitterness between me and my cousins. I wish she had known where she was leading us. Had she not played favorites, we would all be lot more nice to each other, probably I would have enjoyed my 'grandparent' moment too. It is now end of something, a long wait for acceptance, for her love, for the love that I saw in her eyes for my cousins. Now there is no hope that there will be such a day, she left, leaving a hole in my heart, the grandparent hole.
After all the bitterness, I feel like serving something sweet. Here is some Mango Phirni.

 We will need,

Broken rice 1/4 cup
Ghee 1 tbsp
Milk 1 liter
Sugar according to taste
Mango pulp 3/4 cup
Cardamon 1 (seeds crushed and skin discarded)
Pista a few for garnish

  • Heat ghee in a non stick pan. Throw in the broken rice and toast it till it is fragrant about 5-8 minutes
  • Pour in the milk and reduce the heat to low.
  • Keep stirring the mixture and make sure the bottom does not scald. 
  • Cook till the mixture reduces and thickens to about a third. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cardamon. Allow it to cool and then stir in the mango pulp. 
  • Garnish with pista and served chilled.


Unknown said...

I have a cricket crazy family and they are still mourning Sachin's retirement :-(. Phirni looks perfect for a celebration.

Hari Chandana said...

Looks so tempting and delicious.. love the color!!