Wishing you all a very Happy Mahashivratri. Shivratri is said to be the day on which Lord Shiva in order to save the world consumed the poison that emerged from Samudramanthana. Alarmed Parvati then choked Shiva hoping to stop the poison from entering his body. The poison then was held at his throat turning it blue giving them the name ‘Neela Kantha’ or ‘Vishakantha’. Essentially like most Hindu myths this one too is the victory of good over evil, victory of Amrutha over Halahala. So we are supposed to contemplate of the negativity in our lives and try to get rid of it today. Devote fast, meditate, keep vigil through the night. Keeping up through the night is a tall order for me, so is meditation. But fasting is fine. Thankfully there is no one way to celebrate festivals in the Hindu pantheon. It is just a balance between celebrating life and mindful living that is at the core of these celebrations. So this one is fasting before Ugadi brings feasting with it.
As I explained to Sunny boy the significance of Mahashivratri, he got all excited and wanted to fast the whole day. I had to convince him that fasting was for adults and that kids need to eat well. The promise of allowing him to fast once he reaches high school brought me momentary truce. The next complaint was that his school did not declare holiday for Hindu festivals except Diwali. He held the temple calendar in his hands and started examining the number of Hindu holidays. With so many of them, he wishfully said ‘had school closed on all Hindu festivals we did pretty much have no school. That would have been fun’. Excited at his discovery, he left for school have a great deal to share with his friends for the day.
Today, since it is the day on contemplation, I sit here wondering how time flew. This blog is a decade old, Sunny boy just a tad younger than that. I am that much older. Many family members who found their way into my stories on this blog are long gone. Most cricketers in the Indian ODI team are younger than me. Grand slam winners are decades younger than me. The software that inspired awe in a younger me are no longer around. Shops where we frequented are no longer around. It is just time, it waits for none. Then I look at folks in my family who are in their eighties. Every time I meet them, I thank my stars for this chance. They might be gone the next time around. Or the other way around. I wonder if it is mid life that makes you acutely aware of your own mortality.
Then I wonder how it must be of the older folks in the family. Most of their peers are gone. Life as they knew has changed beyond their wildest dreams. But they all know their family makes them the happiest.
Here is to family, fasting and feasting. Rasayana is a version of fruit salad. During my visit to Puri earlier this year, we got to taste a Rasayana like dish.It had sweet but savory overtones as well and it was delicious.I have tried to recreate it here.
We will need,
Ripe but firm Bananas 3
Pomegranate seeds 1 cup
Coconut shredded 1/4 cup
Cilantro /fresh coriander chopped 1 tbsp
Lemon juice to taste
Black Pepper ground to taste
Chat Masala (optional to taste)
- Place the Pomegranate seeds in a mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and diced them. Toss the diced bananas into the bowl with the Pomegranate seeds
- Toss the rest of the ingredients together. Serve immediately.
Note: Many people do not consumer salt while fasting. Chat masala can be skipped if that case. Also Sendha Namak can be used in lieu of salt if that is acceptable.