It is a lot of footwork these days, what with either preferring to walk somewhere or taking a bus. Not actually cutting costs, but cutting stress – and I realized that when you do not have your own wheels, it is best to avoid bickering with auto-rickshaw drivers. In spite of a rise in minimum fare, they continue to be quite atrocious and quote flat rates even for short distances. They doctor the meter, and what not. Okay, so there’s a number I can call if the auto driver acts smart, but only after I go through the process of being harassed, right? What if I totally boycott the auto-rickshaw? Ha ha. Not really the last laugh, but well, sometimes…:-)

Unintentionally, I am boycotting my writing work also a little bit, what with things to do. On Sept 1, when we did the very quick Krishna neivedyam, I recalled how my mom would insist on making appams because we both loved them, especially with the ripe banana squashed in it. Vella Cheedai, Uppu Cheedai and kai murukku, rava laddus, thattais, aval kesari and thane-kuzhal were the standard eats, along with butter, milk, curd and gulab jamun. Since the infant Sri Krishna could not manage to finish it all off, we helped, generously :-D. This year, there’s no mom to cajole me to keep aside some batter from the vella cheedai so that it will season and we can “make athirasam tomorrow” or if we didn’t feel like, “vella dosai”.  Weirdly, or so I thought, my grandmother used to fast on Gokulashtami and I would secretly feel very sad about the rest of us gorging ourselves with all the goodies while she seemed to starve.

Yum!

Okay – that’s a little collage of all the yummies that are traditionally made – the only time I spent was to make the collage! 😀 The taste shall be memory – at least this year, or until Vidur’s braces come off!
 
We made little impressions of baby Krishna’s feet – leading all the way from the rangoli in front of the house to the puja room – so that he’d know exactly where he’s headed. When Vidur was little, we would dip his feet in the arisi maavu and walk him – and get authentic little baby-feet impressions!

Ah. This time, no crisp or crunch for Vidur, thanks to his braces. So just a little cheedai and murukku, as Sury and I like those. For Vidur, it is only soft sweets, and I guess he gets closer to the infant Krishna – at least in diet :-D.

Sury recalled how my mom would break into song at any festival – and very melodiously sing a few after the puja. Before the puja, she’d make sure I arranged everything and then, sit in the puja room and read slokas. That is a scene I always miss. Even on a daily basis – by the time I returned from dropping Vidur off at school, she would be sitting in the living room, clad in her favorite shawl if it was chilly, vibhuti on her forehead, smell of sambrani around, and sloka book in hand.  Her glasses would be lower on her nose because the frame’s loose, thanks to Vidur’s “treatment” of them – sitting on them, trying them on and testing their strength.

Sigh. My friends always visited home, often and especially during festivals, because it was more of a food fest. What fun it was. Now thanks to all of us at different locations, we only get to talk about it and reminisce – feeling happy. Wonderful memories for all of us.