Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Lohri in Ludhiana

January 19, 2013

“Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!”

The tune still rings through my head. For me this song marks the day of Lohri celebrations. The day that the cold, cold winter starts to loose its grip. The day that mark’s a farmer’s new year. The day that I miss my hometown of Ludhiana the most! My father owned some farmland just outside the city. He wanted to give us something more so he educated us abroad and ensured I settled down to a comfortable life in the United States. I am extremely grateful to him, and the life he has gifted me. I have friends, family and a life that I love. But it’s on days like these that I miss being back in India. Of course we celebrate Lohri at home but it’s a bit modernized. Its more a barbeque party with a roaring campfire to symbolize Lohri. My celebrations have also become American like me.
Its lots of fun, but nothing compares to the huge bonfire that was lit just as the sun was setting.

The whole neighborhood gathered at the common clearing with the wheat ready to harvest all around us. We all payed our respect to Mother Nature by throwing in ‘til’(Sesame seeds), ‘gur’ (Jaggery) and ‘moongphali’ (Groundnut) into the fire. We also had ‘rewari’ and ‘gachak’ that we had to throw in, but we kids used to gobble it all up before anybody saw! Some surrounding fields even had crops of peas growing and we used to run in and pluck off some of those sweet tender pods.
My father was an expert at playing the ‘dhol’ (Drums). He would hold court as all the ladies danced the ‘gidda’ around the fire singing the song I was talking about.

This year I’ve made a decision. For Lohri next year, I’m going to fly back home to Ludhiana. Till now my kids have visited my hometown just for a few days during their summer vacation, my children should see what their father grew up with. What a community celebration means and how festivals are celebrated in India


The Kite Festival

January 14, 2013

Here I am on a cold Minnesota winter morning. The skies are grey, but my memories are projecting a thousand color onto its blank canvas. It seems like just yesterday that I was a young boy growing up in Ahmedabad. On January 14th, my vibrant city used to burst with even more fun, color and energy. The skies would be dotted with kites of all shapes, sizes and colours. Me and my friends would gather on my terrace to enjoy the warm winter sun and soak in all the excitement!

All of us had crucial roles- Harsh was in charge of bending the kites to perfection, Varun would make sure the string we bought was the special Surat variety that was extra strong and sharp thanks to the glass powder. Jay was in charge of flying the kites. So where would I come in?
Well I had a very unique specialty – I was in charge of fighting. Yes, I was in charge of making sure that our kites soared high and cut away all those that came in its path! I was the one who ensured we all got to scream out “Kai Poche!” which is a triumphant call meaning “I have cut”.That was our only agenda all day long, the setting sun never discouraged us.

Flying kites in Gujarat is such an obsession that we have found a way around it. We tie paper lanterns called ‘Tukkals’ that illuminate the kites and make sure its non stop fun, well into the night!

Harsh and Jay still live in Ahemadabad and enjoy the festival and they make sure to call me to make me feel bad for missing out on all the fun! Well thanks to technology, I was online watching them and joining in the celebrations last year. I don’t know when I’ll be able to be there with them next, but one thing I know for sure – it’ll be just like old times.


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