Happy Pongal!

It’s the harvest festival, and many of our friends and relatives have been asking how we are celebrating it. I feel slightly ashamed to say we don’t do anything special, other than making sakarai (sweet) pongal. No visiting the temple, no gathering of the clan, no friends visiting, no cows to bathe and dress, no jallikattu (heaven forbid), no filling of no barns with tons of produce… I make excuses, saying we are just three old people in the house – two in their sixties and one in her nineties; what can we do? I make a special kolam and decorate it with flowers, one tradition I follow. I light the oil lamp as usual…

I don’t know how to explain without sounding like an idiot, that in this beautiful place, every day is a celebration. The morning mists, the homely every day work, the occasional sun (really conspicuous by his absence this January, so I keep misquoting Donne, calling him the Lazy old fool, unruly Sun), the occasional drizzle, Srini helping me wring the sheets, the clean clothes flapping in the wind, the hills, the mango trees bursting into flower, the sapota trees with their ripening fruit, my mother toddling around praying to the trees, the new guppies in the lily pond exploring their habitat, the one pale blue flower of nigella, Topshe gazing out from the top of a little rise, the speckled chameleon winking at me, the one bucket of clear water that will save the lives of some thirty seedlings, the robin calling – free bee, busy bee, the warm smell of our ragi harvest drying outside… just every blessed thing. My heart is full of gratitude.

I’m reading Fukuoka’s last book, Sowing Seeds in the Desert. In it, there is a brush-and-ink illustration by the author, of two people sitting beside an oversized cooking pot. The caption: Eat, sleep, eat, sleep/ nothing to do for 100 years. According to the translator, “The literal translation of the first line implies a sort of drudgery, but the Japanese meaning is much brighter. A simple life with its everyday activities has a joy that is its own reward.” And there you have it.


8 responses to “Happy Pongal!

  1. You’ve said it all, nothing to add. Wishing you this beautiful life for all time to come!
    Your hard work is bearing fruit (and flowers), so enjoy and keep writing about it for us mortals.

    Liked by 1 person

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