----- Original Message -----
To: pasug
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: Pongal - a Trailer!

Hai Paupathi,
How are you,and lakshmi?Wish you all a happy pongal.I really enjoyed your pongal trailer very much.It brought me the golden memories which we will not get again.You have described the scenes as if we can feel it now.Let your trailer continues.convey my regards to lakshmi.Bye.

----- Original Message -----
From: pasug
To: uma mani ; palaniyahoo ; meenakshi sundaram ; avoodaiyahoo ; adiyahoo ; selvi
Cc: thangaraj
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2002 8:04 PM
Subject: Pongal - a Trailer!

Hai Folks,

Pongal - how you celebrated this? or going to celebrate this? i don't know..
But hear me how I enjoyed this festival then, How I have forgotten the word celebration now..

Childhood they say is really a pokkisham which no one can forget or re-get..
We at Kumarappan household,Tuticorin used to go to Panagudi during every festival.

There the Old Aachi Thatha waits for their only nearby son and grandson to arrive.
Aachi prepares for the Pongal before our arrival, making the white saandhu and Semmman Saandhu
so that her mischevious peran comes to paint it on the outer borders of the house..

Some times the Aachi also hopes for her 3rd marumagal Kamala coming from Tirunelveli,
to join Pasupathi in his task of painting the Semman Pattai.

She used to say "Kamala thadarnu vanthuttu odipoyiruva"
Me, mom and akka get up earlymorning to catch the first bus to Panagudi.

The morning time is a kind time to soul. Especially for a child's soul it brings an unknown
bloom of happiness because of the expectations.. The darkness adds its own flavour of unknown happiness to it..
The joy of travel.. travelling to a place where a group of Village People are anxiously waiting for our arrival...

Aachi used to stay at the Tharsato watch for her children's arrival.
Some ladies or neighbourhood people like Chemba - the gigantic
grown up girl next door or Sinnap Pannai Murugan, who eats by his wealth would announce our arrival
to the ears of the Aachi. "Vanthutaangala"... she would say...while she says this ..
pasupathi runs to the varandha of the house in search of Panja.
Panja always will be missing. Aachi would say, he had gone to Parata kadai or his Lottery shop.

Pasu runs there to find him, so that he can also have parata on Panja's account.
If Panja's Appa is sitting on his houses' Muthhtam, he would shout' "Elei Enkodi! Vanthuttiya!"
or sometimes "Mendal Vanthtuuaan" He reserves these pattap peyar for me and athi only. Avoodai never got a nick name.
On calling names, Palani Mama (Panja's Appa) is simply the best!.
Pramasivam - Panja
Sivagami - Chemmi
Thurai Raj - Thorrasu
Sangeetha - Sangu
etc. etc..

The Sinna Pannai Murugan who mostly wates away his time sitting below the Arasa maram opposite his house
(where always a mattu vandi without madukal is parked), or playing cards at the mutham of his house used to
say, "Elei Pasubathi Vanthuttiyalei! Unga Aachi unakkaha Semmanna Karaichu Vaichirukka Pattai Adikka"

So our entrance to panagudi used to be like that.

On way to panagudi, my father will instruct us, "get down at Tirunelveli busstand, buy vegetables before going to panagudi".
Because at Tili market the prices are cheap. So amma, akka, myself will purchase vegetables at the Tili Veg market which
comes to nearby Tili busstand during ceremonies. After that we board another bus to panagudi.The busses are usually full during festival times.

The moment we touch Panagudi, our legs will try to fasten towards home. But controlling emotions, we used to hurry up.
Always the journey is through the Panchayat Board Office or through the outer gates of it. On way some will ask "Enna
Pongalukku Vanthacha?" or "Enna Avuha (My Dad) Varalaya?" We used to answer fast and walk fast.
The less lit road winds up to a small / slope made of stones. This slope is diffcult for a child to cross fast. But enthusiasm
pushes me, so I rush fast. Along th road I see Bombay Pillai house, just have a look at the mutham whether anybody came or not... no... Bombay Pillai's house is always empty... the same thing goes true for Sampantham Pillai (Lawyer) house also whose daughters are great to look!. After these two relatives' houses, our Vadivu Athai house's back yard comes. Sometimes Vadivu Athai may stand there and will shout at happiness, "Vaanga Ippathan Varreehala!!".... Oh those days are gone..The back yard of Vadivu Athai's house has had a great importance to our childhood. Its where we installed our own small Kal Theivam - called it Sivan and worshipped it with all the garden flowers, cooked "Siru Veettu Pongal" for this God.
We used to do Archanai fo this Kal Theivam by bringing water from the circular kinaru near by. This Kinaru has got lot of muL around it.. so we have to carefully approach it. It had beautifully crafted age-old washing stone and stepping stones. Still i can not forget the feeling of stepping on those stones.. Many women around the street used to visit the Kinaru to get water. It never goes dry, until recently....

People of that days' Panagudi used American Aluminium Oil Boxes to fetch water. I cant' even forget those markings of that Dappa.
Its' a long haul from the deep water... just like my memories...

Along this Kinaru, unforgettably, during our Avoodainayagam Pillai Thatha's 80th Wedding Anniversary,(Sadha bihegam) we took a 90% full family photo covering around 50 to 60 people. That photo is still there.. on which i sit near Letcha unknowingly that we are going to be Life partners. Avoodai, Athi,Viji akka,Rajeswari akka, bala akka (died), Avoodai(Ettiyapuram) where there near us. That photo I SHOULD publish on the web soon. Hoping so..

My father would arrive at late night. He used to boast to Aachi, "Companyla Vela neraya-la athaan vara laettu-la...
Tirunveli vara busla vanthen, pirahu taxi piduchu vanthen". His E-La speech is only reserverd for his mother.
Its a dialect showing kindness, specific to that Malayala area.

As soon as I see my father arrive, I gets up whatever the time may be, to see the things he brought home.
Colorful monthly calendars, daily calendars with pictures of Hindu Gods, beautifully crafted diaries are his
presents to the panagudi people. Also he will give New Bank Notes to Aachi, Aasari, Thambiran Pillai and many others
at Panagudi so that they can distribute thier Ponga Padi in New smelling Bank Notes...

If i don't wake up, dad comes to me to put some halva on my mouth he brought from Tirunelveli .
The sweet smelly halva wakes me up quickly. I also go through all the Pongal Malar editions of Kumudam, Anadha Vikadan and other books he gets for us. There may a small scuffle between me and akka for Kumudam

After exploring all of Dad's suitcase, I will sleep peacefully into the early morning of Pongal.
But again they try to wake up me, this time for "Enna Theichu Kullikka". I normally refuse,
my mom runs behind me, offering more Pongal Padi. My dad says, "you cannot wear new dress
if you dont bathe quick". Sometimes a flurry of "Sombu" water will be thrown by Appa on my eyes to wake up.
or small beats with his "Kuththalla Thundu".

Finally now i am bathed, comes to dad for my dress. It is ready before the vilakku with manjal on the colors.
I remeber Avoodainayagam Pillai Thatha does this one and only job. He also prepares for the Poojai, he used to draw the "Soolam" symbol on the walls with Kum Kum Pottu, above a twisted saree, in memory of my late Sivagami Periamma .

Appa says "one night before festivals only Avvodainayagam Pillai used to purchase dress for us, but you people are getting it stitched before two months... this is very bad". Till his death he doesn't understood that time has changed.

Now the great scene of real Pongal being cooked by the two marumagals of the house, amma and kamala chithi and the maamiyar on two vengala paanais, above burning palm leaves. The palm leaves burning is considered auspicious.
When Pongal get the spurt of lather, "Glu-loo-loo-loo", "Glu-loo-loo-loo" mangal oli ladies raise. I too raise for maja!.

So Pongal over, now the much awaited Karumbu to be tasted by the canine teeth of mine.
Mom or Panja or myself cuts the karumbu into pieces, i select the adik karumbu - which is more sweeter.
But most of the times, i saw adik karumbu contains more red, tasteless spots or sand.

Karumbu Unnal is itself an art. You have to master it by eating it!. Especially the "kanus" are diffcult to break.
If properly eaten, it actually increases the strenght of teeth. Mom warn me "don't drink water after eating karumbu,
otherwise you will get vaai pun".

Then the Panag Kilangu - my mother always buys this at Tuti because the price is cheap there. 25Ruppess per hundred.
The smell of boiling Panag Kilangu will attract anyone. Its a great Time Pass!. There is a central part in Panag Kilangu,a quill.
The top portion of this quill is very soft to eat. You can't eat the rest. Panag Kilangu has got two distinct smell and tastes - one when it is still hot another after a few days dry. After removing the outer coat and drying it, mom powders it with cheeni so that teethless dad can chew it. I greatly relish that old man's food!.

More to come ... Pongal Release padangal, Nagercoil, Pongap padi, Card Play at Panagudi, Vallioor Theatre, Visits by relatives..etc

If you want to me continue, i will do it.

Best Regards,
Punnagai Engal Thaaimozhi Enru Varam Kodu!
Boomiyil Sila Maaruthal Thanai Varavidu!


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