Thanksgiving – Day 19

I am thankful for too many things life has offered me so far. Counting all my blessings on this happy day.

Had a great time with friends family who came over for lunch and stayed back till late evening playing and chatting. The air was filled with laughter and happiness.

Thanksgiving spread:

Mutton biriyani (am I becoming a specialist in this or what. It came out good two times in a row) 🙂
Mutton cabbage masala (made by the friend)
Chemmeen roast (Thank you Jo for the recipe)
Prawn masala
Grilled Promphet (full fish – made by the friend)
Egg masala
Onion raitha
White rice
Rasam (made by the friend)
Semiya payasam

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Happy Pongal

அனைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்

A very happy pongal / makara sankaranti to all.

Pongal season every year takes me back to my school days when we used to celebrate it in my native village in the most traditional way possible along with grand parents and relatives. I feel blessed to have experienced such a rich tradition and witness the principled life led by both sets of grand father. People in those years were definitely smarter and well mannered than us that too with minimal to no support of technology. They used natural resources in the most efficient and respectful way.

Pongal is the time to pay respect and thank farm fields, cattle and people. I am glad to have documented every detail of my good old tradition here.

Miss my village. Miss my thatha. Miss my ethinicity. Basically I am in a miss my identity state today.

Made sakarrai pongal and ulundu vadai for offering. This time we also bought sugarcane and whole coconut for offering. The tradition is to break the coconut while praying and it is usually done by the men.

M made kids sit on the table and they all had lunch together. A rare occurrence at that. It was a sight to watch all the three enjoying pongal and vada though I chose to sit on the couch due to lack of chair. I could have pulled out the hidden chair but was too lazy and very hungry as I was surviving with just a cup of tea since morning.



Diwali 2016

“We” made Asoka (moong dal halwa), Murukku and Ribbon pakoda for this Diwali. Guess I don’t have to explain much as why the we is in quotes 😉

Friend’s family visited us for lunch. It was an elaborate veg platter and my cooking aunty cooked most of the dishes. She is of great help to me these days. We call her on weekend to cook veggies of our choice for next week. That is one less worry on week days.

Lunch menu:
Veg biriyani
Potato peas kuruma
Drumstick leaves sambar
Stuffed brinjal fry
Mushroom gravy
Spinach poriyal
Cauliflower gravy
Onion raita
Mint chutney
Masala vadai
White rice

Evening, visited Krishnan temple nearby, the only place in NJ where they allow to burst firecrackers. We had to wait in line for about 30 mins each to buy crackers  and then to have darshan. There was smoke all around and it was not a great experience. It was even hard to breathe for kids after sometime. But, can be considered as an experience for kids to burst firecrackers. There was so much crowd that we had to park car a mile away and take temple operated bus to reach the temple.




Happy Pongal 2016

As it was a long weekend, we were given an option to work from home today and take a early sign off. Guess how my day was? I decided to go to office as I worked from home yesterday and there was loads of work piled up to complete. It took whole day to reach some decent shape and I left work at 6:20pm. I could have as well turned off the lights and locked the door as I was the last one to leave from our floor.

So, M decided to take charge and celebrated pongal with the kids. They made sweet pongal in the evening and prayed to invisible god as god’s are packed safe at our home right now for the lack of counter top or no space in the kitchen.

I was told that Adi played major role in pongal making and said “pongal-o-pongal” as the milk was boiling.. This girl loves cooking.


Pongal always takes me back to good old days when we visit my native place every year to celebrate the farmer’s festival with my thatha, who lived and died as a farmer. We celebrate it grandly for four days and I am glad to have jotted it down all in this space few years ago.  I miss those days..

Happy pongal to all!!



Happy Pongal

அனைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் (Wishing you all a very happy pongal)

Its cooker pongal at our home. We celebrated today morning. I made sweet pongal, wheat rava pongal and pongal sambar.



The kids wore traditional dress, got to hit the plate with a spoon when the pressure was released from the cooker (we consider that equivalent to milk overflowing from mud pot) and say pongal-o-pongal. All in 15 minutes. Then we were back to our usual layer clothing and went about our business as usual. Something very little that I can do to keep up the tradition!



As it is with every year, today thoughts were filled with my native village, grand parents and how we all celebrated pongal together in a grand eleborate way every year.. Beautiful memories is all I have!!!

Yayyyyyy to all of us. We have completed half marathon 🙂 15 16 more days to go..


Halloween 2014

Better late than never has become my to go mantra.. This year, the kids dressed up as Cow girl and Spider man. The highlight is they were under my budget as the store had BOGO free offer and we didn’t know that until we billed the costumes. That was a sweet surprise.

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Halloween evening was the first time someone actually rang our door bell and it didn’t stop for next three hours. I was amazed to see so many kids from our community and luckily bought candies for the treat.. Look at Adi’s candies collection.. She has them neatly categorized as “want pile, don’t want pile aka appa/amma eat pile, fridge pile, no-fridge pile”…  If only she can show half of this interest in organizing her school folder. Sigghhh!!!!


We attended both school parades and LHB promptly clung on to M the moment he saw us. You should have seen the drama. He refused to join the parade after that and M had to walk along with him. On the contrary, Adi hesitated so much to wave at me when I was all teeth to see my daughter at the parade and waved with both hands up high.. The trunk or treat were fun where parents volunteered to decorate their car truck with halloween theme and offered treats.

PTA at Adi’s school also arranged for Halloween fest in the evening and it was fun to see kids with different costumes. Look at this boy’s costume. I wonder how he managed to wear it all day. I have challenged Adi to create her own costume for next year. Let’s see..


Engal veetu pillayar

Happy Vinayakar Chathurthi to one and all..

We celebrated it with hand made Ganesh by Adi with zero help from me and home made kozhukattai.

Ammini kozhukattai is from MM’s blog and kadalai paruppu pooranam kozhukattai from Subbu’s kitchen.

I took it easy when Amma said making kozhukattai is a tiring process. Now I realize it with my back breaking so bad. I would be lying if I say all the pain vanished when the family polished off the plates but I am very happy that it turned out good and they liked it. Kozhukattai’s were over in few seconds.

Adi is really having good patience now. It took her more than two hours to make this Ganesha..




Pongal 2014

Wishing one and all a very happy Pongal!!!

This year for Pongal, I just want to sulk in a corner, reminiscing about my childhood experiences with this festival!!

Read about my four day long childhood pongal celebrations here. I know every year, I torture my readers with this post written two years ago but I am not able to get enough of it. Every time I read it, I travel back to those days with moist in my eyes..
Start from part 1 of you are interested and could spare time to read. 

The house, where my paternal grandparents lived and we celebrated Pongal every single year until I started my work is now empty with the last grandma bidding adieu to this world last month!

My mama’s (maternal uncle) house that I wrote about here is not there anymore and so do my mama and maternal grandparents. Here is a post about my maternal grandmother.

There, I have witnessed one of my ancestral generation living life to the fullest to being nothing today!! The flesh and blood that I knew and lived with are now second level ancestors to my children. I stand as the only connection between them!!

Not that I don’t think of them often, but today the memories are gushing out more than any other day and thoughts are refusing to move forward neither I want to! I want to live this day with their memories!!

Some excerpts from the pongal post:

Every home will have a black mark or a small cut in front of the house that will be dug along the marked lines to the depth of 2 or 3 feets. This will be used along with firewood and charcoals to cook pongal for the next three days.  New mud pot with turmeric plant tied around will be used for cooking.  Stirrer will be the half part of empty coconut shell attached to medium sized stick.  As milk comes to boiling state and overflows we all will start saying shouting pongal-o-pongal and grandma will add required rice (new rice) to the milk.

-There will be no digging in front of the house to cook Pongal this year!

After the pooja and kowtowing  grandpa will walk around the house calling out loud for crow and sprinkling the pongal in a bowl on top of the roof for the crows to eat. We will follow him by hitting a plate with stick, making maximum noise and shouting out to the fullest as “pongal-o-pongal”.

– No noise, no shouting or no pongal-o-pongal around our house!

Maatu Pongal – Next comes the interesting and my favorite part, in a half broken dry coconut shell each of us will hold oil, segakkai, water, turmeric paste, kumkum, garlands and pongal in the same order and visit the cattle.  As it will be past evening the first and bravo one will hold chimney lamp and we will follow him in a row.  All the above said items will be applied on the forehead of the cows/bullocks/goats in the same oder symbolizing that they take oil bath with segakkai, get washed, get dressed with kumkum/garlands and finally eat pongal.  This is kinda due respect we pay to them for all the hard work they do throughout the year. My grandpa will feed the pongal and the person behind will wash their mouth with water.  Following this, the cattle will be filled with hays and other stuff for the cows to munch happily and go to sleep.

– No more cows and even the cow shed has been brought down as no one is there to take care of it now!

Sighh!! I couldn’t control my tears while re-reading all the links I have shared in this post.

Thank you blog for helping me to save my valuable memories. If not you, how else would I have shared about my precious childhood with my offspring?

Our Ganesha

Better late than never. Our entry to this month artsy craftsy challenge. This Ganesha was made by Adi with very little supervision from me and this year we made it with home made salt dough.



Thanks to Swaram who has inculcated this idea on us. This is the second year we were making our own Ganesha.  I was not sure about making him until two days before the Chathurthi as I had no clue of where to buy air dry clay.  Even a small box of play dough was so expensive that I was about to drop the plan of  “Our own Ganesha”.  

As the saying goes “where there’s a will there’s a way”, out of nowhere I suddenly got the idea of making Ganesha using salt dough. I wanted to try it first before committing to the in-laws about our plan. So, we tried a small Ganesha on the day before which turned out good and we got approvals for the mission.


I made most of the trial Ganesha and Adi watched me with a grumpy face. She was constantly saying that her contribution is nil. So, next day for the real Ganesha I decided to let her do it on her own. As you see in the first picture, ,much to my surprise she did a pretty decent job 🙂 The painting, coloring and all details where her ideas. 

The two Ganesha’s ready for pooja (arranged by FIL. The orange hibiscus and pink flowers are from his garden)



I hope we will continue this tradition in the coming years too. Thank you again Swaram..




Wishing one and all a very happy Pongal/Sankranti.

We discussed about the significance of Pongal festival with Adi and did pooja at home in the morning. The discussion also included about God and there she had some questions that I couldn’t answer but that’s for another post 🙂

I slept very late (after 12am) on Sunday night as there was some sundry task to be done and then woke up around 6:30am on 14th morning to make preparations for the Pooja. Didn’t have a good sleep throughout the night. Woke up at least like five times in between.

For the Pooja, I made Sakkarai Pongal (sweet), Ven Pongal (karam) and coconut chutney.  The previous day, when I was contemplating about calling the neighborhood aunty to ask if she can help to grind the coconut for chutney (I was planning to send M and Adi to their house with the coconut and other items to be grinded), the uncle called and asked me not to cook, that aunty is making chicken curry and he will bring it in less than an hour.  Should I call it a coincidence or my lucky day?  ‘coz we don’t talk very often especially during winter season.  I told him about our mixie situation and there in next one hour the aunty was at our door step with a box full of chicken curry and her spare blender (magic bullet).  She generously said that I can use it for next one week and also gave details about a nearby shop that might have spare parts for my mixer. That’s the story of the coconut chutney and thanks much to all of you who gave me useful tips in previous post.

Adi had her priorities in place like to make the chutney with red chillies (I sometimes use green chillies) and less spicy, make the ven pongal tad spicier, add more cashews to sakkarai pongal et all.. She took them for lunch today in two boxes and as usual helped me with pooja arrangements. Did I say I love this girl?

I am drafting this post on 14th afternoon but scheduling for 15th early morning. Please to ignore if I sound cranky or senseless. I am working from home and want to take a nap now. My eyes are half shut already but the problem is if I get indulged in this siesta now then I will not get proper sleep at night. What should I do now? Take a nap or not? Blessed are the ones who can sleep in the day and night.

Last year, for Pongal I made a detailed post about how I used to celebrate this festival during childhood days at my native village.

Here are the links for the interested

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Looks like I can’t keep the snooze land (thanks RM) away for a long time. Let me visit it for a power nap. See ya tomorrow!!!!!

Stay happy and healthy.