Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Time Out

I'm gone on a trip to Chennai for a few days. Posting resumes when I get back!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Recipe: Kanu Podi

Kanu Podi is a special powder for Kanu. The Ellu Sadham I was referring to earlier is prepared by mixing this powder with cooked rice. A few years ago, we had my paternal uncle and his family as guests on Kanu day. As usual, I had prepared kanupodi and ellu sadham. My chithappa (uncle) enjoyed the podi so much he said, “I am tasting such wonderful kanupodi for the first time since I left home”. He was then 65 years old and he must have left home after his studies when he was 15 or 16.

Sesame seeds (Ellu) : 100gms (Black or white)
Jaggery :50 gms
Red chillies : 1 or 2
Salt to taste

Dry roast the sesame seeds in slow heat . The sesame seeds will splutter, so be careful to close it with a lid with a knob, but at the same time keep stirring the contents. I use a pan with a handle and lid and keep rotationg the pan holding it at the handle. Once the spluttering stops, remove from the stove and add the red chilli. The red chilli will get fried in the heat of the roasted sesame seeds. Crush the jaggery into small pieces.

Now comes most tricky task. Dry grind the sesame seeds, redchillies, salt and jaggery pieces ever so gently. Just grind for a second, open the jar, scrape the sides and grind again for a second. As soon as the contents are ground to a powder, immediately remove. This is the most delicious Kanu podi or ellu podi.

This tastes good with thayir sadham also.

If ground at a fast speed in a mixer, the sesame seeds will extrude oil and the result will be a messy mass. So be careful.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Recipe: Mixed Vegetable Rice

When any tamilian or kerala iyer hears about kalanda sadham it is usually the Puliyodarai/Lemon rice/Thengai sadham (coconut rice) that comes to mind. But when we were growing up, as I always say, these rice preparations were not popular in our rural Kerala village. Instead, we had Ulundu Sadham (Urad dal rice) and Ellu Sadham (sesame rice) and of course, Thayir sadham (curd rice), which for some reason was referred to as Thimiral. I wonder why. It was Keerai Masiyal for the side dish. Since all vegetables that we used came from the kitchen garden or from our farm, we used the keerai (spinach) from our backyard, which was the seasonal vegetable. So it was keerai masiyal on Kanu day.

When I started my own family I made a small change to the menu. In addition to the various mixed rice preparations, I invented a mixed vegetable sadham, as my husband and I could not imagine a meal without vegetables.

This rice is different from the usual fried rice or pulao or veg. biriyani in that no garam masala, whole or powdered, is used and it is only flavoured with the Kerala’s own coconut and green chillies and ginger.

This Kanu I again prepared mixed vegetable rice, puliyodarai and thayir sadham with home made vadam. Here is the recipe for the mixed vegetable rice.


Carrots: 100gm
French beans: 100 gm
Green Peas : 100gm
Capsicum (green bell peppers): 50 gm
Cauliflower: 100gm

Rice: 1 cup

Grated coconut : ½ cup
Green chillies : 2 or more according to taste
Ginger : ½" piece
Salt to taste
Cooking oil : 1 tbsp. + 1tsp
Hing (asafoetida) powder : ½ tsp.
Mustard : 1 tsp
Urad dal : 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal: 1tsp
Ground nuts: 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp.


Pressure cook the rice with 1tsp of oil, so that the rice grains don't stick to each other. Spread the cooked rice on a plate to cool, so that it doesn't get mashed up while mixing.

Grind the coconut with green chilles and ginger coarsely without adding water.

Cut the all vegetables into small cubes, about 1 cm long. Cook the vegetables, except the capsicum, retaining the crispiness (don’t over cook) and strain the water out. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the hing powder and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the urad dal, bengal gram dal and grounds nuts. When the nuts and dal turn light brown, add the curry leaves and capsicum pieces. Saute for a few minutes, until they are cooked. Add all the other cooked vegetables and salt. Saute for few more minutes. Now add the ground coconut mixture. Mix well. Remove from the stove. Add the cooled rice and mix well, until the rice and vegetables are mixed well. Garnish with finely cut coriander leaves.


P.S. I don’t add turmeric powder in this rice, as I feel it spoils the colour coordination of the otherwise colorful rice. Being a die hard Keralite, I use coconut oil for this rice, as it imparts a special flavour to the dish. In the olden days, in rural Kerala the Iyer families did not use onions. Even today it is so on festival days. Onion may be added while sauteing, to improve the taste.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kanum Pongal/Mattu Pongal/Kanu

I hope everybody had a very enjoyable Pongal. We celebrated Pongal in our own simple but traditional style. There was Sankramana Tharpana to be performed for the Pithrus. Sarkkarai Pongal and Venpongal were prepared and offered to the Sun God. We had a breakfast of Sarkkarai Pongal and Venpongal with coconut chutney. Lunch was Avarakkai Pulinkari and carrot and beans thoran.

I wanted to sit and write about Kanu or Kanum Pongal and its special dishes before the Kanu day, post Pongal lunch. But then we had a steady stream of visitors, distributing ellu bella (a custom in Karnataka, offering sesame seeds and jaggery to all friends, to say, let your words be always sweet). I had to entertain them. By then I had also prepared some Medhu Vadai. Then my brothers and their families arrived. With three little kids, all under 6 demanding different things at the same time, I was out of breath by the time I could satisfy all of them and also attending to my guests. I offered them Sarkkarai Pongal and Medhu vadai (I had actually prepared very few, and I had to cut them into bits to distribute among all. My brother was saying, distribute one small piece to each, like kovil ammanji’s appam). More about Kovil ammanji later.

But enough rambling. Coming back to Kanu, the day after Pongal is observed as Mattu Pongal or Kanum Pongal or just Kanu. On this day the cattle are given an oil bath and decorated with flower garlands and kumkum and given sweets to eat. In Tamil Nadu there are cattle races and bull fights (Jalli kattu) on this day. Hence the day is known as Mattu Pongal.

It is also known as Kanu and is a special day for girls and ladies. On this day, early in the morning, the eldest lady in the house applies raw turmeric paste on the faces of all the younger women and girls. After this oil is applied to their hair. Then all the girls and ladies offer rice balls (small lemon sized balls) topped with pieces of turmeric, coconut and jaggery to the crows. As usual, it was our athai, who would lead us in this, and when we offered this to the crows, we sang, “Kakka podi vechen, Kanu podi vechen, kakkaikkum mattukkum kalyanam,” which could be roughly translated as, “I offer, Kakka podi and Kanu podi, it is the marriage of the crow and the cow.” Does sound really idiotic, when I think of it now. Perhaps, the words had to be different, I don’t know. But this is what we said.

After this, our athai would lead us to the stream nearby and give us an oil bath. Back home, we would all dress in new clothes and lots of flowers in our hair and would go visiting friends.

On this day, the menu would be different from the usual, sambar, kootu or thoran. We had, what was generally known as “kalanda Sadham” or mixed rice with pappads or vattals. Of course there was the “Kanu Podi”.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Recipe: Venpongal

Having given the recipe for Sarkkarai Pongal, I thought it would be fitting if I gave the recipe for Venpongal also. Aama vadai and Obattu recipes later.


Raw Rice: 1 cup
Roasted Green Gram dal: ½ cup
Ghee: 2 tbsp.
Ginger: 1" piece
Pepper corns : about 10 nos.
Jeera: 1 tsp.
Asafoetida: size of a pea
Salt to taste
Curry leaves: one sprig
Cashew nuts: 5 or 6
Raisins : 1 tbsp.
(The last two are optional)


As I said in Sarkkarai pongal, use only south Indian cooking rice. Wash the rice and dal and cook in 4 cups of water with asafoetida. The rice and dal should be cooked real soft . Mash the cooked rice and dal with a spatula adding enough salt.

Slice the ginger into small pieces. Break the cashew nuts into small pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp. of ghee in a pan, add the pepper corns. When the pepper corns get fried and start floating on the surface, add jeera and sliced ginger and curry leaves and pour into the cooked venpongal. Heat the remaining ghee, add the raisins and cashew nut pieces. When they turn golden brown add to the venpongal (The tempering could be done in one step, if you are experienced enough not to burn any of the ingredients).

Enjoy the Pongal with coconut chutney or Kothsu.


Pongal, or Sankranthi as it is known in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, is a very important festival in the Hindu calendar. It is a harvest festival in most parts of India. (In Kerala of course, Onam is the harvest festival).

This is the day that the Sun God starts His journey towards the north and hence it is the first day of Uttarayana which extends upto about 15th of July. Uttarayana is considered to be the most holiest half of the year. In Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says, "I am Uttarayana among the ayanas."

It is known as Makara Sanakranthi in Kerala and is celebrated by all. One who does not observe Makara Sankranthi is comapred to a wild fowl. There is a saying, “Kattukozhikkendu Makara Sankranthi?” meaning "what does a wild fowl know about Makara Sankranthi?"

In Kerala, in the olden days (I really don’t know what they do now), the houses were cleaned thoroughly and white washed before Sankranthi. Even in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, there is a thorough cleaning of the houses. In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, all old things are thrown out and a big bonfire is made on the day before Pongal, which is called Bhogi fire. The day before Pongal is celebrated as Bhogi. In Andhra Pradesh, Makara Sankranthi is known as Pedda Panduga or "The Big Festival” and is celebrated in a grand manner, similar to Onam in Kerala. In Tamil Nadu Pongal is celebrated in a big way.

Bhogi is also celebrated in a big way in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In Kerala it is the Sankranthi day that is the big day. This day has become more significant in Kerala, especially in the recent times, because of the Makara Jyothi day of Sabarimala (On Sankranthi day, a light mysteriously appears in the distance near Sabarimala, it is taken to be a sign from the Lord Ayyappa to His devotees). Awareness about the Jyothi is growing thanks to the direct telecast of the appearance of the “Jyothi” and the accompanied special poojas at Sabarimala.

All festivals in India have their own special food. For Bhogi in Tamil Nadu, the special dishes prepared are Poli or Boli (Obattu in Kannada) and Aama vadai (Ambode in Kannada, Parippu vada in Malayalam).

Poli is similar to stuffed Parathas, except that the covering dough is made of Maida. The stuffing is made of either Bengal gram dal and jaggery or Bengal gram dal, coconut and jaggery.

Aama vadai or Ambode is prepared with bengal gram dal, toor dal and urad dal.

Recipe: Sarkkarai Pongal

Pongal is already here. Though many varieties of Pongal are made these days, Sarkkarai Pongal (sweet) and Venpongal (savoury) are the top hits. Since many visitors to my blog informed me that they were trying out the recipes I publish, I thought I will give the recipe for Sarkkarai Pongal before Pongal, so that my friends out there can prepare the pongal and enjoy.

Though Sarkkarai pongal had not made inroads into rural Kerala when I was growing up, I learnt long ago about the genuine article, true vaishnavite Sarkkarai pongal, from an authentic source: Komala mami. Thank you, Komala Mami.

In the olden days, (may be even these days in some households) Pongal was made in a vengalapanai, which is made of bronze and is a very thick deep vessel with a slightly narrower neck (top). It was customary to gift a few vengalapanais to the daughter at the time of her marriage. The Iyer households used these vesels for regular cooking of rice, boiling milk and preparation of curds before the advent of cooking gas and presuure cookers in rural areas of Kerala. The main source of heat those days used to be firewood.

On Pongal day, raw turmeric roots and green mango leaves and flowers were strung in a thread and tied around the vengalapanai and milk was boiled in it. It was customary to greet each other with “Pal Pongitha” (have you boiled the milk). To the boiling milk was added the fried green gram dal and rice and pongal was made. The Pongal prepared in the vengalapanai tasted delicious. It was a tedious process though. One had to keep stirring it constantly so that it would not get burnt nor would it boil over.

Here then, is the easiest and quickest way of preparing Sarkkarai Pongal in a pressure cooker. It will taste as delicious and sweet. (My husband says, these days, nobody remembers the taste of Sarkkarai Pongal cooked in a vengalapanai, so it doesn’t make any difference).


Rice : 1 cup
Roasted green gram dal: ½ cup
Jaggery: 2 cups
Milk: 1 cup
Ghee : 4 tbsp or more
Cashew nuts : a few
Raisins: a few
Saffron : 2 or 3 strands
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp
Cloves : 2 nos.
Jaiphal or Jathikkai or nutmeg :1 no.
Pachakarpooram or edible camphor (cinnamonum camphora) : a pinch


Boil the milk with 3 cups of water in a pressue cooker. (For sarkkarai Pongal always use the regualr south Indian cooking raw rice like Ponni or Sona Masoori or Nellore, don’t use Basmati). When the milk and water boils, reduce heat and add the washed rice and green gram dal into it. Close with the lid. When steam starts escaping through the vent place the weight valve and cook on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes (This is for people using gas stoves and where the heat can be brought to absolute minimum. Those using electric stove, be careful to switch off after one whistle and allow the pressure cooker to remain on the same stove for another 15 – 20 minutes). Open the cooker only after ½ hr.

In the meantime, melt the jaggery in 1 cup of water and strain to remove any impurities (In the olden days, jaggery was crushed and added to the cooking rice and dal mixture, I would always recommend to melt and strain the jaggery as it will always have some fine sand particles).

Dissolve the saffron strands in a tbsp. of boiled milk and keep aside.

Lightly roast the cloves. Powder it with 1/8 of the nutmeg.

Open the pressure cooker and mash the contents well with a metallic spatula. Pour the strained jaggery syrup into the cooked rice and dal mixture and heat ,stirring continuously, until the mixture becomes homogenous and is of a dropping consistency. (Care should be taken to see that all the moisture doesn’t evaporate and the pongal becomes dry). It should be in a loose but not running consistency. Add 2 tbsp, or more ghee and mix well. Add the saffron mixture. Remove from fire.

Heat the remaining ghee and add the raisins and broken cashews. When they turn golden brown pour into the Pongal. Add the pachakarpooram and cardomom powder and cloves and nutmeg powder. Pour one more tbsp of ghee.

Offer the Neivedyam to Sun God and enjoy with family and friends.

The Vaishnavites pour one more spoon of ghee in the palm of the guest after serving Sarkkarai pongal.

Don’t be stingy with the ghee or whatever reason. Sarkkarai pongal’s taste lies in its richness. It is said that ghee should not be measured but poured into the Pongal with closed eyes (Kannai moodindu ney vidanum).

The pachakarppooram has a strong flavour, so use it only if you like it. All other ingredients, like cloves, nutmeg, saffron are also optional. So If you don’t have one of these, don’t panic. You will still get a tasty pongal. These ingredients only add to the flavour of the Pongal.

P.S. Many people complain that their Pongal turn out very dry and hard. The secret is in switching off the flame when there is still some moisture in the pongal.


Recipe: Date and Walnut cake (eggless)

I have been planning to make an eggless cake for quite sometime now but kept postponing it. Finally when I located some milkpowder in the fridge, I thought, “let me make eggless cake using the milkpowder”. Except, of course, I had no idea how to incorporate milk powder in a cake recipe. Neither the Internet nor my handy book was any help. But now that I'd decided to bake a cake, I decided to go ahead and do that anyway, except instead of using the milkpowder, I stayed traditional. (If anybody knows how to use milkpowder in a baking recipe, I'd like to know). Instead of eggs, I decided to use curds (yoghurt)

As always, I was going to make use of the things I already had at home. I had just one cup of flour. So that would be the quantity of flour I would use. Accordingly, I sliced and cut the dates and walnuts (2 tbsps. each). I had only ½ cup of powdered sugar. The baking guide, to which I have been returning recently, says, “castor sugar helps to trap the air better than powdered sugar," so I decided to use castor sugar to fill the cup. I always have homemade butter in the fridge , so that was no problem. Even after slicing the fruits and nuts, I did not find the time to bake the cake for two days. So the next day, in between my cooking I started the cake also. The preparation and baking took exactly one hour (slicing the fruits not included).

Here is the recipe.


Flour: 1cup
Butter : 1 cup
Powdered sugar : ½ cup
Castor sugar : ½ cup
Cocoa powder: 1 tbsp.
Walnuts(sliced into tiny bits): 1 tbsp.
Dates(sliced into tiny bits): 1 tbsp.
Thick curds: 1cup
Baking powder: ½ tsp.
Baking soda: ½ tsp.
Rind of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Milk to get the required consistency


Preheat the oven to 200 deg. centigrade (390 F).

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the curds and cream some more. It may curdle a little, don’t worry. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda twice. Mix the fruits in a tbsp. of sifted flour and keep aside. Gradually fold in the sifted flour into the creamed mixture alternating with the fruits mixture. When all the flour has been added, mix in the lemon rind and lemon juice. The dough should be of dropping consistency. If not, add little tepid milk (not very warm) to get the right consistency.

Pour into a 9" dia baking dish (well greased and dusted) and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes clean.

My cake came out just right. Fluffy and soft and melting in the mouth.


Sunday, January 07, 2007


New Year's Eve and New Year's Day has come and gone. Many people called to wish us on new year day and we reciprocated. So far so good. They all continued with ”what did you do for New year eve and New Year day?” Now this has always been a very difficult question to answer: difficult because we have never done anything special on New Year eve and New Year day. While my children lived at home, I used to make a sweet on 1st January.

In India, we have differrent New Year day for each part of the country. Where as the Malayalam New Year starts in the month of Chingam (August-September), the Tamil New Year starts in Chithirai (April-May ). Kannada and Teleugu New Year starts on Ugadi (March-April), and if I am not mistaken Maratha New Year starts on the same day and they call it Gudi Padva. Similary there is a Parsi New Year day and other parts of India also have a New Year day of their own.

Even the fianancial New Year starts on a day different from January 1.

How many times do we celebrate New Year day? So what do most people do on New Year eve? Many of them sit in front of their idiot boxes either with their family or with a group of families and munch and drink watching the various tragically comic programs dished out in the exact same way Year after Year. Year after year, every silly TV channel invites you to spend the New Year with them. Few people get together in clubs and again eat and drink. The so called elite get together in the star hotes or star club houses or resorts and eat and drink. The younger generation go out to the busiest streets in the city and visit all the pubs and get drunk and become unruly and atleast some of them get involved in accidents ( sometimes fatal) driving back in a drunken state. And a major percentage of people like us consider it as just another day and get on with our routine. Many offices work on the New Year day, anyway.

Traditionally, all Indian New Year days are celebrated with extreme austerity and solemnity. No non-veg and no alcohol. It has a sort of religious importance and in most of the regions on the New Year day, the almanac for the Year is read and remedial measures if any, due to adverse planetary positions, are laid down. The eclipses and the important festival days of the Year are read out. Special poojas are performed and the blessings of the elders are sought. There are special services in the churches.

Most offices in the Western countries are closed on the New Year day just as the scools and offfices in different states in India are closed on the New Year day of that state. The Jan 1st as new Year has originated in India only after the British came to India, but perhaps does not appear to have been accepted by all religions and therefore has stayed as just a celebrations by a few in clubs, resorts and streets, followed by a few drunken brawls, accidents due to drunken driving, molestations etc. I have not heard of any New Year day being celebrated with so many ugly scenes anywhere in the world. No New year day desrves to be celebrated in a way which makes people knit their eyebrows as many do on the following day when they read reports on the New Year eve incidents in the news papers.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thiruvathira 2007

Another Thiruvathira. As has now become a practice, I get ready for Thiruvathira festival the previous evening: the vegetables are bought, rice roasted and powdered, dal roasted, jaggery measured, pressure cookers kept ready. After I have roasted the rice and dal (I do it in my oven, for uniform roasting and also to save myself of the pain in my arm from constant stirring), I put some peanuts for roasting. I just could not resist shoving in handfuls of peanuts into my mouth, whenever I saw them. Perhaps this, caused a very bad sorethroat by evening and I started getting spells of dry cough and my throat became very hoarse. I knew if I did not take a medication for this, I may perhaps wake up with an upper respiratory tract infection, which I am very susceptible to and then if I took an antihistamine, this may make me drowsy and I may oversleep and my Thiruvathira plans would get upset. I decided I did not want to get an URTI and took an antihistamine and went to sleep. Thankfully, I could wake up at 4.45am(!).

After the usual oil bath and works, I started preparing Kali and Kari. Hubby dear had cut the vegetables by then. I put the vegetables in one pressure cooker and cooked the dal in the other. This time around, I used Kavathu, Red pumpkin, sweet potatoes, Avarakkai and Toovar pods. I just cooked the vegetables for one whistle. The dal was also cooked for one whistle. Meanwhile I melted the jaggery in 4 cups of water (I used 1½ cups of rice flour this time) and poured the melted jaggery into the cooked dal and when it started boiling added the rice flour and closed the cooker. I put the weight on the cooker and reduced the heat and switched off the stove after 10 minutes. After 20 minutes when I opened the kali was perfectly done.

Though the Kerala Iyers make the Thiruvathira Kari with kavathu, red pumpkin and avarakkai (traditionally), the Tamil Iyers make a different type of Kari, almost like sambar. They make what they call as 5 curry or 9 curry or 11 curry or 13 curry depending on the number of different vegetables used (5 curry will have 5 different types of vegetables, 9 curry 9 types of vegetables and so on..)

Kalyani mami told me today that she made 13 curry, using carrot, beans, cluster beans, avarakkai, mochakottai, peas, white pumpkin, red pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, chenai, chembu, capsicum and chow chow. They use tamarind and dal and made a sambar masala with coconut, dhania, bengal gram dal and red chillies. She has not heard of kavathu she said. We still use only the traditional vegetables and do not use the so called English vegetables (carrot, beans, peas, etc. are generally referred to as English vegetables) for preparing the Thiruvathira kari or for that matter during Sradhams etc.

Vaikunta Ekadasi

Yesterday was Vaikunta Ekadasi. Vaikunta Ekadasi is the 11th day in the lunar calendar after the New moon in Dhanurmasa (December 15 – January 15). It is considered to be the day on which the doors of Vaikunta (heaven) will be kept open for all the saintly souls. Special poojas are performed in all Vishnu and Krishna temples in the south. It is a very important day in the Vaishnavite calendar. The doors in the Srirangam temple in Trichy are open early morning and a special darshan of Lord Ranganatha is offered to the devotees with special poojas and alankaras. Doorsarshan arranges special direct telecast of puja and other celebrations on the vaikunta ekadasi day.
The day is observed as a very sacred day by all the Vishnu bhaktas and many people fast on that day. It is believed that by observing a fast on that day and spending the day in poojas and prayers to Lord Vishnu, one will be absoved of all sins and will attain Moksha and the doors of Vaikunta will be kept open for the soul after it leaves this physical body. The soul does not have a rebirth anymore and attains the feet of the Supreme Lord.

There are different types of fasts observed by different people. Some people fast the whole day without consuming even water and just sip tulasi theertham in the evening after offering pooja to Lord Vishnu. They then have a supper of fruits and milk.
There are others who would drink milk and eat fruits once or twice a day and nothing else.
Some others will avoid consuming rice based foods and will have only wheat preparations like chappathis or porridge with some vegetables only once a day and milk and fruits for dinner (Interestingly, I had once talked to a lady from North India who was observing fast during Vasanth Navarathri. She mentioned that they eat only rice preparations in the night on the fast day).

As children we used to join the elders in this "fasting" when we could eat special food like, chappathis, vella dosais with ghee and honey and parippukanji, and being the season, boiled sweet potatoes.

We had a Chellappa uncle who used to make elaborate preparations for the Ekadasi fasting. He would tell our Kalathappa (our granddad):

"Krishna! Today is Ekadasi. I am fasting. I don’t plan to have anything, even water (jalapanam vendam). Around 6 am, I had a glass of milk and 4 bananas. At 10 am I will have a dozen vella doasas (sweet dosas made with jaggery and wheat flour) and 2 or 3 glasses of wheat germ kanji. Around 3 pm, I will have a glass of coffee and a few boiled sweet potatoes and a couple of bananas. And in the night I will just have some vella dosas and bananas and few glasses of Parippu kanji. Apart from these I wont have jalapanam (a drink of water) today. If we cannot fast even on Vaikunta Ekadasi, what is the use of this life?”

Reports say many people including ministers, politicians, big business magnates, throng the important temples like Tirupati Balaji, Guruvayoor, Srirangam on Vaikunta Ekadasi Day and stand in queues for hours together to have darshan of the Lord on this very sacred day. I was just wondering, if the Lord appears in front of any one of them and says, "Bhakta, I am pleased with your devotion. Today the doors of Vaikunta are open. I have come to take you with me to Vaikunta," what would be the reaction of the Bhakta?