Sunday, March 16, 2008

Karadayan Nonbu 2008

I am sure all of you would have celebrated Karadayan nonbu in the traditional manner. I celebrated it as usual with sweet and salty adais. As the time for the nonbu this year was a convenient breakfast time there was no hassle of preparing a separate breakfast. That helped a lot in getting ready for the Puja. This time round, I am in Hyderabad and we have an Arali tree right in the front yard. So Arali flowers were no problem. The adais came out perfect also. On the whole, a very satisfying nonbu.

It gives me great joy to see that a great many people have visited my blog on the eve of Karadayan nonbu. This invariably means that even in the midst of a very busy life, people want to keep up with our traditions and observe the important rituals for the well being of one and all. Festivals like these inculcate our rich culture in the growing children of today, especially since most people live far away from their native places and people have to be extra vigilant to remember these festivals that are popular only among a select set.

As always, on such festival days, I go back down the memory lane and try to remember how I celebrated nonbu in the previous years. In my Puthucode days, the nonbu was a big festival as everyone around was celebrating it. The whole village was filled with fragrance of roasted rice flour and Arali flowers. In Bangalore some years later, we were the only people celebrating in the whole street. Of course my sister-in-law would come visiting bringing her adais. This time around perhaps I am the only one celebrating the festival in the whole colony. Each nonbu has been different from the other, in one way or the other.

All said and done, my Puthucode nonbu always tops my sweet memories. It was totally relaxed for everyone. There was no last minute shopping to do and most importantly the whole run-up to the nonbu was delegated efficiently and each person got a job that she was capable of; a little girl of 5 would be asked to keep the flowers in the neyvedyam leaves and an older girl would have to get the flowers from the garden and string them. The preparations started well in advance with the maid pounding the rice. She knew exactly how much rice was to be pounded, though she would ask my echiyamma, “Shall I bring 1 kg of rice from the pathayam (a wooden box in which rice was stored).” My echiyamma would say, “I think it should be sufficient, or else take 1-1/2 kg”. Having got the rice pounded well in advance, there was enough time to roast the flour. Even if by chance my mother didn’t get the time to do it immediately, there would always be some neighbours dropping by just to say hi to my Echiyamma. During the conversation, either they would ask or my echiyamma would enquire of them “Singari (or Lakshmi or Ammu or Chellam as the case may be) have you roasted the rice flour for nonbu?” to which she would reply, “Yes echiyamma, I had some free time last evening”. Then my echiyamma would say, “Sita has not found time to roast the flour”. Dear Singari mami would immediately come to the kitchen and tell my mother, “Sita, where is the rice flour? While I am here, I might as well roast it for you”. In 5 minutes the rice flour was roasted, in between exchanging some juicy gossip from the village. Nobody considered it a burden to lend a helping hand to anyone, even if they had spent the whole day working in their own kitchen. Singari mami would be properly rewarded when the next lot of mangoes or jackfruits or other such things came from our farmhouse. And we all thought we were one family. There was never a feeling of haves and have nots among the whole village. My mother would think nothing of leaving a crying baby with Singari mami to be taken care of while she was very busy. Singari mami was only too happy to take care of a wailing baby, though she had her own house filled with growing grandchildren. I can just indulge in this reminiscing game forever and forget all about my surroundings. So sweet were those days and the nonbu adais!


kayen said...

hullo dear ammupattiji
happy nolumbu. even my sweet adais turned out well. but cud you please give recipe for the salted variety.
thank you

Ammupatti said...

Hi Kayen

Very happy to know ur adais turned out well. Browse thru my blog, you will find recipe for salted variety.

Happy cooking!

Jayashree said...

Nice memories....I enjoyed reading this post.

jayasree said...

Reading your post, I could relive those memories, being brought up in a village. Even though I belong to your next gen, I could very well relate to what you have written.

Latha said...

Hello Maami,

very heartening to read your memories. Though I never lived in a village I have heard many stories narrated by my paatti and kollu-paatti when we were small. Even when we visited my maama in Salem the house was always full with some one or the other dropping by, taking urimai with household work and just chatting. The colony where I spent a decade of my teen years in Chennai had a similar atmosphere. If someone returning from school found their flat locked they'd just wait at someone else's. Oh how much I miss those days esp now that I have a small boy and expecting the 2nd one....

Ammupatti said...

Hi jayashree

Nice to know that you could relate to what I have written. You are indeed lucky to have such childhood memories even 1 generation later.

Best wishes

Ammupatti said...

Hi Latha

Nice to know you too have similar memories.

Best wishes for your little one.

I wish you have a healthy second one too.

With warm regards

Nirmala said...

Dear ammupatti,

I came across your site very recently and I am very glad that I found it. I am a kerala iyer myself and living in the US. I always think about how to give all these wonderful experiences to my 2 year old daughter. I made the sweet adai, and brinjal curry that you have posted. Needless to say, they came out very well. My daughter and husband loved them.

Thanks a ton for doing this wonderful job of sharing all your experiences, explaining to us the traditions, posting pictures. During the day, when I have any doubt, I try to get answers from your blog (as it would night in India).

Here is wishing you and your family good health, peace and prosperity. Although I am much younger than you, my good wishes are there for you.

Best Regards,

Ammupatti said...

Hi Nirmala

Thanx a ton for your good wishes.

Wait unitl I post yet another wonderful recipe with brinjal.

With warm regards

kayen said...

hullo ammupattiji
how r u? i am glad that you saw my request for the salt adai. but cud you please tell me under what heading you have written it.
thank you

Ammupatti said...

Hi Kayen

Look under Reciepe - Nonbu Adai


Revathi said...


Did you see the recent tamil move "Pirivom Sandhipom"- You would love the movie. It is about the joint family that exists in Chettiar family, their customs and traditions has been very well captured..

Your post reminds me of that movie... 32 members of the family -sitting and talking about making vadagams and making pal kozhukattai-

Tara said...

Hello ammupatti,

Have been keenly following your thoughts for a while now and think you write very well. Living in a metropolitan city, I do miss the simple joys of life and celebrating verious festivals together with family. But we do make it a point to go down south atlest twice a year, and also visit our kula daivam religiously. I am Tara and have finished 12th grade. I am new to blogging.and my blog is

Do drop in sometime and tell me what you thought of it. Am quite an amateur now but am learing from veterans like yourself. Thanks and keep brightening our days with your beautiful thoughts.


Ammupatti said...

Hi Tara

A splendid job indeed. Keep up the good work of blogging.eagerly waiting to see south Indian wedding through your view points.
Hope you are having a wonderful time in the carnival.

We wish you all the best during the grihapravesham of your house in Bangalore. Just curious to know where in Bangalore have you bought the house?

With regards

peearkay said...

Dear Patti(Or shall i call akka)
I read your blog after long long time.
The things you wrote about singari or chelli or ponnu is wonderful.When i was a child some of the villagers has adopted me as if i am their son,brother etc. People used to give me names what they feel is the right name for me and still after 40 years they call me by that name.At that time i have heard villagers used to dress me up also and use to fight with each other for taking care of me.
When ever i go to village now days i think of those days and those peole ,some of them have even left the world .
Espesially when ever i think of one girl(she has a fully grown up daughtor now) who used to call me nanda kumar and dress me up like Lord Krishna with flowers on my head ,died at a compartive young age due to some major disease i felt how the current life style has widened the relations ships. Now I dont even now who my neighbours are ,Some times during any society get toghether i ask my wife who is who in the same building even though i am there for the past 8 years.
When ever i read your columns about puthucode tears roll down my eyes .( I dont know why.)