Category Archives: Indian Culture

Learning to Like a Small Town : Adventures in Trichy

 

This year, i moved to a city in Tamil Nadu, Tiruchirapalli. Its not really a small town. Its one of the major cities in the state. Its a huge trading centre. But in my head, it was very much a small town. It was also a bit of a come down because as a Tamilian, I was going back to the heart of Tamil Nadu. I started thinking where I lived would no longer be exotic. I would no longer try to understand other people’s cultures, their world views. Because everyone would be just like me.  Never mind that I have never lived in Tamil Nadu and actually have a very poor understanding of Tamil culture. That my understanding of Tamil culture was limited to an elitist brahmin culture and Tamil Nadu had much much more to offer. But for me, Trichy just didnt seem exciting enough.

And the food. I had lived in Ahmedabad, which I thought was foodie paradise. What could trichy offer other than Idli or dosas. ANd I dont even like eating them. Definitely not at hotels. How could my food devotee image survive in Trichy.

I tried my best to think positive, but I came here with deep misgivings. Maybe it was good I had those misgivings. It made me overcompensate in trying to find joys in Trichy. So I am now going to start a little series – of little things I love in this city. Its my gratitude journal for this place. For people who know me, you will not be surprised to see that most of these little joys are to do with food. But beyond that also, Trichy continues to surprise me.

My First post on this series will soon come up : Trichy Special Paruthi Paal (cottonseed milk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A to Z Blogging Challenge : N is for New Years all year around

A to Z Blogging Challenge Apr 16 N

 

I remember reading a humorous essay by PG Wodehouse on how one could practically celebrate New Year all year around because different cultures had different days marked as New Year. I think Wodehouse’s point was that if you celebrated New Year with drinks and if you wanted to celebrate New Years of multiple cultures, you would end up with a bad hangover pretty much all the time.

 

Now he was not familiar with India probably, or he would have wondered how we ever stay sober with our endless New Years within the country. Just for me personally, I think I celebrate four new years in a year. I celebrate January 1 as New Year. I dont care if right wingers think it is not Indian culture, I am quite happy to observe the event. Then there is Ugadi (which is New Year as per the Lunar Calender, and is observed in the Southern States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu). I grew up in Karnataka, so I follow this practice. Closely following that is Tamil New Year (which is New Year according to Solar Calender, followed in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala). I am a Tamilian, so it makes sense to follow this. And finally, I have lived in Gujarat for the last five years, and  the Gujarati New Year comes much after all these (almost in November, right after Diwali). I may not be sufficiently acclimitized here to know what are the customs of Gujaratis are, but living here, I definitely acknowledge the day and greet people.

 

And I think I have covered only a fraction of New Years celebrated in India. I still dont even know what is the New Year according to a vast majority of the population.

 

Thankfully, customs around New Year in India dont always involve drinking. The most delightful custom, according to me is to cook something sweet, sour and bitter on the day, to acknowledge that in our lives, we need to have space for all three kinds of events. So more new years means more opportunities to gorge on sour mango jam, payasam and roasted neem flowers. .

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