Missing Sankranthi!

Here I am, back with a lot of good and some not so good memories from my trip to Chennai for the Pongal festival. Sankranthi is what we celebrate usually and it always holds a special place in my heart, for I love the Bommala Koluvu that we keep in our home. Dad takes huge efforts setting up 5 steps and brings down all the treasured bommalu (dolls) from the lofts. We would then sit and slowly open up the intricate packing dad would have done the previous year. Arguments would then start on, which doll to be kept where and the preparations would go on until midnight. After ushering us to sleep, dad would tie balloons and color papers all over the hall and by morning, colorful lights would adorn the beautiful bommala koluvu.

Its also the time of the year, when dad would get bonus and we would get to shop for 2-3 dresses that should last until Deepavali. Today, I get to shop whenever I feel low or just to pass time. The happiness is not even comparable to that immense joy we used to get on shopping for 3-4dresses only per year.

Festival preparations would go on in full form from almost a week ahead of Sankranthi. Mom would patiently clean every inch of the house. At times, I would help her clean the lofts where she wouldn’t be able to reach. Invitations would be sent over to Atha (Aunt) and Pedhanannagaru  (Dad’s elder brother) to come over to stay at our place. We would be eagerly waiting for all of them to join us for that time of the year. There would be a lot of happy moments and a few arguments and fights too. I do remember some worst fights that happened between our relatives during one of the Sankranthis and its not easy to come out of it – as kid. What seemed like a carpet of roses would all of a sudden turn into thorns all over and that’s when I started understanding the true colors of each and every person. I think that’s a big step as a kid, when it comes to understanding the society and learning the survival skills.

On the day before Bhogi, dad would prepare the steps for bommala koluvu and we would clean all the dolls brought down from huge suitcases in the loft. All our dolls are as old as me, as my parents started koluvu only after I was born. I know how much care must go in to preserve all those porcelain dolls for 25years in such a good condition. Sister and I have many a times made parks and zoo to display during the koluvu. Mom would invite all our neighbors and friends home on all the three days, giving them the haldi-kumkum, which means we get to dress up all the evenings for those 5 days. There would be a lot of devotional songs – sung by mom as well as the other aunties who come to visit us. Mom would patiently offer elaborate prayers every morning and evening during the koluvu. On the day of Bhogi, she would make me and sister sit in chair and offer something called as Bhogi Pallu (a mixture of Gooseberries, Akshath and Coins) as shower which is believed to chase away the evil and bring good health and prosperity. Later we would be given Aarthi 🙂 As kids, we would wait for the chance to collect those coins from Bhogi Pallu!  Mom also follows different menu items for each day and everything would be so mouthwatering. Bobbattu and Boora are the dishes I would die for during this season and mom always makes it a point to make these two for sure.

At the end of 5days, we kids would be asked to make all the dolls sleep (lie them down) and one final aarthi would be given before everything goes back neatly packed into the suitcases. Hall would look empty all of a sudden and we would dream of next Sankranthi bidding good bye to all the relatives and five days of unlimited fun.

Today, I miss all this fun. Pongal only means preparing Chakrapongal and offering it to God. The customs are totally different at my in-laws. I am not denying its fun too – cleaning the house, putting up elaborate rangolis, dressing up pretty and then having the awesome Pongal. But I miss the fun of being a part of Bommala Koluvu – the pride in showing our dolls to the rest of the locality, especially for Sankranthi. There is no more Bhogi Pallu shower. I need to act all responsible and take part in preparing the pongal and making sure no one is tasting it before its offered. I miss being a child and don’t want to be this grown-up responsible person. Sigh!!

My parents too have not been keen on Bommala Koluvu for the past two years, that is exactly after I got married and they are only having a miniature koluvu (cheating I say!). I am insisting on having an elaborate one atleast next year and hope they hear me out 🙂 One of my wishes is to follow this custom that my family had been observing for the past 25years without breaking it off – if not now, atleast when I have kids. *Fingers Crossed*

A few snaps of Sankranthi & Bommala Koluvu from 2010 –

 This is how I celebrated Pongal this year –


24 thoughts on “Missing Sankranthi!

  1. The kolams are super pretty pa. How long did you take 😀
    The magic of the extra festival dress is unparalleled 🙂
    I never knew that golu is kept during sankranti too..I assumed it is a Navarathri tradition. My GK is now increased thanks to you 😛

    • Took more than 3hrs Visha.. thanks to the vehicles passing by and constantly cribbing S 😀 It was well past 1 when we slept that day 🙂

      In Andhra.. golu is kept for Sankranthi only Visha 🙂 🙂 We have only followed that all these years.. I hope to continue it in future too 🙂

  2. Ah ha Thats you.. Great 🙂

    seems you enjoyed the festivities .. and we sure do enjoy more in our parents house always .. I use to have fun when i lived with my parents ..

  3. I can understand your disappointment of missing some special moments of life that defined your growing up. In fact, this is new. I have never known a pongal with golu. My brother got married to a Telugu speaking person, and spent his pongal at his wife’s place. so I guess, it kind of all squares up, at least this time around. 🙂

    In general, some of our old customs and practices are being lost over time, even in my own place. It is a hard fact of life, and it is a hard reality that new customs in sync with current times, replace old ones.

    • Thanks Chris.. thats what makes it even more unique 🙂 I used to boast among my friends about the kolu n all 😛

      Very true Chris.. Most of our customs are being forgotten and at this rate.. the future generation would know nothing of our culture!

  4. The rangoli is just awesome and 3 hours??? You have a lot of patience.
    Just forget about the not so good things okay.. Enjoy the wedding preprations. Is your shopping done???

    • Thanks Tharani 🙂 I have a lot of patience, when its only about art or cooking 😀

      Shopping is now fully done.. invitations are getting ready.. so thats the next big task 🙂

  5. Loved all the decorations GB 🙂 Lovely! 🙂
    I can relate to the feeling of missing the festivals at home 😦
    “One of my wishes is to follow this custom that my family had been observing for the past 25years without breaking it off – if not now, atleast when I have kids.” amen to that 🙂

  6. What a beautiful, happy post! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it! 🙂

    I didn’t know people keep golu during Sankranthi too. Just got to know. 🙂 Didn’t know about all these rituals too. At our place, Sankranthi has always been a quiet, subdued affair. We used to love watching others fly kites during Uttarayan, though. 🙂

    I thought you looked like you have lost weight in those pics of yours. Then, I read that these are pics from 2010. 🙂

    The rangolis are awesome. So is the golu. And those Ganapathy lamps are so beautiful! Loved them! 🙂

    • Thanks so much TNGD 🙂 Sankranti always meant a lot of guests, eloborate rituals and back-bending preparations until two years.. but now.. its not that much though I still enjoy it. I have heard of Uttarayan too 🙂 I would love to add the kite flying to the number of other rituals.. 🙂

      😥 😥 I know.. those pictures are like a distant dream…

      Thanks thanks thanks so much TNGD 🙂

  7. Wow this is a grand celebrations…. I dint know that dolls are kept for this festival… as per my knowledge it is donw in karnataka only during the dasara festival… Rangoli looks too good… I am sure u spent considerable amount on it..

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