I am never very sure how one celebrates Pongal, apart from the food. And yes, the sudden need some people have to find cows. I liked the bit about feeding the crows the best, even though my valiant efforts to attract them to the colourful mounds of rice were unnecessary, I still felt my role was very important. (I am not sure my mother does this bit anymore… I remember it mostly from early childhood.)
But I do recall this absurd incident. I was rather young, perhaps about 12, and found myself at a friend’s place who had regular bhajan mandali gatherings. While I was aware of some carnatic songs, when I was asked to sing a ‘tamil bhajan’ I just froze. On an average, I had already found that heavy carnatic numbers didn’t really suit a majority of North Indian tastes. Actually they didn’t even suit a majority of South Indian tastes.
So it was, more out of performance anxiety than any actual desire to be clever, I sang Roja Poo Aadi Vandandu (Agni Nakshatram). Amala (so cute!) and Prabhu (also so cute then!) prance about aerobically. I knew the words to the entire song because I’d helped my cousin decipher them and write them down in her big brown book that I’ve written about earlier.
I think AK’s parents felt that it wasn’t very bhajan like, but they sweetly smiled and let me finish, before giving me two laddoos. Well, for some people working out is like religion etc. (If you know me at all, you know that’s not true for me.)
PS: AK, I doubt if you read this blog, but if you do, apologies for ilayaraja-bombing your bhajan.
Also, have a lovely Pongal. Just eat a lot. Okay?