Holidays have this way of creeping up and evoking nostalgia. Long forgotten memories, of people and things that we have taken for granted for too long....and when life gives you a breather, you turn back to realize that those memories have gotten a lot hazier than you ever thought they could.
Today we celebrated Karwa Chauth- an annual ritual I grew up with - a day, that my mom described as her day off. For according to tradition she couldn't touch any needles. Without her sewing machine or knitting needles, she had the whole afternoon to while away. And she did that by spoiling herself and me. She couldn't eat or drink till moon-rise. But that didn't keep her out of the kitchen. Together, we made a whole bunch of goodies for the special dinner at night; went shopping for red glass bangles and bright red vermillion, oiled, washed and braided our waist long hair. Around mid afternoon, she sat me down to listen to the "katha"- mythological folk-lores glorifying the day of Karwa Chauth- before handing me a plate of the mouthwatering, strongly fennel-flavored Gulgule.
My dad, forever the sceptic, made fun of my mom's beliefs- but made excuses of being extremely busy that day and brought his lunch back from office- untouched. He didn't give in easily; but still he was the one who started the pestering about her wanting a new saree that month- even though she'd never asked for it. He and us started our lookout for the first sighting of moon around 8pm- long before it was supposed to come out; getting hungrier and crankier by the minute, but stilling running up every 5 minutes wishing for the moon to make a much awaited appearance.
Oblivious to all this commotion, my mom preened herself in the new saree that daddy bought for her, put on her new bangles before finishing off with a big bright vermillion bindi on her forehead- bigger than her normal size. Every year, as I sat down to the special Chole - puri - Gulgule - halwa dinner, I wanted to grow up to be as pretty as she looked that day....
(Fried sweet fritters)
Atta/ whole wheat flour 1 measure
Sugar 3/4 measure (or to taste)
Saunf/ Fennel seeds 1 heaping Tbsp, crushed coarsely
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Baking powder 1 small pinch
Water to make the batter
Oil to deep fry
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Add in water slowly while mixing to get a batter of dropping consistency- slightly thicker than pancake batter.
- Drop small Tbsp full of batter into hot oil. Fry till golden brown.
My two cents: For some reason, today, I couldn't shake the image of Gulgule and my mother in her bridal Peeliya. I came home and asked my MIL if she knew how to make Gulgule - and she showed me how. The only one time I tried, it was a disaster. Hopefully, I'll be able to recreate them another day. This post is about how my MIL and my mom made them....
This post is also about memories lost....
And traditions kept alive....
Happy Karwa Chauth to all of you observe it. For all others; Gulgule are addictive, do try!