Intialainen perinne, johon liittyynaimisissa oleva nainen ja tietty perjantai! or simply put, Savashana Shukravarchi!
Shukrvar chi Savashana yes, Shravanatli – I carry it very dear to my heart. It’s a very important occasion for me as it celebrates the savashana who comes home to me, another savashana doing it for the well-being of my kids. That is the basic gist I understood from it. So, for me who has kids, cooking up a great feast for another savashana, isn’t it a big celebration?
Well, our ancestors really had thought out the menu, so we don’t need to break heads over it. Sometimes, I feel planning the menu stresses me out more than making the meal. Since the menu is “Puran”, “varan” and “talan”, it’s easy right? Not for me, based here in Vaasa. Trying to conjure up a meal is difficult. Chana dal and gul, the essentials are not easily available here. So, I plan to get those ingredients while on our yearly “home visits”. Both are high on the “must bring” list. Similarly, for tur dal, it’s not necessary we would get it easily from our “corner side” grocery shop – so I must plan and keep these ingredients for this special occasion. So, isn’t it even more a celebration when we manage to get all the ingredients? When I get the dal and the jaggery, I also remember to get our quota of matki too.
So that day, it’s a celebration of planning: bringing stuff from thousands of kilometers away and cooking the most traditional fare. So, Varan Bhaat, katachi amti, matki usal, batata bhaaji with kadi patta(again dried and brought from India), khamang kakdi, talan (some papdya saved for this day too) and the Puran poli.
Then comes my Savashan, a local Finnish friend who I had instructed earlier about fasting before she eats lunch at my place. After I mentioned she must fast, I then tell all the “food” she can have: like fruits, tea or coffee, yoghurt; but no cereals or such. When informing her this allowance it made think we have so much leeway and quite many, I must say, favorable or flexible conditions which are easier to manage.
So there she was, and I explained her about the “oti “ bharne and executed everything perfectly. I then explained that she has to take the rice home and use it- in fact, we put this given rice into rice container. And that she could break and eat up the coconut. Well let me at this point remind you the reader, that coconuts available here are without shendis and that the supari, the betel nut is again packed up from our home trip! She respected and followed all our rituals inspite of being from a totally different cultural background.
Coming back to this tradition of “oti Bharna” as I gathered information as to the importance of it, it’s a blessing to the woman to have home with children and no lack of food. Then again wishing her prosperity – coconut, symbolizes life itself – everything of the plant is used. Furthermore, it is hard on top but quite soft inside and the water too is always sweet. Rice is chosen as it is the only grain that stays unbroken. The rice is considered auspicious, at the same time, “may you have food at home” is the concept. Betel nut is again an auspicious thing. In short, the “Savashana” is being wished well with prosperity, happiness, kids and all good things. What a beautiful way to wish well for someone and in return one is reciprocated well too!
I feel happy and grateful as I manage this tradition here in Vaasa. There’s so much to learn and appreciate in our culture as we move around and also at the same time come back to our roots.
Seema Ganoo is a member of the Angat Pangat Facebook Group.