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Memories of another day

Memories of another day
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The prettiest and fragrant lanes of memory of the days where joy took priority over the process, where nature gave generously, and man took it...

The prettiest and fragrant lanes of memory of the days where joy took priority over the process, where nature gave generously, and man took it reverently…

The sweetest days of my childhood were the Dasara holidays and Bathukamma to this day remains my favourite festival!

I can remember clearly the nine-year-old me and my cousins going through the routine for which we waited all year long, every year.

The shrilly happy squeals of my cousins and I trotting through the guava fields on our way to Erragattugutta, biting into the fresh juicy fruits, scurrying away before the guard caught us with fruit in hand; even the whooping we got on occasion was sweet as the guavas themselves.

We were on a MISSION!!!
Tasked by our uncle (pedananna), whose lead we followed, yet peppering it with our own gimmicks we would collect as many ‘Gunugu’ flowers and as much ‘Thangadaaku’ (leaves) as we could from the hillocks near to where we lived; in our tiny minds, it was a race to greatness, not something to be taken lightly!!

We marched back home with arms full of the treasures already talking and planning the next part of fun. The preparation was a sight to behold. By the way, all my uncles, aunts and their families lived in the same compound - 14 adults and 21 children All the men and boys gathered around to set the preparation in motion; you heard it right, all the males. As far as I was concerned, it was as much a festival for me as it was for my mother, aunts and sisters. We were in charge of the most ‘fun’ part as my kids would say.

Colour the flower: All the long stemmed Gunugu puvvulu were tied into a bunch, the stems cut off, dipped into water coloured by ‘galluppu rangulu’ and laid out to dry. The flowers soaked in the colour like sponge to water.
Every day except on ‘arrem’, pedananna arranged the coloured ‘gunugu’ flowers in the ‘thambalam’ (large platter) in colour-wise layers and filled the body with ‘thangadaaku’ and topped it off with more flowers…

Voila!! Bathukamma and Pilla Bathukamma were ready by noon, by which time the aromas of the delicacies wafted through the kitchen. Satthi Pindi and Rotte Muddha were my favourites; It was another activity the adults involved us in - getting the flour grinded at the mill, making yummy sugary balls, dtealing a taste in between… My young chest filled up with pride when in the evening my mother and my aunts dressed up in their fineries, picked up Bathukammas we made to take them to the temple and the watter stream there after. The dances, the colours, the laughter, the gossip, the love that filled the evening, competing to be the one to float the Bathukammas, cutting the lines in the Prasadam lanes, sharing the food…

- (Pictures used for illustration purpose only.) Bathukamma 2018 celebrations in Nalgonda and Warangal by Mucharla Srinivas and Shyam Kumar

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