Wishing One and All a Happy Ugadi.
Ugadi apart from Bevu and Bella, brings up the sweet dish holige memories to me. I like the holige with Jaggery purna inside – thick and inspiring mixed with pure Ghee – Heaven for me and a nightmare for the cardiologist!
My mothers youngest sister – Geetha aunty was 7 months pregnent and had come home for delivery. This was because mother had lost their mother at very young age and my mother had taken care of her from child hood days.
I remember very clearly that night. Suddenly, she had labour pangs and Father ran and got a old Fiat. She was rushed to Saint Martha’s hospital at the dead of the night. I was told by mother to sleep tight and If I were a good boy, would get to see and play with a small baby. Where will me, a 2nd standard boy understand all these!
I woke up little late due to the midnight jaunt and was surprised to see Geetha aunty back and no baby. Discreet queries revealed that the pangs had subsided at hospital and they came back by 4 AM.
This cycle of pangs on and off repeated for 2 more times and mother could not take a chance since she was well into her 9th month now as elders were talking to each other.
My Jaya aunty came from denkanikootai which is in Tamil Nadu. She was the eldest. She saw the youngest sisters plight and running her hands into the heads of Geetha aunty with love asked “do you have any wishes – pregnent woman will not deliver unless all the wishes are satisfied”.
Finally Geetha aunty said sheepishely – “I feel like eating holige”
That was it – mother chastised her for not reveling this earlier. Since Geetha aunty was feeling shy to stay in our place and beyond that to ask for everything – had its net result. A boon to me!
So immideatly mother called our other sister padma aunty to do the holige so that Geetha aunty can do the delivery. Even today for me as a Project manager deliveries are a major concern!
The flour was mixed, beautiful moon shapes emerged out of them. Skillfully my mother and padma aunty spread it out on oil touched plantain leaves. I watched from a distance. Using the old style grinding stone, mother churned up the delicious jaggery patty which is used inside the holige.
I usually get my handfull of that beautiful thing after which I dissapper to enjoy sitting on my favourite wodden horse rocking and eating it. Hope some day I would retire from all these and get back to my child hood days.
Mohan – sounded my mother. I just peeped into kitchen having satisfied my quench and knew I wouldnt get the first holige anyways!. I asked “what?”. Mom gave me a 5 rupees note and thurst a plastic can and said. “Be a good boy and run to variety stores and ask for 1 litre Groundnut oil. Please come back quick. Buy 1 toffee in the change”.
The toffee stuff worked wonders. I started off from Dwarkha Bhavan on my imaginary Vespa scooter ( Gopal mama had a 3rd hand). Soon I parked in front of variety stores and thrust the can into the hands of the boy there. He asked “yen beku?”. I gave 5 Rupees and said, 1 toffee and 1 liter oil. Priorities are different for different people!
I put the toffee in my mouth and didnt want to crunch it away and ate slowly. I parked my imaginary Vespa and handed over the oil can to waiting mother and 2.80 change to her and went off to sit and watch all the buses on the main road while enjoying my double treat of poorna and toffee.
By noon we had polished off the cool holiges, though padma aunty kept saying they were unusually quite thick and took long to turn yellow brown on flames.
In computer parlance, we teach something called Garbage IN, garbage OUT. Around 5pm evening a small race started and people proved this concept long back!.
Everybodies stomach had some funny feeling. The rat race for the only tiolet was simply horrible. Those days the tiolets were only single for a group of people and away from living areas – no attached stuff. It was so intence that the house owner opened up their special toilet through back door and thought this is what happens when you eat off all the holiges and leave the smell for neighbours!
After lots of cursing the puliyogare and holige, finally the problem seemed to subside. Some Jeerige water was taken to help ease the problem. Geetha aunty decided to have a pang probably induced by the toilet running at the same moment!
Like fire brigade ready for action anytime, the backhouse autowallah volunteered to Saint Marthas this time. Since I too had one too many motions, was restricted to house saying there are “no more chaddie spares if you go out“.
At 8.45PM Gopal mama came on his Vespa with Padma aunty and told “Good news. Geetha aunty has delivered a baby boy. I thanked the holiges for that efficient delivery. Hope Ii can get the same holiges to my team for timely deliveries!
Early morning, Jaya aunty kept vigil at Saint marthas and mother with padma aunty came back. They still had some investigations pending. Both had continued the toilet visits at Saint marthas and doctor had given some medicine due to which it was under control now.
They took the oil can and went straight to Variety stores and asked what oil they had given. The packing boy said castor oil. It seems he was new in the shop since we allways purchased Ground nut oil in a red can and castor oil in yellow can we never bothered to tell that.
Unfortunately that day there was a new boy and just filled castor oil and sent us to do toilet duties.
Some holige it was. Even today we joke – Variety store special ugadhina?