In January 2016, when I first decided that one of the things I wanted to seriously devote time to was blogging, I remember sitting on the third floor of the library surrounded by my moot books on the eve of Pongal. I was without much company, as some of friends had gone out for the evening, but I was extremely warm and cozy on the third floor. That night, there was aloo parantha for dinner, which prompted one of the earliest posts I wrote about a food item. I was using my mother’s phone as a substitute for some time – an entire semester if I recall correctly, because my own phone failed me. One of the things I remember most vividly about that evening is messaging a friend about how we need to get our hands on some pongal. I messaged home asking to be sent some yellu-bella, and my mom, bless her, actually couriered me an entire big box of the stuff [which was then consumed by ants].
I was missing pongal that evening. One of my uncles makes deadly khara pongal. Sweet pongal is a dish I enjoy because it’s got a texture that’s distinct to sajjige, but is marvelously delicious. In my first year, on my first pongal/sankranthi away from home, I just missed the fact that you associated festivals with food. I remember wondering how many years would go by without that association in my brain, or on my tongue.
This is my last set of festivals away from home [in the same country]. Very little has changed. I’m still thinking about yellu-bella, something I opted-out of getting back to campus because of my fear that the ants would consume it all. I’m still thinking about some pongal and if I can get my hands on that today. However, in addition, I’m thinking about the glorious undhiyun my mess is going to serve. I’m thinking about hot jalebis, and fafda.
College has definitely impacted me in more ways than I can recount, but my palette is definitely one of them.