Saturday, 19 September 2015

This family prays and stays together

photo 4

On any given day, the rather-congested commercial suburb of Koti in Hyderabad is not ideally a destination people staying in Banjara Hills, like moi, would like to venture to, especially with the disaster that the nowhere-near-completion L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail project is, spells to the already harassed commuters.
But, like they say, good things come to those who persevere. Like Chappan Bhog, the spread of 56 delicacies offered to Lord Krishna, after he lifted Govardhan Pahad on his little finger for a whole week.
Who are we, lesser mortals then to get hassled by minor hindrances like traffic snarls, to be able to partake of Chappan Bhog? Especially when your hosts are an ever-warm and extremely hospitable Gujarati joint family of Viren Shah, a food entrepreneur popular on Hyderabad’s social circuit, because of his inherently helpful nature.
Every Janmashtami, about 150-200 guests from within their joint family and a few relatives and close friends are invited to the Nandotsav which has been a family tradition since a century. While his ancestors moved from Gujarat to Karwan, in 1722 , the eighth-generation Shah remembers Janmashtami celebrations as a young child at their ancestral haveli in Koti, where the family moved to in 1922 or so.
“My grandfather Parmanand Shah used to preside over the celebrations and I have seen him take personal care of each and every guest. We all have been continuing with the tradition and will always uphold the legacy, hopefully in the next few generations too.”
A couple of days before the festival, the women of the household get up at the crack of dawn to do sewa, or make the sweetmeats, savouries and snacks to be offered to Bal Gopal on his birthday. Be it methi muthiya, sev, adrak papdi, different kinds of rice, shrikhand, kulfi, barfis of different kinds, Gujarati farsaan, everything is to be prepared personally, with only the general supervision of a ‘maharaj’ to oversee and help with the arrangements.

“I think it’s the warmth of the family and their devotion to Lord Krishna which makes the Prasad so delicious,” shares a guest.
But will the joint family of 18 members currently staying under the same roof, sustain the pressures of a modern, nuclear family? And carry on family traditions like these?
“Of course, we will, I am sure it will, ” answers Shah with some confidence.
I see a child counting the sumptuous spread and remarking, “Mummy, these dishes are more than 56,” and I smile to myself. The love for Krishna and his ways are infectious.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Beef Ban pan state of Jammu & Kasmir! Hurray!

Map of jammu and kashmir state

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday banned the sale of beef across the state. It has also asked state government to take steps to ensure that the ban is strictly implemented.
The order stating the ban was issued by divisional bench of J&K High Court while hearing a petition which sought ban on sale and consumption of beef.
Despite the orders issued on Wednesday, beef shops in the state remained open on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party government has not reacted to the ban so far. Enforcing the ban will be a huge task for the government in a state where majority of the population consumes beef.
Earlier, the Haryana and Maharashtra government had imposed a complete ban on the sale of beef in any form in the state.
It also comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party is under fire for banning meat in Mumbai for 4 days during the Jain festival of Paryushan.


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