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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ko Jagarati

 27th October 2015


Kojagiri

I was in the second or third standard then.. about 7 or 8 years in age.

Mum and her friends were talking excitedly about Kojagiri.

I asked aai, my neighbour... कोजागीरी म्हणजे काय?

"Kojagiri is Kojagiri Pournima " she told me... "a full moon in the sky. रात्री आपण मसाल्याच गोड दुध करायच , चंद्राला दाखवून नंतर प्यायच आणि काही गोड खायचं "

my father was a disciplinarian. bed time was at 10 pm. yet , that day, he gave in to my entreaties when i told him I wanted to celebrate kojagiri with aai

my mother insisted i take my own glass of milk. she warmed some, sweetened it with sugar and flavoured it with elaichi. my mother also gave me a small paper bag of Parrys pineapple sweets to take over to aai's

AAi;s door was never latched..not even at night. Her's was a family of 4 sons and a daughter. the oldest son , a good 20 yrs older to me. as was common in those days , the older boys of the house would roll out a mattress outside their door and sleep in the common balcony.

I pushed open her door. It was their dinner time . With her sari hitched up at the waist.. aai was rolling out the चपात्या,

they were surprised to see me there at that hour. काय ग ? aai asked

i held up my glass of milk and the Pack of Parrys and said... "हे बघ… मी गोड दूध आणलय. चल पट्कन …चन्द्र आहे बघ आकाशात "

there was a burst of laughter..at my innocence.

aai came out of the kitchen, took my glass of milk and led me into the balcony outside. she stood facing the moon.. held out the glass outside the balcony for a while. she then placed the glass in my hand and asked me to take a sip. "आणखी गोड झाल आहे आता बघ" , she said.

i took a sip...offered one to her..she held me close as i finished my glass. and yes ..we all ate the Parrys chocolate too

this is my first kojagiri memory

marriage brought me to a housing society which was cosmopolitan and with a very active Maharashtrian group .. the ladies celebrated haldi kunkoo during sankranta, chaitra gowri and navaratri.. and then there was kojagiri

we were a group of about 15 . the senior members would decide upon a menu and we would all pick an item each - to cook and bring to the get together on the terrace.

the husbands and kids would be fed and we would be off - the ladies night out.

ours was a motley crowd...a punjabi, a sindhi... a tamilian.. the konkani me, and then the others who were maharashtrians.

one of the ladies would have volunteered to make the keshari doodh. good natured ribbing would ensue...दूध आटवले आहेस न… भरपूर काजू बदाम घातले आहेस न… केशर वेलची ?

the lid of that utensil would be removed and instead a finely crocheted piece would be laid across , to keep away any dust and to let the शीतल चंद्र किरण to penetrate

all of us belonged to different age groups... there were 4 kaakus ... aged between 60 to 70. then there were some in their early 50's and then about 4 or 5 of us ....then in our thirties.

we had a lot of fun... the kakus would enthusiastically lead us into dancing the jhimma fugdi, kombda, pinga... some of them would sing the typical festive songs...and then any other song which had any scope for dance.

those were happy times indeed.

and then misfortune struck. one of the kakus passed away. a friend closer in age to me was widowed.. another kaku was widowed.

some friends and then us too, moved residence.

we would meet,,, yes,, we would... but unfortunately at more funerals... of our friends or their spouses.

we... i ,,was loathe to even reminisce of those happy times

and so the years passed by

today morning as i logged into FB.. i saw a post by Loksatta.. the marathi newspaper.. about kojagiri - the moonlight..stars, maybe a selfie..it stated.

i continued with the chores of the day. till once again , while i was FB crawling, i saw several posts about the flavoured sweetened milk

on an impulse i asked the spouse to buy some extra milk and the keshari doodh masala

my mum offered to boil the milk. she was surprised to see the pack of masala doodh., "It came free with the milk" said the spouse. the gullible mother believed it........

out of the blue the better half suggested.. :why dont u go to our old society and celebrate kojagiri with them like before

"everything's changed" I said,

i found myself chatting with a frined.. me ranting mostly, and there was a suggestion .. a word of advice - "think... what is that u want to do"

i took it most literally and immediatley dialled my friends...KO jAGARATI ... Doodh aahe ka jasticha i asked each of them.my call was unexpected....

it was late too... 10.30 pm . i was bubbling with excitement..but i was skeptical. would they co-operate? at such shirt notice?... but i succeeded... the enthusiasm was contagious probably..
i rustlled up a huge pot of the milk... surprised the parivar with a glass each.. 'thermossed' the rest.. and off i went to my old place of residence. armed with some snacks and a chataai
my friends - a kaku now 82 yrs of age,, and others were all busy at their homes or each others. peeling and powdering cardamom.. grinding the kaju badaam....

the milk .. a little from each home was collected, flavoured and garnished.

we huddled together in the stilt. there was glow on all our faces... of happiness and of the hurried activity.

like they say "jahan chaar yaar mil jaaye..."...it was the same with us. we were 8 of us.. double the joy.

we left the milk soak in the moon beam while we spoke of the happy moments.

i even regaled them with the incident of my mom and the Free Masala milk powder,
"hmmm फुकटच्या केशरी दुधाची चव मस्तच आहे " commented one of my friends cheekily and we laughed heartily

it is a hectic life for everybody,,, the boredom of routine, setbacks sometimes, defeats too... but then there are also the little joys... happy moments.

sometimes we just want to pick those joyful ones... आनंदाचे क्षण वेचणे ... and make a big deal of them...make a big noise about them..and bask in the happiness
tonight was one such time...only laughter resounded

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