Sankranthi break!

17 Jan

This Sankrathi is the first one after the death anniversary of our grandma, so my mother’s family wanted to go for a family reunion. We invited all my first cousins and my mother’s siblings. 4 of my mother’s 5 sisters and her sister-in-law attended this reunion at my parent’s place. My brother and nine of my first cousins attended along with their families. So its a gathering of about 50 people for the 3 day festival season.

The Godavari districts of AP go into a different mood for this festival. Rooster fights, Card games, gambling, food and booze top the charts during this week. Rooster fights, card games and gambling are banned in the area for this season, but people find their ways to make them happen.

On 14th of this month, we called for a luncheon for our 50+ visitors and 100+ relatives in the village. I started with preparations for this luncheon around 08th of the month. This includes getting the right groceries at the right time (for example, fish soup tastes better if it is prepared the previous night and milk should be boiled the previous day to get curd for 150+ people) and getting the best quality stuff during this high consumption season. For example, best quality prawns which cost about Rs. 80 a kg during normal days are sold for about Rs. 140 a kg during these days. You should consider yourself lucky if you manage to get the best quality in the first place. Frozen shrimp doesn’t taste good enough for the kind of biriyani we make.

We wanted to make it a home cooked luncheon, so we had to go thru lot of pains to make it happen.

On one of those days, I traveled 25km to a seashore village called Mogalturu by 5.30am and bought the overnight catch directly at the fishermen market. For almost every item, we had to take such pains to get the best quality. Here are some numbers of meat and poultry: 14 kg of shrimp, 15 kg of chicken, 20 kg of fish, 100+ eggs. Add vegetables to the same tune, 15 kgs of rice for shrimp biriyani and 6 kgs of rice for vegetable birityani and it makes this home cooked luncheon a mouthwatering one.

Over 150 people attended the lunch at our home on that day and it was a smooth affair.

In addition, I managed to take the entire family for a movie, took them to beach for a few hours and visited relatives in Bhimavaram one of those days. On most of those days, I had to eat double the number of meals, one at home and the other one at the gathering in the village where we all hang out for food and booze. There is a common place setup with rented chairs and tents, where food and liquor is served for all the visitors and they often play card games too.

For the entire visit, here is my typical schedule: Wake up at 4.30am, make arrangements for the big lunch till 2.00pm, step out occasionally to the gathering between 2.00pm and 5.00pm, spend time with family till 8.00pm and spend at the village gathering till 1.00am. Quite interestingly, I took only one serving of the alcohol based cooler during the entire trip. My tummy was quite full with excessive food!

This hectic schedule made this Sankranthi break more memorable than the previous ones I had. Both Surya and Spurthi wrote trip reports for their school, along with printed photos. May be I can encourage them to make online versions of those reports.