Monday, February 18, 2013

Black and White Wednesdays: Rice / Unakalari

Unakalari/ Raw Rice with barn for Payasam
For Black and White Wednesdays managed by Cindystar and created by the lovely, Well Seasoned Cook Susan ; BWW # 71 hosted this week by Shruthi of Food and Clicks .
Raw rice in an antique Korikka/ Rice Server
The Moon Calendar we follow for our celebrations brings us the old and the new. A grandparent's demise  and a child's birthday  offers us different rituals. A parent's demise and an uncle's birthday come together. 

After the initial year, our mother wanted a simple ritual. So, for many years we made the annual, early morning trip with our grandfather. Sometimes with a grand uncle. We parked our car near the sloping concrete ramp which brought trucks hauling away the fine sand of the Bharathapuzha, our Nila...disappearing into our concrete mansions.
Ravaging our memories and consciousness...
Voices from the early morning truck drivers and bus staff wafted across the water. It  was still dark. Shivering in the morning cold my mother  and sibling would take a dip in the river. She and my sibling would follow the instructions. Small balls of rice grains and black sesame seeds left on the sandy river  bank with sharp stalks of Darbha. Trickling light before dawn.

We would  then drive up to visit the old temple on the rocky terrain. Part of the circumambulation rising up in rough, un-hewn, granite. Early morning stillness broken only by sweep of broomsticks across the temple  courtyards. This beautiful half-rock-cut structure from Kerala's Jain and Buddhist past. The deities tall, beautiful, and unadorned. The shocking red-orange of Hanuman was always a strange relief, before we went down the sharp slope of granite steps to the shrine for Ayyappa. Further ahead,  the path also led to the temple of a powerful goddess, whose annual festival resounds with fireworks echoing around the hills which nestle it. On the way out, we would stack up smooth stones under the banyan tree.
For good luck, protection to the family...
we never knew clearly 
but it was fun to see how many uneven stones could rise up...
much like Life itself.
Unakalari / Raw Rice for Payasam


  1. What a touching way to describe a grim morning ritual which we wish never touches our lives. Profound.

    1. Thankyou Lata. It took me a long time to write this and then to finally post it!

  2. Beautiful clicks, very nicely written post..

  3. Payasam prathishikamo Shri, Adipoli click.

  4. I'm sure it took a lot out of you to get this post together. The images are gorgeous in their stark way. I'd have loved to see the journey to the temples and cutting through rocky granite landscapes--also perfect B&W subjects. Your words evoked the wish to wander..

    1. Thank you Deepa! It took a lot. This has been in the drafts for some years and now, Ma with me here it was particularly poignant.


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