Remembering the cold winter morning of my childhood in Shillong, is really like a kaleidoscope. As I sit basking in the city sun, Sankranti seems like a leaf out of the many memories buried deep inside me. I recall the foggy mornings, the frozen dew on the supple leaves of our garden. The sun rays would softly melt the dew drops to fall into oblivion in the garden. Just like most of our memories that get lost and what remains are remnants of it, in the years that happen to us.
Just like my forgotten tune of the Sankranti song of Mera Merir Ghor Jole re, we spend days creating a house made of the haystack. And just as the sun ended it’s cycle with the Capricorn star, Mera is the Ram and Meri is the Ewe. The song is that the Ram’s and Ewe’s home is up in flames; Ram is shopping and Ewe is missing. While singing this song, we lit the hut ablaze and watch the embers bring down the last season of our past. We sang that song loudly and stood beside it eating our special sweets.
Bengali homes make sweets like the pithe. During this season you find the Nolen Gur which is a special jaggery found for this short spell of the fading winter. If I don’t pen down this memory, it would be injustice to the hard work of creating that haystack of moments which I would forget forever. Sleep would play hide and seek in my baby eyes, because I knew, that before the sun came up, the water would be boiled and then Ma would give me a bath. We would run out into the freezing winter of Shillong to watch the bamboo crack inside that hut and the chirping of the birds would be silenced with the loud singing of the songs.
Today, I barely eat any of those sweets because to make them is an enormous task which requires great culinary expertise and the enthusiasm of the rest of the family members. With nuclear families, most of these simple joys of celebration are now dead.
But every Sankranti, I still smile at the memory of the burning hut, the sweets and the welcoming of the harvest season. I have lost touch with those friends with whom I made lifetime memories. But every Sankranti brings back the same thoughts with a smile on my face.
To the Bihu, Pongal and Lohri celebrations, I wish happiness and gratitude to everyone for the abundance of the sun that shines in every home this Sankranti