Ugadhi, The Telugu New Year

*This was written by me on the day of Ugadhi, a few days ago on April 11th.

Andhariki Ugadhi Shubhakankshalu.

Today is Ugadhi, the start of the Telugu New Year. Coming from a Telugu family, we celebrate this festival with great pride. Unlike other Indian festivals which do more with poojas and lengthy rituals, most families celebrate this festival in a very simple way. Wearing new traditional clothes to celebrate the day, praying god for a prosperous and prospective year and eating some of the exclusive annual ugadhi pachadi.

Now, this ugadhi pachadi is the reason Ugadhi is one of my favorite festivals. Not only because of its delicious, exotic taste but because it contains a deep symbolism behind its existence.

So this dish is made of 6 ingredients, each symbolizing something…something that makes up life.

Ripe banana pieces, for its sweetness, signify happiness and glory.

Neem buds, for its bitterness, symbolize the grief and sadness one faces in life.

Green chili, just like we all know for having its spicy taste, signifies anger and wrath one feels at some point of time.

Salt, because of its apparent saltiness, signifies fear.

Tamarind juice symbolizes disgust and shame, considering its sour

Mango, which contains a whirling taste, signifies surprise.

So that’s the base of this ugadhi pacchadi and what it’s actually supposed to contain. But of course we tend to modify this original recipe, because who exactly in their right minds would eat green chili on purpose?

But that’s how our forefathers and ancestors meant it to stand by, and honestly, that very concept of life symbolized all in one dish is astonishing.

Ugadhi, a day dedicated to thanking god for where we are, asking him for his blessings and hoping he would grace us for the next year, is a day of realizing, offering and celebrating.

And of course, it gives you a chance to make a whole new list of new years resolutions.

Read in 2028

Dear Future Summer,
If this is the year of 2028, you’re probably 30 years old now…
Well, just to remind you of how you used to be 15 years ago…lets just say, you were an average teenage girl. One with her own problems, wishes, desires and dreams to reach beyond.
You loved writing whenever you felt like it, reading those cheesy love stories that make you believe every story can have a happy ending, watching American TV shows that seem to have more drama than you’d find in any realm of reality, playing the piano those times when the heart desired and while that all persisted, having that cloud of pressure to be perfect.
Just like every other teenager out there with a vision or a dream, you had that cloud hovering over you at all times to do the best your capacity can handle, or even, push yourself harder to times you may stumble. It was hard; and it was getting harder juggling things with an aim of perfection as the years progressed. But it was all part of the game of life if you wanted to strive to your dream.
All you wanted, more than anything in this world, was to see your parents have that smile plastered on their face forever, when you’ve become successful.
Getting into an university you and your dad dreamed of was your first goal, 15 years ago.
I don’t know where you are right now, but if I went on the path that I thought I planned out 15 years ago, lets just say you’ve graduated from a notable university, got your degree, had some good work experience, starting to or started an idea of your own to stand out there as an individual.
Remember your motto?
Be that somebody, not just an anybody or even worse, a nobody.
Well hopefully, you’ve followed it.
– You, 15 years ago.
  April 2013