• Vijeta Gawdi

Storyteller: When Parvati cooked up a storm, no pun intended.

Updated: Apr 26, 2020


Lately the 3 year old has gotten hooked onto Peppa Pig. So it is routine for her to have her breakfast and watch the series at the same time. One of the few benefits this lockdown has conferred upon these children, waking up to mornings with uninterrupted screen time. I too am in no mood to cook up a storm in the kitchen today. I am sure in each one of our homes, over the last few days, there have been elaborate dinners and brunches to perk up the lull of the lockdown. A privilege undoubtedly, but today I am willing to sacrifice this prerogative and settle for simple khichdi.

So having decided to take a much-needed respite from cooking, I sit down with a small slice of butter-laden ciabatta and tea, to watch Peppa Pig. Oh! For those juvenile to baking, ciabatta is a bread and yes, lately we have been baking our own bread too. We have literally scoured most cookery channels on YouTube and tried our hand at a dozen recipes. The rate at which we have covered cuisines around the world can put the rate of the spread of the virus world over to shame. From Hakka noodles, falafel, pizzas, fried rice, baking bread, cakes, tandoori gobi to making meethi boondi and brace yourselves for this one, making our very own mozzarella cheese, yes we have done it all. We have so gotten used to this whole regime of elaborate cooking, that even today when I have hung my boots and settled for khichdi, I am still looking up this Gujarati kadhi recipe by Tarla Dalal as an accompaniment for it.

It is time to lockdown the kitchen today and quarantine all the foodstuff.

Today's story is about Annapurna/Parvati

Today is Akshay Trithiya and it marks the birthday of Goddess Annapurna Devi. The goddess of food, nourishment and satiation. Annapurna is none other than Goddess Parvati's manifestation. When Shiv and Parvati got married and settled into the humdrum of conjugal bliss, Parvati was very enthused about her newly acquired domesticity. Like any homemaker, she too wanted to execute good housekeeping skills. So she decided to spruce her abode up and in doing so, set up a beautiful kitchen. Parvati would joyfully toil day and night in the kitchen to whip up delectable meals for her beloved husband and his Ganas. Shiva was losing patience over Parvati's idiosyncrasy. One day he called her in and insolently told her to stop the circus. He went on to say that she was wasting her time with worldly illusions. Parvati was taken aback. What kind of a husband stops his wife from cooking? Shiva admonished her further and said that food was a materialistic thing and that she was being delusional if she believed it to help sustain and support life in the world.

A hurt and angry Parvati disappeared from Kailash. She took with her all the sources of food. There was no more food on the Earth. People were starving and there was complete chaos and famine. It was then, that Shiva realised his mistake and left Kailash to look for something to eat, for all beings terrestrial and celestial. Shiva searched the length and breadth of the world but could not find any anna. Finally, he and his followers came to know that there was only one kitchen on earth, in the city of Varanasi, where food was still available.

Upon reaching Kashi in Varanasi, Shiva went to beg for food and was surprised to see that the kitchen was owned by Parvati, but in the form of Annapurna. The goddess offered alms to Shiva and then distributed food to all the beings across the three worlds.Alas the world was saved from hunger and Shiva learnt an important lesson.-"Never cross the line:) with the wifey"The idol of Annapurna has four hands, while two of the hands hold a pot of porridge and ladel, the other two are adorned with gold bangles.This is probably ,why it is said to be an auspicious day to buy gold jewellery.

Today the day of Akshay Trithiya marks her day of birth.

The world is battelling the COVID crisis today. The ripples of this pandemic will be felt across many aspects of normal everyday living. There will be changes globally in the availability of resources to sustain the standards of living, we are so accustomed to. Basic, bare and minimalism will become the new normal. As I sit in the comfort of my home, on a full stomach, nestled into the comfort of knowing, that I have a kitchen filled with supplies, I pray on this auspicious day to Annapurna to give us enough, that we may always keep our families and those who come seeking our help satiated and happy.

This Akshay Trithiya let us bring prosperity in our lives by having a heart of gold. Let us strive to help the less privileged and needy.

Vijeta Gawdi:)

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