Sitting under the dim lights in the railway station, we would devour the ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ comics, without missing a word, until our train screeched to a stop in front of us.Hurriedly we would climb the steps, find our seat and once agin dive nose deep into our comics….precious memories, packed in picture books, how much of our lives they shaped and continue to influence ,to this day.So if anyone asks you not to read so many books, ask them to go fly a kite, they have no idea what they missed!
One such favorite book of mine among the Amar Chitra Katha’s, was the story of Sudama and Krishna.Do you remember the cover picture on that book ?….still sealed in my memory like I read it yesterday, Krishna washing the feet of his dear friend, Sudama, who he is seeing after ages, since being in school together. If you look at the picture carefully, you would spot a little bundle of ‘something ‘ in a cloth bag of sorts hidden at the edge of Sudama’s shawl. Hats off the editors of these Amar Chitra Katha’s, the pictures looked so real, the emotions of the characters spoke through these pictures……in this picture, you can read Sudama’s embarrassment to share his humble gift, to a Prince who has everything, yet the tug of love he felt for a dear friend he knew so well, overtook the emotion of the shame of “not having enough”. The big hearted nature of Krishna, the Lord himself who knew all that had happened to his dear friend, yet never ever made him feel any lesser of a human being ,than the one he had known since school days…….
…….now that to me, is nobility ! They went to school together as kids,their backgrounds different, yet their friendship deep, never based on materialistic values…how rare it is these days ! It is important to share these stories that have stood the test of time, because of the meaning they hold, the values, the depth.
We learnt from them, we grew because of them, the deep morals they inculcated in the ever fertile mind of a young child…..stories that every child needs to be exposed to , to grow into a mature and well balanced adult, who is wise enough to know the difference.
For those of you, who are new to the story of the friendship between Sudama and Krishna, here it goes……Having gone to school together, as children….
….the time had come for them to go their separate ways, after attaining all the education they needed to in the ashram, they parted with a heavy heart promising to stay in touch….
……and just like you and me, life took over, each had their own responsibilities, families to take care of , duties to perform ….. the days became weeks, weeks to months, months to years…. a lot of time had gone past, yet when they spoke about their childhood memories to their life partners, they spoke with great fondness, so each was aware of the other’s existence ,having never really met in person. Sudama fell through difficult times, in spite of his hard work and was faced with the financial challenge of providing for his family. On one such occasion, his wife gently prodded him to seek the help of his childhood friend, Krishna, whom he spoke so fondly about all the time. They came from different back grounds.
Krishna, was the Prince of Mathura and was well placed materialistically while Sudama, was less fortunate . Sudama felt reluctant to seek his friend for help, since he valued his friendship more than any materialistic gain, and had his pride too. Yet these were trying times, no doubt.
So one day, after much reluctance Sudama, heads to Mathura to seek out his friend for help.He takes a humble gift of ‘beaten rice/Poha/ Bajeel” tied in a cloth at the edge of his shawl & covers it , as he enters the palace grounds.Krishna runs up to the gates to meet him, receives him at the palace by washing his feet ( “Atithi Devo Bhava”/treat your guest like God , a tradition followed in the Hindu culture ) and is so excited to meet him, they share pleasantries after having met after so many years , it is then that Sudama is overwhelmed with embarrassment about his humble gift and hides it even further into his shawl….. Krishna , being the mischievous one forever, spots the little cloth bag, pulls it out, opens it to find his favorite food “Poha” and starts eating it immediately, thanking Sudama profusely for remembering his favorite snack….seeing him relish it with childlike innocence relieves Sudama of his embarrassment, and they go back to being the same old friends they had been at school, quickly making Sudama forget the reason why he came to visit Krishna for. A few days later, Sudama takes leave of Krishna, after letting his dear friend know how much he enjoyed seeing him after so long, and continues on his long journey home. On the way he remembers that he had completely forgotten to ask Krishna for help, now what would he tell his wife and starving children, he thinks as he walks along the path towards home. When he nears home, where once stood his humble hut, stood a palatial building, confused if he missed the way, he starts heading out when his wife & children dressed in lovely clothes run towards him from the mansion to greet him. It was then that Sudama understands the love of his friend, Krishna…..all he did was take him a mouthful of Poha, yet how much the Lord had blessed him with.
Moral of the story : The Almighty knows what you need and will deliver at the right time, meanwhile have faith that he will never let you down.
This evenings “Poha” or “Aval Pidi Kolakattai ” is a tribute to this beautiful friendship, celebrating the love of friends and the Lord’s magnanimous nature.
Happy Janmashtami, to each one of you. May the Almighty’s grace always shower on us.
Aval Pidi Kolakattai :
- Aval /Poha or Beaten Rice flakes – 2 cups
- Water – 3 cups
- Dessicated Coconut- 4 tbsp
- Green chillies – 6-8( sliced fine)
- Ginger – 1′ (sliced fine)
- Curry Leaves- a few
- Coconut Oil- 2-3 tbsp
- Mustard seeds- 1tbsp
- Uradh dhal- 1tbsp
- Asafoetida- a pinch
- Salt to taste Method:
1.Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel, to this add the mustard, uradh dhal when oil gets warm, a pinch of asofoetida & curry leaves.
2.Now pour the water in and allow it to boil, by covering it with a lid.
3. Meanwhile use a blender to powder the Aval/Poha/Beaten rice coarsely.Set aside.
4. Once the water begins to boil, add the coarsely powdered Aval into the water& keep stirring till the water evaporates and the paste gets thicker.Once, the water is completely evaporated , move the Aval mix away from the stove and allow it to cool slightly.
5. Now make elongated balls ‘Pidi” with your fingers, while the mix is still warm & place it in a steamer for 5 minutes. Take it out, serve hot with any chutney.
Yummy quick evening snack to offer the deity, as ‘neivedyam’ /offerings and relish with all at home, as well.
Another way to prepare Aval /Poha or Bajeel is in my previous post , you can find here:https://stirringmyspicysoul.com/2013/01/21/kanda-poha-beaten-rice-with-potato-onion/
Notes: Krishna’s favorite food is anything done with Aval/ Poha/ Bajeel/Beaten rice. This morning it was raining here, so our Krishna gets to have some spicy Kozhukattai’s, for Janmashtami 🙂