Pongal in the time of Diabetes

I woke up early today morning. Early being before 7 AM. I like sleeping, but days of waking up at 10 or 11 AM or even 1 PM are long gone. The tasks were there waiting for me. Get milk from the milkman. Take your bath. And then get to the kitchen and start. The vella-payasam/pongal was boiling in the copper pot, a special pot brought out for festivals. I had to stir the pot while it thickened a bit. After that was done, upma had to be made for breakfast, and the Vadais were fried. Amma was having one of those days. “I’ve forgotten how to do this” she kept repeating. “I thought you don’t have breakfast” she told Appa.

The amount was far lesser than usual. With Amma being diabetic, and neither me nor Appa having much of a sweet tooth, sweets are always minor things. I still felt the amount was higher than it should be. Should be enough to fill a tiny cup, that’s all, I said.

After the stressful “festivities” were done, I settled down with a book. Around noon Amma’s friend visited. She brought along a huge cup full of payasam. She being diabetic, she couldn’t obviously eat pongal. And there was no one else at her place either. Amma tried to pass off some of ours. “How can I eat them? I am diabetic. I’ll just have a little bit to taste.” she said. Amma said ok, but forgot promptly. The day was getting worse.

Around lunch, I came down and saw two cups of payasam and guessed what had happened, and decided not to have anything to do with that extra payasam.

“Tomorrow we’ll mix it with rice and leave it for the crows.” Amma said.

“Where are the crows, ma?” I asked.

There are few trees, all of them constantly endangered by newer constructions, who only want plants in front of their houses as trees destroy the ‘look’. Only little birds fly down, perch on these trees, try singing, realise that they can’t beat the construction noise everywhere, fly away to seek more silent places.

“It’ll only end up wasted and dry after a few days.” I said.

“We’ll give them to the maid.”

“But she won’t take it. She gets far too many such sweets from all the diabetic homes.”

“What can we do?”

The story every festival. Make payasam or whatever is the resident sweet of the festival. Try to pass it off to neighbours as people are diabetic in your home, get an equal amount in exchange from these neighbours as they have someone or the other diabetic in their homes. Sit and wonder what to do with it. Eventually, leave it outside on the stone at the corner of the road so that some dog will come eat it. Dogs come, take a sniff and go along. After all, they have enough choices with these sweets. It’s a dog’s market when it comes to festivals after all.



9 thoughts on “Pongal in the time of Diabetes

      1. Anything to do with parents and aging and forgetfulness is a throwback to it. For me, that is. Barring the payasam part, which I sincerely hope does not go wasted and dry, it could well have been a page from the book.

      2. Ah ok. Well, as for the payasam part, it will survive into tomorrow, but the friend’s one was partly finished, and partly wasted (for various reasons that I won’t go into, none political).

  1. The beginning was promising- as if you were writing a short story, the post has a singsong rhythm to it. Maybe you can think and tweak it along those lines!

      1. don’t cut out the crows, the dialogue parts are good… I don’t know to point out how and where, but it does evoke a mood. Read it once again with fresh eyes you’ll know what I mean.

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