Sometimes I really wonder what drives people from the villages to walk for miles and board the ramshackle public transport braving the heat and the maddening traffic to watch Ramlila (enactment of the story of Ramayan). Happy faces, bright faces, shining eyes, in garish outfits, sweating, panting, and chatting in high decibels excitedly rushing to the venue to secure their places. It is the faith behind the spirit. They get so deeply involved in the act that they look upon the actor playing Ram as God and even touch his feet for blessings. When the effigy of Ravana goes up in flames, the chants “Jai Shri Ram” rend the skies. Universal truth –Victory of good over the evil has been reiterated.
These are the village folks who lead a simple Spartan life. Their simplicity is the key to their happiness. We have to simplify our life to enrich it. We call Ravana a demon because of his evil qualities but do we ever ponder over how many Ravanas we carry in our bosoms? Till we burn these Ravanas, we cannot experience the simple joys of life. Till we shed the extra baggage that is weighing us down, our inherent goodness will never surface and can never find peace and purpose in our life….
Dusshera is celebrated with great élan. Special food is made on Dussehra and Kheer is a must. Generally rice kheer is prepared on Dussehra. I try to follow all the customs that are followed in my parent’s home. I too made kheer on Dussehra. Instead of white rice, I used brown rice which is healthier and makes kheer a little chewy and tastier. Instead of refined sugar, I used jaggery. Here goes the recipe-
4 tablespoons brown rice
3 cups toned milk
Crumbled jaggery (to taste)
¾ cup roasted and chopped almonds, cashew nuts and pistachios
Five to six cardamoms (seeds powdered)
Wash and soak brown rice for about 2 hours. Throw away water. Take milk in a thick bottomed vessel. Add brown rice and let it cook. Keep stirring. When the milk has reduced to half its quantity and rice is cooked, turn off the gas. With the help of a ladle, mash cooked rice grains by pressing against the sides of the vessel. This will thicken the kheer. Now cook for another five minutes and turn off the gas. Add jaggery and powdered cardamom and mix well. The jaggery should melt completely and there should be no lumps. Add cardamom powder and dry fruits. Serve warm.
If you liked this recipe and tried in your kitchen, do write to me. I would love to hear from you.