Janmashtami celebrates the birth of the world famous Hindu God, Krishna. The festival is different in that it is the child-God – Balkrishna- (bal- Sanskrit for child) that is worshipped. It is huge in this part of the country as well as in Maharashtra. Most Hindus fast till midnight, the legendary hour when Krishna was born. Kashmiris are more of the feasting kind of people. Not that fasting is any different!
We have been missing out on the fasting since my MIL passed on. Everyone was missing the ‘fast’ food and the lime pickle brought out only at such times was getting darker and darker. So, we decided to fast this Janmashtami.
There are dos and don’ts regarding foods that are permitted. I personally think that smart housewives invented the rules so that they could eat their favourite foods – pumpkins and brinjals are not allowed (no prizes for guessing why these got dropped!), rai/mustard is not be be used, ghee instead of oil, all kinds of fruits and dairy, and it has to be all cooked fresh – no leftovers. See what I mean?
While the more customary fasts are broken with a regular meal in the evening, Janmashtami is an all-day f(e)ast! I kid you not. You have to survive all day on potatoes and sabudana, or waterchestnut (available as singara flour or bits), or fruits, or dry-fruits, or sundry dairy stuff. No rice, no roti.
Here are pictures of our lunch – the Maharashtrians got ‘their’ potatoes (boiled, peeled, and crushed and cooked in ghee with a bit of cumin, cayenne, and peanuts – roasted and crushed), accompanied by the sweet lime pickle (which uses neither rai/mustard nor oil) and at long last, I got my potatoes – peeled, cubed, and fried in mustard oil (yeh!) and sprinkled with cayenne and salt. That is the whole point of the fast for me, right there.