A Dad’s speech at his Daughter’s wedding

This is one of the speeches that is close to my heart. And all fathers who have daughters will understand the feeling of every single word. I wished to read this today after a long time and remembered how precious are the girls to their fathers. When a girl enters into a family, she enters with lot of fears and anxiety. Try to handle her with love,  care and affection. Don’t be a male chauvinistic person. I  dedicate this to my father who treated me as his princess till I got married and my husband who treats me as his queen… He protects me when someone else yell at me and supports me when I am right. I also tell to all the people who shouts for no reason, if your hand is up now,  there comes a time when a girls hand rises. And you will reap for what you have done. So think before you do something and respect her. Respect her and in turn you ll get respect. My husband happily makes coffee when I feel tired and helps me in my household work if I am sick. I wish all the husbands to treat their wives with care. When you expect a girl to accept a man if he doesn’t know to ride a vehicle or abstain himself from doing his duties,  you also please accept when he does household work.  Don’t draw a margin and say it’s a girls duty.  And never ever have an idea that household work is meant for the ladies.  Come out of the age old stupid ideas like not allowing he youngsters to sit on single sofa. Respect women and try to be more practical rather than a formal,  strict officer.  If you respect a woman,  you will be worshipped as a God… And all men who have a daughter are blessed and knows the pain of a life than a boy’s dad.

Dad’s speech

I thought I would start my speech by addressing you as the “new” family of my daughter. But I think it would be inappropriate because now that she is married, you are “the family” for her. Believe me; I don’t have a problem with that. I, in fact, want my daughter to have “you” as her priority now. Its time for us to take a backseat in her life. We would happily accept it but would surely request one thing- please keep her happy!

I am more than sure that you will keep her very happy. She will perhaps be happier than what she used to be here. But like all fathers, I obsess over my daughter’s happiness which is making me say this over and over again- please keep her happy!

She never was and will never be a burden for me. She is in fact the reason why I breathe and smile. I am getting her married because this is what the law of nature demands. I am helpless in the face of our culture and therefore sending her to your home. She was the happiness of my home and will now light up your home. I am giving my world to you. Please make sure it remains beautiful. I am giving away my princess to you. Please make sure she stays as a queen. I have raised her with my sweat and blood and now she is wonderfully perfect. For all the care, love, beauty and warmth my daughter will bring into your lives, I just want her happiness in return—please keep her happy!

If at times you think that my daughter has said or done something wrong, feel free to scold her. But handle her with love. She is very fragile. If at times she feels low, be with her. She just needs a little bit of your attention. If at times she feels sick, show her some care. It’s the medicine that works best for her. If at times she fails to fulfill a responsibility, feel free to chastise her. But empathize with her. She is still learning. Do understand her—please keep her happy!

I don’t mind if I don’t get to see her for months. I don’t mind if I am not able to talk to her on a daily basis. I would be more than happy if she doesn’t remember me much. But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy.

Dear son-in-law, these words may not mean much to you now but if you are lucky enough to father a daughter someday, you will appreciate them better when you will find every beat of your heart shouting – “please keep her happy”!

— Dedicated to all fathers

Vaikasi Visakam

Vaikāsi Visākam is important to the Saivites, Vaishnavites and the Buddhists. To the Saivites, it is the day of the descent of Murugan; to the Vaishnavites it is Periyalvar’s jayanti and to the Buddhists it is the day of the great miracles of nativity, enlightenment and maha samadhi of Buddha.

The descent of Murugan is referred to as the Shanmuga avatāram. This descent was in answer to a prayer by the devas to rid the world of adharma caused by the three asura brothers, Soorapadman, Singamuhan and Tārakan. These brothers had obtaind great powers through intense penance and were harassing the devas. The devas appealed to Siva for help. Tradition has it that Siva added a sixth face to the existing five faces and this incident is spoken of in the celebrated work of Saint Kumaraguruparar as:

Ainthu mukaththodatho mukamum thanthu
Tirumukangal ārāki.

Saint Tirumular in his Magnum Opus, the Tirumantiram, over two thousand years ago referred to this Divine incident as:

Āme pirān mukamainthodu māruya
Rāme pirānuk kathomukamārula.
 

From the forehead, Siva emitted six sparks of fire which enveloped the world with lustre. These sparks were carried by Vāyu and Agni to the Ganges which pushed them into Lake Saravana Poigai filled with lotuses and reeds. Philosophically the lotus represents the pure heart and the reeds represent the network of nerves in man’s physical body. Symbolically, the Divine Effulgence in the lake with its lotuses and reeds, are within each one. As Light and Life this Reality abides in the body, breath, senses, mind, intelligence and ego. These six facets of the human complex represents the six faces of Shanmugan.

In the Lake the sparks became six Divine children and were nursed by six Kārtika maidens popularly called as Karthigai Pengal. These children were embraced by the Divine Mother and became One with six faces and twelve hands. And thus descended Shanmugan, the incarnation of pure consciousness and divine knowledge on the pournima (paruvam) in the month of Vaikāsi.

Saint Kachchiappah Sivachariyar beautifully portrays the descent as, ‘With form and formlessness, without a beginning and as one and many, stood the column of Light, the Supreme Brahman, who with six merciful faces and twelve arms took the Divine Incarnation as Murukan for the redemption of the world,’

Aruvamum uruvumāki anāthiyāi palavāi onrāi
Brahmamāi ninra sothi pilambathor meniyākak
Karunaikoor mukangal ārum karangal pannirendu konde
Oru thiruMurukan vandhāngu udhiththanan ulakam uyya.
 

He then goes on to say, ‘That ever pure, Omnipresent Siva, who cannot be comprehended by speech or mind or even by the Vedas, assuming the form of six sweet babies, was gracefully seated on six lotus flowers in the Saravana Lake.’

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Murugan is worshipped and adored also as Subramanyan, Shanmugan, Kārthikeyan, Guhan Saravanapavan, Arumugan etc. As Murugan, He is the ever young and beautiful; as Subramanyan, He is the Su Brahmanya the All-pervading spirit of the Universe – the essence from which all things are evolved, by which they are sustained and into which they dissolve. He is the Omnipresent One, the Commander-in-Chief seated on a peacock with the Vel and is depicted at times with the Divine Consorts, Devayani and Valli. As Shanmugan, He descended to destroy adharma. As Kārttikeyan, He was nursed by the Kārtika maidens. As Guhan, He resides in the cavern of one’s heart. As Saravanabavan, He belonged to Lake Saravana poigai. As Arumugan, He has six faces.

Generally Murukan is spoken of as Ceyon one who is ruddy in colour. However, the Sri Tattvanidhi4 describes Murukan as dark blue in colour holding the Vel; sometimes He is depicted with the two consorts, Devayanai and Valli. Besides Him stands the peacock gripping a snake with its claws. The blue indicates infinity. To the human perception all infinite expanses for example the sky or ocean, appear blue. Murukan is the Infinite Reality existing in the cavern of the heart – the Guhan. This reality expresses Itself through the mind and together with the five sense organs, forms His six faces – Shan(six)-mukham.

The peacock is symbolic of vanity and pride. The serpent represents ego, the carnal personality of man which keeps wanting the mundane pleasures. The ego is created by avidya or ignorance and this must be kept in check and channeled to discover the Truth. The peacock holding the serpent within its claws conveys this Truth. And finally the Vel, is symbolic of the removal of the negative and evil tendencies which veil the true Divine Self. The Vel represents wisdom, Jnāna Sakti; His Consort Valli is the power of Will and is the personification of Divine Love, Ichchā Sakti; and Devayanai is the power of action and is the personification of deathlessness, Kriya Sakti. The three saktis help in eradicating the demon ego, represented in this episode as Soorapadman, the asura. Murukan appeared for a special purpose to eradicate the adharma caused by the asuras and the ensuing battle with the asuras is the story of the Skanda Shashti fast. The manifestation of Shanmugan is the everlasting testament of victory, of Truth over falsehood, of Dharma over adharma. And those who fight against adharmic forces within or around themselves, are said to be the ‘faithful warriors of Murukan’ and reflect his splendour – the Muruga amsam5

Thus it is seen that on this special day of Vaikāsi Visākam, the young and ever beautiful One came down for a specific purpose. But what is important is that this Divine Avatāram is continuously going on within man. Saint Arunagirinathar says that one should bear this in mind, draw strength and knowledge from this by meditating on the His sacred form for at least half a minute in order that he may be blessed with His grace.

Sarana kamalalayaththe arai nimisha neramettil
Tavamurai Dhyānam vaikka …

Vaikasi Visakam Poojai

Vaikasi Visakam is a ten-day festival in Lord Muruga Temples and special pujas and homas are performed during the period. A car festival, or pulling of chariots, is organized on the day.

In homes, Vaikasi Visakam is observed by performing special pujas to Lord Muruga.

Idols, portraits, paintings of Lord Muruga are thoroughly cleaned and decorated.

Usual puja procedures are followed. Sarkarai Pongal, a special neviedya, or prasad, is prepared on the day. People also visit a nearby Muruga Shrine and do pujas and offer prayers.

Prayers that are chanted on the day include Kanda Sashti Kavacham, Subrahmanya Bhujangam and Shanmukha Kavacham.

Some people opt for an elaborate Sahasranama Archana and conduct special pujas by inviting a priest.

 

Akshaya Trithiya

Akshaya haya trithiya falls on the third day of the lunar day in the tamil month of Chithirai(April 14th- May 15th). This day is considered as auspicious by the Hindus and Jains. The word Akshaya means “inexhaustible or everlasting”. Thrithiya means third day from the full moon day or new moon day. On this day people purchase gold, silver, rice, toor dhal, jaggery, salt. Initiations made on this day are considered to bring good luck and prosperity. Some famous examples
Akshay Tritiya ( Akha Trij )
*Sudama visited Lord Krishna on this day with a handful of rice.
*Ved Vyas along with Lord Ganesh started writing Mahabharat on this day.
*Vishnu’s 6th incarnation Parshuram was born on this day.
*Ganga descended on earth on this day.
*This day marks as the end of Satyug and the beginning of Tretayug.

A simple payasam is made on this day and offered to God.

May this auspicious day remove all ur sorrows & fill ur life with happiness, prosperity and health..

Have a blessed day.

This year Akshaya trithiyai is celebrated on 29th April..

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Puffed rice balls

         The idea of making puffed rice balls came from the aval pori and nel pori that we make for thirukarthigai. We buy muttai pori(puffed rice) regulary at home and kaara pori is the most commonly made snack in the evening. I remember an aunty making muttai pori urundai and she packs it for her son’s snack. Then popped up the idea of making this. I made it as balls as well as pieces.

INGREDIENTS

Puffed rice – 4 cups

Jaggery – 3/4 cup

Water – 1/4 cup

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

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  • Weigh the jaggery and disslove it in water.
  • Once the jaggery is dissolved, strain it to remove the dirt.
  • Now add the strained jaggery syrup in  kadai or another vessel.
  • Stir it continuously until  you get the ball like consistency.
  • When you drop a tsp of jaggery syrup in a cup of water, it should not dissolve. You should be able to make ball out of it.
  • At this stage add the puffed rice and mix well.
  • Turn off the stove and either make balls or cut pieces.
  • To make pieces, spread the puffed rice on a greased plate and cut it with the knife.
  • Make balls when the puffed rice mixture is hot.  Else it will crumble.
  • If you are not able to make balls, then lightly heat it and make the balls.

Homemade Asafoetida powder

Asafoetida is a pungent smell spice, which is included in most of the Indian dishes. This is one of the spices that is there in almot everyone’s kitchen shelf. It helps to overcome gas and indigestion problem.  However most of us use the store bought asafoetida. It has some artificial flavours, colours. However we can buy the original asafoetida and can make the powder easily at home. It has original flavour. When we went to Ooty, we bought the asafoetida cubes in large quantities. And we made the powder at home. Though this is very easy to make, there is a small technique in making this powder. Also it is a very different one and I thought of posting it.

INGREDIENTS

Asafoetida – 100 gms

  • The store bought asafoetida cubes looks like a small brown cubes.
  • Break it with mortar and pestle.  This helps to saute them easily.
  • Heat the pan, add the broken asafoetida cubes.
  • Saute them until they turn from brown to yellow colour.
  • Turn off the stove. Allow them to cool.
  • Grind them to a fine powder.
  • Store it in an air-tight container.

Avakkai – Mango pickle

Avakkai is one of the most popular pickles in South India with its origin in Andhra Pradesh. This is my brother’s favourite. He just love this hot and spicy pickle. This year my amma, kindled my interest to make this pickle.  The seeds are intact in this pickle. We cut the mangoes cross sectionally to retain the seed. You can get this done from the shop keeper. When I made this and posted the photos in some other forum, I got good feedback and some asked for the recipe too.  Hence I couldn’t resist myself from posting the snapshot of the comments.

INGREDIENTS

Cut mangoes – 7 cups

Red chilli powder – 1/2 cup

Kashmiri red chilli powder- 1/2 cup

Mustard  powder – 1/2 cup

Turmeric powder – 1/2 cup

Fenugreek powder – 1 tsp

Channa dhal – 1/ 8 cup

Salt – 1/2 cup

Asafoetida – 2 tsp

Oil – 1 1/2 cups

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  • Wash the mangoes that you have bought from the shop after cutting. Spread it on a cloth and allow it to dry completely.

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  • Heat the pan and turn off the flame. Now add the mustard and allow them to absorb the heat. Grind them to a fine powder.
  • In a glass bowl/vessel, add red chilli powder, salt, asafoetida, turmeric powder, mustard powder, fenugreek powder, channa dhal and mix well.
  • To the above mixture, add the oil and mix everything well.
  • Finally add the mangoes in small batches and coat them well.
  • If you are using steel vessel, then transfer them to a glass or ceramic container.
  • Allow them to rest for a week. Mix them daily.
  • Keep them in a clean, dry place.
  • After a week or ten days, transfer them to a glass bottle and refrigerate them.

Note:

Use a good quality chilli powder to get the red colour. I used normal chilli powder for spice and kashmiri chilli powder for the colour. So added them in equal quantities.

Dry the mangoes well for long shelf life.

Mangakari

Manga kari is one of the favourite pickles for me and my brother. We can just sit and eat it with tea or coffee. It is very easy to make but very tasty. Normally I hate curd rice. But if I come to know that amma has made this pickle, definitely I will include curd rice in my plate.

INGREDIENTS

Semi ripened mango – 2 Nos(Thothapuri/Kilimooku mangai)

Red chilli powder- 4 tbsp

Asafoetida- 1 tsp

Salt – To taste

For Seasoning

Gingelley oil-1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

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  • Wash and cut the mangoes into small pieces.
  • Place it in a bowl and add all the spice powders.
  • Toss well so that they get blend with the chopped mangoes.
  • Finally splutter mustard seeds in the oil and temper it. Mix well.
  • The pickle goes best with curd rice.
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