Come Makar Sankranti, and many a man (and woman) who has wielded the willow or spun leather for India abandons the pitch for terrace tops and succumbs to the pull of kite-flying, writes Bipin Dani
Pongal this year comes to us with mixed feelings. While we’re very happy about the opening of my new film Sarileru Neekevvaru, there has been a death of someone very close in the family. So we are not really in a festive mood this year. But I wish everyone out there a Happy Pongal.
— Mahesh Babu
I’ve just returned from New York, and am back to work.We start the final schedule of Chakra on Pongal day. For me work is the most fulfilling celebration.
— Vishal Krishna
I am celebrating Pongal with my family, as I do every year. We celebrate this festival in different parts of this country with different names. This shows whatever faith and beliefs we have, this country is united.
— Khushboo Sundar
I am prepping for the last schedule of underproduction film Major. This is the first Sankranti that I am spending in a long time with my parents. Makes me really thankful. Any festive occasion without the family is meaningless.
— Adivi Shesh
I have the fond memories of celebrating Sankranti and Lohri. As a child, I would look forward to celebrating this day with my friends and family. When I studied engineering in Nagpur, I enjoyed flying kites. Would bunk college to fly kites! Tilgul and puran poli were my favourite snacks.
— Sonu Sood
Sankranti is one of the first festivals of the year and is full of positivity and colour. I remember distributing black dal khichdi every year to the underprivileged. We enjoy flying kites, and with my son growing up, I love to introduce him to all these festivals. As a child, I remember eating khichadi on this auspicious day, donating black dal and rice in the temple as a tradition, and spending time with family.
— Tulsi Kumar
I enjoy bagara rice with chicken curry. When it comes to munchies, we always go to my grandmother’s place where she makes sakinalu and garijelu.”
— Priyanka Aelay, artist
Sankranti for me is flying kites and being with friends. When it comes to food I love to eat sakinalu which my mother prepares at home. I also like the filling that is used to make gujia — my mother makes extra filling and puts it aside for me!
— Roll Rida, Telugu Rapper
As for spinner Pragyan Oza, he attends a pooja on the auspicious day. “We visit a temple once the pooja is done and we have pachadi. And we will fly kites for sure. Bobbatlu and pulihora are my favourites among the dishes made for this festival.”
We always look forward to this festival. You can say it is an extension of New Year celebrations. We celebrate this festival for three days — 13th, 14th and 15th. People enjoy vegetarian dishes like pullihora, payasam, garallu, arasallu and ladoo as well as non-vegetarian dishes such as garallu with chicken. Cock fights and kite flying, kabbadi and badminton competitions are also held, and thousands of people gather to watch the cock fights and kite flying,” says the Indian cricket team’s chief selector, M.S.K. Prasad.
Venkatpathy Raju, a former cricketer, is looking forward to the festivities too. “I don’t fly kites but live to watch it. A bunch of us who bond over cricket meet up, watch people flying kites and enjoy a sumptuous lunch,” he says adding that his favourite dish is mutton biryani.
Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan is a man of many talents. It’s true that his bowling skills were what made him popular in cricketing circles, but you wouldn’t dare challenge him in kite-flying, another sport he excels at! The 35-year-old all-rounder who announced his retirement from professional cricket last week will have enough time to fly kites this Makar Sankranti.
It is a widely celebrated festival in India, more so in Telangana and Gujarat. Here’s how a few other cricketers and cricketing officials enjoy the food and fun on the day.
Another former cricketer, Kanpur-based Rita Dey, who has played two Tests and six One-Day International matches for India, says, “Here, people fly kites. When I was a child, I flew them too, but I don’t do so now.” Talking of the special food made on the occasion, she says khichdi was prepared in most homes. “We eat khichdi, gazak and til chikki on this festival day.”
— Inputs from Subhash K Jha, Sanskriti Media & D. Shreya Veronica...