When I was in the 9th standard my Mom moved to Thal. I thought it was her turn to stay in the village. My other two Aunts came to stay in Mumbai. In joint families this is very common. Children are taken care by elders and it did not matter whose child it was. Most times all children got equal attention from the elders.
I however felt my Mom and Dad deserved a little more attention from me because they were the ones with more responsibilities. Especially when Mom went back to Thal she started attending all the festivals and celebrations hosted by our community or relatives. She enjoyed very much being part of the Vata pournima and going to the Banyan tree for worship along with a group of women. The 3 day celebration of Ram Navami in the temple saw her resume her bhajan singing in public. She loved to get decked up for HoLi and Dev puja annually. So her need was to have a pretty cover for a pooja thali.
As you are aware the Pooja thali is always covered so that no one eyes the wonderful naivedya of sweets and fruits greedily before it is offered to God. I made this large napkin by hand hemming the edges and decorating it with a simple embroidery. My Mom loved it a lot and when some one enquired she would tell them proudly my daughter made it! She used it for many poojas. Then after a long time after she passed away I was browsing through her stuff I found this napkin. It showed signs of weathering and the cloth had become soft with use. I picked it up and held it to my lips. It was something my Mom had used so kept it with me as her memory. I have many of her personal stuff, small little things that I kept for myself while I gave away her sarees to relatives. I lost most of her jewelry in the burglary that we had in Ramurthy nagar rented place. But I still have the green bangles she wore, her sign of being "Akhanda Saubhagyawati" an eternally lucky women though here it refers mainly to staying married till death did her apart from my Dad.
She always came to Mumbai to see me loaded with home made NaraLi Pak and Badam Pak made by Anya from Thal.
It is Mom's anniversary today and have scheduled this post for publishing at the exact time she left me.
"May your soul be happy and peaceful wherever you are! I do not mean to pull the strings from the past but want you to be free. Yet I remember you for you were my Mother, my Aai in the past :D"
So on this day presenting to my readers her recipe of coconut burfi which is called NaraLi Pak in Thal.
2 cups fresh grated coconut (only white flesh)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons ghee to coat the plate
Combine all the coconut, sugar and milk together and put in a heavy bottom pan. Keep it on heat and keep stirring with wooden spatula. Maintain medium heat. Let it boil while you stir. It will start thickening. Keep moving the spatula. Drop one grain of the mix on a plate and if it dries quick and solidifies, it is time to remove the mixture from the heat. Peel and separate the cardamom seeds. Keep the peels for flavoring tea. The seeds must be crushed and added to the thickened coconut sugar mix.
Grease a plate with ghee and spread the thickened mix of coconut and sugar on it. Let it cool. When it is semi solid. Score it and make shapes of choice. I made small 1X1 inch squares. Once completely cooled and set. Run the knife through the scores and cut out the pieces. You can store this NaraLi Pak for a month in an airtight container. In the fridge it can last you longer. When Mom made it, it lasted us only 2 days no matter what quantity. Now I think these 35 pieces that I made will last me long enough to be handed out to the visitors I get not so often nowadays.