The Sadhya

I’m a foodie. Be it the simplest fare of rice and parippu (lentil curry) or an assortment from a buffet, a chocolate or a gooey chocolate cake… my taste buds tingle. So food was an easy choice between Bhavya and me for Day 4 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge in July, because she’s as much a foodie as I am. We’re doing posts on the same theme each day (like A to Z in April).



The aroma was the first thing he noticed when he woke up. The sweet smells of melted jaggery, rice, elaichi, cashews and raisins wafting to his room from the kitchen reminded him that it was Onam. His mother was in the kitchen already and busy preparing for the afternoon sadya. The aroma was special, because she didn’t make it often, his favorite vellam (jaggery) payasam. It was for special occasions like Onam, or Vishu, or his birthday.

Going into the kitchen, he saw that his father was there too. He was busy frying grated coconut and mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves, making it ready for the sambar. Around the kitchen, the other dishes were kept. Avial, with yams, plantains, beans, carrots and drumsticks, curd and coconut. Thoran, with beans and finely diced cabbage, shallow fried. Pachadi, with diced pineapple, curd and mustard seeds. Mango achaar, looking very spicy, just like he loved it. Plantain chips, both sweet and salty. And he knew, just before lunch time, the rice would be boiled and the papadums would be fried, many of them.

When he finished his morning formalities and returned to the kitchen for breakfast, he saw his mother putting hot steaming idlis into the casserole. He took a plate, put some idlis and poured some coconut chutney on top of it. He loved that combination, especially made for rainy mornings, but he felt it was perfect at any time of the year.


At 1pm, his mother placed three banana leaves on the table. He helped her to put the dishes on them, taking care not to put too much of avial on his leaf. Once they were done arranging, the three of them would sit and eat together, something that didn’t happen very often; not at lunch anyways.

It was the first Onam since the three of them moved to this new house, the first Onam where it was only the three of them. He wished his grandparents and cousins, uncles and aunts were there like always, chatting exuberantly, sharing gossip and laughing at small jokes. Those little things mattered to him.

The sadhya still tasted sweet, but it felt quite incomplete.

Sadya (meaning Banquet, in Malayalam) is a variety of vegetarian dishes traditionally served on a banana leaf in Kerala, India. The main dish is plain boiled rice, served along with other dishes like avial, thoran, pachadi, achaar (pickle), plaintain chips, payasam etc. (Wikipedia, Image via Wikimedia Commons)

(3rd July 2014)

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Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

20 thoughts on “The Sadhya”

  1. I know what you are talking about… those special occasions remind us all the more of special people who make a difference just by being there…

  2. Even without the image, this was a visual treat. Special occasions always mean togetherness. I loved the way you described it, The food and the emotions.

  3. Sadhya is had at its fullest when the entire extended family is present, isn’t it, and that precisely is why I love Tam Brahm weddings or any other weddings for that matter; for the meals that the entire family has together 🙂

    Lipsmacking post 😀

    • Indeed so, Jairam 🙂 That’s why I love family get-togethers especially 😀 The togetherness that is otherwise seen less often. Glad you liked the lipsmacking post 😀

  4. Delicious Sadya, but with a tinge of sadness, or loneliness. Ever since nuclear families came into being, we long to be with our loved ones at least on festive occasions.

  5. Wow.. yum!! It is a tempting post 🙂 Now, I miss home and Onam!! 🙁 🙁 Wish, this time my family joins me… Thanks for the post.. 🙂

  6. I wish it was Onam 🙁 I want to eat the pineapple pachadi, drink payasam and lick the maanga achar after that 🙂 Yummylicious post, Leo!

  7. I was wrong to read this now. its almost dinner time and I am feeling hungry reading this 😀

    • Perfect timing then, don’t you feel? 😀 If you had read it at 5pm, then you’d have had to wait 4 hours. Now only a few minutes. 😀 Glad you liked the post, Swathi 😉

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