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FALOODA AND THE NAVROZE TABLE

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Iranis always serve Falooda as a welcome drink as they greet their guests when they come home to wish them JAMSHEDI NAVROZE MUBARAK.  They also sprinkle ‘Gulab Jal’ (rose water) on their guests as a sign of warm welcome.

While we do get ready made falooda packets in the market, you can make your own falooda in a matter of a few minutes.  Soak enough ‘tukmaria’ seeds in water.  Within a minute they will swell,  strain and keep aside.  Boil some thick vermicelli with water, sugar and elaichi powder.  Strain and keep aside.  Add enough rose syrup to milk (no sugar) to make it pink and sweet.  Now mix everything in milk and your delicious falooda is ready. Keep some vanilla icecream pack in the freezer and generously add dollops of it to the falooda mix.

THE NAVROZE TABLE
A beautiful table cloth adorns a Navroze table which is always laid out with 7 items all starting with the letter ‘s’ in the Persian dialect.  There’s ‘sib’ or red apples (to keep the doctor away, at least till the next Navroze!) ‘sirka’ or vinegar (showcasing that life is a bit sour and tangy too), ‘sharab’ or wine (to keep you in high ‘spirits) ‘shir’ or milk (the first sip a new born takes also a boon to the aged who cannot eat) ‘shama’ or candle light (to light up your life, perhaps romantically) ‘shem’ or diva (to illuminate your mind and keep negative influences at bay), ‘sir’ or garlic (Nature’s anti-biotic and anti inflammatory and a boon to patients suffering from high b.p. and cholesterol problems).  There are also ‘sikkas’ or coins (to usher in wealth and prosperity at all levels), ‘sonbol’ known as hyacinth, a plant grown from a bulb with heads of pink, white and blue flowers (to keep your life colourful and fragrant) and if that is not available then a pomegranate surrounded with 5 or 7 roses, a vase adorned with fresh scented roses (to keep your home and life fresh and scented), ‘sabri’ or fresh green vegetables or shoots of wheat grass (to keep you disease free, healthy, robust and evergreen), ‘sirbenj’, a traditional sweet dish (mithai) to bring ‘mithas’ or sweetness into your lives) rice kheer or sev-dahi or ravo jostled with sweet dry fruits.  Some also keep a ‘mawa boi’ (a mithai in the shape of a fish as fish is considered auspicious by the community), a variety of dry fruits esp. from Iran for vigour and vitality.  Now you may say that there are surely more than 7 items.  True, because you can substitute for the ones not available.  Red kumkum is kept on the table to be applied by family members amongst themselves as also to their guests which is an Indian tradition on all auspicious occasions.  Hard boiled eggs with their shells on are also smeared with kumkum.  The Parsis and the Iranis love their numerous egg preparations.  Besides the colur red signifies love and passion as also anger and jealousy so beware!  Grains are also kept on the table to usher in a spirit of harvest and abundance.  ‘Sheesha’ or mirror is placed in such a way as to reflect Lord Zarathushtra’s photo as well as the pomegranate.  Some even keep a bowl of gold fish.  It is said, believe it or not, at the time of the vernal equinox, the pomegranate moves and the mirror catches its movement!  It is also believed that if you look into the mirror which has already reflected Navroze and make a wish, your desires and wishes may be fulfilled along with good vibrations and reflections throughout the year.  Welcome NAVROZE.  Welcome THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY.

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