The ensuing weeks will find me trotting around my home state of Punjab on an exciting new assignment. That aside, I look forward to re-acquainting with the idea of Punjabiyat – an elusive ethos that once was – of a shared way of life.
A brief glimpse of which I caught on my visit to the Rauza Sharif. Like most elsewhere, Punjabi tradition, too, demands a new beginning be marked by ingesting something sweet. Surely, a jaggery-laced post makes for as befitting a tribute as any barfi or ladoo, don’t you think?
A common winter sight along many a state highway is that of gigantic cauldrons bubbling lustily with boiling sugarcane juice.
Fires continuously fed with crushed and de-juiced cane strands by hardy veterans till the liquid reduces to desired consistency.
Once it achieves this fudge-like texture, it is poured into large wooden troughs and endlessly agitated till it further dehydrates.
While still hot, it is shaped into rough patties and sprinkled with saunf (aniseed) and magz (melon seeds), then left to cool.
Following which, the freshly minted gur or shakar (powdered form in pic above) is piled up streetside, irresistibly beckoning to every sweet tooth that attempts to drive past.