Festival, food and fervour

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 21 August 2017

Cooking is such a beautiful and intricate thing. After this show, my respect for everyone who cooks — mothers, cooks, chefs in restaurants — has grown hundred times. Maybe their efforts go unnoticed, but their role is extremely important.
— Sakshi Tanwar

Through her show Tyohaar Ki Thaali on Epic Channel, Sakshi Tanwar aims at exploring the stories behind festivals, and celebrate the diversity of India through food.

Holi without Gujiya, Ganeshotsav without Modak, Eid without Sheer Khurma, Onam without Pulissery. Will our festivals be complete without these mouth-watering delicacies? No, because food and festivities go together. Celebrations will not be as much fun if guilt-free feasting is not part of the merry making.  

Celebrating India’s diversity through its festivals, cultures and traditions, Epic Channel is airing a show — Tyohaar Ki Thaali every Monday at 8 pm. The show kicked off on August 21. Television and Bollywood actor Sakshi Tanwar will be presenting the 26-part episodic series which will be exploring the timeless concept of food for the gods. The show is based on discovering the relevance and lesser-known, interesting tales behind the special recipes cooked on festivals and other auspicious days.

Stories behind festivals and food 
When asked about the show the Dangal actress says, “This is an extremely new concept where we are trying to explore food for the gods because in India every festival is related to some deity. The show also attempts at finding out why and how a certain food is prepared during a festival, the stories behind it, the food related to it and why are they so special, and how did a particular festival originate?”

Though she will prepare the dishes on the show and talk about the recipes, she says that it is not just a food show. There are other important things pertaining to festivals and dishes which will also be discussed on the show.

“I thoroughly enjoyed shooting for it because I got to learn many new recipes. I had never imagined that I would be able to make such beautiful and exotic dishes. The best thing about the whole experience is that along with the food I got to learn a lot about our culture because some of the stories that I tell on the show, were something that I got to learn for the first time myself. We celebrated some of the things at our home too but having lived away from home for so many years, I had almost forgotten them hence for me it was going back down memory lane. Bachpan se aaj tak to dekha tha, padha tha, suna tha, seekha tha ya celebrate kiya tha, iss show ke zariye duabara karpayi,” says Sakshi, who for the first time has shared stories from her life on the show. 

She will talk about the kind of environment she had in her family, how they celebrated festivals, what food they prepared and such other tiny tales from her own life.

She has also used her knowledge of cooking from her own life and past experiences. “Apart from the recipe, we didn’t have a script for the show. While cooking suddenly a certain thought from the past or an incident would come to my mind and I would share it on the show or utilise it in making the dish. You can actually visualise what would be the scene at my place during festivals. Whatever I have learnt from Ma and Dadi, I have used them during the show,” says the 44-year old actress.
 Making Gujiya

When asked to share the most memorable experiences from her childhood days and what it was like to celebrate festivals at home, Sakshi says, “We used to prepare Gujiya on Holi and the charm of making it was that we all sat together to make the sweets. One of us would prepare the dough, another would prepare the puri, someone else would fill the stuffing and so on. I thoroughly enjoyed making designs on Gujiyas and folding the ends. Another fond memory is of my mom making Makhane Ki Barfi on Janamashtami.”

Spreading bonhomie
Although festivals remain an integral part of our lives, of late they have become more of a private affair where nuclear families celebrate amongst themselves and do not spread much bonhomie unlike earlier when festivals were all about giving and sharing.

Commenting on the same Sakshi says, “Tyohaaron ka matlab hi hai ki aap unhe apne parivar, doston aur padosiyon ke sath milkar manaye kyunki asli maza toh sabke sath hi ata hai. When people come to meet you on festivals, the fun of cooking and eating food multiplies. Festivals become all the more enjoyable. I come from a culture where we shared special dishes with our neighbours during festivals and even they would send plates full of items they prepared. Back in the day, we used to visit and greet each other on festivals.”

Now festivals are synonymous with vacations. “People wait for long weekends and enjoy the holidays travelling. Also, instead of cooking, they prefer ordering food. In the show we will also tell the audience how we have forgotten to notice and seek joy in small things because of our fast-paced lives. Even while cooking, different types of sounds and smells are created which we are missing out on,” says the actress who will soon start shooting for the second season of her web series Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat.  

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