Raghul and Sandhya were excited. They were go ing to the village for Pongal. It was a new experience for them.

Raghul and Sandhya were surprised. Visiting their paternal grandparents in the village for Pongal was not something they were expecting because their grandparents had always visited them. This time, their father thought it might be a good idea to spend a few days in the village.

So off they went. The journey took them through scenic country and they passed rice fields all set for harvest. It was very different from the noise and dust of the city. Soon they were at their grandparents home.

A small misunderstanding between their father and uncle was cleared up. Their cousins, Vasanthi and Keshav, were thrilled to meet them.

The next day was Pongal. Vasanthi had drawn abeautiful rangoli in front of the house. And their grandmother began preparing sweet Pongal in a beautifully decorated earthen pot placed in the middle of the rangoli. For Raghul and Sandhya this was a new experience as Pongal was usually prepared in the kitchen at home.

This was a way of thanking Nature for a rich, bountiful harvest. In a few minutes; the earthen pot was brimming over and the delicious Pongal was ready.

The next day they watched their father and his siblings wash the cattle. After washing the animals, their horns were painted, and decorated with little bells and flowers around their necks; vermilion and turmeric were smeared around their foreheads and the bulls had a beautiful dhoti tied around their necks.

“They work for us through the year and this is an occasion for us to honour and thank them ,” said Keshav.

The children loved spending time with their cousins and with the other children of the village. Sandhya found out that their cousins studied in the local school. They were good students and loved helping their parents with the household chores too. They showed them around the village.

Soon it was time to leave. “Don't you think Pongal has a deeper meaning and significance,” said Raghul. “Yes, the festival starts with discarding old and useless things. To clear junk and eliminate all the unwanted things that was choking space. No doubt it makes the house more spacious, clean and airy,” replied Sandhya.

“And it is not just about material things. Anything that causes unhappiness should be done away with,” continued Raghul. Sandhya remembered the misunderstanding cleared between her father and uncle and afterwards how they embraced each after.

“It's so nice to see the farmers thanking Mother Earth for a rich, bountiful harvest. Their hard work had definitely borne fruit,” said Sandhya.

“And finally,” said their Grandpa who had joined the conversation, “Being kind to animals and caring for them.

Harmony between man, nature and animals is essential for a perfect relationship.” Raghul and Sandhya agreed with their Grandpa and were happy that they could attend this festival.

They had learnt a few things while celebrating Pongal.