Doing pooja for cows during the festival is a tradition for me: Sherin

Pongal and Sankranthi have always been a very family affair for Sherin Shringar. The actress says she would invariably visit her hometown near Bangalore to celebrate the festival with her grandparents and extended family. “My mom is from a family of farmers. So, Pongal and Sankranthi are really important festivals for us. We have family in Bidadi, near Bangalore. We still have cows and farms there, and most of my Pongal festivals have been spent in the village, performing pooja for the crops and cows,” begins Sherin.

Recalling her fondest memories of the festival, she reminisces, “All the kids would get fresh sugarcane and the elders would cut them into small pieces for us to consume. We would also go to different houses — it’s mostly our own family members who stay there — and feast to our heart’s fill. There’s a river that used to flow nearby, and we would go there in the evening to play and digest all that we ate, and get ready for another round!”

Performing pooja for cows is an integral part of her celebrations. “We used to deck up all the cows in the village — we would cover them in new clothes, decorate them with flowers and smear kumkumam on their foreheads. I initially used to be a little scared to go near cows and touch them, but elders would stay with us till the time we finished decking up our cows and calves. I became an animal person probably because of this,” she says with a laugh.

Sherin says this Sankranthi was a quiet one for her because of COVID-19 pandemic. “I used to visit my village frequently till my grandmom was there. She was the connection between my village life and city life. But since the time she passed away, the frequency of my visits has reduced,” says the actress, adding, “My mom is in the US now. Plus, I have been going out and travelling a lot for my shoots. So, I didn’t want to risk my family in the village by visiting them now. That’s why I performed a simple pooja at my home and gorged on the yummy Sankranthi food that my friends and neighbours sent over for me.”

But the actress didn’t let go of the tradition of performing pooja for the cows this year as well. “Where I stay, in Bangalore, there are a lot of cows around. I always make sure I feed them whenever I can. But this time, I couldn’t find a single cow. I was looking forward to feeding and doing pooja for them this festival because it is part of my culture. I had to wait for quite a while before I finally spotted a boomboom maadu. He was so gorgeous, decked from horn to hooves, and I just couldn’t stop admiring him. I fed him organic jaggery; I always give organic feed to animals. I first had to give him a banana so he became comfortable with me coming near him. After I fed him, he kept bringing his horn near me. I thought he was going to poke me, but apparently, that’s his way of giving his blessings,” she says with a laugh.

Meanwhile, the actress has been having a busy work schedule. “I’m doing quite a few shows and have also signed a few films, which will be announced soon,” says Sherin, “I’m also kicked about this recreation of one of my Tamil hit numbers that I’ve done. We have just finished the visual and I had so much fun revisiting the number. We have tried not to mess with it too much because it continues to remain popular even today among youngsters. We just have to finish the voice portions and we will be ready to release it on my channel. We are looking at a Valentine’s Day release.”