I write the following assuming you have read:

The Prasadam Addict Section 3

To put this into perspective — there used to be a large dichotomy between the regular prasadam and the maha. Anymore, they are almost the same, but in the old days, the regular prasadam was much more austere than it is today and the maha was much better than it is today.

Without that background, this story is harder to relate to. The laddhus they make anymore, while using the same ingredients, aren’t the same. The texture is off — now they are soft, whereas they used to be hard. Now it is the sugar and butter that predominates the taste, but when the chickpea flour is roasted correctly, it is the dominant flavor.

When Amburish used to make the sweet rice, besides the better quality of the milk he used, he would put it on a slow flame and simmer it all night, from after evening milking until japa period, which started at 3:00 AM. It was almost like condensed milk, and spiced to perfection. No one takes the time to do that anymore, except Sudhanu, a few times a year.

I suspect many devotees have never even tasted proper laddhus and sweet rice, so Taru’s enthusiasm may be a little opaque to them.

I have a Taru and laddhus memory.

I was sound asleep, and suddenly there was Taru shaking me awake with an insistence that was impossible to ignore. I had slept in and it must have already been after 3:00 AM because I could hear japa being chanted in the prasadam room.

I was living in a shed at Bahulaban next to the building that housed the marble factory, kitchen, and showers on the ground floor, and the new prasadam room on the second. Because it was Janmastami, a set of Deities had been moved up to the prasadam room and mangala arotik was going to be held there as a huge influx of devotees had arrived and the temple room was too small to accommodate them.

“I have laddhus,” Taru said, and displayed a large stainless steel bowl full of them.

“But it’s Janmastami, we are supposed to fast until midnight,” I protested.

“The new day doesn’t start until mangala arotik — it isn’t Janmastami yet.”

What could I do? He led kirtans, he gave Srimad Bhagvatam classes — he was my senior godbrother. I really had no option except to surrender. We gobbled laddhus until the first strains of “samsara davanala lidha loka” floated through the air and, being the strict devotees we were, we immediately started fasting, even though we hadn’t emptied the bowl.