Thursday, November 04, 2010

Deepavali at my home!

I love all the Indian festivals and each of them bring back fond memories. When I say Indian I am not restricting it to only Hindu festivals. Deepavali definitely has a very special place in my heart and it has nothing to do with praying to God. It has everything to do with the season itself. Dussehra, followed by Deepavali, then the Christmas and New Year ending with Pongal. What more can anyone ask? Especially if you are in school/college this is like a long vacation time, right?

Babs, I wanted to write this for you, so you can see how your mother celebrated her Deepavali growing up as a small kid. These yearly rituals meant a lot to all of us and even today when I spoke with my mother we both recollected it and felt super nostalgic.

Two weeks before Deepavali, mother will be seen scrambling around trying to make sure she has all her supplies in place to make the sweets and savories for Deepavali. Mother loved making these so that her family could enjoy them. She made them in large quantities too because we had to distribute them to our near and dears! Then she would start her one-sweet/savory-a-day ritual. Mother would make, Boondi Ladoo, Murukku, Kara Seedai, Sweet Seedai, Thattai, Athirasam, Ribbon Pakoda, Diamond Cuts, Kaja, Somas, Badushah, Kara Boondi, Om Podi, and a few more to keep us busy with food for a whole week or mroe after the festival. House would smell like someone has been doing some serious cooking and I loved it. Mother would meticulously make the sweets and hide them from us so that we would not finish them off before the festival itself.

Then of course there is the whole deal of buying new clothes for Deepavali. When we lived in Trichy, we would go to Town and when we lived in Chennai we would in Mambalam shopping. There were deals and steals and either way you are robbed because of the festive season. Schools were also abuzz with all of us comparing what new dress we got and how much fire crackers each of us had purchased. It was a matter of pride and gossip in school.

The night before Deepavali was the most exciting part of the celebrations for us. Some of us would have already exhausted at least half of the crackers and would have slept slightly late bubbling with excitement. Sleep will rarely visit you this night because you are bundle of nerves and you keep hearing a random atom bomb or saram going off some where in the distance. Either way mother would wake us up early at 5 or 5.30 in the morning and line us up for the oil massage. One by one each of us would go through the ritual and be given a hot bath at the end of it. Fresh and clean we get to wear our new dress. Filled with excitement we will run outside to burst some more crackers only to notice that a soft drizzle has descended upon us. This happened every single year. Not just once or twice, but every year...Sad we would head back inside our home.

Mother will by then have steaming hot idli's and vadakari with sambar and chutney ready for us to gorge on followed by any of the sweets you choose to eat. As the day opens up sun would peek through to let us kids play outside for a while before Mother packed the sweets to be distributed. First the neighbors, a quick walk. Then to friends slightly far away for which brother would accompany me. Then father and I would go to friends house very far away by walk after the drizzle has stopped. I enjoyed these visits, we went to give and we would get too. The variety we enjoyed from everyone's house, the critiques, were all a part of the joy. This was always followed by a heavy lunch and a nap.

Once again in the evening filled with fresh vigor, all of us waited for the sun to go down and about six in the evening we would be out with the flower pots, the circling ones (Changuchakaram), the mathapu (sparkles), and of course the loud ones. We would be outside sharing our fire crackers with neighbors and be there till as long as we could keep our eyes open...before calling it a night...

I wish life would go back to being so simple. None of us went overboard buying the fire crackers that rules had to be made to ban them. People were sensitive and sensible those days. Nothing can beat mother's sweets, even today, even if I get the recipe from her and make it, her touch is what makes the difference. I am sure all of you had some fun experiences too...please stop by to comment if you can!



Megha Bansal said...

i don't know most of those things you listed..but sound yummy.
nice recap.

but, i have to say..diwali w/o fireworks is very pheeka. and i don't know what you mean by 'our times were simple'..ever since i can remember there were all kinds of smoke producing bombs all around :D

Anu Russell said...

Ya, I love everything mom made!!

When I said simple, I meant that we did not have to go through the whole ban and stuff...and we all burst enough crackers but it was not like we had to bring in some higher authority to tell us when to stop or start...we did fine and our lives were simpler!

Priya said...

this really reminded me of my good old days...where my mom yelled at me for finishing all sweets and leaving none for guests to come hahaha!! nice writing anu

Suchi said...

Hey Anu,

Reading your post about Diwali brought back all my childhood Diwali memories. Awesome writing!

Sorry, I haven't visited your blog for a few weeks. I stopped by today and saw a lot of posts. I am glad you had a good trip to EU as well. Sounded very fun.

Happy Diwali to you Anu!


Anu Russell said...

Thanks priya for stopping by and commenting!


Thanks for stopping by. I was also wondering about you. How are you and hope all's well.

Suchi said...

All is well Anu. I recently had a baby...well...sort of recently...she is 6 months now...can't believe how time has flown by. Hence my erratic visiting of anything on the Internet these days. I am sure you know exactly how things are....


Nitin Vaswani said...

was sort of surprised to be taken back to the past, that too right in between an engrossing Euro saga

wonderful piece about wonderful memories....I try to create that magic for my daughter but with limited success, what with the change in lifestyles.......

each era has its own share of ups n downs but the best part of human memory is that it tends to remember only the happy and gay parts..thank goodness for that!!

Anu Russell said...

Suchi!!! Awww...Congrats! 6 months is a handful. Start making notes on what they do...else you tend to forget them :(

Nitin, Thanks a bunch! and keep visiting.

Prasanthi Neeladaran said...

Those nostalgic memories! Lovely post:)