Saturday, October 8, 2011

Coming up : my favourite festival


I just read a post on Bluestocking's blog. And I just had to write about it. My fingers were itching to write about it.

I love this festival. Actually I love this time of the year.. the run up to new years. The most festive time of the year. And Diwali is my favourite - I have very many warm memories associated with it. It is one festival, where I make an effort to dress up, really dress up. Even now as I am writing this post, I am feeling happy.

What is it about Diwali that lights my face up? I think having celebrated Diwali in Delhi for the better part of my life, has spoiled me for life.

a) The lights for one. I love lights, I like the fact everything is lit up. I dont like darkness much. In fact, even on normal days. the first thing I do when I step in home, I switch on all the lights. And my most treasured part of the day on Diwali, is the lighting up. I usually put a combination of lights (the small bulbs.. yes I had to convert to  these lights, I didnt have an option.. the diyas tend to go off) and diyas. I buy about 50 odd diyas, and light up the entire house. I find it so peaceful.

b) The brightness of everyone's clothes. I love dressing up for Diwali. As we were in Delhi, we always used to dress up. My mom would wear a new sari. And us kids, we would wear new clothes.. new frocks, new skirts and tops. And we used to so, look forward to dressing up. Even now I do. I wear a sari or a really nice salwaar kameez that I do not wear usually. A also gets into the groove of things and wears Indian ethnic clothes, a big change from his usual shorts!! Post marriage, I go full traditional on Diwali.

c) Sweets. I am not a very "sweets" person. I do not have a sweet tooth. But I have tried to maintain one of the traditions that my mom used to ensure when we were in Delhi. She always used to make Laddus. And we kids used to help her in rolling them up. I still remember we used to make about 60 laddus!!! :)

Now I try .. to make some sweet or the other. And usually I find I am not successful! Last time, I tried to make laddus, I couldnt get the boondi to stick together. And once a cake. Just the day before, for Dussehra, I tried to make kheer and burnt it all. But never mind, this year for Diwali, I will try yet again. Laddus perhaps? :D

And this time my mom's going to be there. So this time, laddus should turn out to be just all right!!

We also used to give and receive sweets from everyone. By the end of the day, we would have about 30 odd packs of sweets! Of course, people became more creative and we started getting nuts, chocolates, juices, haldiram gift packs, biscuits packs etc. And even now, I do it. So what if none of our neighbours celebrate Diwali - we still give everyone sweets.

d) The shops. I love going for a walk during Diwali to a main shopping place and I do not mean a mall. In Delhi (yes I know I keep talking about delhi but I cant help it.), we used to stay near a market place. And we used to visit this market every year. Besides the shops, in front of the shops, by the footpath, these sweet stalls and firecracker stalls would spring up.. there wouldnt be any space at all to keep your foot. And they would put up lights and streamers going across the road. Just so festive. It used to be a pleasure walking down the road.

Oh and the smell of sweets in the air as you walk the road.. the halwais busy making laddus and barfees and gulab jamuns etc. Even without a sweet tooth, one just feels happy!

And buying new clothes. When we were young, of course afforability was much lower. But we still used to buy something new.. maybe a top, maybe a skirt or something. And to date, I buy something for Diwali, for everyone.
As a rule, I dont burst firecrackers. But I do admire the beautiful firworks in the sky. At night, every year, the two of us spend time in our balcony, just there, for a long time, admiring the night sky.

And one thing I terribly miss now that am in Bangalore : Ram Leela. In our colony, in Delhi (yet again), we had an all boys amateur drama club. They used to do Ram Leela every year without fail. Everyday at 10, it would start. And we had to have had dinner and sit there on the carpet put outside on the street. Awesome.

I think all these memories are because of my parents. We are Malayalees and usually Malayalees do not celebrate Diwali. But being in Delhi, also probably because my mom was brought up in Jamshedpur, she used to ensure we celebrated the festival. She used to ensure that we participated in every activity - whether making laddus, lighting diyas, shopping for sweets for neighbours, going to all houses to give sweets, whatever it maybe!

Delhi also has a lot of communal spirit. We used to stay in a colony of surds and all of us used to celebrate diwali together. Actually all festivals - be it holi, diwali, janmashtmi, lohri.. anything and everything.
It is a pity Bangalore doesnt celebrate Diwali with as much gusto. But I am festive, nevertheless. Happily festive.


Shruti said...

I am liking the festive look on the blog, Moonshine :)

Moonshine said...

@Shruti Thanks!! Tried hard looking for a diwali template.. couldnt find anything remotely close...

Scarlett said...

Even though I'm more of a Christmas than a Diwali person, I do love Diwali. Everything is so festive and lit up, and I love the family time that Diwali brings. I love the lights, the food, the mithai...even though I can't have too many sweets at one go, I like the fact there's so much mithai lying around in the house & I can pop one in whenever I feel like it. I do really love the run up to New Year...Durga Puja, Diwali, Christmas...awesome!

Moonshine said...

@Scarlett Agreed.. October to December is the best time of the year.. besides March of course!!!;)

Bluestocking said...

Your list of reasons to love Diwali might as well have been mine, except for the sweets. Don't much like them :-) And i just have to say this again - but I absolutely, totally love this time of the year. It's a festival riot, until the new year. Wow!

Bluestocking said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bluestocking said...

Oh....and really dig the festive template :-)

Gobri said...

Love the diyas. Yours from a previous Diwali?
Diwali, like any other festival, always was fun because there were friends, family who gathered, ate, drank and made merry together. Take that away and it is just another day for me. Like it will be this year :(

Moonshine said...

@Bluestocking I dont like sweets either.. but I guess it adds to the festivities!!! Being in Cal, I can imagine one being in the midst of so much excitement!!! And thanks... :)

@Gobri Googled pic!! :) But yes, next pic I put up will be a genuine home pic :)

I agree, friends and family are very very important. Malaysia is not far away.. come back for Diwali. And you can make it festive there.. put diyas at home etc. I am sure it will lift your spirits for sure!!

mêlée said...

lovely picture on blog header :) it so brings out the Diwali mood!!
I love Diwali, but then I am the kind of person who loves all kinds of festivals and all excuses to celebrate anything or nothing :D but Diwali is special as everyone around is equally excited and happy too.

Moonshine said...

@melee Thanks! But some unknown persons work of art!! I cant claim any credit for it :)

Thats a good attitude to have - enjoying all festivals!! I try to do that, somewhat.. I celebrate Onam, Dussehra, Diwali, Vishu, Christmas and now Sankranti (courtesy my husband).

Its fun when you have people to share the joy with!!!