Friday, November 5, 2010


During my growing up years in Delhi , Diwali and Holi were my favourite
festivals . More than anything else , it was what these two festivals stood
for in terms of the changing seasons , that excited me most . Diwali
heralded winter and Holi marked the advent of Spring.
Whether Diwali ocurred (early) in mid or late October or (late) in Mid November and Holi ( again , ealry) in late February or even as late as mid March, our sweaters and razaiis came out of storage and went back into the "petis" no matter what, only the day after Diwali or the day before Holi.

Now , remember , my growing up years were a very long time ago ; early
sixties but even now, after almost half a century , come Diwali , and all the excitement I felt as a young girl comes rushing back and I go back years remembering the little special touches my mother added to make our simple Diwali celeberations really fun and memorable .

Despite all kinds of budgetary restraints we children had new (maybe not
fancy) clothes ; sweets and savouries were made for the household to relish
as well as for distribution amongst neighbours and being a very traditional
Tam Brahm family the ealry morning oil bath was a must !! And we woke up the
whole of Delhi , we "Madrasis" with our pre dawn pattakkas !!

But our Ammas made up for it with the flower soft idlis and laddoos , mysore
paks and murukkus and pakkodams that would be sent over to each house in the vicinity of a few 100 yards or more : ) : )

Today as I was making the "Kolam" in front of the door and lighting the
little lamps on the window sill I remembered and missed with a physical ache
the spacious aangan where we used to make the large rangolis - not the 2x2
landing where first thing in the morning everyone from the paper walla to
the doodh wala will mess it up and the long stretch of the verandah we used
to line up the diyas - dozens and dozens of them. Today I set out six , yes
exactly six diyas on the little ledge of the only safe window space of the
flat !

But you know what ? its not the size of the landing or the number of diyas
you light that makes Diwali so special ; its the size of the world made so vast by
the friends and loved ones in your life and the number of phone calls and
text messages and e mails that flow straight into your heart from the phone
and computer and make your heart swell with love and affection and gratitude
for this great big family that my work too has made me a part of.....Diwali or Christmas , Independence Day or Republic Day , New Year or Holi , Navroze or Idd we are there for each other , with each other and with only the best wishes for each other .....



Mr Lonely said...

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Viji, what a sweet blog. Brings back all the memories of Diwali - I still remember some of the new clothes we got!And yes, we are making new memories to share each year, along with the sweets and idlis!

Viji Venkatesh said...

Raji those lovely Khatau Voilles for example - mine had pinkish and yours rust coloured roses ....and that dramatic black and green one of yours : )

Superman said...

And we woke up the
whole of Delhi , we "Madrasis" with our pre dawn pattakkas !!

Tell me about it and with my superman hearing, even the tinniest of crackers would sound like a bomb!

Good simple writeup... reminded me of my simple childhood as well...

Dinakar KR said...

Nice old memories. Mysore Pak! Ha. That's "Our Pak"! Mysoreans and Madrasis are not much different. We too used to boast to be the first to burst the cracker at 4 am and ask friends if they heard it!

Klara said...

My first Diwali in Mumbai/Bombay in 2001... what incredible, unforgettable experience. Lights, sweets, crackers which sounded like bombs... joy, people, life, celebrations everywhere. Happy Diwali (even it's late now)! Also Holi was great. I love India, miss it too much