Diwali at Planet R (2008)
Diwali, the festival of lights has come and gone. It is one festival that all my friends irrespective of religion follow….. they might not do the puja….. but they do light crackers. Mythologically it is the day when lord Rama came home victorious from his war with evil. However, for us at home it is the day of Kali Puja. It marks the end for Bijoya and also the end of eating goodies…… Gaawd !!!i have to check my weight!!! Every year I lose weight before durga puja and till diwali I have put back all of them. Murphy’s law whatever goes eventually comes back !!!! sob sob sob!!!!
On the positive side, unlike my other friends who were cleaning till the last day, I had already finished with my bout of cleanliness disorder before Durga Puja so it was fun and fun and food and food. I did have to paint the lamps and the paraphernalia and I did do the traditional rangoli and the sweets and in the evening had my do with the lamps and crackers. The painting had my hands paining so I had to spend more time than usual for the rangoli (since my fingers were shivering). The toran was ready made and I had help for making the sweets. So all in all it was fun.
Unlike other years, this year I noticed that the amount of crackers burnt were quite less. I wonder if this has anything to do with the global recession. Whatever it was it was kind of peaceful than last year’s bombing attack. However, there was no lack for the happiness and enthusiasm among the people. All the houses had the kandil hanging and alight in the evenings and all the windows and doors were decorated with beautiful lamps and candles. There was a wide array of floating and scented candles and electric lights in the market this year. The shapes of the lamps varied from conches to leaves to roses to ganesha faces….. all of them so enticing that you had to really spend time to choose from among them. All in all I had a ball shopping and in most cases window shopping. This is one shopping spree that I totally enjoy and one time in the whole year that Rajdeep absolutely does not crib and follows me diligently. This time there were even accessories to be put for the rangoli…… unlike the usual plain rangoli, this year i added glitter and mirror pieces to decorate my rangoli. It simply looked very beautiful with all the glitter. I could not capture all the glory on camera though i did try.
As for Kali Puja, it started at midnight yesterday. So probably all bengalis who are having a holiday today are probably still asleep counting sheep. Imagine fasting all day till midnight and then staying up almost all night….. did somebody mention that Karwa Chauth was bad!!! Believe me for us bengalis all the functions start in the middle of the night…. even durga puja that is usually held in the morning, has the Sandhi Puja that is held midnight. People even get married in the middle of the night….. my sister did. It was torture!!!! We finally managed to eat at four in the morning. I am not even going to mention anything about my sis and broinlaw and as to what they went through, after all they were fasting for the wedding!!! I dont understand this as why people have to fast on their own wedding….. all the people around you are eating….. and you are fasting !!! It even makes the wedding pics disgusting as you look like you are going to faint or going to eat people. I was soooooooooo mad at mine that I would snap at everyone who even uttered a word to me….. typical bridezilla!!! I am so glad that i am through with the torture.
Coming back to diwali…… My childhood memories of diwali are of eating lots of faraal that ma used to make – karanjees, shankarpali, ladoos (different variations….. I soooo love them) rose cookies, chiwada, etc etc. I could not make all of them but did try with some and got the rest of it ready made…… They weren’t available in shops earlier….. you had to make all of them. There were a lot of variations in the sweet market specially for the health conscious and the diabetics. It made me very happy to see this. They do deserve to enjoy as well. Baked karanjees and sugar free sweets were abounding the markets this year.
When I was a kid, I remember Esha’s family spending the whole of diwali making flower pots which were burnt on the night of diwali. Also I remember Esha’s mother doing very beautiful rangoli all over the house with paint. She used to draw the feet of laxmi and around it, she used to draw some flowers and leaves etc…. it was very beautiful!!! They used to start light lamps and start lighting crackers only after the laxmi puja. The whole family and lots of uncle and aunty’s friends joined them for the aarati. Esha even had a new dress and their Puja was so beautiful…. I simply loved the whole grand affair.
Diwali in Pune was more of a friends and family affair with my entire family and lots of friends trooping in and all of us going to temple for the midnight puja. Here in Mumbai it is more of every family keeping to themselves…. so normally friends text you and express their best wishes. I received more than 50 wishes yesterday.
Yesterday the amount of crackers that were burning had the whole atmosphere totally foggy. I am scared to even think of the amount of Sulphur released in the atmosphere and not the mention the effect it will have on the sick and the young. The young however seemed to enjoy it. I am not going to get all Al Gore about the environment but honestly we really ought to think a little more of the environment and not use crackers that release harmful gases and the sound emission which is so bad that it seemed that some war had started and the buildings were shaking as a result of the sound….. almost of earthquake stature. Why can’t people stick to sparklers simple kind of crackers and spread the happiness of the season with light and lamps and sweets???….. I cant think beyond food…. I really gotta check my weight!!!