Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali memories

Diwali is by far my favourite festival. And we celebrate it early in the morning (the majority of people celebrate it at night). So, today is our Diwali.

On this day, we wake up early in the morning (before sunrise), have an oil bath and burst crackers. The person who broke crackers first was the one who "heralded" Diwali and in the place where we lived, there were many claimants and sub claimants. Usually, the first cracker went off at about 4 am. Whenever that first cracker went off, it meant that Diwali had arrived. It also served the purpose of waking up those who thought they had overslept. One of the few days where there was an advantage of being a morning person.

And then the others would turn up - the kids brigade. Candles to light up sparklers for the crackers, agarbattis to light up the noise making crackers and spare candles and so on. After the kids brigade, the adults would turn up with their bombs and Taj Mahal crackers. All in all, a good couple of hours of bursting crackers.
And then we spent some more time searching for unbroken crackers and trying to extract some more light and sound out of it. This phase had experiments - like putting crackers in a dabba or a hole and hearing its echo or joining a bunch of crackers and watching them burst. This was followed by a visit to the temple, dressed in our best. And somewhere in between was a breakfast of idli and chutney (I asked my mother why this was always idli and chutney and she said, it is the easiest thing to do on a festival day and besides all other things we eat on that are rich). And then the exchange of sweets and savouries.

The preparations would start much earlier though. A few weeks earlier we would start preparations for the savouries. Each year, we would, depending on the mood, make pakodams or coconut barfis or Mysore paks or murukkus or mixture.

And the crackers. Dad would buy crackers from Essabhai in Md Ali road usually - and about a month before, so we would beat the Diwali rush. And we would spent the next few weeks lovingly drying the crackers in the sun. This hard work paid off since our crackers would burst better than those who did not go through this drying process - or so we felt - as we watched cracker after cracker of ours burst nicely.

And Diwalis in Mumbai had a vacation as well at school, so we spent quite a while playing chor-police with cap guns...

Such it was the festival which heralds the triumph of good over evil. May this festival literally symbolize the same in each of our lives. And of course, build newer meanings through it as well - as Seth Godin does today - Diwali and Digital lights!

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