Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Diwali - last year

This is a repost from a previous blog I had. I wrote it as soon as I came from a trip to India last year during Diwali. else am I going to make a post a day... my blog .. my rules.., right?
I am still trying to hold on to those lingering feeling of being in India - by not eating out, not watching american tv as much, not visiting places I normally tend to visit and so on. Would this go away hopefully when I have a family of my own? Do I get this feeling because I am missing my parents, or does the place & the country, culture, play a role in this. For now, all I know is, I am still holding to the feeling of being in India.

Diwali, after 6 years in India was unexpectedly fun. Cousin asked me to join the rest of the maternal clan at uncle's house terrace on diwali eve(the previous day of diwali, people).

One cousin's wife asked, if I had come to India for "Ponna pakka".
Random thoughts crossed my head. Why would i go see a girl? just because i haven't gotten married for so long, they consider me a lesbian now? but i am not one.
So I swiftly replied lest my sexuality is in question, "Payyan Pakka". And clan immediately jumped on how these modern girls with female liberation idea and that brigade. If only they had known what was truly going on in my modern girl mind!

Ladies discussed the diwali sweet and general receipes. Aunt, who has been bed-ridden for couple of years and just started walking, wanted to know my salary and savings till date and such. Cousin's wife sighed from behind to ignore it. Aunt went on to talk about why the Mango trees branches which have spread half the motta maddi have not been cut. Niece sulked about how she had to wear salwar(her only dress code seems to jeans, skirts or any other western wear even on diwali day).Meanwhile, uncle remarked he smelt "vengaya pulusu"(onion sambar). Everybody to their own.

Nephews went onto burst one rocket after another( or whatever thing is called these days). They even gave me an opportunity from time to time. These rockets are superb - the changu-chakram, flower pots, all the things that we are used to but in the sky. Its almost as if hundreds of july 4 fireworks at play from every one's terrace. I asked one of my nephews what was the thing called, he replied "Vengaya pulusu".

On our first diwali after moving to Madras, we did the usual thing, got up at 4.00am and burst the first cracker(in our case it is usually the thousand wallah). Unfortunately, the opposite house neighbour got startled, switched on his verandah lights, ensured there were no miscreants and went back to sleep! That was the enthusiasm of the city in contrast to the other town where we lived. As years passed, we got accustomed to the city and also grow older and settled for more time in front of the T.V.

This year as any other respectful tamilian, I duly sat down to watch srikanth and vandana's morning interview, my mom interrupted. She wanted me to skip TV and burst crackers(such blasphemy). My mom used her usual brahmaastram and said, "Sastrutuku". So, my dad and I set out with our candles and bundles of crackers. And boy, what fun it turned out to be.

Pretty much everybody in the flat came down(just 4 families anyway). We burst 6 lakshmi veedis together(& our ear drums along with it), ofcourse thousand wallahs, lighting up the vedi in hand and throwing them before they burst(thalaivar style) and the end of throwing all the left over veedis together and lighting up(which did not burst! bulbits). I saw my dad play with crackers or vedis for the first time in my life leading the next door 8 year old to comment, "Uncle is smart!".

Evening followed another session in our "Motta Madi" where the only rocket I launched went down spiraling under people's sarees esp. my Mom's. My mom thankfully jumped. The dutiful kid I was ran for my dear life and failing to even notice the mother in danger. The two half punjabi, half palghat tamil kids are truly scared for the rest of life and might not touch a cracker. They disappeared instantly after the accident. Rest of us continued bravely to light up the sky and terrace.

The neighbour and I had plans to launch more rackets at midnight if India won the match against Pakistan that day. India successfully lost that match!


  1. Such a memorable post on your Diwali experience in India, made me visualize the whole thing, esp. the last bit on your lighting up that rocket and thank God ur mom jumped.

    I am scared of vedis and crackers, never burst one in my life, forget bursting, I always stuff my ears with cotton and go under the bed for several hours, its a hassle for my folks to haul me to go over to thatha-patti's place for namaskaram later. Was so glad when I came to US for the first time, no more Diwali fears, swore I wouldn't go back during a Diwali to India.

  2. Good post. It made me feel more about having missed celebrating Diwali in India. I do not remember what I did for Diwali the past few years, however I do remember well celebrating it when I was it in India. Diwali is a great time to go to India. I miss it sorely.